I go back to my hotel, fire up Amazon and buy that very same mic (!) and the adaptor from Amazon. Granted, I used my iPad to make the purchase. But Apple gets nothing out of that, other than whatever profit it makes on its accessory (It does not make the mic). Two primary issues come up. And they're both more important than all of the mindless garbage the media decides to focus on vis-a-vis Apple. To nutshell it, Apple leaves money on the table and its reputation/experience in the hands of others. It's all quite simple and straightforward. No. 1: Take accessories in-house. You have billions in cash. Don't give in to the pressure to return more capital to shareholders or do something un-Apple-like such as buy Twitter. Use the war chest to take greater control of the Apple experience. For a company that's apparently all about control, it sure cedes quite a bit in some aspects of retail, particularly with relation to accessories. The Apple employee who helped, and led me elsewhere, was right, they "don't have s**t" there. And that's not OK. Nurture smart, existing relationships with startups like Nest and high-end companies such as Michael Kors ( KORS) and Bose. These partnerships enhance Apple's brand image. And start making your own stuff to accessorize your products.
It baffles me that Apple obsesses over packaging, yet leaves accessories up to just about anybody. Do No. 1 fast so you can do No. 2: Stop sending customers to inferior, soul-sucking environments such as Best Buy or the apparently fierce competition. That's unacceptable. Check out the surroundings in SoHo. On either side of the Apple Store, there's a Michael Kors and Ralph Lauren ( RL), yet Apple's people seemingly have no choice but to send fanboys with money smoking from their pockets slumming to Best Buy? Only part of this is about image. There's little doubt Tim Cook needs to fire a more aggressive salvo -- talking tough on earnings calls and at a conference obviously doesn't cut it -- to make the point that Apple remains, by and large, a high-end, aspirational brand.