Apple Can’t Rely On Design Forever

Sep 19, 2013
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Apple’s executives are out in full force this week, talking about their company’s unique ability to deliver designs that people love. With Jonathan Ive at the design helm, Apple believes that it can continue to be the most successful device maker in the world simply because its “eye” is better than that from other users.

But I’m here to tell Apple, its fans, and everyone else that thinks the company is invincible one very important thing: the design dominance cannot be relied on forever.

Apple’s iOS 7 is a nicely designed operating system that comes with the flair and looks that most folks would like. But lost behind all of that design is the fact that Apple’s operating system features come with the same things that Android users have been enjoying for years. And to not acknowledge that key point would be a huge mistake.

For years, those who haven’t jumped on the Apple bandwagon have said that the company’s design abilities far outweigh the actual functionality delivered to its products. In fact, they say, most people are simply paying for a design, when they could find a product with an admittedly less-beautiful look and feel with more functionality and features.

That appears to be the case with iOS 7 and Apple’s iPhone 5s. Sure, both products are well-designed and come with some interesting updates, but to say that they can be as useful as Android or as full-featured as the Galaxy S4 might be a bit of an overstatement. Apple’s iOS is equal to the Android was saw last year or the year prior. And the iPhone 5s can’t come close to mustering the overall firepower and value one will find in the Galaxy S4.

[aquote]Some Apple fans will say that I hate the company[/aquote]

Of course, the very fact that I said that will prompt at least some Apple fans to say that I hate the company, that I’m an Android fanboy, and that I’m being unfair to the iPhone maker. The truth, however, is much simpler: when we compare Apple’s products over the last couple of years to those it’s competing against in mobile, the massive company is falling short.

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And just to allay the fears of all of those people who say I hate Apple, I’m writing this piece on a Mac Pro while an iPad and iPhone sit next to me on a desk. And sometimes, I watch the movies and television shows I buy on iTunes right on my Apple TV. I’m anything but an Apple hater. I’m simply willing to admit when the company needs improvement.

I’m concerned that Apple puts too much emphasis on design and not enough emphasis on overall value. The company has for years been delivering solid products, but it’s time it shows off something that can hit on all points.

I’d argue that the 2013 Mac Pro might be one of those devices. The upcoming computer will come with an outstanding design and high-end features. But until we can see its price, it’s hard to say how much value it’ll really deliver.

Still, I think Apple needs to bring the Mac Pro philosophy to its other divisions. Yes, Apple gets design. But it’s about time Apple also realizes that customers want more and better features in products. And believe it or not, Apple, it’s OK to follow the leader once in a while.

Undecided on Apple's new tech? Check out our iPhone 5s review and iOS 7 review for all the details you need to know.


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