Apple is misplaying the hand Steve Jobs left them

“Apple is misplaying the hand Steve Jobs left them, making themselves vulnerable to competition for the first time since iPod,” Chrys Bader writes for TechCrunch. “The company has always been at least one step ahead of the competition in hardware advancements and software experience. We were more willing to tolerate buying new adapters for their Apple devices because the upside was worth it. This year, they doubled down on the ‘f*ck you’ playbook instead of making major leaps in technology to bolster the position that allowed them to use the playbook in the first place. Now, they’re making power moves from a weak position.”

“It used to be that to switch to Android or Windows, you’d have to give up functionality, user experience and access to the latest and greatest apps. The switching cost to move to a competitor was very high,” Bader writes. “In 2016, Android phones have surpassed iPhone with higher-resolution displays, better cameras, cloud features, waterproofing and early VR/AR — reducing the switching cost to Android.”

“Apple Watch, the first product launch without Steve, was also the first not to move the needle. Since then, Apple events have become less exciting and more incremental, filled with unprecedentedly long and boring software demonstrations and underwhelming technology like TouchBar, HomeKit and HealthKit. Apple TV isn’t even 4K yet, while Roku is. Siri, which was first-to-market, has fallen behind Google Home and Amazon Alexa,” Bader writes. “There has also been speculation that Jony Ive is checked out and there’s going to be a big shake-up at the company. These are clear signs of leadership and organizational issues… To make a comeback, Apple needs a visionary CEO.

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: This article is overwrought and, in places confused (lamenting iPhone market share while ignoring that iPhone takes 106% of smartphone profits, for one example). That said, while we wait for the visionary CEO, it’d be nice to at least have a caretaker CEO who can manage to have up-to-date wares from all product families on the shelves that delighted customers want to buy.

As we just wrote half an hour ago: “If the Apple Watch, from launch to today, doesn’t starkly illustrate an Apple without Steve Jobs at the helm, nothing does – well, except for the Maps debacle, “Mac Genius” ads, iMacs missing Christmas 2012, rudderless Apple TV, pervasive Mac malaise, Apple Music and iTunes UI disasters, Siri Remote “design,” no new iPads for Christmas, MIA AirPods, etc., etc., etc. Forget about the Vision Thing™ with Tim Cook, we’re not even seeing the Operations Genius™ thing.”

SEE ALSO:
UBS analyst explains why he questioned if Apple CEO Tim Cook has a grand strategy – November 30, 2016
Steve Jobs, Tim Cook, and Apple’s monster hits – November 25, 2016
Apple CEO Tim Cook still hasn’t introduced a mega-hit and investors are growing impatient – November 23, 2016

54 Comments

  1. While we wait for the visionary CEO, it’d be nice to at least have a caretaker CEO who cares more about having up-to-date wares on the shelves than about being a social justice warrior.

    There, FTFY.

    1. There is nothing wrong with pushing social justice, and there is no evidence this is the problem.

      There is strong evidence that Apple has out grown its ability to operate with a completely functional organizational structure. At some point, you can’t have the whole organization always focused on the newest thing and still doing a good job incrementally updating other products. Somebody needs to be permanently responsible for regular product refreshes of things that are not iPhones.

      I think abandoning screens and wifi routers is a bad sign that they are choosing to remain over-focused on iOS products and don’t see the benefits of other hardware filling out their ecosystem – even though customers certainly do.

      Also, I wish Jony Ive placed more emphasis with fulfilling the purpose of each device (such as Pro devices) before making them look good.

        1. That is an utterly ridiculous statement! Many people support a variety of social justice issues if not taken to extremes, of course. And it is crazy to equate that support to religious zealotry, especially when active participation in institutions of organized religion has been on the decline for a number of years.

          I have no involvement with organized religion at all, but I support well-reasoned social justice initiatives. Your ignorant hyperbole invites derision.

        2. I don’t follow your logic, Nick. Justice and religion are two completely separate ideas. Justice pertains to affairs of man, and religion is essentially primitive man’s simplistic way of explaining phenomena that are yet unknown, to herd tribes into unified thought, or to comfort a human into believing that what he does today matters in the future.

          Why don’t you believe, as the founders of the USA believed, that social justice is a goal worth fighting for?

