Will Apple's next offering be 'insanely great'?

Technology-telecom-Apple

A woman holds up an iPhone handset along a street in Hong Kong.

It’s a little more than a week until Apple’s next big press event, and the hype is mounting.

 

Apple is expected to introduce its new iWatch. If that’s not enough, there's buzz that Apple will also announce that its new iPhone will be an iWallet. Several news outlets said Apple has done deals with American Express, Visa and Mastercard to make this happen.

 

But what if Apple doesn't produce an “insanely great” product, as Steve Jobs was fond of saying. Three years after Jobs' death, consumers and investors are asking whether Apple can keep churning out products that hit that mark?

 

“Some of those expectations may be close to phantasmagorical,” said Charles Byers, a marketing professor at Santa Clara University.

 

Take the new iWatch, for example. The blogosphere is expecting it to do everything from opening your garage door to becoming your mobile doctor.

 

Trip Chowdhry, an analyst at Global Equities Research, said Apple just needs to ignore the noise. When it comes to the smart watch — or any new product — he said Apple needs to focus on what it does best.

 

“Apple just has to go back to its roots,” Chowdhry said. “What do they do? Less is more. Make it so easy that anybody can use it. Your grandma can use it.”

 

Chowdhry said there are already a lot of smart watches out there, with plenty of bells and whistles. But they’re difficult to use, and mostly it’s tech geeks who are into them. He said Apple’s magic is in taking existing technology and making it intuitive, simple and universally desirable.

 

James McQuivey, an analyst at Forrester, said that if Apple doesn’t introduce a breakthrough product soon, the chatter that the company may have lost its mojo will grow even louder.

 

If they can’t do something momentous by the end of 2014, McQuivey said, investors will conclude that Apple’s days of being an "insanely great" company are behind it. 

About the author

Queena Kim covers technology for Marketplace. She lives in the Bay Area.

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