‘Can’t innovate anymore, my ass’: Apple’s bravado clouds their real challenges

Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller’s “segment of Apple’s WWDC keynote on Monday took on an interesting, more aggressive tone as he introduced the Mac Pro. ‘Can’t innovate anymore, my ass,’ he said — a line directed not at his audience of sympathetic Apple developers, but at the nattering nabobs of negativism that have accumulated at the base of Apple’s sliding stock price,” Nilay Patel writes for The Verge. “…If the chief criticism of Apple was that it no longer produces stunning, industry-leading computers, the Mac Pro would be the ultimate rebuttal. Schiller should have brought out a mic just to drop it.”

“But that’s not the criticism Apple’s actually facing — the company already makes the best laptop and the best all-in-one PC, and many would argue that it also makes the best phone and tablet as well,” Patel writes. “Apple’s stock hasn’t slid because it’s been putting out uninspired hardware — it’s slid because the company hasn’t been able to enter any major new product categories in years, and major software efforts like Siri and iCloud have faltered in extremely public ways.”

Patel writes, “Under Jobs, Apple did an extraordinary job of changing how entire markets worked: music, movies, smartphones, tablets, laptops, all of it. But it’s been a long time since Apple offered any change on that scale, and a visually refreshed iOS 7 and the new Mac Pro aren’t proof that it still can…”

MacDailyNews Take: iOS 7 is much more than just “visually refreshed.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Winding up for a looong sentence… Okay:

The latter argument about Siri and iCloud is partially true (although the general public’s perception of either isn’t nearly as bad as Patel seems to think), but the major stock-value-cratering fsckups under Cook were allowing Forstall’s wild overselling of Maps at WWDC 2012 combined with the bush league failure to simply tag it as a “beta” upon release and, as Cook has admitted, the stupid launch of the new iMac without having any units to sell for months (shedding some 750,000-1,000,000 holiday Mac sales which affected quarterly results and gave the AAPL shorts a solid toehold to stand on and foment like rabid dogs), but Patel’s former criticism, that “the company hasn’t been able to enter any major new product categories in years,” is just premature: iPhone was released 5 years, 7 months, and 19 days after iPod; iPad was released 2 years, 9 months, and 5 days after iPhone; Tim Cook has been Apple CEO for 1 year, 9 months, and 22 days.

(Phew! Have at it grammarians!)

In case Nilay has forgotten already:

Designing something requires focus. It takes time.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Fred Mertz” and “TheloniousMac” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
Schiller’s ‘can’t innovate anymore, my ass’ one-liner: Apple’s rallying cry – June 11, 2013
What kind of innovative does Apple have to be? – June 11, 2013
Jony Ive is the new Steve Jobs: Positively mind-blowing iOS 7 stirs Apple-envy yet again – June 11, 2013

60 Comments

  1. Apple’s real challenges are based around the fact that criminal copy cats like Samsung can free load off their hard work and enablers like judge Koh will allow them to do so without consequences and retarded Droid heads will snap up the stolen merchandise and claim it is better than the earth shattering and paradigm shifting iPhone and drone on about rounded rectangles and walled gardens while completely missing the point.

    1. And don’t forget about the ITC who has gone against the flow vs FRAND. Its hard for Apple to get its non-FRAND patents supported but the ITC wants to fully support the illegal FRAND patent that samsung wants Apple to pay thru the neck for.

      Sad to say..

  2. The mob: “Apple can’t innovate! Apple can’t innovate! Apple can’t innovate! Apple can’t innovate! Apple can’t innovate! …”

    Apple introduces revolutionary new Mac Pro. Mob is stunned and, for a few moments, is silent. Then…

    Mob: “That’s not quite what we meant. So, Apple can’t innovate! Apple can’t innovate! Apple can’t innovate! Apple can’t innovate! Apple can’t innovate! …”

    1. I’m afraid a cylindrical-shaped computer is not what the mob considers innovation. I’m not sure Apple actually needs innovation. Apple really needs to build products that consumers want to buy in quantity and I don’t think that requires innovation. My gut feeling tells me almost no consumers are interested in buying cylindrical-shaped computers. It’s an attractive device but a base price $3000 computer is really a bit too expensive for most consumer’s tastes. I’d buy one in a minute, because it fits my needs perfectly but I’m sure the high-end 12-core will be about $4500 which although affordable, I wouldn’t be willing to spend that much.

