Apple has much to prove as emphasis falls on services

“In any discussion of Apple these days, talk turns inevitably to hardware and software: specifically, how can Apple prevent an inexorable erosion of profit margins on the iPhone? And can design supremo Sir Jonathan Ive work his magic on iOS software to make it as much a joy to use as his sleek devices?” Richard Waters asks for The Financial Times. “All of which begs what has become an overriding question for Apple as the basis of competition in the mobile world has shifted: What about the services?”

“Does Apple have what it takes to compete head-on with Google in services?” Waters wonders. “The iCloud [sic], Steve Jobs’ last big launch, sought to glue the company’s devices together by making a user’s personal content show up automatically on all of their Apple gadgets. It was a nice idea, though it was restricted to the Apple universe of gadgets and has had mixed reviews from developers and users over its reliability and ease of use.”

“The Maps service, which came a year later, was a fiasco. As chief executive Tim Cook admitted earlier this week at the D11 conference in southern California, the flaws in Apple Maps have still not all been fixed and Apple has had to put some of its best minds on the problem to sort it out. But it will take much deeper changes in Apple’s culture and processes to fix the underlying weaknesses in services,” Waters writes. “Apple’s own developer conference starts in San Francisco on June 10. Mr Cook and Eddy Cue, who took charge of all of Apple’s services in a management shake-up last year, will have a lot to prove.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: iCloud is fine for users. It’s the developers who have the most issues with iCloud. Hopefully, this gets fixed at WWDC within weeks.

Apple’s Maps issues were, are, and will likely always be, wildly overblown. Apple’s Maps are ahead of Google Maps in many ways already.

iMessage/Messages are a huge success. Waters likely doesn’t mention that Apple service because it fails to fit with his narrative. Not good reporting.

All that said, Cook, Cue, & Co. do need to focus, focus, focus on services to make sure each element is the absolute best it can possibly be.

13 Comments

    1. Yes, by all means, Apple, do not follow MDN’s crazy advice to “focus on services to make sure each element is the absolute best it can possibly be.”

      That would be suicide.

      Don’t quit your day job, Crabby.

      1. @ Superior Being, woa is me! If only you had advised me before I gave up my day job, I wouldn’t be queueing up for handouts!!! Should I go back cap in hand and beg for it?

          1. Point taken hannahjs, I now just have to find a way to approach myself cap in hand, eyes downcast and scuffing my shoes to ask myself for my job back! 🙂

            1. Tough to pull that off when self-employed, I suppose. Try a full-length mirror, maybe? 🙂 I can’t imagine you’d turn yourself down…

      2. Very good SB. Services is the one area that Apple does not do well. Despite what MDN says, iCloud sucks. iTunes could be much better. iPhoto and Photo stream? Please. I expect so much more from Apple in services. Give us a better photo storage and sharing experience Apple. Buy SmugMug. While you’re at it, buy Dropbox. Damn, bring back MobileMe and Gallery. They weren’t good but they’re better than what you have now. Apple does hardware and software too well to do so poorly in services. Too much money and too many employees for such mediocre services. I’m tired of it. And please, no excuses from you fanboys. They won’t work on this one. Ping anyone?

  1. Forget all the bullshit talk about specific services Apple offers right now. iCloud, FaceTime, and the like… all things heavily baked into their OPERATING SYSTEMS.

    What this pundit and the others keep tripping up on is that you can’t compare this to the way Google operates: with them, EVERYTHING IS ON THE WEB. With Apple, literalky NOTHING IS ON THE WEB. A quick example is the iBookstore is a native App. Amazon gets all the traffic because they’re online.

    Apple will not fuel Google by just throwing up web based versions of theit services. Apple is a systems integrator.

    Because of this, they’ll launch their own search engine and compete with Google overall.

    Imagine having a clean web that looks good. Siri icon in the search field: smart search. Full online iTunes, iBookstore, iCloud, etc.

  2. MDN take is naive. Of course iCloud is fine for users, and only bad for developers (well, ignoring those users who don’t want their calendar items to disappear). That’s because developers don’t write apps of any substance that rely on iCloud for data synchronization. If we did, users would be affected. But we don’t, because iCloud doesn’t work.

  3. This has WHAT to do with ‘Apple’s culture’?!
    But it will take much deeper changes in Apple’s culture and processes to fix the underlying weaknesses in services

    Apple: Climbing the learning curve. Standard operating procedure.

    But I will point out that Apple had years of experience with iDisk, .Mac and MobileMe, far too much experience to explain away the messed up and missing features in iCloud. The result is incoherence.

  4. Does Apple have what it takes to compete head-on with Google in services?
    The track record says no.

    “Shortly after the launch event, he summoned the MobileMe team, gathering them in the Town Hall auditorium in Building 4 of Apple’s campus, the venue the company uses for intimate product unveilings for journalists. According to a participant in the meeting, Jobs walked in, clad in his trademark black mock turtleneck and blue jeans, clasped his hands together, and asked a simple question: “Can anyone tell me what MobileMe is supposed to do?” Having received a satisfactory answer, he continued, “So why the fuck doesn’t it do that?””
    Adam Lashinsky in Fortune

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