If you have ever wondered what it would be like to work at Apple in sales, my book, the Pomme Company, is a good place to start. Actually some current and former Apple employees think my book should be required reading for people hoping to work at Apple. My long history with Apple gives me a rather unique perspective.
There is no question that Apple is now a computer electronics powerhouse. Questions have been asked about the labor practices of Chinese companies used by Apple and other electronics companies. However, few people have thought to look stateside at the business culture within Apple. It is actually not a very pretty picture.
That Apple has risen to the top is unquestionable. Whether Apple will stay in its current position is more of an open question especially to those of us who have lived inside the world of Cupertino.
Creating great products is one thing. Building a sustainable business culture that can continue to turn out great products is another thing. Just ask Sony how difficult that is.
I would argue there are plenty of signs that the Apple of today is not the Apple of a few years ago. I continue to be frustrated by Apple's user interface changes. I thoroughly dislike the "Save as" changes implemented in Mountain Lion. The dumbing down of iPhoto is a depressing subject for me. While I am not an iPhone user, I can understand the frustration of paying a premium price for something, and then finding out that you don't have a wonderful experience with an app like maps on the iPhone.
In October of 2012, I purchased an I5 iMac. I watched as it suffered through "Slow Snow Leopard" problem and then as I finally had to move all the data from the drive and format it. It was the first time in 28 years of using Macs that I have had to move my data and reformat a drive. I've had to reinstall system software plenty of times, but I have never had an Apple operating system destroy my drive.
There is no question in my mind that Windows 7 is more consistent and reliable than Apple's current operating system. I use Mountain Lion on my iMac and Windows 7 on my Lenovo laptop on a daily basis. Windows 7 just runs better. If I could get Fetch, Coda, and RapidWeaver on Windows, I would likely abandon the Mac platform in spite of my long history with Apple products dating backing thirty years to 1982.
As I state in my book, Apple likely no longer has sophisticated users on their radar. They are now more interested in casual consumer users. Demanding users who expect a consistent user interface which enhances their productivity are on the back burner at Apple. I challenge anyone to use an old version of iPhoto and tell me that the current version works as well.
Just the fact that you can no longer hit the escape key to move back to the full library is a huge disadvantage. As ugly as the Picasa user interface is, it works far better than iPhoto.
Then there is Apple's multiple attempts to figure out the cloud. Certainly if you want to selectively share photos from your computer, Apple's cloud solution is not even on the radar when it comes to the best ways to do it. Picasa web albums, Dropbox, and even Microsoft's Skydrive with Portfolio work far better than iCloud.
That Apple's popularity is at its peak when the quality of some of its products is suspect is a function of our society. People want to be cool and Apple's products have the image of cool. Certainly the Apple iPhone redefined the world of the smart-phone.
Clearly though if maps are important to you as they are to me, an Apple iPhone is no longer the best choice.
However, the question that remains unanswered is whether or not the unsustainable Apple business culture is at the root of these Apple products which have lost their luster.
At the end of my book I mention that my next computer product might be Microsoft's new Surface product. An interesting side note to this is that one of the Surface engineers used to work as a student rep for us at Va. Tech. I think my team paid for his airfare to California while he was an intern at Apple.
He got offered a job at Apple and another one at Microsoft. He took the job at Microsoft because he was unimpressed with the culture inside of Apple. I know from talking to him that he still believes that he made the right decision.
I'm going to watch with interest to see if the Surface product might be the one that brings Microsoft back into the game.
At the same time, I have pretty well given up hope for a new MacMini from Apple.