Is Apple as Strong as Ever, or is it Losing its Mojo?

Ever since the iPhone 5 was released, I (an 8-year-long devoted Apple user) have been left with a literal and metaphorical “humpf.”

Full disclosure: I don’t have the iPhone 5. I have the iPhone 4S, and in playing around with others’ 5’s, something about it just seemed a bit…lackluster. I was waiting for it to open up into a world of cool new stuff, programs and apps that would change the way I felt about my phone, the way I interacted, organized my life, spoke to family, everything. And what did it provide? Sure, a bigger screen and a thinner frame were attractive, tempting features. But apart from that, it brought us a new OS…one I had already upgraded to on my iPhone 4S and regretted doing. And let’s not even talk about Apple Maps…Screen shot 2013-01-28 at 10.50.07 AM

As I said, I’ll probably love Apple till the end, despite my recent apathy over intros like the iPhone 5. Still, I can’t help but wonder if everyone else is tentatively asking…has the brand lost something? Optimism would tell me the company may be going through a natural lull and will soon come out with a product that will blow us all away.

Just as I was wondering all this, an article surfaced on Co.Design that begged the same question. Bruce Nussbaum‘s piece made the claim that Apple’s certain glow, it’s “aura,” has dimmed in recent months, and that unless top management changes course, it will fade away. Read his analysis here.

Nussbaum suggests that Apple’s aura involves more than “glow” or a reflection of qualities, but the power of engagement, particularly in an age where social media can be a measure of a product and a company’s success. Today, he says, aura is more important than the notions of need, experience, user focus, or even empathy.

That is what Apple had – but does it still have it? If not, why? Is it a consequence of Steve Jobs’ passing? Or is this just one opinion without facts to back it up?

I pose it because I’m interested to hear what all of you think. And because I recently re-watched an interview I did with Guy Kawasaki, where I asked him what the future of Apple was. He told me that we would know better in about two years. That was a year ago…

Maybe it’s time to share that interview.