Without its reality distortion field, Apple struggles with its message

“Shortly after Steve Jobs died, the death watch for Apple itself began,” Dwight Silverman blogs for The Houston Chronicle. “The assumption by many in the tech press was that Jobs was Apple’s soul, and without him, the company that he founded, fled, returned to and then resurrected would wither away.”

“Financially, that’s not happened. Apple’s doing quite well in terms of revenue and profit, but its stock has tumbled as it hasn’t maintained the phenomenal growth that made it a Wall Street star,” Silverman writes. “Apple also has not produced a disruptive product on the scale of the original iPhone or iPad since Jobs died (though you could argue that the iPad mini is disruptive … at least of full-sized iPad sales).”

Silverman writes, “While I hate to play the ‘what would Steve Jobs have done?’ game, it’s an obvious question to ask here. I don’t think Apple’s design or innovation chops are fading away with Jobs’ death. But the company’s ability to control the conversation apparently has.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
Former Apple exec Jean-Louis Gassée: Apple needs to be more like Microsoft – March 18, 2013
Apple.com’s new ‘Why iPhone’ page touts iPhone superiority – March 17, 2013

34 Comments

    1. rdiddly, what amazingly popular game-changing product has Apple launched since Jobs died?

      Silverman points out the obvious: Apple has only rolled out derivative products since Jobs is gone. Apple’s software releases went from world-class to buggy, half-baked releases — or crappy interface changes like iTunes or FCP X that removed functionality but did not enhance productivity. Maps has been an utter PR disaster and Mac customers are still being sold iWork ’09. This is what customers would expect from MS, not Apple.

      Apple cannot continue to demand its price premiums if it is not offering the most efficient, cutting edge software. (Its hardware, as usual, is tops, but again, Cook & Co has fumbled almost every major hardware release).

      Just look at the rumors: MDN has moved on from Apple TV vaporware to Retina Mini iPad predictions. What a bore!

      1. What game changing product has Samsung released, ever? Most companies aren’t expected to release a game changer every year in order to support their stock value.

      2. Mike,
        What product ?? Why, do you need new items every 6 months, cause you rule??? And if Apple names them different and changes the color, is that enough??? Or are you expecting anti-gravity and teleportation with in the next year..????

        Apple makes product that last 3x Samsung (ifixit study) and 10 times motorola. My original iPhone 3G still works fine, thank you. And it received iOS 6 for free, unlike Android products.

        I am sure that Tim Cook is just chomping at the bit to please your little techno heart, but making 65% of the PROFIT in WORLD cell phone sales, pretty much takes the lead. Still selling 70% + of world iPod sales, etc.

        Sorry but I don’t think Apple will be dying in the next year or two. Even if it does not meet your (or lazy bloggers) expectations.

        Just a thought.

        1. The Apple II also had an unbeatable lead too.

          Samsung doesn’t just copy Apple, it copies everyone. and as such, it has the occasional runaway hit. Just like MS did 2 decades ago. Or have you all forgotten?

          1. That was an unlikely alignment of 6 or 7 critical cusps.

            Like a monkey hitting random keys and accidentally typing a page of Shakespeare. It is infinitesimally unlikely to repeat the feat, and one would be ill advised to hire monkeys in an attempt to do so.

      3. How many “popular game-changing product”s did Apple release while Steve was alive? The Apple II, the Mac, the iPod, the iPhone, and the iPad. That’s 5 products in 30 years.

      4. What part of Korea are you from? What new refrigerator has samdung innovated? They certainly do not innovate in phones, they just copy. I won’t ask you to look at Apple’s innovation time lines from iPod to iPhone to iPad. It takes awhile and I’m sure you’re more interested in bashing.

  1. Sure. It is probably true to some degree. I think Mr. Jobs did not spend much time asking what should he do, but rather decided what he was going to do, and then did that without apology. That is not easy nor possible for most people.

    1. This is what most people miss about Steve Jobs and those “disruptive” products and services. He did not make them! Steve Jobs selected the best products and features that were being developed and saw where to take them next and what to leave behind. That was clearly demonstrated in the evolution of the technologies and features that became the iPhone. Steve did not say, “This is how I want you to make an iPhone”. As features and technologies were pulled together and handed off to other groups to further develop, at one point, Steve states, “This will make a great smart phone” and the research teams then pulled the technologies and features together.

      So, the question is WHO will guide the development teams that are already creating great innovations. Steve Jobs knew which ones to push and when to do it without ever excepting “good enough” when it was released!

  2. Apple isn’t struggling with its message, but people seem impatient waiting for Apple’s product releases. There is no satisfying these folks who want it and want it now. There’s more to living than electronic doodads with shiny silver apple logos.

