What the heck is happening at Apple?

“Yes, Apple has a problem — a problem most other companies would love to have: customers like the products too much so the market is becoming saturated,” Robert X. Cringely writes for I, Cringely. “All Apple needs is a new product category, right? Another iMac, iPod, iPhone, iPad will do nicely. Where is it?”

“It isn’t anywhere and in that sense Apple has lost its mojo,” Cringely writes. “Apple, whether it admits so or not, has to live with the memory of Steve Jobs.”

“And so Apple is both paralyzed and isolated. These two characteristics have to be considered together to understand where the company stands. While I doubt that Apple is out of good ideas I also don’t doubt that the company is close to incapable of seriously committing to any of the ones it has,” Cringely writes. “The basic problem here is that Apple insists on “thinking different” when in fact there’s not much real thinking happening there at all — just waiting for something to percolate. And when it percolates, that something still has to not only be different, it can’t put a hurt on Apple’s sacrosanct margins, which means almost no new ideas qualify no matter how well they have been perked.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Oh, puleeze.

Bob then goes on to recommend that Apple buy up all the writers in Hollywood by inking a deal with the Writers Guild or something.

The price Apple pays for secrecy is almost too high at times.

SEE ALSO:
Analysts: Evidence of innovation and upside in Apple’s 10Q filing – October 27, 2016
Analysts: Apple’s innovation will pay off… eventually – October 26, 2016
Apple CEO Cook: We’re innovating like crazy – July 27, 2016
Apple’s massive R&D expenditure indicates myriad projects in the pipeline – April 27, 2016

36 Comments

  1. Apple hasn’t lost its mojo, they’re bogged down by a lazy, greedy, abjectly incompetent leader.

    Cook has to make up for his lack of innovation and lack of competency by being the greediest CEO in America, in order to pad the coffers with money. That’s because Apple’s reputation is suffering and its effecting the market value because many are put off by the riduculously crippled and outrageously priced products that Cook is spewing out.

    The new iPhone and Macbook Pro are perfect examples of this. Two of the lastest Apple devices that surprisingly can’t physically be connected by the user without purchasing unnecessary and pricey adapters from greedy Cook.

    I’ve been telling MDN for years how Cook stole billions from Apple consumers by prematurely killing the 30-pin connecter… and everyone laughed at me. Turns out it worked so well for Cook that now he has decided to make it impossible to use an Apple product without an expensive adapter already factored into the purchase price… BY DESIGN!

    1. And people are *still* laughing at you, anonymous troll. You have been an idiot for years, as demonstrated by your own post. People like you still put VGA ports on computers because of that pricey and unnecessary HDMI connector.

      You are an idiot…BY DESIGN!

  2. This is truly sad. Truly.

    You can sell an item for less and make more, a whole lot more.

    So, now we transition to the downside of the business cycle. Layoffs coming soon to an Apple near you.

    MAN!

    1. Oh so so wrong…

      Apple does not lay off people due to hard times. Steve Jobs was very clear that one of the main reasons for the cash hoard was to be able to retain valued employees and continue to invest heavily in new products during a downturn. While the competition would struggle and lay off their valued employees, Apple would be free to pilfer the best and the brightest. And when the economy became strong again Apple would be in position to take advantage of the competitions weakness.

  3. I will refrain from name calling. I will just point out facts.

    There are things which have no logical explanation. And I want to highlight the clearest example of this:

    MagSafe.

    MagSafe was a great solution for a huge problem: Cable tripping. Man, when it was released, it was so simple but so genius. It was a great example of what industrial design is supposed to be. A solution to a problem. And Apple built an awesome solution.

    And now, they brought (excuse me, FORCED) the problem back to us. What changed? Suddenly people don’t trip with cables anymore? WHY provide a great solution to a real problem and then remove the solution with no actual explanation or logical reason? That is a step back. That is the bizarro of good industrial design.

    I made my case with the headphone jack before. The new way provides NO improvement over the old jack. They didn’t even remove it. They replaced it with a dongle! Again, industrial design at its worse!

    Those are examples of wrong decisions within Apple. The magic is gone. Just as the human body, becoming thinner for the sake of health is good. Becoming thinner for the sake of being thinner is a disease.

    In fact, professional users and developers can do with a fatter Mac. I bought a MacBook Pro (2012) back then for the fact of expandability and power. It’s heavier and bigger than a MacBook Air, but as a Developer and Pro User, I want my laptop to be powerful enough to handle the work and portable enough to move it once in a while.

    For mobility and casual computing, I have my iPad.

    So, how about desktop users? Developers? Power Users?

    How about the CREATIVE bunch, the crazy ones, to whom Apple built computers for? The ones building those applications that make your consumer gadgets sell?

    Yes, we need computers too. And computers taylored for our needs.