      If Apple were able to sell a Mac Pro for $500, then that might be the innovation the mob is crying for. Maybe. I’m not precisely sure what passes off for innovation nowadays. Those Haswell processors seem like innovation to me because that’s the sort of thing I’m looking for. Innovation is probably something else for other people. I’d sure like to see a list of things that the tech people would say are innovations and are actually feasible to build at a reasonable price for consumers.

      Innovation or not, Apple needs to get about selling lots of products, preferably iPhones, to hold up it’s share price. Right now, it’s barely holding its own.

      1. Where to begin…

        Apple does not need to sell millions of $500 computers. Look where joining the race to the bottom got Dell.

        The Mac Pro is NOT a consumer product. It’s a “pro” product.

        The rest of your argument is similarly flawed.

        1. Yes you are right Zeke,

          The Apple math, is to pack new innovations, technologies or improvements into its updates rather than lower its prices.
          Hence a 500 buck Mac pro-sumer machine would drive
          the consumer Mac mini to an impossible low of 120 bucks. Never gonna happen.

          But lay off Laughing_Boy48, as he is merely suggesting The Mob (wallstreet) would rather see lower prices as the innovation… not his personally. Intel processors are his sort of innovation.

        2. First off,

          “Apple does not need to sell millions of $500 computers. Look where* joining the race to the bottom got Dell.”

          — Look (we’re*) racing against Dell for the bottom line.
          is that what you meant?

          Secondly, Apple sells a 500 – 700 dollar computer already, in the millions possibly, though uncertain, yet its not a pro machine – its the Mac mini. And its not been a race to the bottom. However its actually forced Dell to reconsider their 500 dollar offering.

          Lesson, don’t misinterpret nor judge one’s opinion without reading it five times.

          1. I meant exactly what I said. Apple does not need to try to compete with the cheapest crap on the market for market share. Neither I nor Laughing Boy were talking about the Mac mini. The Mac mini is a niche product, not the premier offering. When Apple tries to compete with Dell on price they will have lost their way and they will go on without me as an investor.

            1. Sorry Zeke, i guess i should have read your post carefully.
              Bad I am. My apologizes. i found that awkward.

              I get it now. “Look where joining the race to the bottom got Dell” Look where that got Dell, as it raced to lower prices.

      2. A $500 Mac Pro is still without a monitor and hard drive (I think). Innovation would be disrupting a new field. That’s what WS is looking for – potential, disruption, change.

        Apple has not revealed it’s plans to enter a new field so WS is bored. AAPL has just become a place to get dividends. BORING. But MDN’s take is good.

      3. Good post and I agree mostly, however on the note of innovation, not to be disrespectful – alright – though maybe only my opinion:

        But, combining technologies and using advancements in manufacturing processes to produce a product in a new light, perhaps one that once was only dreamt before, is innovation. It takes the ability to think different.

        Other than that, yeah, lower the prices, put this machine in more hands, increase the popularity and strengthen the Apple ecosystem.

      4. Apple doesn’t need to build a $500 desktop computer they need to build desktop computers that are really WORTH $1200-$3000 and have high enough margins to keep improving them.

        I no longer need a desktop at home. But I could really use something to replace my dual screen WinXP setup at work.

  3. “…the nattering nabobs of negativism that have accumulated at the base of Apple’s sliding stock price”

    Au contrar mon amí, that is a process instigated by Wall Street fund manipulators. They have a modus operandi that should now be familiar to anybody who tracks stocks.

  4. This was the article on the Verge that out me over the edge. In their separation to report anything at all they write hit pieces like this.

    In the last year Apple brought out the best all in one desktop. Their Air is still unchallenged in the laptop space and they upped the anty for the assemblers again. They introduced a laptop with the highest resolution ever which PC assemblers can’t match. Sure, a resolution number on a non functioning piece of crap maybe but not a working computer.

