NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- I've been owning Apple (AAPL) stock because I think it's one of thebest-managed companies in the world, and Apple has had an epic runbased on the iPhone and iPad products. However, recent events andtrends are causing me concern.The setup for Apple's big June 10 developer conference keynote soundslike this: Every analyst is enamored by the prospect that newlyappointed chief software designer Jony Ive will have eschewed theso-called skeuomorphism design language. What is skeuomorphism? It's the charming icons in the iOS softwarethat we have seen since it was first launched in 2007. Basically, a"books" app icon looks like a wooden bookshelf, the "notes" app iconlooks like a yellow notepad and so forth. You get the point -- anicon looks like something analog in the real world. The great hope for Apple now is allegedly that it will relinquish thisskeuomorphism in favor of a so-called "flat" design of its app icons.What this means is a design language that looks a bit more like --wait for it -- Microsoft's ( MSFT) Windows Phone 8. No, I kid you not -- if the rumors are true, Apple's next invention isto make the iPhone and iPad look more like Windows 8, which is "flat." This is supposed to reignite Apple's earnings, which have stagnatedso far this year. Aside from the perpetually bored tech press, have you heard any normalperson complain about Apple's skeuomorphistic design language on his or her iOS devices, begging for Apple to simply copy the Windows 8 look?Only then will they run to the Apple store and buy more Apple productsagain! Me neither.
If Apple thinks its problem is the look of its software, I getseriously worried. If it thinks that it can have a bright futurebased on copying the look of Windows 8, there's a screw loosesomewhere. Obviously, I'm exaggerating a bit here. It can't be that bad -- orcan it? We had better hope Apple is going to get a design revampright. I have every reason to believe it will be as beautiful asanything. Also, I don't mind some aspects of the Windows 8 look anyway.
Smartphone: Almost everyone agrees that all the high-end Androidsmartphones are ahead of the iPhone in terms of the hardwareexperience. They have bigger screens, bigger batteries, andexpandable storage, among other things. Tablet: Whatever advantage Apple had in the early days has largelybeen eradicated. I could argue that most tablets are now the same,but Android invents more in terms of form factors, optional stylus,and so forth. In either case, and equivalent Android tablets tends tosell for $100 less than the iPad. Laptop: Obviously, Google started out by focusing on $200-$450laptops, but they are no longer too slow for their basic tasks. Asfor the high end, the $1,300 Google Pixel is starting to address thehigh-resolution (2560x1700) touchscreen laptops built with thetightest quality standards.