“This has been the winter of our discontent. 2016 was the year the tone changed,” Chuq Von Rospach blogs. “There’s always been a lot of criticism and griping about anything Apple does (and doesn’t do — it can’t win) but in 2016 I feel like the tone of the chatter about Apple changed and got a lot more negative.”
“This is worrisome on a number of levels and I’ve been thinking about it a lot. I’m used to watching people kvetch about the company, but this seems — different. One reason: a lot of the criticisms are correct,” Von Rospach writes. “Apple, for the first time in over a decade, simply isn’t firing on all cylinders. Please don’t interpret that as ‘Apple is doomed’ because it’s not, but there are things it’s doing a lot less well than it could — and has. Apple’s out of sync with itself… Apple has gotten itself out of kilter and is in need of some course correction.”
“Back when I was running most of Apple’s e-mail systems for the marketing teams, I went to them and suggested that we should consider dumping the text-only part of the emails we were building, because only about 4% of users used them and it added a significant amount of work to the process of creation and testing each e-mail,” Von Rospach writes. “Their response? That it was a small group of people, but a strategic one, since it was highly biased towards developers and power users. So the two-part emails stayed — and they were right. It made no sense from a business standpoint to continue to develop these emails as both HTML at text, but it made significant strategic sense. It was an investment in keeping this key user base happy with Apple.”
“Apple, from all indications I’ve seen over the last year and with the configurations they’ve shipped with these new laptops, has forgotten this, and the product configurations seem designed by what will fit the biggest part of the user base with the fewest configuration options,” Von Rospach writes. “They’ve chopped off the edges of the bell curve — and big chunks of their key users with them.”
Tons more in the full article – very highly recommended – here.
MacDailyNews Take: As Chuq writes, Apple is a bit off kilter, but nowhere close to being broken. We agree with all of his points; as regular readers know, we’ve voiced many similar concerns over recent years (one example from last month is here.)
No, Apple, do not simplify, get better – December 23, 2016
Rare video shows Steve Jobs warning Apple to focus less on profits and more on great products – December 23, 2016
Marco Arment: Apple’s Mac Pro is ‘very likely dead’ – December 20, 2016
How Tim Cook’s Apple alienated Mac loyalists – December 20, 2016
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
Rush Limbaugh: Is Apple losing their edge? – December 9, 2016
AirPods: MIA for the holidays; delayed product damages Apple’s credibility, stokes customer frustration – 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
First of all, “Chuq” needs to go back to school and learn how to spell. Secondly, everyone’s now a product designer and sales genius at Apple and knows what needs to be done better than Apple itself. As I have said before, Apple is doing just fine, so quit complaining all you Android lemmings pretending to be Apple fans.
Hey you big fat jerk, stop using my pseudonym!
I might owe you an apology…
Are you that racist &^%*&^%* or was that said in your name.
Opportunity to disavow is now.
I was wondering about that. I am a registered user and my name would be seen in blue. If it’s in black, it’s a troll sad sack. (And not me.) MDN shouldn’t allow the practice.
No worries, thanks. Do you know what MDN article it was the troll wrote this racist stuff?
Been going on since after the election.
Just today on the India posted, but you saw that.
I’m surprised the system lets a registered username be used by a non registered member.
Me too. Trolls love that kind of opportunity though.
My only complaint is with the Mac line of desktops (and Apple monitor). And not listening to their specific markets needs and not making frivolous and unneeded (& unasked for) design changes that work against future upgrading. When you pay a bunch of money for a pro machine you don’t want it completely stillborn and inert to the future.
If those are your only complaints, then you aren’t looking very hard at all of Apple’s newfound mediocrity.
My pro needs trump over all else. Whatever other quibbles I may have with Apple are minor in comparison.
Apple, you’re making products for your new customers and not for me, STOP!
There, I fixed it for him 🙂
“They’ve chopped off the edges of the bell curve — and big chunks of their key users with them”
This part is correct though, and you could add “and big chunks of the least profitable users.”
But also big chunks of extremely profitable users. Power users, almost by definition, are the biggest spenders. Apple has shunned them and is catering primarily to the emoji teeny boppers who are not and never will be top spenders. Quick cash today from the iOS app store isn’t enough to provide stable growth for the future.
If the Pro market (i.e. Desktops) was more profitable, Apple would still be catering to it. The money is just not there. Consumers and Businesses are all going mobile which is GREAT for those that are also interested in mobile, bad for those who are not.