    And at this point, I’m tempted to make my next computer a powerful Linux box, and I would, shouldn’t be because of XCode and iOS development.

    But, we don’t need bullshit innovation. We don’t need the “expensive computer” label anymore. We don’t need the Mac to be a luxury article.

    We need the Mac in the hands of the masses, to encourage people to CREATE stuff, not just consume it.

    There can be users if there are no developers.

    If developers can produce decent content for users, users will seek alternatives.

    And whether we like it or not, Microsoft is doing nice things under Nadella. Nadella is not Ballmer. He’s a bright guy, less dogmatic and more open. So far, he’s demonstrating he’s a good CEO.

    And as much as I dislike Ballmer, and made fun of his videos, in retrospective, he got something right: A big part of a platforn success is: Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers.

    We developers received a big, ugly, fat finger from Apple in this last presentation.

    1. You are a developer and you are telling us there is no difference between an analog audio port and a digital one?

      You are a developer and you are telling us that the new macbook is not sufficient for developpers? What type of lifting are you doing? Mainframe stuff? Quantic calculation?

      You are telling us there is less developers in the Apple boat? In fact there is more and more every weeks.

      It is good to, sometime, take a step back, look at the entire picture and take the time to reflect and compare… I think your time is now…

      I sure would show you my fat middle finger but you deserve some education before…

      BTW, you sould leave and develop for MS… Where futur is so bright it blinds people.

      1. Your post comes over as ignorant and obnoxious. I will reply with an objective assessment anyway hoping your emotions simply got the better of you:

        I am a developer and I don’t like waiting for my computer to complete tasks for minutes and hours. Lots of tasks these days involve lots of data, and that requires RAM and processing speeds or I lose time and money.

        The entire computing world knows this which is why GPU computing has become mainstream for non-gaming tasks (not to mention gaming).

        But:

        – Apple ships no Mac capable of using the highest speed GPUs. Not a MacBook Pro, not a Mac Pro.

        – Apple sacrificed high RAM options for thinness in new MacBook Pros. Their excuse comes down to the fact that they didn’t want to go with a heavier MacBook that could use chip sets and batter impact of more than 16 GB RAM.

        – Apple offers no Macs of any kind that support CUDA which is the standard for GPU computing because nVidia has pioneered that and continues to do an outstanding job while others follow them.

        So I am a pro user, developer, who needs to upgrade to a new MacBook Pro and Mac Pro (BOTH!) but Apple literally offers nothing that will work in either category.

        Apple seems to be designing all its machines for the thin/mobile category, even the ones that were previously designed for creative people to get work done. The word “Pro” does not mean Pro at apple anymore.

        Do not mistake what I am saying. The new MacBook Pro’s are nice machines. The Mac Pro was a nice machine when introduced. But they are not “Pro” anymore. That has just become another model label for small, thin, light, underpowered, but very ergonomic. Great machines, just way behind the industry on performance.

      2. I’m a developer, and I can tell you nothing so far indicates the digital connector makes any difference to the quality of sound we are getting through our headphones.

        I’m a developer and yes, I’m telling you the new MacBook doesn’t cut it. Yes, I do pretty heavy lifting. I run server class software in my laptop. I got a Mac because I wanted a Unix workstation, and the Mac is (or was) the best Unix portable workstation available. And yes, I use the Terminal a lot, where the ESC key is very important.

        Yes, the world needs more than Flappy Birds to function.

        And BTW, I’ve been Microsoft free since 1998. I will remain developing in Unix and Linux environments.

        Once again: Any nifty gadget is NOTHING without the software we developers produce. Remove our tools, and your gadget will be as good as paperweights. If Apple don’t produce products for developers, we will move to other platforms. And by doing that, the value of Apple will decrease.

        Is it soo hard so see?

    2. Excellent post, I want a return to beautiful elegant solutions to problems, not just change for the sake of it. And yes, we want Macs for the masses, not just the wealthy, I despair at the crazy MacBook Pro prices.

    3. Grifters, you need to take a step back and think about the MagSafe issue for a minute. Apple has been pushing towards industry standard implementations for quite a while now – no more NuBus or ADB, for example.

      When you use a separate charging port, then Apple can do its own thing. But, when you combine charging and data ports, Apple has to use industry standard implementations. You will see MagSafe technology on USB-C and other connectors when Apple is able (or willing) to get that technology adopted into the standards and licensed. Until then, it can only be provided as a dongle unless you want to go back to the days when your choices of peripherals was very limited.

      My advice…stick to software.

    4. AAPL will be the FIRST to market with a viable real world wireless charging solution. I.e. It will be unnecessary to “plug In” your MacBook to charge it. Ponder that scenario.

