Steve Jobs’ Apple saved America, but now Tim Cook & Co. must adapt very quickly

“There have been downsides to the rise of Apple. It has coincided with the terminal phase of deindustrialization. And we can’t kid ourselves any longer – its value lies in design not in grunt,” Haydn Shaughnessy writes for Forbes. “In contrast it is fair to say also that just as mortgages destroyed the wealth of some families, Apple created wealth for many others. A thousand dollars in Apple in 2007 could have risen to over $8,000 in 2012, a rise well above the drop in real estate values.”

“More than that though, Apple played to a view of the global economy that fits very well with how the American intelligentsia and business elite see it. That says: what really counts is our native genius,” Shaughnessy writes. “Other countries can discipline their workers to turn out parts in new megafactories but only Americans have this innate genius for product, technology and business.”

“And Apple also created its own free market. All those Apps, Jobs would tell supporters and critics, were created by the little guy. Here was a microcosm of free market America, except that Apps were made everywhere, in Apple’s developer ecosystem,” Shaughnessy writes. “So this smartphone created wealth and sustained the way the country perceived itself – successful, transformative, spirited, and entrepreneurial, even if critically injured. Alongside it, Android, reflected an even more American techno-centric view of the world: open source and even more opportunistic, beginning, as legend has it, in Apple’s own boardroom”

“It used to be autos that sustained economies and led recoveries. But look back over the past five years and a company called Apple saved America, with Google picking up from behind,” Shaughnessy writes. “By taking over the global smartphone industry, though Apple, has created two other phenomena that will sink Apple in turn, if it does not adapt quickly.”

Much more about the challenges Apple faces today in the full article, “Why China and Korea’s Priorities May Decide The Smartphone Wars,” here.

61 Comments

      1. “new economics”???

        botvinnik is correct. healthy wealth creation relies on invention AND manufacture. Losing even half of that equation results in economic malaise as the middle class disappears.

        Taxes are irrelevant to the point at hand. But since you brought it up, the hoarding of wealth has ALWAYS resulted in an underperforming economy. Supporting tax policy that promotes offshore tax havens at the expense of domestic investment is delusional. That trickle-down is effectively the same as supporting corporate oligarchy. A healthy economy relies on wealth being re-investing in domestic infrastructure (both private and public).

        Short-term profit or long-term prosperity for the nation? No empire has ever lasted very long when its productivity is outsourced.

      1. Come on. Conservatives aren’t ones establishing, implementing, and enforcing speech codes. Conservatives aren’t the ones withdrawing speaking invitations to individuals that they don’t like. They aren’t ones firing nerds for making bad jokes. Censorship is a liberal/progressive reflex, not conservative.

        1. Nonsense. Big picture — Conservatives are the ones who fight social progress at every turn – personhood for women, an end to slavery, an end to child labor, integration. And in the extreme, some of them are the ones who actually kill people they don’t like. The Klan is not gone. And there are many who are not that extreme, but who think in that direction. Yes, there are thinking conservatives who can engage in rational debate, but if you want to lump large numbers of people under a banner, “progress” has come from “progressives” and if it were up to conservatives equal rights would apply only to one sector of the population.

          1. Nice ironic use of the word “nonsense” there given the drivel that followed. Constitutionalists/Conservatives/Christians fought against slavery, for equality for women, against the Democrats in white hoods, for the civil rights act, and pretty much were behind every other pro freedom effort that the Left has tried to stymie.

            Pick up a history book Seamus. You might learn something.

  1. And let’s not have any more of this “only Americans who have innate genius” bollocks.
    That is arrogance in the exteeme and let’s not forget that as far as apple is concerned, Sir Jonny Ive can only be a ‘Sir’ because he is clearly not American.

    1. I think the national and cultural backgrounds of the Apple team might be a surprise to Mr Shaughnessy. I hate this “only Americans are gifted with creativity” nonsense. It reflects poorly on those of us who are truly special and diminishes our uniqueness. At least 157 million Americans are below average.

