Chamath Palihapitiya: Apple is a ‘productive cash machine’ but probably not so innovative now

“Silicon Valley venture capitalist Chamath Palihapitiya told CNBC on Wednesday he sees Apple as a massive generator of cash, but the company is probably slipping on the innovation side,” Matthew J. Belvedere reports for CNBC.

Belvedere reports, “‘I think Apple is a productive cash machine. Is it a font of innovation? Unclear, trending to probably not,’ the Social Capital founder and CEO told ‘Squawk Box.'”

“He said he can see why Warren Buffett pushed Berkshire Hathaway to add in the first quarter to its already massive Apple stake,” Belvedere reports. “‘They are famous buyers of value. There’s tremendous value at Apple. There’s enormous cash flow in Apple.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As Android peddlers struggle and fail to match Apple’s TrueDepth Camera system and Face ID using dog-slow off-the-shelf, one-size-fits-all processors, reality begs to differ.

Apple does need to do one important thing to squelch this sort of perception: Get Siri to where it should be after years of molasses-like stagnation. The company is obviously taking steps as evidenced by the recent poaching of John Giannandrea, Google’s former A.I. chief.

Apple’s latest hire should see Siri get seriously smarter – April 4, 2018
Apple hires Google’s A.I. chief to improve Siri – April 4, 2018
Android phone peddlers face difficulty trying to knock off Apple’s Face ID, Animoji, and other TrueDepth Camera features – January 11, 2018
iPhone 8’s Apple A11 Bionic chip so destroys Android phones that Geekbench creator can’t even believe it – September 30, 2017


  1. i agree with this report whole heartedly. There is no doubt about Apple profit & overall financial condition, the issue is Apple management that has allowed soft ware and hardware problems happen. Apple is not so magical now, and the term “Just Work” is not valid anymore.

    1. Wild guest: you have only one Apple product.

      When my ipad 2 (2011) rings when I can’t find my jetblack and can use the ipad instead, if that is not classified as innovation? What is it?

      When My mbp seemlessly open when I come close with my Apple watch, what os it?

      1. As a long time Apple user since the Performa models, supporter of Apple during it’s darkest days, user of too numerous Apple products to count, I agree with Snoop Dogg, yes, the motto “It Just Works” no longer applies to Apple.

        I also maintain our Mac based small business. I have grown more and more frustrated with Apple over the past five years. It’s as if they don’t care anymore.

          1. That experience may vary depending on how much you have to access/work with non-Apple devices. If Apple is not careful their insular view of the ecosystem may make them the next ‘Galapagos’.

      2. Wild guess indeed, i have the following Apple products

        iPhone SE

        IPad 3 Retina (Heavy usage & still going strong)

        Macbook Pro 13inch i5 (updated with SSD and 16GB ram from crucial) 2015

        Apple TV 1080p (hardly used)

        Apple white router (heavy used and going strong)

        iPod touch (very early without camera or retina screen) 2009 maybee my 1st apple

        Also had, Iphone 3g, 4s and 6s

      3. Well, I agree with the lack of innovation comments, too.

        Mac Plus
        Mac LC
        PowerMac 7100
        Desklamp iMac
        White Plastic iMac
        Silver iMac
        White Macbook
        Black Macbook
        Macbook Air 13
        Two Apple TV’s
        Four iPads
        iPhones 4, 5 6 and 7
        Three iPods
        One Apple Watch.

        And I am an Apple Certified Technician, too.

        While I will not leave the Apple world behind, I’m not interested in the current computer offerings. My next Mac will either be a used Macbook Pro that is upgradeable, or a Hackintosh.

      4. Because Apple gets a few things right at the expense of ignoring other critical things (like Mac Pros, Mac Minis, MBP’s without keyboard issues and lack of 32Gb RAM options, Siri, etc.) doesn’t excuse them at all.

        I have 2 old Mac Pros, iMacs, Mac Book Pro, iPad Pro, iPod Touch, iPhones galore including there X, Apple WiFi stations, etc.

        I have been livid at Apple for a couple years now not selling a Mac Pro I want to buy as many know here so switching to a PC Workstation in a couple months. You can’t coast on an old reputation forever without executing as well now – ON EVERYTHING YOU DO.

        And you need to pay attention to what your markets NEED, not what Jonny Ives wants to remove, seal or close off to upgrades in the foolhardy name of design without due consideration and market feedback. Truly great design doesn’t hinder, limit and hamper the technology for users, especially high end professional users.

        Right now I’m so over the Ives contribution. Maybe he should move back to England as he fervently wishes and let others deliver on real function, slimness and non-user upgradeable be damned. Maybe then we’ll get what we truly want.

        1. The Mac is not critical to Apple. It may be to you and I, but to Apple it’s kind of a historical mascot.

          If you want 32GB of RAM in a laptop with ports and powerful features like multiple SSDs, think companies like Razer, HP, Acer and so on. They make computers. Apple makes fashion. My MacBook Pro is pretty, has a crappy keyboard and still power strip thing, but it’s light and thin. But when I want speed and power RazerBladePro kicks ass.

          1. Thanks TM, as you know by my whiny posts I am already about to join the PC Workstation bus. My preference is Mac of course and it is frustrating how easily they could’ve made our dreams come true instead of smacking us upside the head with their misguided ideas about design, progress and what users really want.

            If there is a demise of the Mac because of dissatisfaction of the prior-faithful they are the ones who would have caused it, ironically. Conversely if they would stop and give us what we want sales would be considerably higher.

            It’s terrible thing for them to be living in their Ivory Spaceship.

            1. I can agree with that. Apple may just be looking at Macs now only in the amount of computing power iOS developers require and no further. May explain the dumbing down of Mac applications.