I figure there will be a few more years of folks trying to hang on hoping that things will change, but as I’ve said before, if you are a Pro and don’t like where Apple is now, you will NOT like where they’re headed. Start making your moves now.
Apple made more money the last several years on Macs than on any other product besides the iPhone and apps.
Imagine if Apple kept its Macs up to date and advertised them.
Yeah, we know, and it’s because of Tim Cook. The sooner they chuck this incompetent the better off Apple will be.
I laugh at MDN these days. They are just starting to wake up, even though I’ve been telling them about worthless, sh*tty Cook for the past 6-years.
The thrill is gone
The thrill is gone away
The thrill is gone baby
The thrill is gone away
You know you done me wrong baby
And you’ll be sorry someday
Dude looked like a lady!
-Donald Trump 🙂
ROFL. Ok Apple, aim everything! Go go go! Its a race!
For the love of God, tell me who the fu** is doing better than Apple these days… Names please…
They want, they want, they don’t know what they want but they want.
BTW, did you know I still have my 2008 unibody MBP running MacOS Sierra? Who does support better than this…
You are the one who needs a course correction.
Define “doing better”.
The fact that millions of hackintoshes are being built today should tell you something about Apple’s stupid hardware decisions.
Apple’s loss of graphics, audio, and video professional markets should tell you something.
The low sales of Watches, iCloud, and iPads should tell you something.
Apple announced declining sales in 2016. If you think the ship is headed in the right direction, well fine. Bury your head back in the sand.
“millions of hackintoshes are being built today”
WHERE is that coming from?! Millions?! Highly doubtful. We’ve got a hardcore group that comes to this website, show of hands if you personally know 20 people (including yourself) that’s in the process of building a hackintosh. If you’re a Professional, you trust your business to it?
…. estimates over 2 million hackintoshes based on registered users and build contributors.
Project OS X
and Trump’s favorite, Russian site AppleLife.
You honestly think this many sites would be active and vibrant if there were only a few kids playing with them?
Wow, those are stats my friend. The hackintosh is alive and well on the web. No wonder with so many bugs.
When you have an Apple product, you’ll stick to Apple. My production velocity is important. An hackintosh willl need servicing and tweaks and glitches fixe.
I can’t afford being on hackintosh.
2 million built EVER is not “millions being built everyday”. It seemed like a questionable number and it was 🙂
I believe if you retead, he said “today”, not “everyday”. He’s right too. I know several guys who have hackintoshes. Don’t knock it til you try it
Patience here is absolutely key ….. Apple inc. is not in the game of “good enough”, so my hunch is that 2017 will see the biggest shake up on the Mac front that nobody could see coming, namely moving to their own processors, off the back of their astounding success with their mobile chip business.
Wait for it, because a lot of naysayers will state that “it’s impossible”, because of the innate challenges of moving away from the intel processors. Well guess what, nobody saw the following:
1. iPod, that captured and maintained 70% of the music player market
2. iPhone, that is 10 years old this year and so far ahead of the competition, it’s laughable
3. iPad, created the tablet market, that everyone now refers to as the “iPad market”
4. Apple Watch that created a meaningful wearable market, which as a consequence has put the whole Swiss Watch iindustry on notice
5. App Store, enough said!
6. Swift language, which absolutely nobody saw coming
7. Introduction of their own SOC processors for mobile devices, that make a laughing stock of Intel et al
8. Various huge migrations, coverng processor families and Operating System migrations.
Apple inc. now has the bench strength and financial muscle to engineer their “own future to their own timetable”, keeping in mind the Steve Jobs mantra of “delighting the Customer”
So, be patient!!
You have a good point with plenty of examples to back it up.
But patience has its limits – especially absent a publicly stated roadmap. If they’re working on a brand new Mac Pro right now, with the professional community full of well founded angst, then secrecy at the company has gone too far.
Pig headedness, stubbornness, myopic visions all come to mind when viewing the Apple of today. But hey, they’ve got the big bucks rolling in, so in their standpoint, who cares?
I am agreeing that things are off kilter. When I upgrade system software, Sierra, and find that suddenly I can’t open any of my photos any longer without doing some conversion to a revised app that Apple thinks is better for me, things are not good. When I have to wait over three years to get an upgraded desktop computer because Apple has done nothing significant to existing product, things are not good. When I have to buy outside the brand in order to get a monitor or router, things are not good. When you can’t make Preview work properly with every pdf it had worked with in the past, things are not good. And the list goes on. More concentration on the customer and less on building a space ship would certainly be appreciated.
