Apple’s decision to discontinue AirPort products is the wrong decision at the wrong time

“Apple’s announcement that it is discontinuing its AirPort product line wasn’t exactly a surprise. As we noted earlier, Bloomberg reported back in 2016 that Apple had disbanded the team responsible for its wireless routers, and we first spotted the company selling third-party ones,” Ben Lovejoy writes for 9to5Mac. “But while it isn’t a surprise, I do think it’s the wrong decision – and a particularly ill-timed one.”

“Apple was one of the first companies to recognize that accessing the Internet had become the primary reason for a consumer to buy a personal computer,” Lovejoy writes. “Apple is also all about the ecosystem. Devices and services that all work together seamlessly. Routers – while not a sexy product – were part of that end-to-end Apple experience.”

“I recognize the economic argument, of course,” Lovejoy writes. “These days everyone gets a free WiFi router from their ISP. Probably a relatively small number of people bother to buy a separate one, and only some of those buy an Apple one. But there are six counter-arguments.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Either Apple has some perfectly secret grand plan that they are perfectly executing* or they are (mis)managed by people swimming in hundreds of billions of dollars who are nonetheless and inexplicably making shortsighted beancounter decisions.

Listen, we’ll survive and even thrive with eero mesh WiFi systems. Just like we’re doing with non-Apple displays.

Besides coasting along reaping (some of) what Steve Jobs hath sown (and blowing away more than we’ll ever know with missteps, lateness, incompleteness, lack of product, lack of focus, laziness, woefully languishing products, misplaced priorities, etcetera), Apple is doing a fine job in one area:

Teaching us to purchase products and fall in love with brands other than Apple.

Anyone who thinks Apple CEO Tim Cook and his cavalcade of VPs are doing a great job does not understand Apple Inc. or what is happening. They only see the profits which are merely a portion of what they should be if there were competent management in place who were focused on what they should be focused on: Delighting the customer, not their office door handles.

As far as Apple goes, it was a different company every few years from the time I joined in 1984. There was Steve [Jobs] — an elemental force — and then there was no Steve. There was John [Sculley]. He was pretty good, but the company grew so fast and started getting very dysfunctional. And then on downhill.Alan Kay, April 2013

Tim Cook fired Scott Forstall and aligned the executive staff so as to have peace… which is to say there is no conflict. Executives aren’t competing with each other any more. And, Tim’s message was loud and clear: “Don’t bring me conflict.”Bob Burrough, January 2017

*You know, because a company that ships and markets a “smart” speaker based mainly on sound quality (which they have to do because they squandered their prodigious lead in personal assistants long ago) without the basic capability of stereo-pairing is executing perfectly.

SEE ALSO:
Apple makes yet another short-sighted decision: Apple has discontinued a product that it should have made a cornerstone of its home automation and entertainment ecosystem – April 27, 2018
Apple pulls plug on AirPort Wi-Fi router business – April 26, 2018
Where is Apple’s AirPower? – April 25, 2018
Why can’t Apple keep their products up-to-date? – April 10, 2018
Why is it taking Apple so long to update the Mac Pro? – April 10, 2018
Apple’s latest announcements about the modular Mac Pro really ramp up expectations – April 6, 2018
Apple needs to stop promising new products and start delivering them – April 6, 2018
Apple: No new Mac Pro until 2019 – April 5, 2018
Apple reiterates they’re working on an all-new modular, upgradeable Mac Pro and a high-end pro display – December 14, 2017
Why Apple’s promise of a new ‘modular’ Mac Pro matters so much – April 6, 2017
Apple’s cheese grater Mac Pro was flexible, expandable, and powerful – imagine that – April 6, 2017
More about Apple’s Mac Pro – April 6, 2017
Apple’s desperate Mac Pro damage control message hints at a confused, divided company – April 6, 2017
Who has taken over at Apple? – April 5, 2017
Apple’s embarrassing Mac Pro mea culpa – April 4, 2017
Who’s going to buy a Mac Pro now? – April 4, 2017
Mac Pro: Why did it take Apple so long to wake up? – April 4, 2017
Apple sorry for what happened with the Mac Pro over the last 3+ years – namely, nothing – April 4, 2017
Apple to unveil ‘iMac Pro’ later this year; rethought, modular Mac Pro and Apple pro displays in the pipeline – April 4, 2017
Apple’s apparent antipathy towards the Mac prompts calls for macOS licensing – March 27, 2017
Why Apple’s new Mac Pro might never arrive – March 10, 2017
Dare we hold out hope for the Mac Pro? – March 1, 2017
Apple CEO Cook pledges support to pro users, says ‘we don’t like politics’ at Apple’s annual shareholders meeting – February 28, 2017
Yes, I just bought a ‘new’ Mac Pro (released on December 19, 2013 and never updated) – January 4, 2017
Attention, Tim Cook! Apple isn’t firing on all cylinders and you need to fix it – January 4, 2017
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

23 Comments

  1. Tim Cook is turning Apple into Best Buy. Cancel Apple displays and buy an LG branded. So you can look at the Lg display all day instead of Apple. Routers same thing. Buy another brand. Apple has no Apple branded HomeKit gear. No thermostat because they passed on Nest. No home video that’s google. No video doorbell that’s amazon. iTunes has been destroyed. Where is the ecosystem anymore? iCloud?

