In the past year, Apple has begun to decline in sales as well as in stock prices. Many sources such as CNET and The Huffington Post attribute this decline to the lack of innovation and the rate at which their products become obsolete.
With each product line releasing a new version on an almost yearly schedule, consumers are becoming less likely to buy upgraded versions of iPads or iPhones. This becomes especially difficult when the products are not too different from their predecessors.
Historically, the release of a new iPhone has been a major boost in sales for Apple, but with the release of the iPhone 5—which has had an admittedly lukewarm reception due to limited improvements—the company faced a device that sold under projections. After revealing this, the company’s stock plummeted almost 15 percent over the course of two days, triggering a flurry of news stories that tentatively suggested the “Apple bubble” of exponential growth and profits might finally be starting to burst. Right on cue, news broke this past week that Exxon Mobile once again surpassed Apple as the most valuable company in the world, after a year of the top spot belonging solely to Apple.
As Apple continues to falter just over a year after CEO and general public favorite Steve Jobs passed away, the company faces a growing number of users who resent the game of “Keeping Up With The Joneses” the company encourages. Freshman Valentina Sotomayor, an iPhone 4 user, saw no need to upgrade to the iPhone 5. “It really doesn’t have anything new and I don’t see the point in getting a new one when they’re basically the same.” When asked of her opinion on Siri [voice-command technology] and the improved camera—the only marked differences in the devices, save for the larger screen— Sotomayor responded, “I don’t see a use for Siri and have heard a lot of mixed things about it. I don’t think my current phone’s camera is that bad and I can’t justify upgrading just for that.”
“Alliance, compliance and defiance” is the idea that consumers will ally themselves with a certain product or brand and comply with the products shortcomings but eventually defy the product and go for something else. It appears Apple consumers have complied for the past two generations of the iPhone, which have had little to no real innovations while competitors such as Samsung have pushed for strong innovation in their android operating system phones. The Galaxy S3 and the Galaxy Note 2 both flaunt larger screens, multiple color options and more features than any of the current iPhones.
Apple’s faltering sales are not limited to their iPhone line, however, and continue to plague a number of different products, like the iPad and iPad mini. While the iPad mini saw a jump in holiday season sales, consumers have largely ignored the newest generations of iPads. The low upgrade rates for the devices suggest that the majority of iPad owners see no point in upgrading.
Sophomore and self-proclaimed Apple enthusiast Kevin Gonzales is an example of the low upgrade rate, and said, “My iPad is pretty great and I don’t really need a new one or an upgrade. Mine can do all the others do and… [I don’t need] an improved screen.”
The decline of Apple and its products can clearly be attributed to the lack of innovation in a majority of their products, combined with a consumer base no longer willing to comply with Apple’s steamroll-like yearly production cycle.