Make great again…shitcan Pipeline Timmy.™
Geriatric Botvinnik aka GeriBot know so much about shit from regularly shitting his soiled everworn underwear.
GeriBot shits again!
When iMovie 10.1.0 came out, it changed the iMovie interface and introduced a very obvious interface bug. I reported it, it was all over the iMovie forums, I’m sure many others reported it. The bug is STILL in version 10.1.4. This is what Apple (and the Mac) has become. The software bugs and flakiness keep growing in everything they produce. Hardware is taking far too long for (mostly) minor updates, if you can even get that (*cough* Mac Pro *cough*). Steve’s attention to detail and drive to excite the customer has faded.
The original article is excellent, and I agree with Chuq Von Rospach that Apple is failing to pursue some development and product paths that would make sense from a long-term, strategic perspective. The people on the leading edge of the technology adoption life cycle bell curve (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technology_adoption_life_cycle), the innovators and early adopters, may not be large in numbers, but they are large in influence as advisors and decision makers.
Delighting those customers should be a much higher priority for Apple, even if the “niche” products that they use do not make a lot of money. I even think that something like a redesigned (smaller? no internal hard disks?) Xserve and improving macOS Server would make sense, not because Apple would capture market share or make a big profit on servers, but because quality server hardware and software would make it easier for businesses small (think business owner with limited time and budget who does not want to set up a Linux or Windows server) and large to set up and support Apple desktop and mobile devices. That would include hardware with the “lights out” features that professionals want. Other products for the leading edge users would include a more flexible, upgradeable Mac Pro system.
I am sure that pro / advanced users could think of many, many other hardware and software features that would delight them. Just one personal example: I use 12 + desktops in Mission Control, but Apple did away with the excellent grid layout of Spaces, and new versions of the OS make TotalSpaces obsolete. Could Apple just make MC be more customizable, or have a grid? Other ideas: could Apple make a desktop in between the Mini and the Pro? Could they make more modular desktop systems using Thunderbolt 3 and USB C? Could the modules be placed in a mini “rack”? How about a Micro Mac running macOS or xxxOS that could be a fanless, headless, programmable router or DNS server? These are some products I have pondered, and I am just one user.
MDN has covered some of these ideas: http://macdailynews.com/2014/12/01/open-thread-is-there-a-market-for-a-mac-mini-pro-starting-at-799/
Some other discussion about Apple in 2017: http://www.imore.com/biggest-problems-facing-apple-2017
Apple just needs to make serving advanced users a much higher priority.
If Apple doesn’t feel motivated enough to keep the Mac as a top priority, who else will be in about 5 years. Apple should be the number one Mac believer and the main Mac evangelist. Those still mixing iOs with the Mac today doesn’t know what a workstation is and what it will be in the future because they have never used one. Those thinking a 2008 Mac is relevant here don’t understand what we should expect from Apple today and in the coming years.
Apple, do you remember the old mighty Microsoft?
Not enough money in it, too hard for too little, tough business? That is what every other computer business player is still fighting for today when Apple is slowing down because there is not enough meat in it. And it is starting to show, but wait 2-5 more years and don’t do enough and Apple may become irrelevant, even selling a lot, just as Microsoft did.
At some point one has to blame the board for not shit canning Tim Cook. Cook has proven his worthlessness, but the board fails to correct the situation. The pain only continues.
4 cylinders are misfiring. 1. Lack of innovation. 2. Missing ship dates. 3.Missing opportunities to stay competitive. 4. Going back to a product lineup that confuses the customer. We all know 1 and 2 is all about let’s take a look at #3. They had a clear chance to make the ATV better by making a “skinny bundle” like Sling and most of all DirectTV Now. They negotiated for months without a success. They demanded too much from the providers as far as what was Apple’s cut. The cable companies are not in dire straits like the record companies were when Apple came to their rescue. The do not need Apple. Apple should have should taken a lesser cut in favor of getting them to make the deal. With DirectTV Now they provided that skinny bundle along with local channels. Now AT&T is getting the revenue instead of Apple. Now #4. Since Apple came along way in making their notebooks thin, the MacBook Air is no longer relevant. They should either discontinue the line or sell them at a lower price point to come into the $400 to $600 price range. To make it work from the cloud with only 64GB of space and their package of productivity suites to work from the cloud like Office 365. The Mac Pro should be dropped since the iMac has all the power to do what the professionals need. Now the iMacs should go to a 23 inch and a 29 inch screens since they are most wanted sizes the consumer wants. And last make a Mac Mini at $200 to $250 to compete against the Chrome Books. It should take the same idea and work from the cloud.