“In late 2014, members of Apple Inc.’s AAPL +0.53%▲ Siri team arrived at an Amazon.com Inc. event thinking they were ahead of the competition,” Tripp Mickle reports for The Wall Street Journal. “Apple’s three-year-old product had gained popularity for its ability to handle calendar appointments, text messaging and a few other simple tasks based on voice commands. Siri had no real competitors.”

“The outlook quickly changed as the team watched Amazon’s video showing off a small, voice-controlled speaker that could play music, order products and search the web. It demonstrated Amazon had figured out how to isolate voices from background noise and have a digital assistant respond to requests from a distance—abilities Siri hadn’t yet mastered,” Mickle reports. “‘People at Apple’s anxiety level went up a notch,’ said a former member of Apple’s Siri team who was there that night.”

“Today, Apple is playing catch-up in a product category it invented,” Mickle reports. “On Monday Apple announced HomePod, a home speaker powered by Siri that will start selling in December… Some former executives, close observers and even devoted customers say Apple’s innovative power appears to be waning, stymied by a lack of urgency and difficulty bringing ideas to fruition. In nearly six years under Chief Executive Tim Cook, Apple’s stock has soared but the company has not delivered a breakthrough product on par with the string of hits under late founder Steve Jobs, which included the iPod, iPhone and iPad.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Siri’s current placement, given its massive head start and the fact that HomePod (and for that matter, iMac Pro) won’t ship until “December” (meaning not until Q1 2018 in quantity) is an appalling display of utter mismanagement.

As we wrote yesterday:

It’s a good thing for Tim Cook and Apple’s brass that Steve Jobs left them the iPhone to mask over all of their mistakes that the casual observer can’t even see, but which are painfully obvious to the rest of us.

Lazy Apple. It’s not hard to imagine Steve Jobs asking, ‘What have you been doing for the last four years?’ – December 9, 2016