    Name one other company that has brought a single piece of innovation to the world outside of apple in the last five years. UI tweaks to Android don’t count and neither does a beta set of eyewear that is basically useless.

    1. Well said.

      So it begs the question, why is Apple held to such ridiculously high standards for innovation while the rest of the copycat pack gets a pass?

      Because they are the big dog and corporate envy, media cluelessness, analysts self interests and Wall Street money madness miss the mark.

  5. Personally I feel that Phil’s comment made him look like an ass.
    It was undignified and petty. They should all be acting like Steve can come in at any minute and tell them their crap SUCKS. They should feel real pressure and start performing. OSX 10.8.4 breaking LLDB compiler, while XCODE 4.6.2 claiming it was improved is the kind of attention deficit that has been plaguing Apple since Steve got ill. It is time to start asking “what would Steve do?”. He would not settle for the “less” that has been Apple lately. PERIOD.

    1. I’m so glad you’re not running Apple. What was the one thing Steve Jobs wanted people not to do when he was gone? Ask “what would Steve do?”, that’s what.

      1. Phil is known to have this type of attitude, and honestly its very well needed. It evokes real energy and expresses true passion – and it is in the spirit (though a different flavour) “rebellious” like Steve.

        Apple produced a Mac Pro (it took a while) but its completely radical, a mini tower (with engineering reminiscent of Mac mini) packed with extreme potential ‘kick-ass” power (making Phil comment far more suitable), that combined with power user joyful additions to Maverick; i hope the pro-level Apple users will embrace the Jet Engine to the exponential power of 4. Price will be the factor, yet, if set right, many might flock to the Black Tubular Beauty. Finally Tim does show use some mind blow-away product.

      2. Steve asked his company NOT to think like him…
        not to wonder, “hey, what would Steve do”, yet you mention you are glad hgeil isn’t running Apple.

        Moronic post because Phils comment, ‘Can’t innovate anymore, my ass,’ was a youthful, cocky, arrogant statement not out of character of himself… and not out of character of Steve either. I don’t think, Phil, for one second even though ‘what Steve would have done’ – he just was acted like Phil.

    2. No you are wrong. Phil was just the right guy in the org to say that and it SHOULD have been said. It let everyone know they are sensitive to the criticisms and are aware of it and are most actively working on changing that perception, made by the disingenuous and clueless. But something harmful to let slide and not react to.

    3. Didn’t mean to ruffle feathers… wow.
      Phil does not need to stoop to address the pundits claiming Apple cannot innovate. Cocky? Sure, but I happen to agree with Han Solo on not being cocky. It is truly bad form. If the Mac Pro, and Mavericks are truly great, they will stand on their own, if not, then Phil’s comment will be bad for him methinks. That is all I was saying.

      1. ofc you are forgiven – its your opinion
        and you dont need to be a lemming Apple Fan
        also – you make a good defence, no need for Phil to be rude.
        after all, he was amongst loyal Apple people

  6. Amazing isn’t it Apple is producing (or not if you prefer) new product sectors at the same rate as ever but liars are intent on claiming otherwise. Secondly you can’t just invent new product opportunities out of the air they have to be perceived or present themselves and then you have to work hard to make that opportunity work. Such opportunities can be few and far between and become more difficult the more you enter. Also after 3 such (ridiculed at the time remember) entrances the opposition is more intent on spying out and /or guessing their moves so it is more difficult to do what they have done before. What great product/sector changing products have the opposition produced in the meantime, yet they get no such expectation. What Apple cant do is what they tend to do and take a scatter gun approach hoping that something sticks. Apple would unlike those others be slaughtered for doing that too, best to wait manage expectations keep producing those best in class products and as and when an opportunity arises and hopefully unexpectedly (if only the timing) launch the next big thing. Doing so for the sake of hacks and analysts would be the worst approach and something Apple has never done.

    1. That’s simply not true. Apple competes in very few niches of the computing market. And hasn’t been first to market with any breakthrough in a long, long time. That doesn’t mean Apple doesn’t produce some of the finest devices available, but the alternatives are many, and Apple has NOT been fending them all off.

