In the battle between Android and iOS the next move will be Apple’s and likely announced at WWDC, which is already underway.
So far the tide seems to have shifted in Android’s direction and it seems likely iOS will have to bend in the direction of being more customizable going forward. That’s a big change for Apple, which has so far remained tightly in control of the user experience. Android is open and customizable, iOS far less so.
More Than Lock Screen Widgets
Users want more than screen widgets from Apple, they want apps that can manage calls, change the keyboard layout, customize the home screen and make substantive changes to the user experience. All things allowed with Android, but not iOS. It will be interesting to see how far Apple is willing to go in letting users and application developers run as it quickly runs into functionality such as application data sharing and allowing users to select default applications, two features currently not available on iOS.
Not The Only Challenge For Apple
Apple is facing challenges on several fronts, including phasing in streaming from iTunes which hit an early snag when a bug allowed test users to stream any pre-release album. Oops. Getting out from under the iTunes download only model has put Apple behind the curve in some respects to more established competitors and playing from behind is an unaccustomed position for them.
They’re also facing litigation by the DoJ that paints Apple as the ringmaster in an ebook price fixing scheme. It’s good to remember that the last time a government lawsuit actually changed anything was 1984 with the breakup of AT&T, though it’s an unneeded distraction at a time when Apple should be focusing on its product pipeline and customers.
The Post Steve Jobs Era
Apple is the same company with mostly the same people running it and only one big change at the top. Yet ever since Job’s death it seems as though Apple has struggled to find its footing in product development. For the first year afterwards it seemed like they were going to pull it together as their share price continued to climb, but recently Apple stock has returned to prices not seen since Jobs was alive and product development has lost its cutting edge appeal.
Pro users are hoping for a reason to stay with Apple and the Mac Pro product manager’s promise of “something really different” is coming late as many have already started considering PC alternatives. Video pros were already feeling snubbed by the FXP X fiasco and if the “something really different” doesn’t wow video editors, many of them could drop Apple altogether.
Perhaps WWDC will put all these fears and the sense of general unease to rest and demonstrate that Apple’s problems are related to communication rather than any real issues with their product development. It promises to be an interesting day for Apple watchers and many of those watchful eyes will be on Wall Street.