  2. A lot of vague generalities having no source, possessing no substance and coming to no worthy conclusion. In my english composition classes this essay would get a C at best for not having a clear intention, not developing it’s “ideas” in any cohesive way and not using what is written to draw any useful or interesting conclusions.

  3. Steve Jobs rejoined Apple as the industrial revolution was beginning to fizzle in America. The fundamental idea of what a worker and a consumer are, was changing. Apple recognized this. Apple capitalized on the global economy in a way that is inspiring to America, educational to America, so in that sense they are helping to save America. I think other countries are learning more from Apple than America though.

    Consider that are becoming a nation of information consumers. We consume far more bits than matter. I don’t know about you but through the course of a week I consume gigabits of data and outside of food, little or no matter. I pay to have as much access as possible to bits when at home and when mobile. I pay to store those bits, and often I store them in places I can no longer see. Usually when I store those bits, it’s just to make me “feel” better because someone else has stored the fact that I’ve purchased those bits and will give them to me again if I want them.

    When I work, I’m assisting other people with their creation of, manipulation of, and storage of bits. My words are converted to bits in the form of documents, voice communications, text communications, and so on. Bits bits bits. I get a request to work, in the form of an email, and it’s about some a disgruntled employee that attempted to destroy some very important bits. I was able to recover those bits, and was paid. No one sent me a check, some bits were set in my Paypal account. Bits from a credit card. Then I moved bits from Paypal to my checking account. Bits bits bits.

    Who actually ever sees the “money” they’re paid anymore? Answering that question is interesting.

    When I use the “money” I receive, it’s primarily to pay bills to continue to consume bits, in the space I live. I get books and periodicals in the forms of bits now. Music, television, and movies in the form of bits. Education in the form of bits. My communications with friends and associates is all in the form of bits.

    Apple saw this world coming and decided to create the best ways possible for me to deal with all my bits. Yes there is manufacturing involved, but that is done by much lower cost labor overseas, where the industrial revolution is still pulling people out of poverty.

    So apparently an economy can exist if you don’t create “things.” You can simply create “bits.”

    As far as the creativity portion is concerned, Apple has always pushed the idea of empowerment of the individual. So much so that they were largely responsible for making that word popular during the 80s and 90s. They used to run a commercial in which one of the lines was, “The Key is to let people do what they do best whatever way works best for them.” This is how Americans are tapping into innate genius, but it’s not just Americans.

    There are smart people all over the world and they are selling us bits. Some in the form of things like “Angry Birds.” Others have learned well from Apple and are doing their best to compete with Apple, and not doing a bad job at all, the ruddy bastards. That’s the nature of global capitalism though. Perhaps the biggest lessons we’ve learned from Apple is that the world is ready to compete with us in our sandbox. Americanism / Capitalism has taken root even in Communist China. We no longer have the advantage.

    1. We still have the advantage. We are leaders not followers. We are innovators not copiers. While Korea and China ares till figuring out how to duplicate the iPhone, we’re working on the next thing.

      Bits bits bits? It’s not that different than pulp pulp pulp or steel steel steel or vinyl vinyl vinyl. It’s just that the old companies didn’t make the conversion. The music industry, the old booksellers, Sears, they’d all be doing fine if they had converted the peocess to bits bits bits.

      1. You cannot live in, eat or drive an Angry Bird or an iTunes song. The premise that intangible, digital products create an economy is false. They are icing, through GATT, NAFTA, etc., foreign entities have taken our cake.

        1. You’re missing the entire system of SYMBOLS we humans rely upon every day in the vast majority of what we do all day:

          WORDS – are merely symbols.
          MONEY – is all merely symbols.
          BITS – are all merely symbols.

          On and on. It’s all literally GAME PLAYING around what is actual, concrete, lasting, eternal, positive, and important.

          I’ll let you think on that vast subject rather than blow your mind with books worth of details. Zen Buddhism get’s the root of it. General Semantics gets to the root of it.

          What is real and what is make-believe in our present day lives?

          It’s a core question for human survival. It’s that important. MDN isn’t the place to discuss it.

          In any case, Mr. Shaughnessy’s article has fallen off the cliff of fantasy.