      Apple is MIA on the enterprise front. There is no family of iPhones — Samsung and others offer dozens of models to suit all tastes and budgets around the world. Apple has only a few lines of computers, including HUGE gaps between the Mac Mini and the Mac Pro. It dropped 17″ laptops for some unknown reason. Apple TV remains “a hobby” and therefore offers surprisingly limited functionality compared to the diverse array of accessory boxes and consoles available and recently announced by the competition.

      The criticism that Apple doesn’t innovate has nothing to do with the many small innovations that Apple releases all the time — it is an overblown complaint that Apple has been expected to break new ground regularly, and those expectations have not been met. Can you name a truly market-creating Apple device since the revolutionary iPhone? Apple has been offering incremental innovation since then.

      We can fairly say that the Mac Pro performance will be worth the wait, and perhaps some will consider the re-packaging to be innovative, however, it does piss off many users that once again they will have to buy all new adapters and docks to tap into the power of the new machine. We’re not going to throw away our peripherals — none of which are Thunderbolt — in order to hook up to a machine that has practically no legacy connectivity in common with the prior model. Call that innovation if you want, i call it a questionable marketing move that hinders potential sales. Apple desperately needs a mid-size expandable tower with some “old tech” — that would be the kind of “innovation” that would attract whole new markets of customers.

      As for anything else offered in WWDC 2013: strong evolutionary steps; nothing truly revolutionary.

      All that said, it is shallow investors who listen to whiners instead of analyzing the fundamentals that are to blame for lagging AAPL value. Revolutionary products aren’t necessarily good or profitable. Apple’s relative slowdown on new market innovation has not been accompanied by a slide in hardware quality or lagging sales. Punishment of AAPL stock seems to be a reflection that Samsung’s growth is much faster and Apple doesn’t serve much of the planet where future economic growth is anticipated to be. As always, Wall Street doesn’t care how good or profitable you are today, they want to take as much money from your future growth as possible. To those greedy bastards, Apple isn’t growing its product lines and global presence fast enough.

      1. “since the revolutionary iPhone? Apple has been offering incremental innovation since then”

        I like to call that type of work, REFINEMENTS, ADJUSTMENTS or IMPROVEMENTS to products already existing rather than innovations.

        But what do we call it when… iOS 7 becomes Android.

        First, iOS7 is generally a refreshed skin, to play catch up to the competition. And many of the new IMPROVEMENTS remind the other side, of Android. Its good to see iOS 7 evolve. Competition is good, after all, that’s how industry boundaries are pushed further. Cough, coined or copied. So is it’s Apples turn?

        Apple finally adds this ‘gesture up’ – a flick, from any app to access settings. Called ‘Control Centre’, Android had this for quite some time.

        Apple just introduced this ‘gesture down’ – a flick down to access notifications from the lock screen. Tabbed info sectioned into today, all and missed. Yet another first seen from Android though Android can provide a complete summary in one window.

        Apple improves Safari with tab views of opened webpages. The new 3D view and tabs has long been part of Chrome.

        Apple improves on its mutli-tasking, showing full previews in a horizontal scroll with each app running. Very much like the disliked HTC sense 4. Not to forget, the innovating portion is Apples multi-tasking learns the behaviours of it user.

        Apple exposes a Pandora like iTunes Radio. Not a game changer, but direct response to Googles Music, and noticeability both interfaces are similar UIs – white though Apples is full of advertising and purchase buttons.

        Mail, Apples’ clone to the popular Maibox app. New features have been added which further absorb the complete gestures from Mailbox. Yet, what to expect, Apple does that to its 3rd party developers a lot. Besides, Gmail had swipe to archive or delete a few years ago.

        Calendars from Apple in iOS7 gets updated, funny only a couple of weeks ago Googles calendar was updated before Apple. Similarities, are not too unalike, white simplicity, goes beyond with similar circular colour picker and date chooser.

        Now also, iOS7 adds plenty of Navigation drawers, sliding panels in apps like Mail and iMessenger, that Apple made note its new to app development. Uhmmm, no, Android had it before you and Blackberry too.

