If Google is right about the future, there are troubling signs to suggest Apple could meet the same fate as BlackBerry, according to top Apple follower Marco Arment.
In a blog post, Arment argues that BlackBerry was great at creating phones and dominated the market before Apple released the iPhone. The problem was that the iPhone release didn’t just create a better smartphone — it changed what people used them for entirely.
BlackBerry was great at creating at a device for email and phone calls, but Apple unleashed the App Store and now there’s an app for everything. It fundamentally changed the definition for a smartphone, and BlackBerry couldn’t ever play catch-up.
“No new initiative, management change, or acquisition in 2007 could’ve saved the BlackBerry. It was too late, and the gulf was too wide,” Arment wrote.
Now the concern is that Apple too could meet the same fate and be displaced entirely.
“Today, Amazon, Facebook, and Google are placing large bets on advanced AI, ubiquitous assistants, and voice interfaces, hoping that these will become the next thing that our devices are for,” Arment wrote. “If they’re right — and that’s a big ‘if’ — I’m worried for Apple.”
All three of those players have actively been investing in big-data AI services for years with Google especially at the forefront. This week, even Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff said he sees an AI-first world.
With all of the talk about chatbots or conversation being the interface for the future, Apple lags far behind in everything from search to natural language processing. The Amazon Echo is better at playing a song at your request than Apple’s Siri is at even understanding the title of it to be able to search for it.
Google’s advancements in artificial intelligence, to the point of beating humans at playing Go, are also well-documented.
Take the prime example of Google’s AI engine in Google Now and Google Photos. Photos can recognise what’s in your pictures so you can search for an image without tagging it — like looking for photos of your dog by typing “puppy” or your kid by typing “daughter”.
Google is working towards a future that isn’t a bunch of apps on a screen, but a different way of computing altogether — a shift that could, once again, change what we use our smartphones for. And as such, Apple could go the way of the BlackBerry even if it creates great phones.
It’s still a big if, and as Arment points out, Google could be very wrong about the future. It’s failed at big bets like Google Glass before.
“But if Google’s right, there’s no quick fix. It won’t be enough to buy Siri’s creators again or partner with Yelp for another few years.”
Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through his personal investment company Bezos Expeditions.