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If only every tech firm could be as unsuccessful as Apple

It's important to keep this all in perspective, of course. For all the expletives I've hurled at my OS X and iOS devices recently, none of the problems have been bad enough to make me jump ship to a rival OS. They're irritating, sure, but they're not the kinds of thing that'll ruin a beautiful relationship.

At least, they aren't yet.

The perception problem

Apple is famous for its belief in design, its embrace of the principle that design isn't a quick bit of cosmetic pixie dust you sprinkle on products in the final stages of manufacturing but something that informs the entire experience. But if the demands of its hardware release schedules are pushing its software teams beyond their ability to cope, they risk damaging that experience.

Even if they aren't, the risk of damage is still real thanks to Apple's sheer importance and general click-worthiness: as Bendgate showed, issues affecting Apple don't need to be particularly serious to generate astonishing amounts of coverage.

Apple has long positioned itself as the BMW or Mercedes-Benz of tech, a firm who makes the best products it possibly can and only then starts to think about the price tag. "There's always a large junk part of the market," Tim Cook told Bloomberg Businessweek. "We're not in the junk business."

The junk business is in unimpressive hardware and shonky software; Apple would rather "compete like crazy" for the bit of the market "that really wants a product that does a lot for them," Cook says. And that's great, but the better your rivals get the tougher that competition becomes.

Even if Apple's quality control is no worse than it was five years ago, its rivals have got a whole lot better - so the perception is that things are getting worse. When your massive margins depend largely on convincing consumers that the gap between what you do and what your rivals do is equally massive, that's a very dangerous development.