WWDC 2017: Generally, consumer electronic events are becoming boring. People habitual of looking at the rapid pace of innovation are asking what’s next, and the companies don’t have much to go beyond artificial intelligence, augmented reality and virtual reality. While that may be true of the sector, Apple—this not many would have believed a decade ago—is emerging to be the most disinteresting player. The company has seen little innovation since iPhone 4. It is true that each new iteration of its top-selling device has had a better camera, more responsive touch and an improvement over an OS that many already believed to be perfect, but the product in itself has not changed. And, it is not just iPhones, iPads, Macs and Macbooks are all suffering from the same dilemma. This year’s Apple Worldwide Developers Conference is no different. The company announced more of the same for its own range of products and much the same as to what Google, Amazon and Microsoft are doing. No doubt Apple fans are delighted to have a home speaker like Echo and new WatchOS with AI capabilities, but Apple had nothing new to offer. It did come up with a humanlike Siri and AR capabilities for the iPhone—you can create a new environment around existing one—but this is not what people expect of Apple.
The company, which was once famous for industrial design, could not even fulfil that parameter. Innovation aside—the speaker eerily similar to Google Home and Amazon Echo—there is no elegance to the new product. The iPad on the other hand with a new screen size might not invoke even its ardent fans. Certainly, a new screen size is not going to spell wonders for the product facing tough competition from the likes of Microsoft and Samsung. If WWDC is a curtain raiser for things to come than its flagship phone has a long battle ahead. Tim Cook still has a few months to correct all that is wrong with Apple. If the new tenth-anniversary edition phone has nothing but on-screen fingerprint scanner, better camera and curved screen then iPhone will cease to remain yet another me-too product with a slightly easier user interface.
Although Apple or any other company is not much to blame for our expectations—neither is Steve Jobs who set the bar so high—companies would need to find that extra thing that can attract people until they realise that nothing more can be done. That is until there is another player that can disrupt the market.