Apple used to know exactly what people wanted, then they made Apple Watch

“Steve Jobs was fond of pointing out the limits of market research. Customers ‘don’t know what they want until we’ve shown them,’ he would say, sometimes invoking a (probably apocryphal) adage from Henry Ford: If he had asked people what they wanted, ‘they would have said, ‘Faster horses,”” John Herrman writes for The New York Times. “Whether we understand this sentiment as an actual operating principle or as self-aggrandizing narrative, it does not quite account for what has become of Apple in the post-Jobs era.”

“The Apple Watch, a new version of which was announced at the event, was initially pitched, in 2014, as a salve for the excesses of your iPhone,” Herrman writes. “The Apple Watch — with its smaller screen and emphasis on checking rather than interacting — was pitched with marketing that evoked adventure, activity and, above all, escape, as much from work or home as from the iPhone itself.”

“As Apple continues its institutional struggle to conceive of what the Apple Watch is… Apple has already met with the insurance giant Aetna about ways in which the company might use Apple Watches to encourage healthier — and cheaper — behavior in its tens of millions of customers. John Hancock, one of the largest life insurers in America, said after Apple’s latest announcement that it would offer all its customers the option of an interactive policy, in which customers would get discounts for healthy habits, as evidenced by data from wearable devices,” Herrman writes. “Here we see the vague outlines of how the Apple Watch could become vital, or at least ubiquitous, as the handmaiden to another data-hungry industry.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Gee, wonder what changed?

And, by the way, before we get into the following quotes, the Apple Watch has found its way – we, the users, were the Apple Watch alpha and beta testers, collectively standing in for Steve Jobs, doing much of what the singular genius would have done before release by brute force and sheer numbers after release. It took four generations of Apple Watch, but we’re here now and we wouldn’t trade the experience for anything!

As Apple CEO, Steve Jobs focused on two things – product design and marketing. He was a genius at both. His talents cannot be replaced with one person. In fact, his talents in either discipline cannot be replaced by one person. Jony Ive and Phil Schiller without Jobs cannot be expected to perform as if Jobs was still working with them.

A team of people – talented people who actually get it and who are all on the same page – is an absolute necessity for Apple’s success, but it creates a problem: Jobs was a single filter. A unified mind. The founder. A group of people simply cannot replicate that. This is not to say that they cannot do great work (we believe Apple does, and will continue, to do great work) just that Apple is fundamentally affected by the loss of Steve Jobs and has to figure out a new way to work. — MacDailyNews, April 8, 2014

Apple only really works when one person is in charge. The problem is that said overlord has to be multifaceted and multitalented and there was, of course, only one Steve Jobs. Obviously, Steve Jobs is missed and, yes, Apple does need a Jobsian product architect. Unfortunately, Steve was a unique genius and his shoes, so far, have been impossible to fill.MacDailyNews, January 9, 2017

Steve Jobs would get it. Tim Cook? Well, he released it. Just like he released Apple Maps. If it’s not crystal clear by now, it should be: Cook can’t see it. He’s very good at some things; other things he simply cannot see. This is not a knock. The ability to be so detail-oritented, so absorbed in the end user experience to the exclusion of all else, is a rare ability.

“Tim’s not a product person, per se.” – Steve Jobs discussing Tim Cook, as quoted by Walter Isaacson in “Steve Jobs”

Cook needs to assign people to these projects who can do what he cannot, who can see what he cannot see, and make sure these people are as focused and obsessed as Steve Jobs. There may only be one person at Apple who can do this reliably: Jony Ive. Unfortunately, he may be too busy being chief designer of all things Apple (hardware and software) to also do what Jobs did so incredibly well: Focus on a wide range of products, experience each of them as the end user does, and not allow products out the door until they can perform as Apple products should perform. It’s highly likely there is not enough time in the day for all Ive would need to do (or even to do all that he’s supposed to be doing already). [It also might be impossible for anyone to be so involved in the hardware and software design to be able to step back far enough to experience it as the end user would and therefore be able see a product’s flaws from that, the most important, end user’s perspective.]

Cook needs to find people who are obsessive about the end user experience and assign them to these type of projects… To state the obvious: Steve Jobs was one-of-a-kind and truly amazing. No hyperbole. Cook needs to try to replicate Steve Jobs as much as possible with a group of people, each of whom can contribute various elements of Jobs’ wide range of skills.MacDailyNews, November 11, 2013

23 Comments

  1. Pipeline (Tim Cook) surrounds himself by yes men sycophants who are held to the lowest possible standard. Even the most immense screwups do not result in any dicipline or dismissal.

