The designer responsible for the look and feel of Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) phones from the late nineties is worried about Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). Frank Nuovo, the designer in question thinks that Apple may be in the kind of safe place that Nokia was in in the early 2000s.


That safe feeling is what ultimately led to the big problems at Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK). Those problems are still manifesting today, but they won’t be around for long. Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) has sold off its handset business in order to rid itself of the money losing operation.

Nokia problems at Apple

Most fans of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) design would be extremely angry if the company’s devices were compared to Nokia phones, but Nokia was the Apple of the late 1990s. The company dominates the phone market. That wasn’t because they were cheap or they appealed to kids, it was because the phones were designed extremely well.

Frank Nuovo thinks that the massive success at Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) in the late 90s led it to rest on its laurels. That made the company lose all of its precious innovation and continue to release the same types of designs over and over. Consumers eventually lost interest in the company’s phones as different designs and features offered themselves elsewhere.

That synopsis isn’t far off what’s happening at Cupertino now. Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) may never have had the kind of fans that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) does, but the firm did lead the pack in mobile device design, up until it didn’t.

Apple getting lazy

Nuovo made these comments at the perfect time, right as Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is about to announce its next generation smart phone, the iPhone 5s. The new phone is likely to look close to the exact same as the iPhone 5, which looked extremely similar to the company’s previous smart phones.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) may be channeling a different type of design than Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) was in the late 90s, but aesthetics can get stale quickly as Nokia found out. If Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) doesn’t try to change its tune, it could be headed for trouble.

Nuovo says, “Apple needs to break out and let something grow on its own. Trying to grow a new plant in the old garden doesn’t necessarily work, you may need a fresh environment.”