After Apple booted Google Maps from iOS last year, Daniel Graf led the development of a beautiful, refreshed mapping experience that shot to number one in the iTunes store and kicked Apple’s ass on its own turf. Here’s how Graf made it happen—in his own words:
“We have a very successful Android version of Google Maps, so the easiest thing to do was to say, this is super-successful, users love it, so why don’t we just port it over to iOS? But I wanted to challenge the team. While the Android version is a great product, you can also tell it’s been around for a while. You have to access everything via menus—it’s not really best-use-case driven anymore. I said, let’s take a step back—what if we could start from scratch and forget anything we’ve ever done? We have the foundation—the Google data, the mapping data, the local business data, the imagery, the navigation algorithms—it’s a dream to start with.”
5 Truths That Explain Our Love-Hate Affair With Apple
Could it be that Apple’s best quarter ever—and the second most profitable in U.S. corporate history, at $13.1 billion—is a head-for-the-hills disaster? With margins declining and no imminent “insanely great” new products (as Steve Jobs liked to call them), has the age of Apple come abruptly to an end?
To understand what’s happening with Apple, it’s prudent to step back from the noise of Wall Street and recognize five essential truths about Apple’s success.
Truth No. 1: Apple has never been a nonstop, new-product machine.
Truth No. 2: The real driver of Apple’s success has been incremental innovation.
Truth No. 3: Apple’s distinctive reputation can hurt as much as help.
Truth No. 4: The legacy of Jobs is haunting the company.
Truth No. 5: Apple won’t give up the magic without a fight.
The question is whether Apple can defy the odds and retain its sorcerer’s hat or whether it will settle down into a life more ordinary. The latter has been the fate of tech stars before Apple (witness Microsoft) and since (witness Facebook). The transition would be a tough one for Apple; if it sheds its status as an agent of revolutionary change, there’s no telling how proponents—consumers and investors—will react.
As JCPenney CEO Ron Johnson has discovered, trying to force a brand into an Apple-shaped mold doesn’t ensure success.
At Apple, Johnson’s claim to fame was being the father of the Apple retail outlets which were a raging success, selling leading-edge, premium priced products in a very simple but contemporary setting. Unfortunately, when he arrived at JCPenney, he immediately concluded he needed to turn JCPenney stores into something akin to an Apple store. He eliminated all notion of a sale and secondly, began forming independent boutique’s within each JCPenney store. Each of these boutiques was focused on a fairly well-known name brand such as Levi’s.
This rapid and dramatic change at JCPenney totally baffled JCPenney’s loyal customers. He was trying to take JCPenney upscale while their shoppers wanted a respectable but low-price alternative that offered some terrific deals each and every week.
As you’ve been reading, the results have been a major catastrophe for JCPenney. Sales are down over $4.0 billion versus a year ago and the stock price is off 55%. While the holiday season is typically a major boost for retailers, for JCPenney, same-store sales for the recent holiday season declined 32% versus a year ago.
The NRA appears to be emphasizing safety and responsible ownership with this new app, which has an Apple App Store rating of 4+ (“no objectionable material”). The NRA says its built-in shooting game strikes “the right balance of gaming and safety education, allowing you to enjoy the most authentic experience possible.”
The thing about Apple’s iPad Mini, you see, is it’s small. That fact, among others, allowed iCrooks to steal about 3,600—or $1.5 million worth—of the new devices during a brazen heist at New York’s JFK airport on Monday.
In the new version of Paper released last week, you mix colors with your fingers, like it’s paint—only somehow more beautiful. This one magical feature burned a year of development time, resurrected the work of two dead German scientists, and got Apple’s attention.
Masked by a gigantic Frankenstorm, Apple announced yesterday that Scott Forstall, the head of iOS, is leaving the company. Blame skeuomorphism. Blame the Maps disaster. Blame an unsigned letter. The reason for the axe is largely irrelevant; the story is less about Scott Forstall being out than Jony Ive being in.
Jony Ive—the man behind the iMac, the iPhone, and the iPad hardware—will be taking a brand new role as head of human interface design alongside his existing role as leader of industrial design. He will run hardware and software. Apparently, after hinting to The Telegraph earlier this year that he was upset with the skeuomorphic designs of Apple’s software, Ive made a powerplay within the company.