Why is it important for an app developer to watch Apple so closely?
We pay attention to Apple because they always seem to be on the forefront of what the industry is going to do. If Apple adopts a new technology, you can expect everyone else to adopt that technology. Specifically, there’s been a lot of talk about NFC (near field communication) technologies. A lot of people believe that we don’t have a standard NFC system yet because Apple hasn’t embraced specific version, leading to a lot competing companies. We watch Apple because whatever they do and whatever tech they embrace will dictate what we’ll be working with.
Does Android have a chance of ever taking this spot and becoming the trendsetter?
Absolutely. The problem is that the system is fragmented across numerous companies. While I don’t see Android itself becoming a trendsetter on its own, I do see a specific Android device or a technology like Google Glass making a splash and dictating what everyone else does. Google has to push the boundaries. There are a lot of people saying that Apple is doing things with the iPhone 5 that Google has been doing for awhile and while that’s true to some extent, there are other areas where Android is failing. Google’s willingness to modify their operating system all the time is something that hurts their phones. With so many Android devices, there is never a clear answer as to whether or not your device will be able to update properly. It’s all fragmented. In order to take the leadership position, two things need to happen: Android needs to think outside the box and Apple needs to drop the ball. Apple will have to not innovate. They may not have innovated enough with iOS 6. We’ll have to see. It may happen with iOS 7 or the iPhone 6. We’ll have to wait and see.
I think we’re starting to see the cracks in the infrastructure already. I don’t think Tim Cook is pushing the company in the direction it needs to go. The profitability is there, but he doesn’t seem to be the genius or innovator that Steve Jobs was. We knew that, but he also doesn’t seem to have the cajones that Jobs had. I think what we saw with the iPod Nano shows that. Tim chose to take a step back and the new Nano looks like a mini-iPhone, whereas the previous version was a tiny device that could be a worn on a watch. Many of us were hoping that was the next step, that the watch would become a phone and we’d have the iPhone Nano and really shake up the industry. But Tim Cook chose to take a step back and go with the solid, stable, safe and proven format. That’s not what Apple should do. Apple needs to innovate. It needs to come up with things that aren’t commonplace. They need to create clean, easy to use devices that will define the future. If Tim Cook continues to play it safe, he’ll only hurt Apple in the long run. They’ll become a Dell or a HP. They’ll become just another manufacturer working to keep the status quo. Steve Jobs would never have done that.
Does Apple throw their power around in any way you don’t like as a developer?
No. Apple’s power has made my job possible. The creation of the iPhone is the reason that there is a Rocksauce Studios. It’s the reason there are a million other app-related companies. It’s the reason Android exists. You can choose to ignore the power and influence of Apple, but you do so with blinders on. Apple embraced the technology and made it possible in the first place. Unless Tim Cook screws it all up.