Tuesday, September 10, 2013

I Expect More

I expect more.

I expect more out of myself. More out of others. Certainly more out of the people and companies I am giving money to.

Does that make me a "hater?" No. I believe it just makes me difficult to impress.

When did that become a bad thing?

As consumers in this country, we've become too complacent. We've essentially become lemmings chasing each other off the cliff of consumerism. We're all so locked into what the new version of Product X (or 'i') is that we've lost sight of what really is innovative. The American Dream is not about who can build a better product anymore. It's about who can wrap the same old stuff in a fancy new colored plastic shell. The sad part is that the American public who lost sight of their American Dream is only too happy to stand in line and buy it.

I've mentioned before that I don't understand the concept of waiting in line for the privilege of buying something first. My time is more valuable than that. I should hope that anyone old enough to have a job or family could find better things to do as well.

What really is confusing to me is how consumers will flock to purchase "innovative" products that do nothing than re-hash old ideas. Even worse, are the products that show off their technical specs like they are the best thing since sliced bread.

Case in point: This slide from the Apple 5s launch.


What does this mean to the average consumer?

Nothing.

When was the last time someone asked you how many transistors or floating point registers your phone had? Don't you wish your phone had a "modern instruction set?" Have you heard the latest pick up line: "Hey baby, what's your die size?" No? Neither has anyone else on the planet.

Disruptive Technology

Think back to the first time you saw the Mac G4. Or iTunes. Or the iPod. Or the iPhone. Or the iPad. Those products were beatifully designed, simple and intuitive to operate, and, most importantly, disruptive.

What is disruptive technology? Its something that you never knew you couldn't live without. All of those products changed the way we went about our day. They changed the way we worked and played. They may not have been the first of their type on the market. Certainly there were mp3 players before the iPod. There were smartphones before the iPhone. But they made the technology more accessible to the masses. And yes, they even made us a little cooler.

What was Apple's last disruptive product? It wasn't the iPhone 5. You could say Siri, but they aquired that technology by buying another company. Even CNN noted that Apple is having difficulty innovating. Wired wrote that the reputation for innovation is Apple's greatest liability. Apple entering the market in China is a great story, but its a business story. Apple is a tech company, and to keep the lead in technology you have to keep the geeks happy. Ignore them (us), or let your product grow stale and you risk losing it all. See: Microsoft, Sony, Nokia, Motorola, Kodak, Polaroid, etc.

Stagnation

The important point I'm trying to make is that Apple isn't alone is growing stale. Many businesses, across all sectors have slowed down and allowed their competition to pass them by. But, unlike most other companies, Apple hasn't been criticized as much as, say Microsoft has for not leading the way. It seems Apple has a loyal following (fanboys) to shield them from harm.

The trouble with a rabid fan base is that it generally grows up at some point. I don't mean that in a sense of maturity, but rather their lives cease to revolve around a product or company. They get families, or full-time jobs, or whatever other responsibilities life throws their way. To illustrate my point, look at the average age of the customers waiting in line at the Apple store in NYC. I don't see a single person that looks out of college. Sooner or later, without attracting new customers, the rabid user base will die off.


Was the iPhone 5s / 5c Really Worth 90 Minutes of My Life?

Was it just me, or were you watching the announcement just waiting for the "Oh, here's one more thing..." announcement. Google did it with the Chromecast recently. That was a great Steve Jobs-esque display of showmanship. Today, instead of the iWatch, the iTV or any other iThing we got Elvis - and not the cool Elvis either. 

So to recap, here's what we got:
  1. Plastic iPhone 5c in various pastel colours
  2. The Gold, Silver or Black-but-not-really-black iPhone 5s
  3. the iPhone 5s has a dual core processor that's 64 bit now (whee!!!!)
  4. Fingerprint sensor
  5. A better camera that doesn't have more megapixels, it has BIGGER pixels
  6. Elvis. Costello, that is. 
Color me unimpressed.