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Adventures In Tech
Has Apple lost its edge?Adventures in Tech explains why -- despite a serious lack of new hardware -- Apple isn't about to die.
-This is Apple's new iPad Air and it looks a lot like last year's model. Coming up: Has Apple lost its edge? Short answer: No. Long answer: Still no. But I can see why you think it has. I mean look at the iPad Air. It may be super skinny and super powerful, but like the iPhone 5S and everything Apple is currently selling, it's a minor upgrade to an old product. In fact, we haven't seen a completely new kind of device since the very first iPad back in 2010. Since then, the aggressively modest tweaks to Apple's most popular gadget have become more and more tiresome. Apple's weird hyperbole gets increasing grating and you start to wonder-- Hang on, what exactly is Jony Ive talking about? -True simplicity is derived from so much more than just the absence of clutter and ornamentation. And I think with great intent you disconnect from the past. All that you would be aware of was everything that was just missing. -You can see why people say that Apple is in decline. But if you look back over the last 15 years or so, that's how Apple has always been perceived. Apple is a company that relies on making breakthrough tech products. But each time it managers to craft one of these earth-shattering gadgets, the assumption is that they won't ever be another one. In the late 90s for instance, there was a concern that the novelty of Apple's colorful iMac would quickly wear off, but of course back then we didn't know that the iPod was just around the corner. All cast your mind back to 2004 when it was predicted that Apple would soon be crushed by increasingly sophisticated low-priced iPod rivals like the Dell DJ, though I think we can all be glad that that never happened. It's the nature of the industry that no matter what it creates Apple will always be perceived as being in decline and desperately in need of new stuff. And if you look at the timing of Apple's new stuff, you'll see the situation isn't that desperate yet. The first iPod went on sale in 2001, but it took Apple nearly six years to get to the iPhone. The iPad followed three years later, but did have a head start as it was in development since before the iPhone and shared much of the same technology. Going on past form, you'd expect to see something new within the next year or two, but it's not the case that a new product from Apple is long overdue. You and I may be bored by every modest upgrade, but the iPhone 5S and 5C sold 9 million in their first weekend on sale, while in three and a half years, iPad sales topped 170 million. Apple is in no hurry and this industry watcher agrees. -I think in three and a half years' time they're still just putting out iterations of the iPad then, yes, they're gonna be in trouble, but I think they've got that kind of grace period. I think they've got another three and a half years to come up with whatever the next big thing is. And actually, I think they will. -Finally, Apple's tech may feel a bit stale, but it still has plenty of non-hardware tricks up its sleeves. Oh wait, I don't have sleeves. Apple's whirlwind of movies, music, and apps quickly ties you into the company's ecosystem, making it tough to leave. Meanwhile, big, shiny Apple stores and a good rep for customer service mean Apple's products appeal to more than just the tech hardcore. -When it comes down to Apple's strength, actually nowadays isn't necessarily in innovating the newest freshest thing. It's about making something reliable, and convenient, and inspirational; the convergence with the things people are already using at home. -You might be bored by Apple's latest products, but that doesn't mean it's in decline. Do you agree that Apple still has its edge or is it circling the drain like a bath-invading spider? Let me know and check back next time for another adventure in tech.