Opinion: Apple, Beauty or the Beast?

Opinion: Apple, Beauty or the Beast?I listened with interest to Jamie’s self confessed rant on the Coolsmartphone podcast number 4 where he describes in great detail his thoughts on Apples actions around the patent lawsuits. It is really worth a listen, not only does his passion come across but so does the complexity of the situation and how easily people’s views can be swayed. One other thing the rant did was lead me to the question, Is Apple A Beauty or the Beast?

As both Jamie and Leigh mentioned on the podcast, interest in the technology arena has grown exponentially and people are now interested in corporate affairs.  Who is suing who and why, who is working with who and what does it mean for the consumer.  Unfortunately for Apple, too many headlines consist of the words “Apple sue xxx, product xxx could be banned” however the corporate beast is simply doing what it is there to do – making money.

In technology terms Apple are a wonder. Fame was found on the back of a visit to Xerox Parc and the subsequent licensing of the GUI that was demonstrated, followed by the introduction of the Macintosh in 1984. There have been many ups and downs ever since but 1998 saw the introduction of the iMac and the style icon that Apple is known to be today had truly arrived.

The iPod arrived in 2001 followed by the revolutionary iPhone in 2007 and of course the iPad in 2010.

Apple is now in the same league as Coca-Cola, McDonalds and Ford. Wherever you go in the world people will recognise the logo and the products.

I’ve stated before that I am no great Apple fan but take a good look at any modern Apple product. The Macbook Air, the new iPad, iPhone or iPod. Every single one of the has an certain style and elegance. Speak to almost any Apple user and they will wax lyrical about their device. Sure they have their faults, what modern machine doesn’t but almost all of them will tell you how simple they are to use and how polished they are.  The Appstore is still the biggest with arguably the better apps.  Most developers have publicly stated a preference for developing for the iOS platform, there is more money being made through the appstore and the quality control is undeniable.

The beauty of Apple therefore speaks for itself.

The world however is changing and it leads to the question of whether beauty is enough.  Corporations have to be seen to be responsible both in their business dealings and their social dealings.  The banking crisis and the perception of the massive corporations is a prime example of this.  I am in no way comparing Apple to Barclays or Lehman Brothers however the fall from grace of companies that were not so long ago held in high esteem should serve as a warning – enough negative publicity and the beauty that you currently have can soon turn into an uncontrollable beast.

Examples of fallen technological companies are all around, IBM, Nokia, RIM – all still big companies but at one time or another all had dominance in their sector, even the great Sony are having problems.  Could Apple go the same way?  For now probably not however should the tide of public opinion turn they could find themselves in a very sticky situation that is rather difficult to escape from.

On balance, Apple have been and are still a beauty, its a brand people trust.  Great care must be taken not to abuse that trust as the fall from beauty to beast is a hard one to recover from!

What do you think? Is Apple a beauty or a beast?  Let us know over on our forums.