With another Apple failure, it’s time to forget about hardware

“Last week we didn’t see Apple’s thinnest products ever, but its thinnest event ever,” Tom Goodwin writes for TechCrunch. “From a company obsessed with reductivism, we saw an event with little actual news and zero unexpected surprises — just simple linear iterations of devices we’ve seen countless time before.”

“And for a company that defined conventional marketing, we saw a lot of tricks like line filling and lifecycle marketing that used to only be used by lesser companies,” Goodwin writes. “Instead, we now have 77 SKU’s of iPad to chase ever dwindling sales.”

“Maybe the lesson is this: we shouldn’t be focusing on hardware anymore. Perhaps instead we need to focus on what happens when hardware and software come together,” Goodwin writes. “Traditionally, this is where Apple succeeded. Developing software and hardware together made Apple products ‘just work.'”

“Everything was simple, reliable, and easy. Yet from a totally nonsensical product like iTunes, to the unchangingly disastrous Apple Maps, to the bugs of botched iOS updates, to the clearly unfinished Apple TV software, that’s clearly no longer the case,” Goodwin writes. “In fact, it’s the failures of the Apple TV that shine a light into the future of products as a combination of hardware, software, and partnerships.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: And, after a detour fighting against U.S. government overreach, back we go, to the same old post-Steve issue about which we’ve been talking for years now: Attention to detail or lack thereof and accountability.

We are longtime Mac users. From Apple products and services we expect and demand excellence at the very least (excellence, not perfection). In fact, it was Apple themselves, under Steve Jobs, who conditioned us to expect the excellence of Apple-level quality. That is what we pay for. When it does not exist, we will complain vociferously.

Furthermore, something along the lines of Amazon Echo is what Apple should have done if run by competent, forward-thinking management. When Apple finally does do their version of Amazon Echo (and they will get around to doing such a product eventually) they will rightly be called a follower. The company had all of the ingredients to make their own Echo, before Amazon, except for the vision, it seems.

It’s one thing to be a social justice crusader, it’s quite another to be a visionary tech CEO. Tim Cook seems drawn to the former while, still, the jury remains out regarding the latter. Still, even a mere caretaker CEO should be capable of demanding excellence from his employees – or else.

Are those responsible for such things as botched iOS updates that brick devices or an Apple TV release where a “beta” tag would have been exceedingly generous being held accountable? Or are they just getting more and more RSUs, regardless of their failures to satisfactorily perform their jobs?

Can Apple get things back under control? – March 29, 2016
Open letter to Tim Cook: Apple needs to do better – January 5, 2015


  1. Thinnest event ever? Thinner than the iPod Hi-Fi event Steve Jobs held in the same auditorium on the Apple Campus? Remember that? Apparently not. Nobody remembers thin events, product flops and buggy software that happened under Steve Jobs’ reign. Under Steve Jobs every event was a major new product release, every new product was an instant runaway smash hit, and all OS and software releases were bug-free on the first try. Always. Right?

    1. No intelligent person would have expected a major product announcement to be made in such a small venue.

      What we saw was entirely as expected and the scale of the presentation was entirely appropriate too. Both the iPhone SE and the 9.7″ iPad pro were incremental, but significant developments of what was already available. Basically, both of them were existing products repackaged in a smaller form factor to address a different sector of the market.

      The products announced warranted more than an on-line press release, but didn’t warrant a full-on Yerba Buena big production.

  2. A particularly tough and straightforward Take by MDN.

    The examples mentioned are clearly just examples that point to a more pervasive issue over the past few years. For one to blame Cook for the issues may be shortsighted. Sure, he’s the CEO. But do we really expect ever CEO to be a Jobsian visionary? So the question would be…who with that vision is actually out there should TC be replaced? That’s the tough question.

    While I think Cook has done a good job, for Apple, good may not be good enough. But again, who else could provide vision beyond 99% of other run-of-the-mill CEOs?

    Apple is made of many others at top levels. They, too, can bring vision and a renewed emphasis on quality, on getting it right. So Cook is not alone. Where are the others at Apple? Has vision lost an open field for being brought to light?

    What is going on there.

    Still, having said all that, Apple is still the best out there. We’ve just come to expect something beyond the best.

    Well done, MDN.

    1. Gedankenexperiment:

      Replace Tim Cook. Do supply chain logistics and security improve, or degrade? Remember they are key to delivery of massive shipments on short time scales.

      Suppose they stay the same. Is that a result of Cook’s ineptitude, or of his canny appointments?

      Do Tim Cook’s environmental and social policies deviate from those of the esteemed Steve Jobs? (Pretending for a moment he was esteemed non-posthumously. Feared and mocked, perhaps, but not that esteemed, I’d venture to say. When he died the vitriol was acidic.)

      Suppose Tim Cook bows out and Steve Jobs’ acolyte Scott Forstall, a genius in his own right, returns to take the helm, with the concomitant departure of his archenemy Jonathan Ive. Las Vegas is calculating the odds that he would take the same amount of flak as Tim Cook. Without Ive, iPhones would come to resemble Soviet walkie-talkies, but at least they would have a battery life of three years.

  3. Thanks for reminding me why I stopped regularly visiting this website for Apple-related news.

    I truly don’t understand MDN’s persistent antipathy for Tim Cook, which doesn’t seem to have changed appreciably in the years I’ve been away. Unconvincing examples (such as the Amazon Echo, of all things), lead me to believe that these rationalizations are little more than convoluted window-dressing to cover a “No Steve, No Apple” mindset.

    Honestly, if you’re not going to be happy with Steve’s hand-picked successor, then who are you going to be happy with?

    1. I had kind of an idea about that, please see my comment just before yours.

      Welcome back. In any crowded street one can encounter blowhards, panhandlers or dunderheads but also rich human connexions. MDN isn’t headmaster, only traffic controller.

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