I’ve had this uneasy feeling recently. I keep thinking that Apple is on the verge of trending toward unfavorable. Don’t get me wrong, I still love the Apple products that I use. I still think they’re a great company. But with the decisions Apple has been making recently, they’re finding themselves on the edge of a very slippery slope.
Members of the Apple community have been very vocal recently in regards to:
- App store rejections & policies
- Keeping 30% (including subscriptions)
- Charging for Xcode and FaceTime
Before diving into what’s been going on recently, let’s take a quick look back…
Historically, Apple has done a great job of hacking the press and keeping an overall positive vibe for their brands. In the last few years, they’ve done a really great job. Think back to the release of the iPod. Apple was untouchable, everything they did was fantastic. Iteration after iteration, they just kept cranking out great new devices that consumers absolutely loved. They completely changed the music industry. Then they did it again when they created the iTunes store. Buying any song for 99¢ was a revelation. It came with the hitch of DRM, but that was easily pawned off as a requirement set forth by the music industry.
When we fast forward to today, there’s a lot of hitches. These hitches are not externally imposed either. Apple’s consciously making decisions that are controversial. They’ve decided that all applications running on the iPhone must adhere to certain requirements. They’ve decided that they’re going to keep 30% of sales that pass through their store. They’ve decided to charge for software that used to be free (albeit for rather insignificant amounts). When taken in isolation, these decisions are justifiable. They even make sense. And the fact that they’re controversial doesn’t matter because they’re on the backs of absolutely fantastic products. The iPhone revolutionized the smart phone industry. The app store has been a wild success. Apple keeps producing awesome products, and the controversy takes a back seat.
While Apple may still be a press darling, things are starting to change. Recently people have described Apple as too powerful, greedy even. This is not the Apple we used to know. We used to know an Apple that was one hundred percent about the consumer. We used to praise their applications for their consumer oriented design. We used to love every aspect of every product. Now we’re starting to see a different Apple.
I think what we’re all feeling is kind of like falling out of love. There a lot of little things that are adding up. Each little thing taken on it’s own is really not a big deal. It may bother you, but you can live with it. When you step back and look at the big picture, though, you start to realize that things aren’t quite the way you expect them to be.
There are a lot of people in the Apple community who I think share the same sentiments. People’s reactions to changes range from indifferent to straight up pissed. In the end, though, it’s not about price; it’s not about rules & policies. It’s about how Apple’s been acting doesn’t feel right. It doesn’t feel like they’re they Apple that we’ve all come to know and love. I’m hopeful that in the coming years we will fall in love all over again.