When I think of Apple, one of the first things that comes to mind is good, quality products. Expensive, but nice. The experience I get when I go to the Apple Store is top notch and I have a feeling that a lot of people feel the same way—until now.
I’m seeing a disturbing trend lately where Apple seems to be slipping quite a bit on the quality side—not necessarily with hardware—but with their software. It seems that with the latest iteration of the iPhone, it has been plagued by software bugs and defects that really detract from the whole Apple experience. Apple’s latest flub involves the release of its latest version of the iTunes software which is causing Windows Vista machines to BSOD. As much as I dislike Vista, you still have to play nice.
Not a big surprise really, considering how fast Apple has been moving with their iPod and Mac lines, but one has cause to wonder when they’re going to catch up and provide stable products. One of the mainstays of a successful business is maintaining and improving your brand image. When you do things that detract from that brand, you create opportunities for competitors to move and capture a slice of your market—not that Apple ought to be worried from the likes of the Zune, but it’s the small (and large) things like bad 3G connectivity, apps crashing, and getting your email wiped out that really take a detrimental toll on that brand that ought to give you pause.
I think the big issue here is that Apple is really expanding, meaning that these are just growing pains that Apple is going through. Microsoft has taken a big hit (the bad kind) with its release of Vista, giving Apple an opportunity to cut into the computer market with its diverse array of integrated products. In the end I think Apple will pull itself out of its funk, but let this be a lesson to us all: if you grow too much, too quick, there are going to be some painful times.