Is Apple’s Golden Era Over?

The news for Apple hasn't been great of late: accusations of off-shore tax dodging, the stock price tumbling, and continued concerns about working conditions (and SNL comedy sketches) at Foxconn. More worryingly, Apple's annual developer's conference (WWDC) is only three weeks away, and the rumor mill is not what it has been over the last couple of years. What is there to get excited about? The iWatch seems like it is not close to launching, and maybe the iPad mini is going retina, but that's just it playing catch up with the full sized iPad. Has Steve Job's legacy finally run out; has the extent of his influence over Apple finally ended?

Yahoo Weather App

Against this backdrop, Google and, surprisingly, even Yahoo, are the companies that are generating excitement in the tech world. Google Glass continues to instill the most excitement/ mockery – both of which raise the profile of this wearable technology. But setting aside the geek factor of Glass, Google's updated Hangouts is not only beautiful, but is a factor in making Google+ relevant and perhaps even useable. The updates to photo editing in Google+ is also attractive, and combined with Picasa and the 25 gigs of storage make it worth considering. There's also Google Apps for Education which many are heralding (perhaps prematurely) as the end of iPads in schools.

And then there is Yahoo, a company many people thought was irrelevant and on its last legs. However, under the leadership of former Googler Marissa Mayer, Yahoo is producing some great mobile apps (Yahoo Weather), has revamped the once glorious photo site Flickr with a cool new UI and 1TB of free storage (wow!), and has now has acquired the cool and unique blogging service Tumblr.

Apple used to capture our imaginations with game-changing gadgets and beautiful user experiences. If you had told me one year ago that the New York Times would be describing Apple's woes while promoting exciting news about Yahoo, I would not have believed you. But it's Google and Yahoo who are making the headlines and creating giddy Twitter traffic. I hope that WWDC will prove me wrong, but the future for Apple does not look good when even a fanboy like myself has begun window shopping Chromebooks and Samsung tablets.