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NEW YORK (
Apple(AAPL) used to be untouchable. The company that once seemed immune to failure -- that hid technology and called it magic -- has proven to be surprisingly vulnerable. Many have abandoned hope, and critics have relentlessly thrown out jeers from the bleacher seats. Whatever the reason behind the fall -- whether it is a lack of innovation or a rise in competitive vigor -- it is giving competitors a window to dig Apple into a deeper hole. They've found a weakness, and it's less an Achilles Heel and more of a Kryptonite.
Take a look at Apple's advertising, and where it was when the company was on top. They'd stick their product on a glowing white backdrop. Suddenly your TV was no longer a television, it was a glass case. A living room instantly became the
MoMA, and you found yourself hopelessly captivated by a piece of Apple's ingenuity. The product sold itself. The innovation; the beauty; the simplicity -- these all became trademarks. It almost seemed out of our reach, only accessible to a swift-moving hand that glided across the glass screen. Peter Coyote's voice was as convincing as anybody's, and the awe factor was at an all-time high. But that was then.
I think somewhere along the line Apple got stuck. In fact, to say this may even be considered painfully obvious. A red flag was when they used this ad format to promote noise-cancelling technology for the iPhone 5. Not to say that
the commercial wasn't well done, but I had been an iPhone 5 user for a month by the time I saw the ad. This feature hadn't even occurred to me. In fact, after seeing the spot, I made a point of trying to test it out -- still, I did not see its significance. It was like seeing a
Mercedes ad that boasted windshield wipers. For the first time, I wasn't sold. Apple was just scraping from the bottom of the barrel.
Then there was the decline; Apple's record high share price of $705.07 was a memory. Alarmists boarded up their windows and lunged for the red phone when the company slipped below $400. By the reaction of the general public, it seemed like the official conclusion to Apple's career -- if not Hiroshima.