    1. The problem is not about whether Apple has new things for us in the future. We all have faith that they are working on that.

      The problem is when they drop the ball on many existing products, year after year.

      1. nevermark, could not have said it better. Such sayings as “We Love the Mac” and “Stay Tuned” don’t work for me anymore. Yes, come out with a new laptop and wait until sometime next year or longer to get a little more in the way of Mac hardware is getting old. Take a look at this site as well as the other Apple sites and you hear the same thing. But in the end, it makes no difference, no one seems to be listening that could really do something about it. The Mac people are in the back wash now in Tim’s eyes. My expectations of Apple when it comes to computers is diminishing greatly. I don’t like it but what can one do. It still has the best operating system and so I’m stuck with the hardware for right now. But nothing stays the same for long.

  2. Cook should’ve been fired 5-years ago. By then his incompetency was already quite evident.

    Now Apple is in dire straits and this incompetent is aiming the Apple craft straight into the ground!

    1. Tim, you are correct. But, I wonder if you care, or realize what’s happening to the company “gifted” to you by Jobs/Waz? You seem happy & satisfied with Apple Pay increasing, iPh holding 100+ percent of phone profits and the introduction of a more rigorous project (RED) involvement, amongst other “advances,” Don’t get me wrong, they are very good things, but not entirely business-satisfying. To me Tim, I get the uncomfortable sense that more of these ancillary projects are ahead, but before long, you will notice that Apple will look like an old town that didn’t have their eye on where the puck was going, and residents have left and you, as “mayor,” will face a daunting, or impossible regrouping. B/c of your history of mis-timing critical product releases, meek product innovations and devoting a disconcerting amount of time to personal cultural/political concerns, confidence is waning that you’ll be able to rectify the problems at hand. Sincerely, Rational Fanboi Stockholder

      1. Agree as a shareholder as well.. this is why I want him removed from my favorite company in the world. I am pissed off year over year watching his decision making and failures while the stock reflects it. It’s like the guy is not even paying attention to the JOB that he has… run the biggest company in the world. No reason why hardware refreshes should have not happened by now. Missing Christmas 2012. This Christmas failure on EarPods. iPhone inventory issues, after years of analytic data to understand manufacturing. There’s so much he has failed at, that it’s foolish to let him maintain CEO status. The company needs fresh energy and focus.
        This is why I want him removed. I understand what a CEO’s job is, I am a CEO for 14 different corporations and all of them are producing and doing well. It’s not that difficult. You need vision and understand how to utilize the talent around you and stay focused. Tim Cook is NOT focused.
        please sign this so the b.o.d. can see investors are NOT happy at all with his scorecard.
        https://www.change.org/p/apple-board-of-directors-remove-tim-cook-as-ceo-of-apple

  3. Has anyone at Apple had the foresight to picture the interior of the new Apple Spaceship littered with – as far as the ye can see – black plastic LG displays on top of all of the employees’ desks? Steve Jobs would roll over in his grave. This is why you have to look at things from a much broader perspective than bottom line. What delights? For the first time ever, I’m getting very concerned about Apple. You can only wait and see for so long.

  4. “We have exciting things in the pipeline.” – T.Cook 2012
    “We have exciting things in the pipeline.” – T. Cook 2013
    “We have exciting things in the pipeline.” – T. Cook 2014
    “We have exciting things in the pipeline. ”- T. Cook 2015
    “We have exciting things in the pipeline.” – T. Cook 2016
    “We have things in the pipeline.” – T. Cook 2017
    “We have a pipeline.” – T. Cook 2018
    “Anyone wanna buy a spaceship?” – T. Cook 2019

    1. Awesome – Adlib, your comments are spot on – I’ve been selling my shares on any strength, unfortunately I hold a lot, the products are still my favourite – but the stock is an absolute dog – ruff ruff !! Happy Holidays everyone !!

    2. I’m become more confident at each instance of Tim”s mention of “pipeline” that his definition of the word is not what’s commonly accepted, the pipeline is full of absolutely miraculous things, or he’s deluded and or passing on marketing papp.

  5. A case can be made. A truly good case about post Steve Apple, this this one is not it.

    Just someone still crying for attention after no one (real consumers) gave a F about the lack of 3.5 connectors and old USB connections. It read like a plea to be listened to, to take the tech echo-chamber seriously.

