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The Droid Apple is looking for

February 4, 2013

Their stock price has fallen like Newton’s apple from a tree, from a lofty perch of $705.07 on Sept. 21st. Then Fall began, and Apple has plunged 36% since. With its close of $453.62 on Friday, investors have lost $236 billion in market value… Why?

iphone beerA few years ago in Long Beach, CA “Jim” showed me his iPhone. It was the first one I’d seen, and when he used its GPS capability to navigate us to the airport, I was wowed. Then Jim showed me how one of the “apps” could simulate drinking beer right out of the phone! Cool, right? Just not anymore. One theory is that Apple has lost it’s cool factor with Millennials. Another cites anonymous reports about iStuff orders from Apple’s Chinese manufacturers being down. That spooks investors. Here’s my theory:

Apple took their eye off the customer experience.

They’ve had a couple of serious lapses in their service. First, the iPhone 4 suffered signal issues that would drop calls if held a certain way. Then with the Apple Maps fiasco, the company became the butt of jokes. After losing their way with maps, they had to munch some humble pie and allow the maps app from hated Google back into their locked down iOS world. These falls were not the experience iOwners expected from their premium priced phones.

Then just about a year ago, Apple sued Samsung over their (and my) Galaxy Nexus. Apparently, my phone is among the droids Apple is looking for. To kill. Last week a US Appeals Court rejected Apple’s request to reconsider their prior denial of Apple’s request to ban sales of the Galaxy Nexus. I’m no lawyer, but Apple’s claims seem to be more about Google’s Android O/S, and not Samsung hardware. The larger point is while Apple spent a year lawyering up to stop the sale of a competitive device, the competitor is growing stronger while Apple weakens. The Galaxy Nexus and other Samsung mobile products are still cool, but the iStuff is becoming “eh.”

Apple has great employees, products and services. They can and need to get back to focusing on the customer experience as their differentiator. That’s what made them “insanely great.” How about a battery that will last a week without re-charging? That’s way cooler and would build much more customer loyalty than iLawyers and iLawsuits.

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