Apple Needs A Purple Cow, Now!

I happened to read this excellent book by Seth Godin, Purple Cow (Amazon/Flipkart). It is a fairly simple concept put by him. Once he and his family were driving through France and they happened to spot beautiful picture perfect cows by which they were quite amazed and kept staring at them through their drive for a while. But after sometime things started to get boring, no the cows didn’t change, they were still the same picture perfect cows but they got more boring now. The only thing that could catch their attention further would be a Purple Cow! That is something remarkable!

Welcome to the rapidly developing world which demands remarkable change quite often. I would like to pen down my thoughts on what kind of Purple Cows Apple came up with in the past and why they need a Purple Cow mobile phone right now!

 Apple has been a leader in innovation, branding and marketing. Yes, not all their products were revolutionary but the way they sold them as a package sure is revolutionary. Right from the introduction of their first Mac, the first mouse, Apple II, iPod, iMac, iPhone, MacBook Air and iPad. All of them were Purple Cows, something that never existed or something which achieved a perfection level that competing companies could only envy at!

 But things changed rapidly, competitors understood the concept and started to catch up rapidly. In fact Apple is being beaten in its own game right now! Samsung dared to challenge them and even though their path was not totally correct they could challenge Apple and beat them which was something humongous considering the kind of domination Apple was eventually moving into in smartphone segment.

 The only mobile phone Apple has right now is the iPhone. There are some niche points in iPhone that drive the sales. In 2007 it was something breakthrough that blew away everyone. There was no other competition which could do what the iPhone 2G could. It was a Purple Cow at its best! In 2008 there were quite some changes made and the Purple Cow (iPhone 3G) became even more prettier. In 2009 the iPhone 3GS was no longer the Purple Cow, it lost its glaze, the competition was heating up and Apple couldn’t outsmart the competition, it spelt trouble from competition with the army of droids given a clear chance to beat the iPhone. Apple desperately needed a Purple Cow again. Could Apple innovate and come up with something remarkable again?

 Enter 2010, it was quite an anticipation at WWDC 2010 (apart from the famous Gizmodo leak of iPhone 4!). Steve Jobs, the showman, revealed a beautiful Leica camera like phone and named it the iPhone 4. It pushed manufacturing boundaries to the limits. The iPhone 4 was indeed the most beautiful phone ever. Apple has the Purple Cow again, it was so damn good that even a something serious like signal reception problem famously known as Antennagate couldn’t hamper its sales. Then started the trouble. The likes of Samsung started flooding the market with interesting devices and Apple decided to ride on its previous success rather that innovating again. It took a whole long 1.5 years to release the next iPhone, everyone started expecting a lot from Apple for the next generation iPhone since it took even longer than usual for the product refresh. But things went horribly wrong, Apple launched the iPhone 4S in 2011 which looks exactly like iPhone 4 but with better internals. The phone in no way is bad, it is good but not remarkable. It was no longer the Purple Cow.

 The timing was so bad that Apple handed over the opportunity to Samsung to dominate the market. The launch of Galaxy S2 by Samsung and the disappointing launch from Apple both happened at the same time. Samsung is now slowly cannibalising the smartphone market. It is time for Apple to come out with another remarkable product.

 Will another Purple Cow be released by Apple in 2012? I wish!



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