Steve Milunovich, an analyst with UBS, is the latest to astutely observe (ahem) that Apple has done very little since the iPad 4 and iPad mini launch last October – at least as far as the consumer is concerned (it’s not like they’re sitting around the labs in Cupertino twiddling their thumbs).
However, Steve is actually vaguely positive, suggesting a change in focus might serve Apple well, while also playing down the loss of Steve Jobs.
As detailed by Barron’s, Steve-o references the musings of Stratechery’s Ben Thompson, who recently applied psychologist Abraham Maslow’s theory of human desire and need to the 21st century mobile market.
He suggests that Apple needs to “shift the curve so user desires outpace competitors’ features”, or – with an eye on the diagram above – “succeed as the game moves to higher layers, especially in services.”
With regards to the loss of Steve Jobs, Milunovich writes: “CEO Tim Cook, in Jobs’ own words, is not a ‘product guy.’ There have been no gee-whiz products yet in the Cook era. The loss of Jobs is a material hit.
“On the other hand, Jobs had more warning than some CEOs that his time was limited. He chose Cook to succeed him. No doubt he worked on product plans for at least the next 2-3 years.”
While not exactly a “gee-whiz” product, the iPad mini has been doing ok, and the ‘tweener market was something Jobs was unashamedly opposed to entering. Having said that, it could be argued as a necessary – as opposed to innovative – move, in order to combat the likes of the Google Nexus 7.
Our breath be bated as we await Apple’s next product launches. In the pipeline are thought to be an iPhone 5S with fingerprint scanning technology, budget iPhone, fifth gen iPad, iPad mini with Retina display, and iWatch.
In the meantime, there’s WWDC in June, at which we’ll probably hear more about iOS 7, with its Jony Ive-fuelled “flat design”.