Is Apple in Decline?
Their strategy is unknown, some of their decisions are confusing. They’ve taken a significant drop on the stock market, but they’re definitely not in decline. Sales are still growing, just not as fast as the market expects.
The lost in value of Apple stock price points to numerous issues that relate to strategy, specifically pricing and product sets. Apple unfortunately no longer lead in innovation. The mobile / laptop markets are mature, one of the reasons why they now push premium products to gain revenue.
The trouble with this approach is that competitors have caught up and in some cases, are offering equal or better products at lower prices. Also, some Apple products are perceived as inferior and expensive. For example, the new iPhones fail to match the specifications of middle to high-end Android phones from Huawei, OnePlus and Google that are lower priced.
Android users are less likely to switch to iPhone, but it’s fairly easy to switch away from iPhone, unless heavily embedded in the Apple ecosystem. A key downside of switching away is the quality of iOS apps that are still better than Android apps. If you’re an Apple Music user you may also be reluctant to switch. For FaceTime and iMessage, moving to WhatsApp is the obvious replacement.
This means that Apple need new emerging markets, but many of these markets can’t afford their premium prices.
For Mac based products Apple appears to be reluctant to update product specifications to match current standards. The current iMacs and the entry level MacBook Pros are only available with legacy Intel Gen7 processors when the standard offerings from competitors use either the Intel Gen8 and Gen9 processors. This is a confusing approach as specification uplifts usually generate sales.
Also, the current MacBook product set is confusing with overlapping models, all with similar specifications and price. This is the MacBook, New MacBook Air and entry level MacBook Pro.
Why would users buy a premium priced laptop with an inferior specification rather than a better spec’d Windows laptop at half the price? Unfortunately, there’s no straight forward answer.
There’s an Apple Professional Services (PS) division that appears to be primarily based on services related to iOS applications with major corporations. The likes of SAP and International Airports. Unfortunately, they don’t appear to have much interest in Mac devices, most probably due to their inability to generate decent revenue.
However, Apple PS do offer an Enterprise Connect software tool that mitigates issues with the macOS inbuilt Active Directory (AD) connector. They charge to implement this tool and it’s only available for implementation in the US. Hence, an independent developer built an open source tool called NoMad to do the same thing and it was recently purchased by Jamf whom now offer the open source version along with a premium version called Jamf Connect that integrates with Okta and is planned to support for Azure AD in the future.
The questions most enterprise customers may ask is why hasn’t Apple built this Enterprise Connect tool into the macOS?
Apple are well known for high quality reliable products that last longer the others. Their operating systems are intuitive and many business users are switching away from traditionally managed Windows devices to Mac devices. This is being driven by device agnostic millennials demanding modern tools they’re familiar with. Also, with the availability of cloud services, meaning users are no longer tied to traditional on-premise services to work.
Some claim that Apple Mac devices have a lower TCO than Windows PC devices, even with higher purchase prices. This was widely reported by IBM with their roll out of 10,000 MacBooks.
Upon investigation this is not totally true. Apple Mac devices do not have a lower TCO than Windows PC devices when managed traditionally. However, the TCO will be lower when using modern device management and cloud-based applications services. The was the approach taken by IBM.
Windows 10 is easier to support than previous Windows OS versions. Windows 10 can utilise similar modern management and deployment capabilities offered by Apple. This is another example of competitors catching up, which will result in the reinstatement of Windows devices having a lower TCO.
To conclude, all the concerns mentioned in this article will not deter business customers from switching to Macs and iPad devices as 2019 is projected to see record migrations. For consumers, the future is unknown, but Apple definitely have plans to restore revenue streams.