    No one takes the tech sector echo-chamber seriously. The Verge’s Nily Patel cried that removal of the 3.5 connection was a crime against humanity in one of his drunken posts. These types of articles are always about a tech blogger thinking he/she matters. Where the truth is anyone’s opinion is as good or better than theirs . And they hate that!

  6. Steve Jobs coined the phrase PostPC before anyone. Because everyone else depended on the sales in the PC sector. Apple didn’t at the time and currently still doesn’t depend on those profits (profits from Macs are way below iOS devices and services).

    If anything, under Steve, Apple may have gone for iOS even faster with even MORE determination to drop those that prefer the old ways. Remember who was in charge when the call came to dump the old Final Cut Pro and the legions of followers it had. Some of those NEVER came back, but it was needed to move FCP forward.

    The biggest difference with Steve not there is likely only that it’s not HIM giving the bad news. It’s not like he wasn’t telegraphing theses moves well before his death.

    1. Dumbing down Pro software (FCP) is not moving forward.

      Killing popular software like Aperture is not moving forward.

      Killing the router division with the highest consumer satisfaction is not moving forward.

      Killing ports and connectors sacrificed on the altar of thin is not moving forward.

      Need I go on?

      1. You can go on, but, just letting you know, just because you don’t like it, doesn’t mean that it WASN’T done and that it’s not going to continue to be done in the future. Apple has been saying for years, either hang on for the ride or jump off. Some jumped off at OS9, some jumped off at the switch to Intel (Pro users had software tied to the PowerPC), some jumped off at the removal of legacy ports when there were NO USB devices available…

        They’re going to keep doing that stuff. They did it under Steve, they’re doing it under Tim, and they’ll continue to do it under whomever replaces him. You don’t HAVE to accept it, but you MAY want to stop buying their products if these things happening causes emotional distress.

        1. Well, you did not address or disagree with anything I said.

          Your Apple Apologist defense rings true to a degree. However, the acceleration under Cook is unprecedented. So, nice try to paint it with the same brush that all is equal … not!

          I have been consistently buying fully loaded Pro Apple computers since the early 1980s. IOS is great for consumption, but not for creation.

          Giving Apple another nine months or so, before I LEAVE them behind for good. Sorry and very sad.

          But Cook and I’ve let the Pros down like never before …

          1. Wrong Again, KingMel, alanaudio, peterblood71 are all the same gay, Tim Cook applogizing for ASSHOLE.

            He also uses an MDN hack to give all his identities 5-stars and all dissenters 1 or 2 stars. If you don’t believe me, watch the pattern.

            When he sees that an anti-Cook post is generating positive ratings he goes into action and boosts the number of ratings from 2-digits to 3-digits, with 1 or 2 stars, so the poster feels as though the board is voting down anti-Cook posts… which is thE furthest thing from the truth.

            We all hate incompetent Tim Cook on MDN.

          2. I can’t disagree with your opinion 🙂 You have it and I have no desire to change it.
            To each of your points,
            Yet it was done, and there are those that will never use FCP again.
            This ALSO was done, and there are those photographers that will never buy Apple products again.
            Yup, and they’re still going to do it…
            That also is something they did and are still doing.

            “I have been consistently buying fully loaded Pro Apple computers since the early 1980s.”
            And I’ve been saying here and other places that you’re precisely the kind of user that Apple’s been sending clear signals to for awhile. I don’t make it a habit of apologizing for multi-billion dollar companies. THEY DO THINGS THAT SOME USERS OF THEIR PRODUCTS DON’T LIKE… in addition, THEY DON’T CARE AS LONG AS OTHER NEW USERS BUY THEIR PRODUCTS.

            I have been helping people move away from Apple for a little while now. It only takes a brief conversation with them to determine if they fit Apple’s current and likely future description of a customer. It’s painful at the start, but once they’re all set up with as little Apple stuff as possible (many still want to keep the phone) they no longer care about Jony or Tim or any of them.

            It’s not bad for people to outgrow Apple and move on (they’re a big company, they’ll find other customers), for some, it’s just the first step to something that suits them better.

            1. Well, I’m sure you are providing a comfortable bridge and easy journey for left behind Mac Pros that are moving to anything but Apple computers.

