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The Apple Mythology – How Will It End?

Design

The biggest complaints we ever hear about Apple often have to do with its larger than life status.  The story is indeed incredible – a scrappy, innovative company launches, kicks out its founder, who then returns to save it from the brink of extinction and take of the computing world with colorful computers, portable music players, phones and now tablets.

It’s the stuff of novels and movies, and whether you call it ‘too good to be true’, it’s just like reading ancient cultural mythology now. You just need to take a leap of faith.

An article on GigaOm about Apple turning 35 brought up some good points about how Apple’s story will continue. Where is Apple to go in these rapidly changing times?  Will keyboards be replaced with rapidly advancing touch screen interfaces? Will we forego physical media like discs completely and move to The Cloud? What about this supposed ‘post-PC’ world we are entering? And how will Apple stay ‘revolutionary’?  It’s possible that none of these questions really matter – like all of the questions about the Dharma Initiative polar bears on ‘LOST’, they are only just distractions from what is really important.

But wait, to digress – yes, audience debates do fuel the story’s presence and enhances the mythology.  Tech geeks will argue with each other as to why Apple products always seem to be a half a generation behind other companies. Design purists will tout the exceptional industrial design and honor Apple’s achievements of the past, present and future. Marketing wise, there is no argument to the contrary the Apple has done an incredible job over the years. Since their ‘Think Different’ campaign over a decade ago (‘1984’ doesn’t count since there was a big gap of nothing after that) they have been able to keep the brand in the forefront of people’s minds in a positive light.

And now back to what is important – like all good stories, the crux, the ‘core’ (excuse the apple pun) is not about all of the technical mumbo-jumbo or what we think is important. It is ultimately about the protagonists’ journey – and its growth and maturation from one entity to another.  And in this case, the protagonist is two-fold – Apple and of course Steve Jobs.  Without speculating about his health here, we are facing the inevitable close to Steve jobs’ reign SOMEDAY, and this story of Apple (call it a chapter, or the book) will end with his departure from the company.

What will happen then?  Well if history truly repeats itself, Apple will continue to grow and become a dominating force in the technology and electronics industry (not just ‘computing’ or ‘phones’) world like Sony and Panasonic before it, and go through peaks and valleys until the general public begins to think of their products as… stale.  Buyers have proven to be finicky, and have turned their backs to many popular brands and their products in the past. And again without Steve Jobs at the helm, they will have to wait for a successor – and only luck and time will reveal who can fill those shoes.

The end is inevitable.  And then a new contender will arise. A new story will emerge.  And all will be revolutionary once again.

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  • Anonymous

    Nonsense.
    If what you said was true, then there would be Merc, BMW, Omega, Lexus and dozens, if not hundreds of enduring brands. MB sells cars and other vehicles. That’s all they’ve ever sold. I can see they’re in deep trouble.
    What a doofus article.
    Companies falter and fade if they lose the plot or if their franchise evaporates – like Kodak dying of digitalis poisoning.
    Bozo journalism gem.

  • http://twitter.com/jmrowland jmrowland

    What a mess.

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