Walt Mossberg: Apple needs a big new innovation soon

Walt Mossberg, co-founder of Recode, joins “Squawk Alley” to discuss lagging innovation at Apple, streaming services and more.

I think it’s hard to shake the perception of the company [as a hardware maker dependent on product cycles] because the iPhone is so ubiquitous and so associated with Apple that for people to think about it in other ways is going to take a lot, a lot of marketing. Luckily, they are pretty good at marketing, but they have to execute.

I think they still are working on some new hardware and software initiatives – notably augmented reality glasses – where I think they have invested a lot of money and have a lot of people working… Whether they’ll succeed, I don’t know. Remember, the services business has grown very, very robustly at Apple and, if they pull this next thing off, it will grow even more robustly. — Walt Mossberg

Direct link to video here.

MacDailyNews Take: Incongruously, Mossberg asserts, “it’s been nine years since their last big, giant kind of product which was the iPad. Nine years.”

Then, of the Apple Watch, which was released less than four years ago, Mossberg then immediately disproves his assertion by saying, “[Apple] are the biggest watch company in the world, which no one would have predicted when it first came out. Not only is it the biggest selling smartwatch, but it’s bigger than the whole Swiss watch industry… [And another product] that’s a huge hit are AirPods.” Apple introduced AirPods just over two years ago.

As per Apple Glasses:

As iPhone was to Nokia and Apple Watch is to Swatch, Apple Glasses will be to Ray-Ban et al. — MacDailyNews, March 8, 2019

Once Apple’s augmented reality smartglasses are released, people are going to want to wear them during every waking hour.MacDailyNews, February 26, 2019

Someday, hopefully sooner than later, we’ll look back at holding up slabs of metal and glass to access AR as unbelievably quaint. — MacDailyNews, July 28, 2017

The impact of augmented reality cannot be overstated. It will be a paradigm shift larger than the iPhone and the half-assed clones it begat. — MacDailyNews, August 4, 2017

Augmented Reality is going to change everything.MacDailyNews, July 21, 2017

Apple hires augmented reality/virtual reality expert Arthur van Hoff – April 9, 2019
Apple’s years of work on AR and VR will pay off in the 2020 smartglasses – March 8, 2019
Ming-Chi Kuo: Apple AR glasses coming in 2020; will require iPhone to do the heavy lifting – March 8, 2019
Tim Cook says Apple is ‘planting seeds’ and ‘rolling the dice’ on future products that will ‘blow you away’ – March 1, 2019
Apple patent reveals features of augmented reality smartglasses – February 26, 2019
Apple’s next big thing could replace both the iPhone and Apple Watch – February 21, 2019
Augmented Reality will spark the next big tech platform – February 15, 2019
Apple taps iPhone exec Casanova to be first head of marketing for augmented reality – February 12, 2019
Apple working on new iPhones with powerful 3-D camera and laser scanner in augmented reality push – January 30, 2019
Apple patent reveals ongoing work on micro-LED displays for holographic imagery – November 9, 2018
What’s happening with Apple’s secret augmented reality glasses project? – November 8, 2018
Apple’s Akonia acquisition points towards ‘Apple glasses’ – August 30, 2018
Apple buys Akonia Holographics, a startup focused on lenses for AR glasses – August 30, 2018
Ming-Chi Kuo: Apple Glasses coming in 2020 – August 15, 2018
Gene Munster: Apple will release Apple Glasses late in 2021 – May 17, 2018
Apple patent application reveals work on eye-tracking technology for VR and AR headsets – April 27, 2018
Apple prepping Micro-LED displays for Apple Watch and Smartglasses for 2019, sources say – April 3, 2018
Apple CEO Cook on the future of fashion, shopping, and AR smartglasses – October 11, 2017
Apple’s AR smartglasses – understanding the issues – August 29, 2017
Bernstein: Apple’s ‘smartglasses’ opportunity ‘could be enormous’ – August 25, 2017
Apple working on several prototypes of AR glasses – August 4, 2017
Apple’s next big move: Augmented reality – August 3, 2017
Apple’s rumored new glasses will be an even bigger deal than the iPhone – July 28, 2017
Apple smart glasses are inevitable – July 28, 2017


    1. Ummmmmm…. yeah. I mean you TRY not to think that way, but there are certain tropes; like being absolutely certain that everything you knew when you were 14 is better than today for example; that people over a certain age threshold seem to exhibit in abundance.

