"You think brilliant marketing and pleasing form factor was all that to it when Apple released first iPhone?!!"
Yes, in large part, and assisted in no small way from availablility of 3G cellular, which was also not an Apple original idea.
This is an engineering publication. The idea of a smart phone came from IBM, if not arguably before that:
" achieve dominance in the field due do brilliant marketing campaigns and creating aesthetically pleasing form factors"
You think brilliant marketing and pleasing form factor was all that to it when Apple released first iPhone?!! IMO not even a single product in market, even came remotely close to it in technology and function when the first iPhone hit the market in 2007.It took 4 years for the Android camp to catch up.
PS: technology is not just the hardware alone.
Duane, Paul, Erebus & Bert ... always a pleasure to read your comments for excellent insight from a different perspective. And then I read the comment from sprite and it reminds of a high school hallway put down from someone in the self proclaimed 'cool crowd'. Enough said !
I've followed most of the technologies that Apple has released and I will state again and again that ... Apple was never the first to market on new tech, but they were the first achieve dominance in the field due do brilliant marketing campaigns and creating aesthetically pleasing form factors which the consumers absorbed like a sponge.
So when Woz is worried that Apple is no longer 'cool', he is merely stating that he believes that Apple products are no longer unique shiny boxes that can command an inflated price. In other words, they are basically becoming commodity devices with no real distinguished product value. Add to that, the fact that the typical Apple user is getting smarter and realizes there are other products out there that are the same or better at half the price. It is this epiphany by Apple consumers that leads Woz to conclude that Apple is losing its 'cool'.
Apple was definitely the new cool back with the first 2 to 3 iPhones and iPads. But no real innovation has occured, no new styling... it's boring and staid now. You can get more functions/features with Android.
Mac hw is still best in the world though... you simply can't get better.
One of the problems with a very charismatic founder/CEO/leader is that when they leave, it's not uncommon for their personality to go with them. It's not a universal axiom and it depends a lot on how well the leader was able to pass his or her personality on the the rest of the organization.
At least from the outside looking in, I'd have to say that "Apple" and "Steve Jobs" were pretty much synonymous. When Jobs was ousted back in 1985, the company started on the path toward being just another droll box builder with a low-market share OS. His return resulted in a pretty dramatic change for the company.
It remains to be seen if Tim Cook can keep that personality as a driving force in the company. If he can, then I expect the company to keep thriving, with just the occasional miss. If he can't, then, in my opinion, it may very well be a good time to sell your Apple stock.
If you spend time hand wringing over Apple's "coolness", you don't understand what is good about their products.
In some cases it's the style, in some the technology and others the ease of use. This is delivered to appreciative customers even while the media is relentlessly critical. I've stopped worrying if others don't approve of my product choices.
Of the Windows, Linux and Mac OS machines I use daily, the Macs are the most enjoyable, though limited to home use. Windows wins hands down for profitable work. Linux is far and away the best for getting buried in technical details and fighting software and hardware incompatibilities.
The worry over being cool is more a product of Samsung's advertising (spending more than Apple, HP, Dell, Microsoft and Coca Cola combined on ads) and some peoples insecurities.
I have always considered Apple products as "cute" but too expensive. Not being a fashion leader, I seldom relate products with the term "cool" or "neat".
Like most engineers I look for the capability/cost for my tools. Apple almost never makes the final cut.
Just my opinion.