    1. Totally Agree, especially about iTunes, its a scary worrying mess. Not rock solid and logical as it used to be. Many years ago when i tried to do Airplay between my iPhone 4S, MS laptop and my 32″ LG TV, on the Netgear router from my provider it did not work. When i got the Apple router it worked and the internet was much better also. I have used this white router ever since.

    2. You are spot on. Apple is only interested in selling iPhones and iCloud accounts. That’s it. Nothing else. Nothing more. That’s all that Apple is now.

      You can thank Tim Cook for that.

  2. Easy, the wireless people are working on getting AR goggles and 🍎Car to work wirelessly; the display people are working on getting the goggles displays to function according to exacting specs (see what I did there?); and the iTunes people long ago migrated on, because iTunes long ago morphed into AppleMusic, over-the-air backups, and soon-to-be AppleView of tv and movies. Commodity gear is not Apple’s bailiwick.

  3. Tim Cook wants to rent you stuff. He wants to attach Apple to your wallet like a Lamprey does to a fish and draw money from your account on a regular basis. This is how they sell phones, music, soon magazines, etc.

        1. On that aspect, perhaps yes. Perhaps its also a sign of the times. I agree it should be resisted as much as possible.

          But lock-in was most definitely a Jobs goal. He even admitted it.
          Non-upgradability was to keep selling you devices (that you otherwise wouldn’t need to repurchase).

          1. The difference between buying versus renting is iTunes purchase versus Apple Music.

            If I bought music from iTunes and walk away from Apple I won the files and they are with me for life.
            If I rent music from Apple Music and walk away- I lose my library.

            Same with Software. There are people who have kept old software – running it on a run Hypervisor OS instead of buying the new stuff. I have the old Final Cut Studio and could run it on my Mac Pro by booting into an older version of Mac OS that supports it, for example.

            Silicon Valley seem highly enamored of rental (subscription) software from AutoDesk to Adobe to Microsoft, etc. For some people that makes sense, but some of us want the option to own it.

            As to lock in, I buy BluRay discs and rip them to my library so they have no DRM. If I buy from iTunes they are DRMed and tied to the whims of Tim Cook & Eddy Cue. It costs no more to buy the BluRay- in many cases it costs less. If Apple shutters the Mac or iTunes tomorrow, I can still play my files on my desktop.

            1. I used to buy Blu Rays like you, for the exact same reason. I now buy exclusively from the Apple Store because they are the easiest to strip of DRM and without transcoding.
              I would tell you how, but technically it would be breaking the law. But I don’t mind letting these guys tell you

              https://9to5mac.com/community/how-to-remove-drm-protection-from-itunes-rental-movies-on-mac-losslessly/

              Let’s just say I never pirate, but I insist on possessing.

              As far as renting goes, I do find Office 365 affordable, I own a copy of 2010 though.

            2. Separately, yes… the difference between renting and buying is that with buying you own it. Then how does one possibly justify a forced, exclusive, post purchase control and a continued post purchase relationship? Should be at the discretion of he owner.

  4. “Teaching us to purchase products and fall in love with brands other than Apple.”

    Grasshopper… perhaps you should not be so easily enamored in the first place!

    “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings.” – Billy the Shake

    But maybe the system is unwittingly self-correcting after all….

  5. Two points to consider:
    First if the product type is encountering significant competition in the market that is reduce overall ASP, then continuing that product should be reevaluated. For WiFi routers, most ISP are providing WiFi as part of their modems. My guess is that most users have decided there is little point adding a second wifi unit onto that.
    Second, if the revenue for a product type is shrinking to the point that it is barely profitable it does not make sense to continue that line. For Wifi routers, my guess is that the sales are too low to warrant keeping the product alive.

    I have had Airport Extremes for years and will be disappointed when my current unit dies. It will be more work to use a third party device but I already have a Comcast WiFi available if I want to use that instead of buying another router. My only concern with the Comcast router is that I do not know how good their security is.

    I would much prefer Apple spend time getting new Mac products out the door. If shutting down Airport products helps that then so be it.

  6. Apple quote – ‘isn’t in this for the money’and they ‘don’t care about the ROI’.

    Except Airport, servers, the pro market, pro apps, user serviceable computers, pro towers, etc, etc, etc….

  7. I’m wondering if this is related to progress with 5G?

    Maybe Apple is planning to put 5G radios in every Mac, as well as every iPhone, iPad & WATCH … at that point you won’t need a modem, or a router.

    1. Mobile 5G will never eclipse WiFi. We’re talking almost 1000 times difference in backbone speeds even before you get into high frequency’s terrestrial radio problems. You are on your own to study up further.

      Then there are costs: Wired ethernet or WiFi wins there too. Why? Well first of all 5G doesn’t exist yet.

      The real reason Apple abandoned networking is because Timmy couldn’t figure out how to charge a subscription for it.

  8. Apple introduced the worlds best professional quality highly priced mono speaker. There is no better mono speaker on the market at over $350, with Apple Care. Apple is leading the way in this new category of skinny feature systems and disappearing product lines.

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