It's April 2013, and
) is dominating headlines after sending out its first string of
Google Glass devices. The HTC One received a flood of stellar
reviews and has tech heads touting it as Android's newest flagship
) is about to finally get one of its
) Phones on
) 10.1 OS just leaked onto the Web for impatient enterprise users.
And as for
(AAPL), it may
debut an iWatch
sometime this year, perhaps before or after the release of the
iPhone 5S. Or will it be the
? Who knows? Apple is not talkin'.
It's April 2013, and we still don't have any idea what Apple has up
Tim Cook: His lips are sealed.
Even in last night's conference call for the company's long awaited
second-quarter earnings report, CEO Tim Cook refused to discuss
specific plans for future rollouts."Our teams are hard at work on
some amazing new hardware and services we can't wait to introduce
this fall and throughout 2014," he said.
So although the general consensus is that Cook has bought himself
extra time by announcing that Apple will return $100 billion to
shareholders by the end of 2015, the fact is that Apple also
reported its first quarterly profit decline in a decade. Growth has
slowed and margins are down. As of yesterday's close (before
earnings were released), the stock hadplummeted over 40% from its
September 2012 high .
Analysts are wondering if the former indisputable leader in mobile
innovation has enough steam to keep it on par with its competitors.
And who could blame them when Cupertino maintains its classic radio
silence in between product launches? Its tight-lipped R&D that
once lent itself to intrigue is now just allowing others to steal
the spotlight with consistent (and oftentimes, exciting) updates of
what's to come.
Even Apple's rumor mill is feeling a little drab this year. Up
until recently, it would spark some fantastic theories.
"Oh, this'll be the iPhone where Apple ditches cords completely and
debuts wireless charging!"
"Apple is prime to finally launch its own TV set. Jobs said he
cracked the code!"
"Did you hear about the new iPad? It's going to have a capacitive
But we've come to learn that when the time came to pull back the
curtain, the updates were relatively expected -- maybe 4G LTE
support, a different charging wire, and a Retina Display or two --
confirming only a handful of analysts' most conservative
predictions. No wireless charging, no HDTV, no capacitive bezel.
Dreams were dashed, expectations were lowered, sales
were...well...still pretty high.
However, that fevered excitement in the interim has waned. We're
months away from the next iPhone's (summer? fall?) debut and the
most exciting rumor making the rounds is a fingerprint sensor on
the Home button. And as painfully dull as that sounds, it might
delaying its release
Apple's reputation as a technological magician that could
consistently pull a diamond-studded rabbit from behind a black
turtleneck and acid-washed jeans is no more. The stage act barely
changes and we can now see the trick coming from a mile away. And
the element of surprise means absolutely nothing if the build-up is
six months of silence and the rabbit -- to belabor the metaphor --
is exactly the same as the last one, only a year older with a new
spot and another patch of gray.
Cupertino cannot retain or regain a feeling of agonizing
anticipation if it keeps building up expectations without any
payoff. You could easily blame consumers and the media for their
rampant speculation of products and features that Apple cannot
possibly deliver, but in the absence of any details -- aside from a
talking point along the lines of "Oh, you're gonna love what we
have in store!" -- it's hard not to blame the nonvocal source.
So what is Apple to do? In the words of a hard-nosed detective:
While it might be antithetical to the company's entire ethos, it
needs to start hyping upcoming products with specific details.
Let's hear exactly why the next iPhone or iPad will be the "best
one yet." It should start firming up some release dates long before
invitations to convention centers are sent. Nothing would get
tongues wagging more if the next iPhone has a specific launch date
months down the line and a feature we've yet to see anywhere else.
And until that happens, Apple can't worry about others stealing its
ideas when its competitors are soundly beating it to the punch.
(See: Apple's embarrassingly proud 2012 introduction to panoramic
photos.) In fact, boldly announcing products and features would
boost competition in a mobile arena where endless patent lawsuits
trump actual innovation. Where's that palpable fear of falling
behind and restless determination to implement more features to
keep customers interested?
They're over at the companies who constantly talk about what
they're working on.
Apple can't afford to be silent and clandestine during the
six-month interims between product launches. Because now, in April
2013, it makes it sound like it doesn't have any new ideas at all.
With Glass, Google Steals 'Control Freak' Label
Is the Netflix Stock Boom a House of Cards?
How Twitter Accounts -- Like the AP's -- Get
Disclosure: Minyanville Studios, a division of Minyanville
Media, has a business relationship with BlackBerry.