              Actually, three years ago I moved to a new company where the creative zones abandoned Apple years ago and my first full-time job working on PCs after decades of Macs only.

              PCs have lots of quirks, software not as elegant, sometimes too needy and the threats of daily viruses are a pain receiving weekly notices from the ivory tower of IT down the hall.

              Still, after adjustments and acceptance of change I get my work done with no discernible degradation in quality. Still, if I had my wish fulfilled … 😝

              Still use older Mac Pros (desktop and laptop) for my freelance work, but I simply don’t seem to have a viable and cost effective reason to buy Apple new now. Pity … ☹️

        2. So what you are saying is that Apple used to be a mediocre company and now it’s going to be a mediocre company again?

          In that case, Apple and I will have a very short future together. Either Apple supports users with the excellence that they promise (especially at the premium prices Apple charges), or we will go elsewhere. It’s pretty clear to me that Apple’s leadership is in it for the money, and changing the world for the better by consistently giving all users the best possible value in computing tools is no longer what Apple is trying to do. Apple is now going for the hipster fashion crowd, the Beats headphone wearers and coffee shop socialites, … to its long term detriment.

          At least when companies like Ferrari or McLaren or Porsche or Bugatti unveil amazingly expensive hardware, they back it up with unprecedented performance. Apple rolls out $10k gold watches and $10k tubular Mac Pros that were obsolete the day they were released and the world wonders why.

          1. Jean, I would agree… except…
            The “tubular” Mac Pro was not obsolete the day it first shipped. If you compared the Maxed out (your “$10k” version) 2013 Mac Pro with any equivalent machine from any other major player (e.g., HP or Dell; but not home built models) then you would have found that competing versions were significantly more expensive or less capable.

            I disliked the form factor and truly hated its limited expandability, but it was as good or better than any other options in December 2013.

            The problem rapidly became that within six months or so all the major players had caught up with the 2013 Mac Pro (any variant) and within 12 to 18 months had clearly surpassed it. Today any variant of the 2013 Mac Pro is laughably behind the times.

            1. “The problem rapidly became that within six months or so all the major players had caught up with the 2013 Mac Pro (any variant) and within 12 to 18 months had clearly surpassed it. Today any variant of the 2013 Mac Pro is laughably behind the times.”

              A well stated indictment that would make Perry Mason envious.

              As I have been posting and I’ll say it again and again: no reason exists why the largest tech company in the history of planet Earth, CANNOT deliver the fastest, badass Macs that blow away the completion on a yearly basis … 😡

          2. “Apple and I will have a very short future together”
            As well it SHOULD be. Apple’s been in it, in their own minds, to “Make people’s lives better.” At one point, that included making desktops and laptops. Now, they apparently feel that people’s lives are best when using iOS devices. For those that depend on desktops and laptops, Apple does not and likely will never again create a product that meets that need.

            Oh, they’ll probably do something like the MBP that fills a desire if you’re REALLY want to have an excuse to buy something, but I don’t forsee a lot cutting edge coming from Apple in that area.

            They are and will be a mediocre company, probably still pulling in incredible profits, because there are a ton of mediocre people that will love what they make.

    2. Who knows what Jobs would have done?
      In 1996 Jobs said the “Milk the Mac…. PC wars are over”

      BUT then when he returned to Apple he made a whole bunch of macs (several different iMac designs; plastic, lampshade, flat , MacBooks from clamshell, white, aluminium, eMacs, various pro Towers etc) and did the fantastically difficult transition of MacOs9 to OSX and from PowerPC to Intel (complete different OS and hardware base). He had to convince the entire developer base to shift. He also did gigantic Mac advertising campaigns like Mac PC guy , one NEW AD A MONTH ( 66 different ads in 4 years) that faded when Tim Cook became CEO .

      In short in spite of his words of “PC Wars are over” he changed his mind and WENT TO WAR.

      Jobs can turn on dime when he suited him (as Tim Cook recalls) , when he saw opportunity. He did all that with Mac in spite of iPod at that time EARNING HUGE PROFITS and growing, so much so that analysts say Apple should become an ‘audio company’.

      Today who knows what Jobs would have done?
      seeing Microsoft resurgent (300 m Win 10 copies sold, I billion target), iPad stall he might have gone gangbusters on Mac again.

      yes, iPad sales have been FALLING for years (8-9 straight quarters), it’s about HALF peaks sales numbers. Even with the massive iPad Pro effort with massive PR campaign iPad sales are still falling.