    This is the exact opposite of Steve Jobs.

  2. Remember when Tim Cook had an Apple Event for the iPod HiFi? Holy crap what a bad idea that was. Steve Jobs would have been rolling over in his grave if he hadn’t been still alive and presenting that day.

  3. Booze red-eyed Eddie Cue can certainly be counted on to not assist in this or much anything else. The unfathomable & unbelievable mismanagement of Macs alone is enough to condemn Tim Cook, especially in the pro area as has been pointed out before ad nauseum. And will again.

  4. The Apple Watch is rapidly becoming the Big Brother like tracker. Apple is acting exactly like what it parodied in its 1984 ad.

    Timmy talks a good game on privacy but it’s doublespeak. Apple, just like all other mega tech giants, wants to know at all times where you are, who you know, what you buy, and all your vital signs. Apple’s discussions with Aetna, as well as the existence of iAd and iBeacon, proves that Apple has no qualms about “monetizing” its users. The only difference is that Cook is much slower than Google or Facebook. YOU ARE THE PRODUCT. Don’t believe it? Read the Apple user agreement again.

  5. People wanted an underpowered overpriced 20th Anniversary Mac? Or an underpowered overpriced Cube? Or, maybe people really wanted a round mouse?

    It’s clear that, people are unable to write critically about the current state of Apple without applying some Fantasy Perfection filter on the past. The Reality Distortion Field is still strong apparently 🙂

    1. Equally so when it comes to those who view Cook as being guilty of every professional and personal sin ever conceived. Their “Fantasy Perfection Filter” needs some serious tune up work.

      This “Pipeline” crap and the personal attacks are pathetic.

      The ultimate arbiter of the company’s performance is the free market. That can turn down with the speed of light, but so far that doesn’t seem to be the case.

      Apple could not thrive and remain prosperous in the form most of these endless whiners would prefer. The constant whining and complaining and derogatory comments and personal attacks only serve to project those peoples the morons it’s pretty certain they are.

    2. The Cube was cancelled in less than a year, and rapidly replaced by better designs. The 2013 Trashcan Mistake is still being sold as a “new” product on Apple’s website.

      The 20th Anniversary Mac was a collector edition that celebrated a major milestone in company history, but it was also a useful product that worked well. The $10,000 gold Apple Watch was launched to separate overpaid fashionistas from their trust fund cash.

      The round hockey puck mouse which is so roundly reviled here was included for FREE in the box with a new Mac. Today, Apple is too cheap to include. Today, when ordering a Mac, Apple demands $79 for its unergonomic Magic Mouse.

      When Jobs introduced the iPhone, it included charger, cables, and headphones in the box. You could use the cable to sync your phone to your Mac. No adapters required. Now Apple charges over $1k for a phone but just can’t afford to offer headphones nor a headphone jack. If you want to sync to a current Mac, you need to buy a USB-C adapter.

      Times have changed. Apple offers lower value and higher prices with fewer things in the box. Apple is taking advantage of its sheeple customers rather than rewarding them with superior value.

  6. Look! Jobs wasn’t perfect. Remember the hockey-puck mouse that came with the original iMac? There are others too. Apple may not have the showmanship that it had under Jobs, but when Jony Ive says that Apple Watch is the most personal device that Apple has ever made, he is absolutely right. Anyone that doesn’t see Apple Watch as as big a game changer as the iPhone is a dope.

  7. Sorry, I have owned 2 apple watches (series 2 and 3) and I sold both of them. I tried to like them but they just never grew on me. I don’t know what people see in them. I don’t think they are attractive. The battery life (1day) is a pain.

  8. There is an important point about the Apple Watch that people miss. As a result of pressure from customers and from Wall Street, Apple was forced to release the Apple Watch at least three years before the necessary computing technology was ready. The only thing wrong with the original Apple Watch was insufficient processing power per Watt. Period.

    In this regard, Apple was in a no-win situation. If they had waited until 2018 to release the Apple Watch, they might have missed the market opportunity,
    They would have been severely punished by Wall Street, and would have been utterly excoriated in the media for having lost the ability to innovate. If Apple had released an Apple Watch with anything less than a full feature set, they would have been lynched in the media. So, Apple threaded the needle by launching a stylish and well-made product that was too under-powered for mainstream adoption. The device catered to core Apple customers and provided Apple with a platform on which to iterate. Now, three years later, we have a version of the Apple Watch that has sufficient computing power (combined with sufficient battery life) for mainstream success.

    It is interesting that the time between the original iPhone and the iPhone 4 was also three years. It could be argued that the iPhone 4 was the first iPhone that was a true mainstream hit.

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