Best Argument: Yes
Audience Favored: Yes (82%)
Apple has lost its edge
Apple is one of the most innovative companies in the world. Based on the vision of Steve Jobs, it has created products that truly changed the world, such as the Macintosh, iPod, iPad, and App Store. Despite these accomplishments, Apple’s pace of innovation has slowed, causing the company to lose its edge as a market leader.
Aside from creating products that delight consumers and creating an entire industry of app developers, Apple’s relentless and rapid drive for innovation has made investors wealthy. When the company released the iPod in 2001, Apple had less than $5.5 billion in revenue and its stock price hovered around $20; the company’s total market capitalization was $7 billion at that time. Today, Apple’s market capitalization is about $500 billion and its stock price is currently around $500.
Although Apple’s growth has been incredible, the long-term numbers mask intense weakness over the last few years. Since Steve Jobs sad passing, Apple has released extensions to existing products rather than anything profoundly new.
Product line extensions represent a natural evolution for established brands. For example, Apple has released new iPhones, faster laptops, and better screens on the iPad but nothing game changing since the original iPad.
Although lack of innovation may be fine if your company sells detergents or other products that don’t change much over time, it's the kiss of death for a technology company that relies on innovation as the foundation for its existence. Once again, numbers tell the story: Samsung has taken over as the largest smartphone vendor in the world and Android has claimed over 50 percent market share of smartphones.
All of which proves that, yes, Apple needs to innovate faster.
There's more to good timing than simply being first
My position for this debate is easy: "What's the point of being first, if you're just going to do a rubbish job?"
Apple has come out with poor products in the past, but it's also come out with some stonkingly good ones. I would suggest that "faster" isn't the right way to look at the temporality of consumer-facing tech product design. The trick has to be to hit the most appropriate time.
If Apple is being "too slow" in terms of their innovation, it might not be their problem. We might not be ready for what they have.