      MACS MAKE MORE MONEY THAN IPAD and heck a lot more than Watch, Apple Music etc ( making more profits with PRACTICALLY ZERO ADVERTISING — the new ‘bulb ad’ is the first in years — vs the plethora for iOS. Go count the Watch Ads vs Mac ads over the last 2 years).

      So is Apple going to depend solely on iPhone?
      (one reason Apple stock is so low, if it had the PE of Google it would be 300, is that big investors say it’s ONE product iPhone company. Considering Tim Cook has spent TENS OF BILLIONS on buybacks to boost the stock, not making Macs as people argue “to save resources” is smart?

      other arguments people have for not boosting mac are also based on false premises :
      — no resources: Fact Apple has billions, 100,000+ staff, Ive is designing Coffee Table books, Christmas trees and helping in Apple sponsored Fashion Galas. They are also focused on thins like the mini series “sex filled romp of Dr. Dre’s life”.

      — no sales potential: Fact Microsoft (in spite of their bumbling etc) has shipped over 300 million Win 10 copies and are aiming for 1 billion. Apple has just 10% market share, plenty of room to grow. As a stand alone business Mac is a big Fortune 500 company in profits.

      People also say Apple should focus less on Macs because they make less than iPhones. But EVERY product in the world makes less than iPhone. IPhone makes more money than all of Ford so should Ford stop making cars? should Apple also abandon Watch, Services etc. because they make less than iPhone.

  7. Apple has always been behind the curve in launching new technologies in their products. Remember blu ray? Oh that’s right, Apple don’t do blu ray, while the rest of the world did. That is just one example, I could go on, but you know.

    1. Blu-Ray? There are many who fault AppleTV for not supporting 4K video and Apple skipped that much lower resolution of Blu-Ray to offer 5K iMacs. Physical media is dead. Get over it.

      “Speaking of resolution, 4K UHD will fully deserve to be the winner in the 4K vs Blu ray vs DVD battle. The biggest difference between 4K Ultra HD and traditional Blu-ray is that the former supports resolutions up to 3840 x 2160 (4K), while the latter caps out at 1920 x 1080 (1080p). This significant difference however seems to be surprisingly subtle for human eyes. To sum up, in the quality round of Blu ray vs DVD vs 4K Ultra HD, 4K is four times better than Blu ray, while Bluray is six times higher than DVD.” – MacXDVD

      1. You’re confusing your concepts, RC.

        “4K” and UHD are display standards – not just resolutions but color depth and other stuff too.

        Blu-Ray is a disc format that can hold many different file types, not only video in HD but also in UHD as well. The UHD discs might be overkill for some, but it’s a serious improvement for people with proper home theatres — which used to be the same deep pocketed crowd that Apple used to target for its products. For some unknown reason, the people at Apple are about 8 years behind in home cinema concepts.

  8. It’s not something that is an issue for me in day to day usage, but their attitude to the headphone jack has actually annoyed me. I don’t use it, have used bluetooth for ages, and don’t mind it going. That said, their reasoning that it was legacy technology, that digital connections allow better sound are laughable when they release new MacBooks that still have the connection It’s a tiny thing, but it just smacks of not having a true roadmap for things, not following through fully, and to an extent coasting.

    It’s fine to say they have big new products in development, true innovation doesn’t come along very often and never has done, but their existing products are suffering. I’m now getting to the point where I want to upgrade my Mac, and with the current iMac being a year old I’m not in a rush to get that. That they haven’t release something for the Christmas market suggests it’s not likely to be something that will be released in the next month or so, so I’m just sitting here. Mac Pro users have it even worse.

    For a company with such massive resources it’s quite shocking how little they’ve managed to produce in the last few years. iPods are basically dead, and all their other lines apart from the MacBook Pro have retained the same designs for a number of years. So they’ve really come up with very little even on an iterative basis. Admittedly completely re-engineering the insides is still a big job, but they’re a huge company, why can’t they do more than one thing at a time?

    I’m not going to move to any other platforms because they’re no better, but they’re certainly less worse than they were and for many people the difference is becoming less relevant.

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