Managing Expectations And The Apple Syndrome

apple-unravellingWe would all be so lucky to have Apple’s problem. That our products are so outrageously popular, expectations for the next product reaches impossible heights. Apple released the iPhone 5 yesterday and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. It’s faster, thinner, lighter, and has a bigger screen. But it’s been popular of late to call Apple’s new products boring. The iPhone 4S was called just that and went on to be the best selling iPhone ever. It’s unreasonable to expect a world changing product every time Apple announces something, yet people do. For whatever reason, Apple has chosen to not manage expectations about their products at all. Maybe they feel managing expectations would break the iron clad secrecy that surrounds every new Apple product. But even that is a fallacy as virtually all of the iPhone 5 specs were known well beforehand. By not managing expectations, Apple creates a wildfire of speculation which gives rise to unrealistic expectations. When these expectations are not met, it’s natural to think the announcement was lackluster. When it came to the iPhone 4S sales it didn’t matter, but I do wonder what the long term effects are going to be.

To be fair, Apple has, in fact, wowed us with incredible products that went beyond what anyone could imagine so they have set the bar high themselves. Wired has a great article that explores this phenomenon. The other thing to remember is much of this consternation is from the fan boys and hopelessly devoted. These are people who live and die based on what Apple does on a day to day basis. Most of us are just looking for a device that works really well and if Apple comes out with a new device next year that works a little better, wonderful. Regular people are not looking to have their world shaken every time Apple speaks.