With the Apple Watch Right Around the Corner, Can Company Disrupt Again?
If quarterly earnings reports are a reflection of a company’s reputation and its level of consumer engagement (as, of course, they are), then Apple could not be sitting any prettier—in addition to big bucks, the company has re-earned once-wavering big respect. The gadget giant’s iPhone six models shattered analysts’ expectations in Q4 of 2014, generating more revenue in the holiday quarter than Microsoft and Google combined, according to their earnings reports. Huge sales numbers of the iPhone in China catalyzed a record-breaking earnings period—and the outlook for the coming months is poised to explode again as the company prepares to roll out it’s long-anticipated Apple Watch in April. As it stands, fears that the company would not again ascend to the disruptive heights that Apple achieved in the Steve Jobs era have been effectively quashed—Apple is once again a smooth-operating, PR self-generating machine.
The record-setting quarter was an especially rewarding one for Apple chief Tim Cook, whose decision to roll the dice on larger-screen smartphones—which was not the preference of the iconic Jobs—paid off in spades. In addition, a record number of users of Android phones—several models of which already have larger screens—jumped on the fast-moving Apple train has the reputation of Cook and his company kept skyrocketing.
But, as is often the case, great reward is not without great risk—Apple’s granular focus on the iPhone is setting up perceptions of the company as a “one trick pony,” overly reliant on a single product line. Of course, that’s all fine and dandy as long as the iPhone keeps soaring, but some fear that such a precarious strategy makes the company extra-vulnerable in the event of a single reputation-wrecking incident. Indeed, Apple was rattled when complaints began to roll in about its Lightning charging cord that debuted with the iPhone 5, fueled by hundreds of thousands of complaints. But alas, the furor died down, and Apple rolled on. At any rate, perhaps the new Apple Watch will call quash those "one trick pony" fears.
What can other companies learn from Apple’s remarkable ability to keep scaling new heights? Are Apple’s phones really so much better than those of its competitors? Or is it actually the company’s superhuman marketing making the difference?