Cheesy title aside, an article I read an article over on ZDnet that speaks about how the next-generation iPad has to really do something special in order to stay relevant. This got me thinking — Apple really does face a challenge. How can they stay relevant after so many years of releasing lightly-refreshed versions of their star products every year? According to the ZDnet article, their market share has been slipping too.
Apple faces many challenges, and just to get the 800 pound gorilla out of the room, Android is doing well these days. Apple has products that are priced on the higher-end of the market bell-curve. You can find many decent Android tablets for as little as $200. Throw in a cheap mini-SD card and you’ve got plenty of memory and a decent tablet that will get the job done. The last part “that will get the job done” is what I think is so critical. You can do just about anything with an Android tablet, certainly just about anything (and some would argue more) that an iPad can accomplish, for a hundred dollars less. Why spend that much more for something you’re just going to use to play games, surf the web, or watch videos on?
The second challenge Apple faces is that it has familiar devices that have been released in small incremental improvements over the past 5 years or so. Notice how the latest iPhone failed to impress as well as previous versions? Sometimes it’s hard to create something that will continue to excite people, time and time again. The idea gets tired. Honestly the market feels saturated. What could they do next? It might take continuing to stretch their products into a lower price point. However, as the article suggests, Apple should keep focused on their design. Their design and device quality is something that has made them famous ever since Steve Jobs returned in the late 90’s to become CEO yet again at Apple.
It’s a tough market that will continue to get tougher. However, it’s not all dark and gloomy for Apple — one thing is for sure, Apple is a survivor even as a small slice on the market share pie. That might be good too, because they do not have a track record of creating cheap, bargain devices simply for the purpose of taking market share.