How Tim Cook’s Apple alienated Mac loyalists

“To die-hard fans, Apple Inc.’s Macintosh sometimes seems like an afterthought these days,” Mark Gurman reports for Bloomberg. “Interviews with people familiar with Apple’s inner workings reveal that the Mac is getting far less attention than it once did. They say the Mac team has lost clout with the famed industrial design group led by Jony Ive and the company’s software team. They also describe a lack of clear direction from senior management, departures of key people working on Mac hardware and technical challenges that have delayed the roll-out of new computers.”

“While the Mac generates about 10 percent of Apple sales, the company can’t afford to alienate professional designers and other business customers. After all, they helped fuel Apple’s revival in the late 1990s,” Gurman reports. “If more Mac users switch, the Apple ecosystem will become less sticky—opening the door to people abandoning higher-value products like the iPhone and iPad.”

“In another sign that the company has prioritized the iPhone, Apple re-organized its software engineering department so there’s no longer a dedicated Mac operating system team. There is now just one team, and most of the engineers are iOS first, giving the people working on the iPhone and iPad more power,” Gurman reports. “Apple hasn’t given up on Macs. In a recent company Q&A session, employees asked whether Mac desktop computers remain strategically important. “We have great desktops in our roadmap. Nobody should worry about that,” Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook said… Mac fans shouldn’t hold their breath for radical new designs in 2017 though. Instead, the company is preparing modest updates: USB-C ports and a new Advanced Micro Devices Inc. graphics processor for the iMac, and minor bumps in processing power for the 12-inch MacBook and MacBook Pro.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Currently, when it comes to the Macintosh (and Apple TV, among other products and services), Apple under CEO Tim Cook is struggling.

It’s not about charisma and personality, it’s about results and products. — Steve Jobs

Cook, who never remotely threatened to offer either of the former attributes, is now obviously having difficulty delivering the latter.

The question is how far up the food chain does this mismanagement problem go? Is this fish rotting from the head down? Or is there a layer of incompetent upper management or an integral structural problem coming to light as Apple grows like a weed with post-Steve employees that’s gumming up the works?

Under Tim Cook, Apple has endured:

• John Browett
• Apple Maps launch debacle (tarring Maps with a bad rep to this day)
• No iMacs for Christmas 2012
• Massive undersupply of Apple Watch at launch, basically killing all momentum
• Massive undersupply of Apple Pencils and Smart Keyboards on hand for the iPad Pro launch
• No updated Mac Pro for three years
• No updated Apple TV for Christmas 2016 (A 4K-capable Apple TV would have been so easy, it’s inexplicable and unforgivable not to have this on the market right now)
• No Apple skinny bundle(s) for Apple TV while other companies ink deals and announce launches – these customers will be tough for Apple to get back once lost, if they ever get the deals signed. (Perhaps, Tim, you need to hire better negotiator(s) who can get the ink? Or make an acquisition that reshapes the industry, causing them to line up to work with you?)
• No compatible Remote app for Apple TV at launch
• No Apple Music capability in Siri on Apple TV at launch
• Apple TV remote looks to have been “designed” by Steve Ballmer himself (If Steve wasn’t already dead, the Apple TV Remote would have killed him; he would’ve had an aneurysm the second the mockup was handed to him)*
• Flagship iPhone launches without its flagship feature (Portrait mode) and is currently still only in “beta” (seriously?)
• No new iPads for Christmas 2016 (Even simply “refreshed” with current A-series processors would have created significantly more sales)
• No updated iMacs for Christmas 2016
• No updated Mac mini for 2+ years
• No AirPods in any meaningful supply for Christmas 2016

Unfortunately, that’s just a partial list of painfully obvious mistakes.

When you’re walking the halls, Tim, look at the walls once in a while. Hopefully, you’ll see these:

Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have… It’s not about money. It’s about the people you have, how you’re led, and how much you get it. — Steve Jobs

Real artists ship. — Steve Jobs

In closing:

“This is absolutely shameful for a company claiming to be a leader in technology.”

We couldn’t agree more.

iPad Unit SalesExactly how rich and big does Apple have to be before the company runs like it has more than five guys working 18-hour days trying to do everything? The world’s most valuable company is incapable of updating the Mac Pro for two and a half fscking years? Seriously? “Mismanagement” is not too strong a word to apply to the ongoing Mac Pro fiasco.

Just like every other human, there are things Tim Cook does very well and there are other things about which he seems painfully inept.

