Apple is now an antifragile company

Remember when “Apple was doomed?” We do. But, now, Apple is an antifragile company, Josh Centers writes for TidBITS. Short of a Zombie Apocalypse (and maybe even then), Apple is more than robust.

“Antifragile?” you ask. Is that even a word? Read on…

Apple Park in Cupertino, California
Apple Park in Cupertino, California

Josh Centers for TidBITS:

To understand antifragility, we need to delve into a bit of philosophy, specifically that of Nicholas Nassim Taleb, author of the Incerto series, the most notable entries being The Black Swan and Antifragile. Taleb’s central thesis is that bad things happen unexpectedly—the so-called “black swan events”—and he proposes that society needs to build systems that can survive or even grow stronger after unexpected setbacks.

Taleb puts systems into three categories:

Fragile: Prone to break under stress
Robust: Resilient against stressors
Antifragile: Actually improve under stress

…Apple has not just a diverse portfolio, but a diverse portfolio of strong products backed by both physical and online distribution options that keep revenues balanced even in the toughest times. A brick-and-mortar retailer like Dollar General would be devastated by store closures, but for Apple, it was only an annoyance that could be mitigated by the Apple online store. Netflix lives or dies by its subscriber figures, but a dip in Apple TV+ subscriptions is mitigated by a music service, a credit card, warranties, and even a fitness service. HP is nothing without PC and printer sales, but the Mac can coast along at times thanks to Apple’s other offerings.

Even the iPhone, the linchpin of Apple’s renaissance, doesn’t make or break the company, as shown in the tumultuous Q2 2020, when the Services and Wearables category pushed Apple to very slight growth despite declines in every other category… The charts don’t lie: the stressors of COVID-19 only made Apple stronger.

MacDailyNews Take: Check out all of the charts and much more goodness in the full article – recommendedhere.

Wired June 1997

MacDailyNews Note: Most-esteemed, highly-prized, and, yes, unmeasurably-beloved interns, please turn your oft-drifting attention to the magnificent silver barrel icing over yonder and pierce it with gusto, finally and blessedly releasing its bountiful goodness in which all may partake fully (and then some)!

TGIF! Prost, everyone! 🍻🍻🍻


  1. Pure Valley-speak. Apple is doing a whole host of other stuff it should be ashamed of doing. I still say Steve is flipping in his grave to the extent he might unbury himself eventually and give Cupertino a pie e of his mind. There is no spin conceivable to make much of it ok. It is beyond depressing that Apple’s profitability is surpassed in importance to what got them back there in the first place. It wasn’t what they are doing now, that’s for sure. Things change; Dell’s lowest common denominator model wouldn’t have been sustainable for any business – some things are inevitable. This guy is entitled to his opinion, but what a load of cr*p.

    1. The hell are you talking about man? Lots of implied criticism but no actual statements of fact. What is the “whole host of other stuff it should be ashamed of doing?” What is the “it” in “to make much of it ok?” You may have a point, but I can’t tell from what you said here.

      1. You asked, here it is Apple fanboy.

        @James: ” It is beyond depressing that Apple’s profitability is surpassed in importance to what got them back there in the first place.”

        I could not agree more!

        GREED CONSUMES Apple these days and trumps catering to loyal customers! That would be me and millions of others survived the dark ages of Apple teetering on going out of business and remaining loyal.

        Short answer: Balance sheets and obscene profits are the only creative skills of beancounter Cook and the sad state of Apple today.

        Many examples to choose from if one payed attention the last ten years.

        Shaving millimeters off of iPhones and other products NOT to make product perform better or increase battery size, but to save money on materials and shipping costs. More money for Apple. 🤢

        Soldering boards and limiting or eliminating upgrades of ram, storage etc., again, not to make product perform better with longevity and user expansion — if you need to upgrade — SOL buy a new Mac. More money for Apple. 🤢

        Removing valuable ports, disk drives, etc. from Mac laptops and desktop computers, again, not to make product perform better — spend more money on cables and peripherals from Apple or third party. More money for Apple. 🤢

        Anyone notice for years valuable function removals and size reductions of products the prices for the most part remained the same? More money for Apple. 🤢

        The latest HUGE money saver:

        “iPhone 12 works with existing power adapters, EarPods with Lightning Connector, and USB‑A to Lightning cables. Because there are billions of those out in the world, new ones often go unused. So we’re removing them from the box — across the entire iPhone family. This reduces carbon emissions and avoids the mining and use of precious materials. It also shrinks the package, allowing more boxes per shipment and fewer shipments overall.”

        While there is a modicum of merit in the green goal, a few points Apple did not tell you.

        Apple grouses about roughly 40% first time buyers are new to iPhone — they don’t own these necessary items to function. More money for Apple. 🤢

        Less mining, less material used, smaller boxes, lighter weight to ship in less shipments. Did they lower the price of phones? Hell no! Apple sells more than 200 million iPhones a year. MUCH, MUCH MORE money for Apple! 🤢

        For a company approaching $2.5 trillion, Apple has more than enough money and they seem to have trouble knowing how to invest it wisely. Cook was clueless and asleep at the the switch missing countless acquisitions.

        Under Cook, reminder Steve did not believe in dividends and incurring one penny in debt. Also under Cook, Steve ADAMANTLY advised against dragging the company into partisan politics. Alienating over half your customers is NOT good business for the woke SJW.

        Naturally follows Cook is not a good businessman. He lacks DEPTH responding to customer concerns and needs. All too typical for a tone deaf classic beancounter CEO. Where is the Left criticizing wealthy big business not paying their fair share? Hypocrite crickets : : : : :

        What’s needed from Clueless Cook is stellar service to loyal customers, more product standard options, NOT LESS, and above ALL — LOWER the prices!!!…

        1. Ok, you are entitled to your opinion, but not to an assertion of fact like claiming that Apple’s politics have alienated over half their customers.

