Does Apple have a services problem? How to solve it?
Great hardware, good software, average services.
I'm taking a foray into Windows land to see how it stacks up (I still have my iPhone, but gifting it for Xmas), but in the mean time have been following Apple closely. In this time they've released a few major items:
- iPhone 5, Retina MacBook Pro and the new iMac (great hardware)
- iOS 6, iTunes 11 (good software, although I've heard iTunes can use some work design wise - I've briefly played around with it. Criticisms for iOS are just regarding familiarity, the software itself is great)
Apple aren't Google, and their maps while well designed are lacking in POI information. I'm one of a few people who thinks that the Apple/Google relationship should be closer - Apple is strong where Google is weak and vice versa, although both are making great strides towards improvement.
Maps are getting better though. But then I started thinking about other services. iMessage is really good, as are the app and iTunes stores however:
- Game Center: too many cheaters, integration hasn't really been improved - developers and games (like Letterpress) seem to be driving the functionality here forward
- Passbook: very immature but early days - no one got this right yet
- iCloud: mail/calendar/contacts haven't really changed since the old days of MobileMe (which I actually paid for). Features like iDisk removed, replaced with in-app syncing which while good doesn't stack up.
Now, I don't think this is a 'problem' per se, but there has been some chatter about it and services definitely don't seem to be a core competency. "Apple doesn't get social" but that doesn't matter. Integration with Facebook and Twitter have helped. I still remember the old days of syncing my iPhoto library with Facebook and tearing my hair out (while annoying my friends with 'tagging' notifications). Those days seem to be long gone. I'm just wondering if a company like Apple (referring to their DNA here) can become as great at services as they are at hardware and software.
Looking forward to some insightful comments here.
On core competencies (third comment from Michael Norton)