    1. for me, the iphone 5 was anticlimactic. apple maps was uncharacteristic, and wasting time acknowledging samsung/android’s existence is downright “un-Jobs-esque”.

      Now would someone, put this once-prize-winning stallion out of its misery?–my dog is hungry and i need glue for my cheap, plastc LG Spectrum 2.

      1. bataylor,
        For me, the iPhone 5 is just fine, LTE is super fast, apple maps equal Google maps and in some cases exceed them. iPads are selling like hotcakes to the world and business and schools.

        Samsung will do fine as long as they keep copying Apple. After all, that is what they were doing with RIM before Apple, right?

        Actually, I think we will continue to see innovation from Apple over the next few years, but not until the products are ready to amaze us with being “insanely great”.

        1. I’m sure the iPhone is a fine phone and apple maps has been fixed. I just think Apple needs to not be so sensitive to the environment–whether it be the anal-ysts or the android fanbois.

          You can’t FORCE innovation though, the market and consumer environment play a very big part. –see beta vs. vhs or this article>>article: http://sloanreview.mit.edu/article/the-5-myths-of-innovation/

          You can have the best ideas in the world. If the market ain’t ready for it there’s very little you can do as a company.

          Apple’s version of touch-screen computing is a case in point. It had been done previously(arguably not as well as apple) but eventually it was time. The iphone was the gateway-drug, now everyone expects to have a tactile relationship with their technology.

          My 78 year old mother, just today, pressed the play button on the the TV screen for a DVD she wanted to watch–she’s never even used a computer or owned an i-anything.

          This reactionary approach is so unbecoming of Apple.

          What ever happened to the Applitude: “I’m taking your floppy drive away, and I dare you to get upset about it”!!

  3. Good points! Steve left a huge void and would never have forced loyal, conservative, Christian Apple employees to get sucked up in the political, social re-engineering agenda of Tim Cook! Never!

      1. That is interesting. 5 years ago, Tim Cook was there and Steve Jobs was very sick. You know, that life and death type of sick. I am not sure but was that not around the time Steve got that liver transplant? Apple is more than 1 person and I am not sure who made that decision in October of 2008.

        In the end, I would rather Apple focus on what they do best and leave the social manipulating to the politicians. Apple does not need to get another black eye dragging down the stock and the company for things that are not the companies business. The people at the top have a crap load of their own money to do that stuff with. This is a publicly traded company not some little mom and pop store.

    1. C’mon, iMaki. That’s the best you’ve got today? You’re usually filled with more BS. Of course, it is Monday. You’re probably tired from your weekend rants against Gays, Lesbians, non-Christians and others who don’t live in your myopic little world.

    2. You are a racist bigot. It is people like you on the right who are following their predecessors on the evolutionary tree who did not believe African Americans are human or women have equal rights to men or believe in rights for all minorities ( which is ironic because people of your ilk do not believe in evolution!)

  4. Apple’s downfall is going to be when they start to react to what the competition is doing, what the shareholder’s cry about and the what the user wants. Everyone has an opinion about what Apple should do next, but they are thinking that Apple is like every other company out there, who’s main concern is making money. Apple should stick to what they do best: the best user experience.

  5. Apple struggles to get its message out not because of any “distortion field”….but because of the plainly biased and paid for “payola loving no scruples” media.

    1. That was a bit self evident though wasn’t it (that people don’t know what they want until they are shown it) Otherwise the average man could design a great car for the average man. And he can’t

  6. Guessing what Steve Jobs would have done or be doing is a fool’s errand as regards specific decisions. Adopting the values that he used to great effect could be an advantage:

    1- No such thing as good enough to get by. Expect the best effort.
    2- Reiterate until it is right.
    3- Do not suffer fools or Bozos gladly.
    4- Make sure the product, device or service delivers on what is promised without equivocation.
    5- Stay on message and sell like hell.

  7. So people sell the stock because they take faith in fake news articles paid for by Wall Street manipulators, Apple’s competitors and hit whores. They fall prey into the belief that somehow everything they see on the internet is facts. But lately it’s hard to find facts without opinions. And they’re not true opinions really just agendas they have to make a buck on their prey (aka readers).

    On another note that is directly correlated with this issue… Wall Street damages Apple’s reputation with skewed and negative news articles. Now they want increased dividends. Are they f’ing kidding us? Is that hamster wheel that they’re attempting to get Apple into not obvious yet?

    I agree that Steve Jobs would be more vocal to the media BS that’s been going on. Ironically, this hit whore Steve Silverman would be a prime target (among many) on Steve Job’s hit list. I remember at a AllThingsD interview, Steve mentioned his concern about blog sites and journalistic integrity. Walt Mossberg was pro-blogs and quickly cut off Steve before he could continue his thoughts on the matter.

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