Writing for The Guardian, longtime Apple marketing guru Ken Segall argues that Apple, in the absence of Steve Jobs, has lost its way. Whereas the company previously harnessed the “power of simplicity” to deliver products and services that were intuitive and easy to use, Segall argues that the “simplicity” that previously defined Apple has waned in recent years.
While critiques of Apple are a dime a dozen these days, Segall is certainly a voice worth paying attention to. A close confidant of Steve Jobs, Segall played an instrumental role in some of Apple’s most memorable ad campaigns and, in some circles, is even credited with putting the ‘i’ in the original iMac.
So what’s bugging Segall, exactly? Well, a few things.
For starters, Segall brings up the idea that Apple’s product lines may now be needlessly complex.
Apple now sells three different iPhones, four different iPads and three different MacBooks. The Apple Watch comes in seemingly infinite combinations of sizes and bands. The Apple universe is exploding with complexity.
It’s a fair point, but even Segall is quick to bring up the fact that there are reasons why Apple’s product line in 2016 is more expansive than it was in, say, 2008. With respect to the iPhone and the iPad, Apple as a publicly traded company needs to deliver growth and profits. It needs to bring in new customers and that requires a more diverse product line. A diverse product line also helps address the reality that different users have different use-cases. Sure, Apple could have kept its iPad lineup simple, but if there were no iPad Mini or iPad Pro, users interested in either a smaller or larger form factor would have simply picked up a competing device.
Needless to say, that wouldn’t work out well for Apple’s bottom line.
And as for the Apple Watch, Segall concedes that it’s a fashion product and, as a result, it requires a myriad of options to fit varying consumer tastes.
But what about software?
Here, it’s harder to give Apple a pass. The Apple Watch is a beloved device, but it’s impossible to ignore that the UI is a tad more complex than necessary. Unfortunately, other pieces of Apple’s software matrix are also in need of some help, including Apple Music and iTunes.
Overall, Segall remains confident that simplicity is still what drives Apple, but he’s not so sure that the company is executing smoothly in that regard.
But simplicity is a matter of perception, and it’s hard to ignore the fact that Apple is struggling to present a simple image to its customers.
There is serious work to be done in rebuilding the perception of simplicity that helped Apple become the world’s most valuable company. Existing problems need fixing, as do the internal processes that have allowed complicated products to make it into the hands of customers.
That said, it’s important to put Apple’s issues in context. Despite its current challenges – and its lapses – I don’t see any other technology creating a simple experience as well as Apple.
All in all, Segall presents a reasoned critique of Apple’s that’s certainly worth checking out in its entirety via the source link below.