The recent revelations about the NSA, the endless parade of online hacking and theft of credit card or personal information, and the desire by Amazon to seduce customers into ever more purchases has created a strong pendulum in the direction of the erosion of human dignity. There may be money to be made and unexpected success to be found as the pendulum swings in the other direction.
When a company grows too large too fast, there's a temptation to do too much. On the other hand, simplifying for customers opens windows of opportunity for competitors. At WWDC 2014, we saw a glimpse of how Apple tries to strike a balance. Sometimes, the company wins dramatically and sometimes it falls short.
There is nothing like a WWDC Keynote, a two hour glimpse into the psyche of Apple, to provide a solid picture of what the company is up to. Observers may or may not like the personality of Tim Cook or the current product line, but last week's keynote illustrates how the efforts of thousands of Apple engineers have come to fruition. It obliterated the Apple hysteria.
The poor guy. Everyone writes about him day and night. This and that. He's no Steve Jobs. Maybe, but he must be his own man. Lamentations: he's just an operations guy. Praise: He sat next to Steve Jobs for over a decade and had Jobs's trust. The reins of Apple were handed over to him, but (tearfully) he doesn't know anything. His hair is funny. He's saving Apple. He's destroying Apple. Can we have the madness stop?
Many Apple observers like to talk about how Apple has lost its innovative edge, how Tim Cook can't carry on without Steve Jobs, how Apple has lost market share in tablets and smartphones and other various and sundry items of complaint. But what would really damage Apple is a breach of the company's Apple ID accounts and credit card data. The planet would rock on its axis.
Steve Jobs once talked about how the best ideas derive from intersection of technology and humanities. But when a company exhibits no humanity, what's left?
Apple's new Senior Vice President, Retail and Online Stores is Angela Ahrendts. What are some of the things customers and Apple retail store employees are hoping will be high on her to-do list in her first year? John Martellaro ponders such a list.
There are many technical and enterprise professionals who come to depend on Apple's hardware and software. In fact, their livelihood may depend on these products. Then, when Apple makes a course correction, the howling begins. It's happened so many times with Apple, it's hard to keep count. John Martellaro sizes up the howling, the aftereffects and the opportunities.
Google Glass had a nifty sci-fi feel to it when the product first came out. Along the way, however, Google failed to both think about why the product exists and fully appreciate the social aspects of the device. Calls for Apple to quickly follow Google's lead now look silly.
Havard's Law states: "Under the most rigorously controlled conditions of pressure, temperature, volume, humidity, and other variables, the organism will do as it damn well pleases."
Nowhere is this more true than when it comes to Apple customers, iTunes and music.
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