Hint: Make new Macs and update them with regularity while advertising them strongly. Obviously, as you might have noted by perusing iPad unit sales reports, not everyone has fallen for your “iPad is the next PC” meme, yet, Tim.

We only say that as those who were already Mac users for over 13 years at the point Cook was still over at Compaq trying to get his Windows PC to work.MacDailyNews, July 12, 2016

*With the Siri Remote, users can’t tell which end is up in a darkened room due to uniform rectangular shape. The remote is still too small, so it gets lost easily. All buttons are the same size and similarly smooth. Only the Siri button attempts to be different, but the slightness of its concavity is too subtle to matter; a raised dot on the button would have been much easier for users to feel. The tactile difference between the bottom of the remote vs. the upper Glass Touch surface is too subtle as well; this also leads to not being able to tell which end is up. A remote with a simple wedge shape (slightly thicker in depth at the bottom vs. the top), as opposed to a uniform slab, would have instantly communicated the proper orientation to the user.

SEE ALSO:
Apple’s not very good, really quite poor 2016 – December 19, 2016
Apple’s software has been anything but ‘magical’ lately – December 19, 2016
Lazy Apple. It’s not hard to imagine Steve Jobs asking, ‘What have you been doing for the last four years?’ – December 9, 2016
Apple may have finally gotten too big for its unusual corporate structure – November 28, 2016
Apple has no idea what they’re doing in the TV space, and it’s embarrassing – November 3, 2016
Apple’s disgracefully outdated, utterly mismanaged Mac lineup is killing sales – October 13, 2016
Apple takes its eye off the ball: Why users are complaining about Apple’s software – February 9, 2016
Open letter to Tim Cook: Apple needs to do better – January 5, 2015

58 Comments

    1. It is true that the Mac keeps people in the Apple sphere. If I leave Apple because of the Mac, it will be traumatic. I have been using Macs since system 7. It will feel like a divorce. If I feel forced to buy, for the first time in my life, a windows computer, I will likely ditch my iPhone to affirm the rupture. And I will not buy Apple again.

    1. More importantly, Apple should design and build Macs that Tim Cook and Johny Ive would **WANT** to put onto their desktops and actually **USE**.

      It they’re not building items that they themselves will want to use, why are they building anything?

      1. Billionaires seldom do any computing. Cook and Ives personal assistants use their ipads to pass notes to the hundreds of employees who rely on mac, linux, and even windows machines to make stuff happen

        The fact that Apple can’t even operate its own business using its own products shows how out of touch Apple leaders have become.

        IOS is not and never will be the future of computing. Watch isn’t the future of computers. ATV sure as hell isnt the future of video distribution. And if Apple continues to ignore the Mac, then Apple truly will be just a phone company. Maybe Apple should just merge with Nokia now.

  1. This is an inevitable outcome when a patriarchal genius founder dies and leaves his children in charge, such is the history of Walt Disney et al. It will take many years and corporate political upheaval before real change can take root.

    Steve’s biggest failure was his shortsightedness, nepotism and denial for a genuine transition plan.

    1. i have a feeling that now its clout that gets people hired at Apple… not qualification.

      and that maybe the upper managemnt is too rich and inflated in ego to give a shit .

      1. You have a “feeling,” yojimbo07? Well, I guess that must be factual then. I have a feeling that you have a lot more regard for your anonymous opinions than most of the rest of us. Doom and gloom griper.

        1. hey maybe before u make a stupid comment …you should undetstand the differance between having a feeling , guessing and factual… 3 words u used in your incoherent sentense to insult me.

          and maybe you should wake up and smell the coffee rather than blindly applaud Apple even when they screwup. ..

          and maybe you should just talk for yourself not the “rest of us”..

          man Apple and their dogmatized blind fanboys… one of the worst things in Apple’s universe.

  2. Amen! MacDailyNews!

    A company with the resources of Apple should have dedicated engineering, operating system and marketing teams. To promote teamwork they can have frequent meeting with their iOS counterparts.

    No wonder there have been so many bugs and incomplete features in Apple products over the last couple of years.

    Apple needs Execution! It is a sad day when Microsoft’s leadership appears to be outperforming Apple’s.

    Keep this up Apple and we will forced into purchasing Microsoft Surfaces.

    1. During a quarterly results conference call earlier this year, Cook warned that it may seem like a “long Christmas Eve”, suggesting that new products won’t be released in the near term. So I’m taking a wait-and-see approach. It will be disappointing though if he doesn’t deliver on the promise.