      2. We are leaders not followers.

        SOME of ‘US’ are leaders, not followers. With the bad attitude of doing the ‘Quick And Easy’ thing in our degrading US culture, there are parasites galore, right here in the USA. You apparently forgot that Google is a US company.

        It’s just that the old companies didn’t make the conversion.

        That’s an EXCELLENT point. Witness the RIAA and MPAA. They’d rather ruin the lives of their customers and clients than catch up with the 21st century. They’re literally trying to kill themselves with their bad attitude toward the exact source of their wealth. Bits are their enemy. Entirely laughable. Entirely horrifying.

          1. And you missed the point.

            I worked hard to avoid dissing you. I tried not to fly over your head with too much revelation. But your mind was in the gutter, thinking about sewage. Not my problem.

            Keep on posting botvinnik, please. At least you make people think. I’m sorry I failed to make you think, this time.

            1. Derek: “Hello, is this the Crack Of Don’s Plumbing?”

              Don: “Yeah, this is Don hisself, wtf do you want?”

              Derek: “Hey, my house is fulla shit, my toilet needs a gasket!”

              Don: “Tough shit brother, can’t get the part from Shenzen until May first, at the earliest.”

              Derek: “You mean there is not one AMERICAN manufacturer of toilet gaskets?”

              Don: “Nope, but we offer a free download of Angry Birds for every customer that’s fulla shit.”

  4. Do you honestly think that Google can carry the manufacturing torch forwards due to the nebulous concept of open standards? That is one motherf***ing crazy idea.

    Google doesn’t manufacture anything and hasn’t invented anything since the PageRank algorithm was formulated in Stanford. Since then they have been vacuously derivative without a single original idea of note. Android is stolen technology and it disgusts me that the writer only made a passing reference to this.

    The writer of this article is one motherf***ing deluded dude. I mean try getting Google to answer the phone if you have a support issue with your Nexus dumb phone. People who use Google services are going to inherit the mantle of the dumb and dumber exchanging personal freedom for being sold as personal information slaves.

  5. Hey, American people, can you give me a straight answer, without politician-speak: do you guys actually intend to pay off your debts, or is this really an exercise in keeping on borrowing to pretend that you’re still a rich country? So far, no other country is willing to call out that the Emperor has no clothes – by asking for its debts to be cashed in. But, make no doubt, everyone sees the nakedness. It’s time to get back to basics, and not kid everyone with fancy new theories.

    1. Don’t doubt that there’s a large cognoscenti inside the USA who notices ALL of the debt bullshit going on. We also notice WHERE it came from. In good economic times it’s the REPUBLICANS who win THE BIGGEST DEBTORS award. In bad economic times it’s the DEMOCRATS who win THE BIGGEST DEBTORS award. Seeing as we tick-tock between good times and bad, and politicians are blithering idiots by default, WE FAIL.

      And thus begins Neo-Feudalism and what I call The Last Dark Age. But that’s a long story envisioned inside my own inner world.

      1. the answer to that question was answered long ago:

        “If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their Fathers conquered.”

  6. OH DO PLEASE FSCK OFF Mr. Shaughnessy! You have EXAGGERATED Apple into a SAVIOR and it’s STUPID AS HELL.

    Are you snorting something? This sounds EXACTLY like someone on a coke high:

    . . . a company called Apple saved America, with Google picking up from behind,” Shaughnessy writes. “By taking over the global smartphone industry, though Apple, has created two other phenomena that will sink Apple in turn, if it does not adapt quickly.” What bullshit. 😛

    1. 💡 Are all these Apple Bears, analcysts and journanalists actually COKE ADDICTS? Is this the reason biznizz in the USA has turned MANIACAL, INHUMANE and PARASITIC?

      I’m not suggesting. I’m just asking.

      It would explain a lot of lunatic behavior on Wall Street since the Bush League took over in 2001. Like maybe everyone was emulating George W. Bush’s coke addiction, as in ‘Gee, he got to be President while being a coke addict. Maybe I can too!’ That sort of lunatic, addiction enabling bullshit thinking is nothing new.