      1. That would be awesome. But some facts remain…

        1. Would it be as fast as charging using a wired power supply?

        2. Would the charge/consumption ratio be acceptable?

        Once we achieve that, we can go that way. Remember, a cell phone uses way less power than a power computer. Being in a state of “don’t turn on your computer, it’s charging” would be a nightmare.

        But sure, let’s hope we can get there.

    5. MagSafe was invented by Apple, not because of tripping on cords. It was invented to make the cable proprietary, to maximize money from accessories. The adapters have hard wired cables so that if the wire gets nicked or kinked, you end up paying not only for the wire, but for all the electronics all over again. The new cables are better. It’s relatively cheap to replace the cable since you can keep using the electronics. I will not miss MagSafe which NEVER rescued my Mac from a fall, but did come off too easily.

      1. As an owner of a rascal beagle, I can tell you how many times I’ve been grateful for MagSafe.

        BTW, I’ve repaired 2 MagSafe adaptors… It’s not realy that much of a deal.

        Not like current cables, like Lightning ones, which, indeed, have a lot of electronics inside.

  4. Like if every single year, a cutting edge product would see the light…?

    Tell me what’s next in tech..? Nobody knows for sure. Apple is in the same fuck**g basket as everyone else.

    Difference is they have the best portfolio of products and they have loads of patents ready to mature.

    It is now fashion to just shiat on Apple on every release.

    I am a power user, And what Apple did with the MacBook pro is awesome. A portable powerhouse with only 1 port type. In a couple of month, everybody will start to understand. By then, my adapter pouch will have vanish.

  5. Why don’t you all run for the BOD? I’m sure all your insights would really be appreciated and AAPL stock holders would jump at the chance to replace some of those current idiots with some brilliant business-oriented thinkers like you.

  6. $10B spent “percolating” is an awful lot of money.

    Apple is working on plenty. They just have learned not to release anything half-baked like they did with Maps.

    Healthkit and Homekit are entirely new product categories. They are revolutionary in their own right.

  7. There are still billions of people out there without iPhones. It doesn’t mean you have to go mega cheap, but Apple is defacto ceding massive markets to Samsung and Chinese knockoffs. Here in Poland the iPhone is very popular among a narrow group of people that can afford it. Coupled with EU taxes its actually more expensive here (a country with average incomes of $12k per year) than in the US. A 16gb SE costs $565. That’s just not very appealing. A $300-400 option would be a great move for Apple.

  8. He is right in what he says about margins being anchor round their neck mind, it’s something I have been complicating of late. Problem is they can’t reduce the high margins that for so long was a bonus of their high end status yet various competitors have finally started to close the gap on looks, quality and technical prowess, but at a lower price because no one expects them to have the same margins. That might mean they make little money as compared to Apple, but if that perceived competitiveness, and God forbid in some cases, even an element of coolness, gets mindshare, then along with Apple’s own conservativeness of late and seeming lack of purpose and focus trumpeted on by the press, then there are serious concerns about a return to growth. Equally worrying is that allied to this greater competitiveness, both Google and Microsoft, (potentially Amazon too) are making big and increasing profits on some or all of web services, software and the cloud which effectively means they can cross subsidise (even at break even) their devices and attack Apple head on. Sadly Apple has taken far too long to commit to such potential money earners itself, though thankfully has done enough to at least offset much of their decline in sales elsewhere. But simply refining and upping prices to maintain short term profits, is no sustainable future, there needs to be inspiration, while all we see recently is slower upgrades of products (in particular the Mac) one presumes to save on costs, because hey a year or do back all looked hunky dory on sales. How short sighted is that.

    Clearly it’s services which will have to fuel future growth but equally those services that need to expand quicker still are reliant on the devices. So they need to 1) expand those services quick enough to not only cover falling device profits and retain confidence in the eyes of market perception they actually need to ideally use it like others to allow them to reduce margins on devices and keep those sales expanding or at least stay steady in that situated market in the face of serious completion. And 2) need that new product/ innovation to take hold and expand device profits directly or indirectly to keep or renew momentum. Sadly at present even their existing devices are getting the minimum creative input, certainly as perceived by much of the outside world, it looks like the concern is to do the minimum so as to maintain profits based on slowing sales, something one associates with Balmers Microsoft. So Sadly Cringely on this occasion has some logic to his points. Apple has to seriously during 2017 sort out its focus or at least demonstrate it because there is little sign at present that it is seeing the puck let alone where it is going and this defensive strategy from Cook will only hide the fault lines for do long. There seems to be little understanding of the bigger picture at present

    1. Apple cannot let its gross profit margin significantly decline or its profits will significantly decline. Look at the ruckus with 38% following a blow out year with 39.9%.

      If you want to see AAPL tank, then go after the low margin volume segment of the market. After all, it has worked so well for everyone else…not!

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