  2. Something is seriously wrong with Siri. The whole project is very un-Apple-like. How many times have they brought someone in to shore up Siri? How many times have they bought some company that would restore Siri to her old glory? I’ve never seen Apple fail continually at something like this.

    They may need to just toss Siri out and develop something better from scratch.

    1. I would argue it’s very Apple like. Siri is actually a pretty polished product and it is designed differently for each platform its on. Just because it doesn’t have as long a list of capabilities as other assistants, people claim it’s behind in every way. If feature lists were the only metric for quality and success, Apple and the Mac would have perished long ago. Look at Google Pay’s new inclusion of ticketing in Android P, like iOS has had since 2012. Android users will note that the system has supported digital tickets for a long time (the feature box was checked), but for some reason it’s a pretty big deal that the feature is now getting implemented in this way -because the user interaction model that Apple pioneered for this and other things is more than just whether it can do something-it’s how it does it. A lot of people that can’t or don’t take care to notice these differences can be convinced that Apple doesn’t innovate.

  3. Absolute rubbish!

    What, so the iPhone X with Face ID is not innovative …. let’s see how long it takes any other “innovative” company to “Copy” it, probably never!

    What, so an Apple Watch in its entity is not innovative …. where the hell is the competition; even the Swiss Watch industry is on life support!

    What, so Touch ID is not innovative … this has been out in the wild for so long now, that Apple inc. will probably retire the capability before anyone else can even copy it!

    Utter venture capitalist hogwash!!

  4. As long as Apple has active R&D programs in place, some new product could appear. How many companies are putting out radical new products every year? Not very many. Innovation can take place at any time. You can’t just point to a company and say they’re incapable of innovation. I could understand if Apple completely stopped R&D, then they could say Apple’s innovative days are probably over. I’ve heard Apple had a number of R&D programs in progress, so there’s always a fair chance something will come out of them. Just because Apple isn’t boasting to the world about what they’re working on, there’s no reason to assume nothing is getting done.

    Did that VC dude say which company he thinks is full of innovation? I wish he mentioned what company he feels is worthy of that praise. I’d just like an idea of what he considers worthwhile innovation. I hope they’re not talking about Tesla as being a font of innovation just because Tesla builds electric cars. There are plenty of companies building electric cars along with fossil fuel cars and they’re not burning cash like Tesla is burning cash.

    I’m sure at some point Apple will improve Siri but it may just take more time. It seems likely Apple had been neglecting Siri, but if it puts more resources to improving Siri, then it is likely Siri will improve. I might as well take a hopeful stance that Apple has the ability to do what it needs to do.

  5. I don’t know, seems to me that the Apple watch came out around the time of the google glasses give or take. I don’t see the glassholes around much anymore and on the other hand the Apple watch is doing well.

    Innovation takes time and the right environment.

  6. Just write what you think is not true and you’ll get a lot of hits. Ad revenue drives the world! For REAL innovation, though, I love how macdailynews sends me randomly to other pages that aren’t macdailynews. Hipstarclub IS innovation!!

  7. As a champion of business competition, I’m pleased to see other companies kicking Apple’s ass on several levels. The Apple Bungles have been thick headed and constant of late. Historically, clobbering Apple is the best way to wake them up and force positive change. Aim the punches directly at the head(s), where they belong. Shame the execs. Shake the sleepers out of the tree and get back to making techno-gear that’s Insanely-Great!

    1. Instant Karma’s going to get you
      Going to knock you right on the head
      You better get yourself together
      Pretty soon you’re going to be dead

      But, you know, all competition comes down to the same frenzies. Apple just gets more press, and thus seems frenzier. The more squeaking, the more freaking.

      1. That’s certainly the case!

        But I like to think that Apple still focuses on its customers/users and has, or could regain, an interest in progressing the future of computing in favor, in friendliness toward the user. iOS gear is nice, but it’s not enough. The constant string of Apple Blunders®™ has not abated. I personally hope the karma of ignoring their high end users doesn’t catch up with them to the point of death. As someone who continues to keep track of what goes on with Microsoft Windows, there’s NO WAY I’d go back to that ongoing far-worse mess again.

        Ultimate dream that is constantly deferred regarding computer tech: That we end our ongoing Dark Age of Computing.

        Not-fun example that we’re still stuck in the dark: The US Congress is now investigating the incredibly stupid attempt by the US military to use AWS (Amazon Web Services) for storage of all their files from informal to ultra-high security. Meanwhile, every week there are further breaches of AWS as well as increased sourcing of SPAM attacks from AWS. No, that’s not a sane place to store anything intended to be secret, let along crucial to US national security. AKA: TechTardiness remains rampant.

        Now I’ll calm down with an attempt at installing the latest Windows 10 updates via Boot Camp. Pray for me. 😉

        1. My grandmother gave me her rosary beads, which she said derived from a design so ancient she thought might be Druid. I was never the gullible type but as I’ve gotten older I like to get them out and pray for deliverance. When I handle them now they seem heavy, steeped in the weight of history, drenched with intense emotions one can almost taste. If ghosts exist, it is surely through such relics, infused with the touch of generations of supplicants, their scents and sweat and electric fluids subtly altering the chemistry of the beads they fingered long ago. You know how, every once in a while, you casually touch someone’s hand and get an electric spark? Yes it usually is merely static electricity and not kismet. But with venerable objects there is a kismet there, trying to link you into the great chain of being.

          1. For all we know, there really are 10+ dimensions. What we think may well infuse and stir energy in some dimension we can’t fathom, our imposed pattern traveling on with affected objects. I’m a great fan of ‘synchronicity’, events that are so incredibly significant that its difficult to believe they’re mere coincidences. I’ve used synchronicity as a learning tool since I was a teeny bop.

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