      I tease. Sort of.

      But seriously. How much does coke addiction and subsequent lunatic behavior explain the rubbish writing and behavior we’re seeing in the public space? Hmm? 😕

  7. Every day in every way, more and more see Apple as I have been describing. In spite of the name calling, the obscenities, the profanity, and the sophomoric “I love Apple and there’s nothing wrong with the beloved creator of wonderful gadgets,” the reality is the company is dead in the water. Until Tim Cook is cast away into retirement with riches untold, the decline will only continue. Flame on, blind lemmings of the memory, but you are looking desperate more and more each day. It’s not a pretty sight.

    1. @pp

      Stupid beyond belief. Apple with a couple of mistakes is pretty much still dramatically better than any other tech company — both in what it produces and in the quality of how the business is run. Sure, yeh, a couple of major blunders since last summer. Meantime Microscum make a major blunder about every week. And many other companies don’t make major blunders, but only because they are hardly moving… just stumbling along from month to month in a “barely keeping it going” manner.

      It’s actually pretty sickening and scary. All these other computer and phone companies can barely come up with an original idea between the whole lot of them. Phones are all wannabe iPhones. Add in the wannabe MacBook Air designs, the pseudo iMac Designs all the way back, the wannabe iPods, the wannabe iPads, and much more. Phones – computers – tablets — can’t they all produce SOMETHING interesting besides attempted copies of what Apple is doing.

    1. In related news, botvinnik also thinks girls should get back to the kitchen, where they belong (and I deliberately write “girls” rather than women to reflect his stone age beliefs). Probably also thinks jungle bunnies, camel jockies and slant-eyes should go back to where they belong. America is for the fine upstanding “real” men who are the descendants of those who came here and slaughtered nearly the whole previous population.

      Homophobia seems to be especially intense with those who profess a belief in a loving god. Very peculiar that a being who made the whole universe with less effort than a mouse sneezing should be SO preoccupied with which bits of their bodies which people touch against which bits of other people’s bodies. Also this almighty creator seems to have an inordinate love of beetles — 60,000+ species.

        1. I wonder — How many “real” mean think a woman’s anus is just fine — but a man’s anus is not merely not to their liking, but is a profoundly disgusting, depraved tool of the devil?
          The prejudice against gays is one of two things:
          1. Following ideas from a bronze-age book.
          2. Social customs.

          Don’t be so hung up on your social customs and personal inclinations being the one true way to lead life. Homosexuality is seen throughout human history, in culture of every type and every level of complexity.

          1. lol “profoundly disgusting, depraved tool of the devil?” hey, buddy, suck your boyfriend’s dick and let him buttfuck you all night. You will never realize the beauty and gift that is a woman..every artist, every musician, every author have created works upon works of God’s most noble and desired entity. I don’t recall The Beatles singing I Love Him Yeah Yeah Yeah.

            1. Ahhh. Invoking the bronze-age, genocidal, rape promoting, attention desperate, psychopathic, torture-for-eternity, sky phantasm as your authority now. Have you actually read the bible?
              Because of what I say, you presume I am gay. And then you launch your hatred and rage. You’re really something.

  8. saved America? I think you were joking. of course, Steve saved Apple from almost bankruptcy. honestly, they didn’t pay legit tax fully. they did hide it somewhere to avoid paying. that’s why they were criticized last year. Tim Cook is completely different character who doesn’t think to sacrifice himself in order to re-boost apple what it was. Steve Jobs was only, only the man who saved apple. he did sacrifice truly. how dare you can compare with Tim Cook who is just such a businessman, wants to make money. he isn’t interested in anything what Steve achieved. apple is doom. this company will suffer from 1997 nightmare again if Tim Cook won’t be replaced or the company won’t create mind boggling idea.

  9. To tell you the truth that I think Apple should fire Tim Cook. The new IOS is so ugly. So at present, I prefer a saumsong rather than apple. The so called new design is a bullshit! I don’t like it. We hopes that Apple can employ another Steve Jobs. Tim Cook is just a cook.

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