In fall of 2002, I got my first iPod. When I asked my father about getting me one, he responded “What is that?” I was aware that the Baby Boomers were not up-to-date on the latest technology (and this is probably still the case), but I was happy to explain this magical device to him. While he admitted that he still didn’t quite understand, he went ahead and allowed me to order one.
Being overly excited, I had to tell my friends about it. When I shared this great news with them, I received the same response: “What is that?” At this point, the iPod had been out for about a year, and I was shocked that my fellow tech-savvy youngsters were just as clueless as my father.
Needless to say, the iPod—and Apple as a whole—has grown a bit in popularity over the last 10 years, almost to the point now where the iPod is obsolete (Why carry around a device that can only play music when your phone already does the same thing?). They have become known for simple, efficient, and beautiful products. But could this be coming to an end? Has Apple gotten too big for its britches?
The Maps disaster that accompanied the release of the latest iPhone has been discussed ad nauseam, but I’m going to add my own bit. While I don’t really care about the 3D map viewing issues (why they even felt this was a necessary feature is another question, but whatever), the basic functionality of the app itself is terrible. Ask it for simple directions down the street and it will lead you on a journey to Anchorage. And the real-time traffic information doesn’t even sniff a level of mediocrity. Living in a major metropolitan area, I came to frequently rely on Google Maps traffic information. With Apple’s replacement app, I may as well just flip a coin to plan my routes.
Most recently, Apple released the iPad Mini. Despite Steve Jobs original push against the smaller tablets, the company may have felt pressure for Amazon.com and other tablet manufacturers to produce a smaller device. I see absolutely nothing wrong with that, except for the fact that Apple went cheap on the iPad Mini: the lack of retina display. Anyone who has been using an HD display on their phone or tablet for any amount of time can easily see the difference when they look at an older, lower quality screen. Apple doesn’t care though. They could have easily produced a high-quality screen to put on the iPad Mini, but instead they tried to rely on brand-name only and just pray that no one would notice. When a company known for striving for perfection deliberately cuts corners, it is not a good sign of things to come.
I fully realize this is the ultimate “First World Problems” post. But that doesn’t make the information any less true. Steve Jobs (albeit a bit of an asshole) built a great company. Unfortunately, I’m beginning to see signs that the ride is over. Judging by the devices I own, I would certainly appear to have an Apple addiction, but I purchased these products based on their past performance, before this recent string of duds.
The way things are going, I’m afraid that when I mention any Apple products to younger generations, I may be met with the same response my father gave me 10 years ago: “What is that?”