Yesterday, at WWDC 2011, Steve Jobs showed off Apple’s new North Carolina data center that cost them $1 billion and proved that Apple is serious about their new release, called iCloud. The strategy is to shift the PC out of the center of everything and reduce our need to synchronize everything through it. However, they are making the same mistakes with the Apple iCloud they have made consistently since their inception. Using reverse Polish notational thinking, they consider the move smart and in spite of it they still succeed. Apple’s success is due more to their aesthetics than anything else, though.
We all have to agree that when it comes to Apple, they make pretty packages for their hardware and software and that’s all. They lack innovation and pay only lip service to encouraging the community to participate in the larger picture.
If you buy Apple, you are getting something pretty, not revolutionary. You are also not supporting any kind of innovation, just a selling of someone else’ innovation wrapped in a pretty package. Apple did not invent the cloud technology and they are merely putting it in a pretty Apple package and making sure you buy their other products in order to use this one.
The businesses thinking behind this decision has not worked yet for Apple. Why would they think it would work now – because of the current successes of the iPhone and iPad? Those are flukes that exist because there are so many young people who do not understand the terribly limiting features of Apple products. Apple is in for a big surprise when this brilliant generation figure it out. Some of these people will be too proud to admit their mistake and will suffer through using Apple products the rest of their lives. Most will jump ship and join the rest of the human race though, with real, normal products.
From a business stance, Apple is opening the door for other companies to develop cloud solutions that work across platforms. Consider Google’s threatening position, with 36% of the phone market, compared to Apple’s 17%, according to Gartner Inc., and you will understand what is going to happen next. Amazon is not to be taken seriously, just as a dog with no teeth barks a lot. Microsoft, on the other hand, Apple’s old nemesis, is still poised to do something about it. It is quite possible they will take advantage of the gaping hole, since they did show balls by welcoming hacking of Kinect.
Let us look back into Apple’s recent past, and not forget MobileMe, which cost the user $99 annually, but was plagued with crashes. Steve Job’s comments regarding it, in light of the upcoming iCloud, was simply, “We learned a lot from MobileMe.” Yeah, I’ll bet you did, but this cost your customers $300 million per year for your mistakes and this is how Apple operates. Now they stand to make much more off of iCloud, with its potentially exponentially larger customer base. What kind of problems will plague this next product and how much will we have to pay for their lessons from another broken product? Maybe we are being hypercritical, but we truly hope that Apple’s business techniques will someday change more toward the advantage of their customers.