A few months ago, Samsung ran an ad suggesting that Apple wasn’t cool anymore. When I first saw it, I shook my head in disbelief. Of course, Apple was still cool I kept telling myself.
Now, I’m not so sure.
On Sunday night, as I have done often in mid-January, I expected to see my favorite NFL team, the New England Patriots once again win the AFC championship. After all, since 2001, the Bill Belichick-lead team has done just that five out of six times on their way to three Super Bowl championships in four seasons.
Of course, that didn’t happen last night. Instead, the Patriots did what they have often done in recent years when it counted, they lost. It will be the Baltimore Ravens that take on the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII.
Indeed, Apple is starting to look a lot like the New England Patriots. Despite a great run that has lasted for over a decade, Cupertino is slowly but surely being overshadowed by other companies both in their product choices and upgrade decisions.
Like the Patriots, Apple has reached a crossroads of sorts, where their every move is heavily scrutinized. This year alone, we’ve already seen enough doom and gloom Apple stories to write a book. As Apple’s stock price continues to fall, these stories only seem to grow in their intensity.
I’m not saying that Apple is finished, or that they’re headed for a fall like the one they experienced during the 1990s. But what I am saying is that Apple needs to be revolutionary again, and not simply go with the flow.
To me, this means focusing less on how to make a better 7-inch tablet or 5-inch smartphone, and more on figuring out what consumers want before they even know it.
Otherwise, Apple should get used to playing second fiddle to Samsung and to others.
Photo: The Boston Globe