Throughout my life I’ve tried to keep moving forward by implementing a series of idioms that fit particular situations. Here are a few and these are related to Apple’s next big thing.
Nothing improves without change
There’s no way around it. Grape juice becomes wine because it changes. Without change, how does one improve a skill, improve a product, improve ones self?
Actions speak louder than words
Everyone knows politicians lie but what they do after gaining office determines their position in history.
You can’t judge a book by the cover
Yet, we humans tend to judge whatever it is before our eyes– mostly based upon the cover; what we see first.
You get the idea, right?
What does this have to do with Apple’s next big thing? Apple co-founder Steve Jobs returned in mid-1997 and promptly set up an executive team to run the company, slashed an unwieldy product line, and set about to invent the future.
The first few years of that future brought the iMac, Apple’s retail stores, the iPod, iTunes, and iTunes Music Store, a switch from IBM’s PowerPC CPU architecture to Intel Inside, and those were followed up by the iPhone and iPad and App Stores. Along the way, Apple Computer, Inc. became simply Apple Inc.
All of those product successes had one thing in common. Jobs pulled the trigger.
To commit to a course of action
This is not to say that decisions for a course of action are no longer taking place at Apple. Indeed, the company’s most recent products are steady improvements over previous versions, and the howls of complaints from Apple watchers and customers are indicative of previous product launches; controversial all, yet met by strong customer demand. Nothing has changed.
Or, has it?
Across the board and over the past five years since Steve Jobs died, Apple Inc. has introduced upgraded products, albeit at a slowing pace (except for iPhone, the company’s largest cash cow, but one of many). In each case, a trigger was pulled to execute on a product development plan.
Every notable product during Jobs tenure from 1997-2010 were substantial moves forward that were met with major successes in the marketplace. From iMac to iPad and all those in between, Jobs made sure the trigger was pulled and products were launched.
Therein lies a significant difference at the CEO level between co-founder Steve Jobs and CEO Tim Cook. Jobs could pull the trigger. Cook cannot. That’s why there is no touchscreen Mac, no Apple Car, no Apple Glasses, and no major new product launch, no next great thing from Apple.
Revolutionary products that become the next great thing have to be launched, and that requires pulling the trigger. Since Jobs death in 2011 Tim Cook has shown himself to be a conservative leader more comfortable with iterations of the status quo.
Yes, nothing improves without change, and Apple seems willing to make changes, but less willing to pull the trigger to make the next great thing.