    2. I totally agree.. these critics are so hot and cold towards Apple more than any Fortune 500 company out there. They’ll crank out words like this late at night and then be up bright and early to get in Line for the newest Apple Watch, AirPods, iPad at an Apple store perhaps an hours drive, and show up to work 2 hours late claiming car troubles… but never a complaint online about car companies, or anything important. Dear Walt, here ya go Pal… here’s some Cranberry Juice… now take your pills and time for beddie-bye-bye! : )

  1. It should be clear the direction of Apple’s innovations under cook.

    Less R&D, copy others instead. Improve on what they do.
    Half baked data services
    Streaming entertainment
    Digital Appliances like iPads, Watches
    Law Suits
    Financial Services
    Phasing out computers

    Kind of a Sony meets GM at the decline of both of their companies.

    Apple doesn’t need to be the innovator anymore.

    The question now is, who will be the next big innovator?

    1. Well said, Thelonius! Apple is doing a competent job of making incremental progress. But Apple has been beaten by Alexa, and by Netflix in streaming, and soon by Disney in content. Walt Mossberg can see the long-term perspective: it is difficult and uncommon for any company to make big innovations after it has become the “incumbent”. We love Apple. We want to see Apple succeed. And we want Apple to make big innovations. Like Apple has done since it began. Cook could do better

  2. I find it interesting that no one is mentioning the car any more. How much time and resources have been spent there. Services is where Tim sees the future. Under Tim’s leadership, leads in many areas have slipped away. The type of innovation that we have come to expect from Apple has ceased to exist up Tim’s leadership. Social issues have taken it’s place in importance. The competition has seen this and is going after it. The only thing that keeps Apple where it is are their operating systems. I hope he does not let them go too.

  3. What is left for Apple to Invent, or copy?

    A new world of computers? Been there and done that (in 1984) and it is still selling profitability.

    The iPod? Great in its day, but replaced by the iPhone. It did help a lot for Apple when moving to the iPhone.

    The iPhone? That knocked it out of the park and will continue to do so. The hidden secret will be based on advances in the technology, especially in relation to integration with macOS.

    The iPad? I don’t have one, Burt everyone else in the family has one and I tend to drool a bit. I’m looking for more use of the iPad for books and news sources – but that is going to be in their service of News+ . I also see more splitting base on the ned for performance and costs. Some areas (like medicine) can need significant power, while News+ can work well with both, Apple’s clearly moving towards more performance and will soon be able to deliver less powerful iPads for those who don’t need all that power. This has already started, but I see a wider split.

    Watch. This is a sleeper, especially for the medical area. I bought one because I starting to fall and that feature made me get the credit card out. Next big feature will be blood Sugars for diabetics. Then more work on cardiac performance, with PulseOx tossed in as well. Then there will be bluetooth communications with medical devices that will not fit into the watch

    1. “What is left for Apple to Invent, or copy?”

      Ken, I know EXACTLY what I want from Apple.

      I want an iPhone sized device on my belt and a pair of glasses that let’s me “see” a 16-17″ screen output on the glasses and a decent fold open keyboard, so I can be rid of a carrying a laptop & its big screen.

      Oh, and by the way, I want it to be able to run iOS and act as a phone, too.

      There is no reason I can “see” that this is not possible. Yeah, you still need a keyboard, trackpad or mouse, but there are a variety of ways to deal with that, including using the CPU/iPhone itself as the trackpad and keypad.

      Just do it. Such a device would inherently be more secure from prying eyes and use less power and consume less materials in manufacturing than a laptop.

  4. Apple is currently in the process of Sonyfication under Cookie Monster. They have an exploded number of SKUs and embarrassing mistakes. Their days of innovation are over. The next iPhone will be fugly. Their AR glasses (if they aren’t AirPowered away) will be garbage.

  5. Apple watch.
    Truedepth cam
    To name a few….

    These dont count Moss?
    Or the only thing that will matter is a Time Machine?
    By the way the Time Machine is planned for release in late 2021 and since it was released times have never been the same …..

  6. This time you got it right on! (MacDailyNews Take) I totally agree.. these critics are so hot an cold towards Apple more than any Fortune 500 company out there. They’ll crank out words like this late at night and then be up bright and early to get in Line for the newest Apple Watch, AirPods, iPad at an Apple store perhaps an hours drive, and show up to work 2 hours late claiming car troubles… but never a complaint online about car companies, or anything important. Again good comment MacDailyNews!

  7. MDN make me chuckle when they try to suggest Apple glasses are a thing. Seriously dudes? The most paranoid privacy company in the world is going to release a product that lets people record other people or gather info on them? Will never happen. And what other function would eye wear do – if not create augmented information and video?

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.