  3. Damn, who or what is going to shake Apple out of their misguided Mac-less reverie? At least Walt Disney always remembered it started with a mouse. Apple needs to always remember this too.

  4. So called Mac loyalists are the problem. This minority group think that Apple should always prioritise their specific needs. Well, they need to learn that times have moved on and that mobile devices are the priority now. Stop forever whinging about a new MacPro that sells in minuscule numbers.

    1. Unless Apple deigns to allow true development on iOS, this “minority group” are very literally the only people making the apps you run on your iOS device.

      Unless you count web apps. Which you shouldn’t, because that was only a 1-year stopgap before 3rd party app development tools and the app store were ready.

      One big reason why people stay with Apple is the ecosystem. Well, the Mac is a large part of that ecosystem, and if people abandon the Mac, then a large part of why they stay in the Apple ecosystem disappears. Because Apple’s ease of use only carries so far, and they’ve made numerous mis-steps these last few years that have diminished both that and customer delight, especially on the Mac side of things.

    2. You are more interested in insulting with your arrogance than providing a real argument.

      You fool, even those iPads, A10 chips and mobile computer devices need real workstation computers to be designed, imagine the next vehicle, spaceship or business center, or just anything cutting edge. Nope, it couldn’t happen because the times they “move on”…

    3. Then what about Apple dumping the nicely upgradeable MacMinis? Any refurbed MacMini gets sold almost as soon as they get them. There seems to be a demand for them. I’m guessing Apple doesn’t want to make them attractive to potential buyers because Apple won’t make enough money from selling them. Now Apple doesn’t even sell its own displays to go along with the MacMini, so Apple loses out on those display sales.

      It’s possible I’m just clueless about how Apple operates but nothing seems to add up. The company is definitely profitable and they do make very attractive-looking and reliable products, in my opinion. However, it just seems Apple is trying to alienate a lot of potential buyers by only focusing on a narrow customer base. I’m just guessing that Apple products could potentially appeal to more consumers even if they do charge more. It’s like one section of Apple doesn’t know what the other section is doing.

      Apple has enough money to build some super-expensive headquarters but can’t manage to build an easily upgradeable MacMini. Why is that? Is it greed or is it because most MacMini buyers never upgraded them. I just don’t know. If they explained it to me I might understand. Can’t Apple afford to build at least one enthusiast/power user computer like many other computer companies do?

    4. Suggest change your avatar to APPLclueless to reflect your knee jerk defense of company adrift in the Techno Sea. Power Mac users like myself will NEVER accept the neglect and excuse will have to stand in back of the line because we are now obsolete and forgotten Apple diehard decades supporters. That clear enough for you?

    5. Don’t try to paint Mac loyalists as the problem. Just because you registered on MDN (a name by the way, that was coined by Windows users and widely considered to be derogatory) does not make you the voice of Mac advocates.

  5. To Tim Cook: Sorry to hear of the death of the MacBook Pro. The current Pro models are non-upgradable; they are commodity consumer appliances. Pros need a MacBook with upgradable Ram, Storage, and GraphicCard, preferably with 15″, and 17″ screens. Don’t abandon the Pro market to Wintel!!! 🖖😀⌚️

  6. I would never have thought I might have an interest in anything other than Mac for a serious computer but my thoughts began to change with the death of Apple’s Aperture. I think Apple has made some huge blunders lately and one was to kill Aperture which took my enthusiasm for Apple down several pegs. I switched to Apple all due to Aperture AND I bought one of their $6500.00US Mac Pro’s specifically for Aperture, before Aperture was killed. With Apple’s huge cash pile you would think they could have easily thrown the Aperture team a few million a year to keep their zealot fans happy. But they chose not to and I’m no longer an Apple zealot. Their ace in the hole is still the quality of their hardware but they better figure the other issues out and reconfirm their interest in the professional desktop and laptop user or they’ll be no different than Kodak in twenty years.

      1. Wrong. Last release of Aperture was in 2014.

        In fact, Aperture was going strong until Cook took the reins. One of the first things Cook did was force a rewrite of all Mac software to work like iOS and rely on iCloud. Aperture was killed because it was personal computer software. Photos is garbage designed by Cook to get you to rent iCloud. The Google iCloud, actually, since Apple doesn’t even have the chops to run its own servers.

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