Apple and America: Don’t Look Back

A friend mentioned a recent column by Joe Nocera of The New York Times analyzing the “unmitigated disaster” of the iPhone5’s new map application.  I am not into technology so it took me a week or so to get around to Nocera’s column – which was not about the iPhone5 as much as about the moment when companies reach an inflection point in their history that causes them to decline.  The same thing happens to the human mind as it ages and, of course, to whole nations.

I am going to abbreviate much of Nocera’s column verbatim and ask readers to consider whether his analysis of Apple, Microsoft, Samsung and Blackberry applies to the cases the Supreme Court is deciding badly on voting rights, affirmative action, political redistricting and anti-immigrant laws.  Jumping from the map app disaster, Nocera wrote: “Though Apple will remain a highly profitable company for years to come, I would be surprised if it ever gives us another product as transformative as the iPhone or the iPad.   Part of the reason is obvious: (Steve) Jobs isn’t there anymore… Apple’s current executive team is no doubt trying to maintain the same demanding, innovative culture, but…there is also a less obvious — yet possibly more important — reason that Apple’s best days may soon be behind it…

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