These are clearly great times for Apple – the iPod is a cultural icon and consumer/sales phenomena, desktop sales are climbing, the stock is hitting record highs, and Steve Jobs is now a demi-god/visionary.
But there are some indications that all is not happy-happy-joy-joy within the Apple empire. The company that drives fanatical loyalty from its users seems to be dropping the ball when it comes to customer service, products not ready for prime-time (iTouch), and the controversial decision to drop the price of the iPhone by $200 just two months after its launch (another reason why it always make sense to wait a few weeks/months after a hot, new product is launched). As much as the Apple Army will valiantly defend the company at all times, these are issues that are difficult to deny.
Maybe BusinessWeek is on to something with a story looking at whether Apple’s reputation for first-rate service can keep up with its hyper-growth and success. After all, it’s easy being the good guy when you’re small and the plucky under-dog. Times get tough when the business starts rocking, and expectations get higher and higher.
For a take on how Apple could blow its goodwill and fumble its momentum, check out Four Reasons Why. Meanwhile, Andy Beal has some thoughts on the mistakes Apple has made recently, while hyperempowered has a long post looking at Apple’s reputation and the iPhone.