During Apple’s “think different” years, their growth evolved from Steve Job’s love for simplicity.
The simplicity could be seen in Apple’s hardware, software, packaging, marketing, retail store design, even the company’s internal organization. This took place Four years ago.
Now even though apple is still very popular, people are starting to notice that the newer Apple isn’t as simple as Steve Jobs. They see complexity in expanding product lines, confusing product names, and the products themselves.
Has Apple developed a problem with simplicity? Or is it simply maturing as one should expect from a global company? It’s difficult to be objective because Apple has become the world’s most overanalyzed company. It’s created passionate fans and passionate detractors.
Before going further into analyzing Apple and what the company has become, you have to realize Steve Jobs cannot be replaced. He had the credibility of the founder, extraordinary instinct, vision and energy, and he could make things happen by sheer force of will. It’s just not possible for Apple to be the same without him, but it can still succeed.
The new leader Tim Cooke has a different style even though he was hand picked by Steve Jobs. Apple now sells three different iPhones, four different iPads and three different MacBooks. The Apple Watch comes in seemingly infinite combinations of sizes and bands. The Apple universe is exploding with complexity, Or is it? There are good reasons for expanding product lines, for example the original was so successful that it grew into a family of products. With more popularity comes a bigger audience, which has more diverse needs. Overall Apple’s Products have become more complicated giving you more choices, but not too many products, showing that apple still cares about simplicity.
Apple gets a lot of critics complaining about how complex they have become, especially in apple music, which tends to overwhelm their customers. Today their complexity in software has caused some flaws to appear more and more frequently in products.
Once upon a time, Apple’s product naming was extremely simple. Computers were Macs and consumer products were i-devices. Now the consumer products are offered as i-things and Apple-things (Apple Watch, Apple Pay, Apple Music). Where things get too complex is in iPhone naming with the current models consisting of iPhone 6S, iPhone 6S Plus and SE. Apple has decided that every other year, it should just add an S to the current model number, because the S-year improvements are internal only. The S naming has only served to confuse customers, and make it significantly more difficult for marketing to do its job.
Apple has a lengthy, award-winning history in advertising. Even marketers in other industries have long considered Apple ads to be the gold standard. Their ads were successful because they focused on keeping the process simple. There were no middlemen, no multiple levels of approvals, and no focus group research. After Steve left their marketing change drastically where instead of having one team, they have teams competing to produce new campaigns, involving more people and making the marketing process much more complex.
Simplicity is still at the heart of the company’s products and the foundation of its vision for the future. But they are continuously struggling to keep a simple image to its customers. Their perception of simplicity has altered for they are allowing complicated products to be sold to consumers. But with the world becoming more complicated in its self it was bound to happen that certain areas of apple would become less simplistic.