Opinion: Why I sympathize with Apple
We are always wowed by stories of technology companies that moved from kitchens and garages to become listed corporations worth billions of dollars - even though some were actually paper tigers which dramatically unravelled when the technology bubble went bust.
But I am even more impressed by technology companies that moved from grace to grass (or almost) and back to grace. There are not many prominent tech companies which have followed this path. IBM is one that comes to mind. And then there is Apple.
Established in 1976, Apple is recognized as a pioneer in the personal computer market, especially for helping to develop and refine graphical user interfaces (UIs) for desktop computers.
But the company’s early successes were eclipsed when it took a beating from key competitors such as Microsoft and made several costly mistakes that saw its fortunes plummet in the early and mid 90s.
Its return to fame and fortune was marked by the release of the iMac in the late 90s and later the development of the iPod, iPhone and iPad that established Apple as a global leader in small portable devices.
Which brings me to the reasons I like Apple.
First is innovation. You can count on Apple to do something out of the ordinary or to take an ordinary idea and create something completely unique.
Second, the drive to do things with distinction. With Apple, it is not enough to simply build a powerful laptop or desktop - it is just as important to pay attention to the aesthetic feel of each gadget. The iMac, iPhone and iPad could not have been as successful as they are simply because of their functionality - rather, it is because each product balances functionality with a touch of class.
Third, Apple is daring. The company has bet on products that other businesses considered too risky or have previously tried and failed.
For example, who would have thought tablet computers could become so mainstream? The iPad proved it and has opened up the market for all manner of competing tablet PCs now desperately playing catch up.
I like Apple. And I am in good company - Apple’s loyal customer base is legendary. I don’t mind moving with the fanatical crowd on this one.
However, I am not, what they call – a fanboy. Also, I am a little bit wary of Apple’s production cycle and I still find it weird how people insist on buying their products every year, even though, for the most part, they boast just a few hardware updates.
I mean, wouldn’t it be easier to just buy a device that allowed users to easily execute basic hardware mods and upgrades?