          First, Apple as a company has never taken sides in partisan politics as most Americans would understand the term—supporting Democratic, rather than Republican, candidates for office. The company has taken policy positions, certainly, but most Americans do not regard opposing xenophobia, epidemic disease, and environmental degradation as partisan positions. Many—perhaps most—Republicans would object to those things, too.

          Second, even if we were to assume that Apple was taking partisan Democratic Party positions, there is no evidence that doing so would alienate “over half” of their customers. Over half of Americans voted for a Democrat in the last presidential, senate, and house elections. Most of Apple’s customers are college educated, a group that voted 55 % for Biden.

          Finally, 60% of Apple’s customers are outside the United States and presumably don’t care one way or the other about American partisan politics.

          1. “Ok, you are entitled to your opinion, but not to an assertion of fact like claiming that Apple’s politics have alienated over half their customers.”

            I wrote 533 words in 19 paragraphs and all the promoter of woke Leftism can focus on is less than 1% a total of 13 words: “Alienating over half your customers is NOT good business for the woke SJW.”

            OK, you are NOT entitled to misinformation. That is called paraphrasing from Steve’s many discussions of Apple steering clear of partisan politics. Obviously, you are defending this business lapse of reason BAD BUSINESS practice because it aligns with your far leftist politics. Cook on this issue has been painfully wrong all along. Obviously, you never ran a business and have no clue.

            “First, Apple as a company has never taken sides in partisan politics as most Americans would understand”

            First, that’s a LIE. If I remember correctly, 94% Apple donations went to the Democrat Party in the 2020 election and even MORE collectively from Silicon Valley companies. Deny that!

            “The company has taken policy positions, certainly” And: “Second, even if we were to assume that Apple was taking partisan Democratic Party positions.”

            No assumptions are necessary LIAR, the facts bear out Apple is ALL IN PARTISAN LEFIST so don’t even try to say otherwise, you are a JOKE.

            “Finally, 60% of Apple’s customers are outside the United States”

            Finally, so what??? We are talking about Apple involved in USA Democrat Partisan politics by their money and support. Obviously, you are incapable of telling the truth and keeping up.

            Minus the 13 words regarding politics, how about the other 520 words regarding Apple customer service and functionality features serious decline under Cook, TxUseless??? Yes, I totally understand your pain, truth is too painful for the Grand Poohbah Apple APOLOGIST, so crickets: : : : :…

      1. Android phone user and from all I can tell despises iPhones, the Apple App store business model, walled garden and Apple in general. Come to think of it hard pressed to recall any positive words regarding Apple? Well, that’s a cynic’s job description. Keeps us on our toes in a good way…

  2. Apple is “anti-fragile” because it has employed two overarching rules since Steve Jobs returned… (1) Leverage previous success AND (2) offer what others cannot.

    iPod (and iTunes) was initially for the Mac users only. Most companies do not intentionally limit their customers base; Apple does it as a strategy. iPod helped sell more Macs, funding a massive expansion into Windows for iPod/iTunes. The huge iTunes installed base, on Macs and most PCs, allowed introduction of iPhone; Apple needed to control the user’s experience with iPhone, take control away from the wireless carriers. During early years, iPhone needed iTunes for syncing and software updates. Success of iPhone created iPad, and later, the “wearables.” Again, Apple limits customer base of Watch and AirPods. Apple enters a new venture (music player, media retail sales, mobile phone, financial, movie studio, etc.) by leveraging an existing success. Apple does NOT launch something big without having an overriding advantage, one that Apple controls.

    Each new major product must be something the competition cannot copy (at least not easily or quickly). Microsoft could not replicate the success of iPod because it had to also re-create its own iTunes Store from scratch, from day-one of Zune. Only Apple can offer the Mac, iPhone, and iPad user experience. In contrast, the rest sell mostly indistinguishable “commodity” products running Windows/Android. Watch is uniquely powerful due to close integration with iPhone. Even tv+ is about EXCLUSIVE new content; Apple is not trying to be another Netflix. And when Car arrives, it won’t be another Tesla. There will be that critical something the competition cannot offer.

  3. I think most people know Apple isn’t going out of business in the near future. My only wish is that there would be some general agreement on Apple’s value. There is too much of a spread in price targets for Apple that make any analysis quite useless. No matter how much revenue and profit Apple makes there are analysts like Rod Hall who insist that Apple is overvalued and not worth owning.

  4. Apple’s value is more secure than the USA economy/dollar that’s for sure. Apple could easily relocate home operations and all manufacturing to a robot factory in CCP China as the USA crumbles into decline via unsustainable debt and tribal insanity. Then apple could sale that spaceship building to the CCP so they can operate their military surveillance concentration education headquarters. After Taiwan, Japan and Korea are reunified back to the CCP, the USA is most likely high on the list. China clearly has a right to bring the USA under its flag since so many Chinese nationals built the USA, plus a little communist marxist unification makes good business sense for the Facebook, google, apple and Microsoft. Washington DC could be turned into a theme park. The donald trump tax evasion rollercoaster with one big dip after another as his hair blows in the wind. The Joe Bidden creepy sleepy boat ride that goes no where in circles with a mumbling announcer reading a incoherent script from a teleprompter… the Nancy P house of horrors, the final shock is mask mandates with out cake up i mean make up. Interactive Antifi burning riots.

    1. This aint no conspiracy nothing….

      “creepy sleepy boat ride that goes no where in circles with a mumbling announcer reading a incoherent script from a teleprompter… ”

      The dude depicted is incoherent. It would be a sensationally sad, but truthful, movie idea

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