Like many agency folks (and many more who’ve never stepped foot into an agency), we love our Apple products. So, when the Apple big shots held their launch event to announce their next big thing—the iPhone 7—we eagerly watched. After all, we had heard through reliable leaks that there would be one giant “surprise”. That surprise turned out to be the dropping of the 3.5mm headphone jack.
What was almost as surprising was Apple’s SVP of worldwide marketing, Phil Schiller’s, use of the word “courage” for explaining why they were making this bold move. Immediately the Internet went nuts with comments over this peculiar choice of words. We were a little baffled too. But eventually this over-dramatization will be forgotten, along with the headphone jack that’s causing such a stir.
The bigger issue here, in our opinion, is that Apple hasn’t really invented anything new. We’re not denying they are pioneers, but looking back on the past decade, their biggest launches—the iPod, iPhone, and iPad—were just updated and aesthetically more appealing versions of products that were already in existence.
In the beginning, Apple relied on innovation to drive profits. Now they’re counting on their customer’s yearning to have the latest version of their technology, even if it’s subpar to other products. They have perfected brand appeal and the art of product lifecycles. But without innovation, how long can they sustain this model? Squeezing every penny out of accessories and appreciating product margins will only get them so far.
It’s a sad reality that Apple’s products aren’t pulling on our heartstrings like they used to. To some of us, it feels like we’re being bullied and shaken down for our lunch money. Maybe that’s why we (and many others) were especially taken back by the use of the word “courage”—a word that should be reserved for those exhibiting bravery in the face of difficulty or danger.
Schiller may think he’s being courageous in difficult times, but with his company’s stock at $105.44 as of the writing of this article, we think he and his company are doing okay. Even so, they may want to get back to the innovation table soon, before their loyal fan base starts to jump ship.
Born of curiosity and enthusiasm, we’re a scrappy group of smart, passionate marketers who work hard and play hard. We show up every day and fight for our clients who are making the world a better place. We listen with curiosity, explore deeply, ask hard questions, and sometimes put forth ideas that might make you squirm. Because we believe the status quo is good for growing mold but not much else.
The way we see it, change is the way forward and the magic happens when curiosity, math, science, instinct, and talent intersect.