        Parallax motion to wallpapers is new to iOS7, however this somewhat equals live wallpaper in Android. Yet another inspiration.

        Auto-app update bring relief to iOS users, it just works – finally lol, something taken for granted on Android.

        iOS7 gears up for the auto industry, Bing becomes the new search default, and Siri too accesses Bing too. Alright, well, point taken Android still prefers Google search.

        Apparently iOS will gain Notifications syncing across devices, Hangouts was only introduced the other day and this type of sync will occur on other apps in Android soon.

        Send to phone, cool iOS7 lets you send information from Maps or Calendar on to your phone. Android requires no press or send, all things are automatically available across devices as it should.

        Apple brings Maps from iOS6, the big goof up, now Maps arrives in OSX – oh darn, Android was the topic, well again, let me just say, http://www.google.com/maps 🙂

        AirDrop is truly one interesting addition to iOS7. Send practically anything to any other iOS7 device near by. Very cool. And no need to bump devices like Android users – go figure? Still, Samsung had WiFi Direct years ago and no need for bumping.

        And last, the lock screen. Scary how the choice of the slim font, the use of circular tones of purples and blues decorated in bubbles, white text showing the date and time and the new minimalistic slide to unlock looks so so so much like Android.

        So, iOS7 has truly raised its bar to a new level where most Android users have grown to be accustomed to. And Jony Ives, designer extraordinary claims iOS7 is a new beginning… the beginning of Apple to copy and follow.

    1. I am looking for a TV. It looks like the samsung is one of the best. But I will endeavor to never buy any samsung products because they are out and out thieves. Since our government won’t do anything about it, I will just do what little I can.

      1. ACtually VIZIO Is less then half the price of most samsung tvs. I have had 2 vizios now and love them. Samsung makes a few relaly nice looking tvs. The ones with little edge to them and thats cool but im not paying 2000 more just to have that when my VIZIO works just fine.
        They are an American company too. However almost nothing they make is actually made here. FOr that i Applaud Apple for making the Mac Pro here.

        IF we would make all our products here just think of the economic boost it would have on the US. So many new jobs. If we would quit giving all our money to the Chinese.

    2. No Samsung here. Bought beautiful 60″ Sharp. Great TV, Great Screen. BTW was better priced than Samdung.

      I’m done with Korean products period. I can’t control what’s inside products I buy, (chips in cars for example), but will not consider large Korean company products, Hyundai / Kia. Fact is, I don’t give people who support those conglomerate beheamoths any breaks either.

    3. I do not own any Samsung TVs. I spit on them. The guy who cuts my hair was afraid to mention to me that he got one for his birthday. I let everyone I know know how I feel about Samsung’s thievery in the hopes that it may help to dissuade one other consumer from buying a Samsung product, or at least consider something from a competitor. I currently have only Sony TVs. When I buy anything I am not looking for the cheapest, I am looking for the best value.

      1. I have two as well. They are fine but their media center option is great. put any movie in any format on any USB flash drive and plug it in. Very simple menus have you watching the movie you downloaded or video you shot or pictures or music in seconds.. It made my Apple TV obsolete in one try. You can surf the web YouTube etc as well. I only wish I could do the same with an iPad. But no USB. And only frustrating iTunes to play does ios7 have cursor control or am I still using the stupid magnifying glass thing ? Ohhh

  7. To be fair, several billions of dollars in damages ARE “consequences” The legal system is focused on trying to make victims financially whole, not on expressing moral outrage, no matter how justified. It isn’t the trial judge’s fault that the pretrial and appeals processes take so long. That would be down to the President and Congress for not creating, appointing, and confirming enough Federal judgeships.

  8. 300 iCloud accounts in just a couple of years is hardly faltering. Granted it’s far from perfected, but what it does do is to provide the glue that binds the eco system together. This gives Apple a competitive edge, also iWorks in iCloud (which has been largely overlooked) could potentially draw more and more Windows users into the Apple eco system and as a consequence drive more sales of iPhones and iPads.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.