What do you do if you are the world’s most valuable publicly traded company, but your stocks are down, sales have plateaued, and your signature product line is not delivering barnstorming results as it used to? Do you invest in R&D to develop a stunning new product or feature that will get your sales and stock numbers back up? Do you find a new market segment to penetrate and deliver value to your shareholders? Or do you completely lose your mind and expand into every conceivable product category from streaming entertainment to financial services, in the hope that if you throw enough dollars into the gaping void, something will stick?
If you are Apple, the answer obviously, is option three. iPhones are no longer selling like they used to. Competitors offer similar or superior features and functionality for lower prices. The half-bitten apple insignia is no longer magnetic to customers, convincing them to spend thousands of dollars on overpriced machinery. Clearly, the answer is not to innovate or reexamine its market strategy, but to spunk millions of dollars into a new range of services nobody asked for including a Netflix-clone, a gaming service and a credit card with up to 24.24 percent APR. Genius!
Somewhere deep inside Apple HQ during a strategy session, we can imagine that some bright-eyed, hoodie-wearing MBA balanced on his cool office bean-bag went:
“You know what? I bet our customers simply don’t have enough ways to make payment already. They don’t have enough cash apps, virtual accounts, bitcoin wallets or credit cards. They definitely need another credit card! We have to make it sexy, so we’ll make it a digital credit card, but it will have a physical card too. We’ll call it…wait for it…the Apple Card! Apple stocks to the moon!”
Thus was born this absolute brainwave that was launched earlier today.
Wondering what an Apple Card will get the approximately 25 people who will sign up excitedly for it? They get an APR ranging from 13.24 percent to 24.24 percent, 2 percent cashback on external vendor purchases and 3 percent cashback on Apple purchases, and – you’re never going to believe this – a physical titanium card with basically nothing printed on it because the card number, expiry date, and CVV are all stored in the Apple Wallet app.
The fun incredibly doesn’t stop there. They also get a range of benefits that are readily available with about 275643 existing competitors.
According to Jennifer Bailey, Apple Pay VP, users can also rest assured that their privacy is protected because Apple will not have access to their purchase history. There is also some generic stuff about partnering with Goldman Sachs, something about being fully committed to ensuring privacy, something about Mastercard handling payment processing, and that’s it. Apple’s genius plan for escaping stock price purgatory is a blank titanium Mastercard with a half bitten fruit printed on it. That’s a flashing buy, ladies and gentlemen!
Apple has a form for creating elaborate answers to problems nobody has. When it isn’t creating a Netflix-Hulu-AmazonPrime clone without solving the content problem the existing platforms already have, it is releasing a pair of $159 wireless earphones with an optional $79 case sold separately. When sales of new iPhones are slowing because they are not very different from older iPhones, Apple slows down the performance of its older models.
Generally, Apple’s current business model seems to be “if the customer didn’t ask for it, hit them over the head with it until they think they did.” How successful this will prove in the long run remains to be seen. At the moment, however, the stock market has spoken – and it isn’t great news.