Though I am not a technology expert, the intense scrutiny of Apple makes it hard to resist talking about the company. The main concern about Apple, and the reason its stock price has dropped so dramatically, is that Apple is becoming “just another device manufacturer” and hardware manufacturing is a low margin, cut-throat business. What this overlooks is that Apple is also a major software company. It is Apple’s software that has made their devices so wonderfully easy to use. And it is Apple’s software that opens a new vista for the company.
To begin, Windows 8 looks like a loser – adoption rates have been low thus far. Second Android has the issue of running on a host of different devices. Third, “smart TVs” have virtually no quality software whatsoever. What this means is that Apple has an extraordinary opportunity in software – to improve OSX and iOS, to introduce iTV, and to further integrate all of them. Furthermore, there are opportunities to develop software like iHOUSE, a system for managing your home, and integrate that with all the above using Apple hardware.
The foregoing just scratches the surface. The future is a host of integrated devices solving many of the day-to-day problems that individuals and companies face. The key to successful solutions to those problems is integration. Nothing is more frustrating than having a host of independent devices that fail to work together as an integrated unit. As devices and their functions proliferate, no one will be in a better position to solve the integration problem than Apple. Hardware will be part of the answer, but software will be the key. And lest anyone forget, it is the integration of hardware and software, not either one alone, that has driven Apple forward since the introduction of the Mac.
In short, Apple has a wonderful opportunity. The real question is whether the company has the skill to exploit it without the leadership of Steve Jobs.