Cupertino funk, part I: O Captain, where art thou?

On October 5, 2011, the vultures returned to One Infinite Loop. Having once taken up what seemed like permanent residence in Cupertino during the Sculley years, their numbers dwindled a bit with the 1998 release of the iMac, dropped further in number with the 2001 introduction of the iPod, and went on complete sabbatical when the iPhone landed in 2007. In roughly a decade, Apple had gone from being the quaint little company with 5% market share to buying The Lonely Mountain so Smaug could guard its hoard of cash.

Then Steve Jobs—Apple’s co-founder, prodigal son, savior and carnival barker—died. Surely, many assumed, the loss of Jobs would be the catalyst for Apple’s journey from arbiter of technology and design to just another member of the gadget-proffering herd. Never mind that Jobs supposedly left behind an approved product roadmap that covered the next four years, or that he had filled the ranks of upper management with like-minded acolytes. No, the passing of Apple’s leader was step one in the march to parity in a world where parity equaled failure.

Except, of course, it wasn’t. The iPad 3 and iPhone 5 launches were typical Apple smashes. The Retina display migrated to the MacBook Pro. Another dot-release of OS X came and went. Apple’s stock cracked the $700-a-share line. Life was good. The naysayers were wrong. Everything was coming up Milhouse.

Except, of course, it wasn’t. The past few months have seen the cracks in Apple’s armor expanding, with a tumbling stock price (relatively speaking) and a general sense of malaise in techland about the company. I’ve always believed that the only company that could ever, at this point, beat Apple was Apple. And it’s starting to feel like they just might be up to the challenge. I believe two main causes are at work here: a lack of leadership and a lack of joy.

Regarding the former, it’s hard to fault the leadership at Apple too much. They were in the unenviable position of attempting to fill in, collectively, for techland’s Wizard of Oz (sorry, Woz). Good luck with that. Basically, they had two plays: continue boldly going where none (or only smaller companies they could buy out) had gone before, or simply try not to fumble the ball. Opt for the former, and they’d open themselves up to immense ridicule as second-class Steves if their efforts failed—never mind that Jobs didn’t come close to batting 1.000 and never seemed overly bothered by it; he just kept pressing on. Opt for the latter, and they could hopefully ride out the Jobs product roadmap with nary a hiccup, bank even more cash, and be lauded as the keepers of the Apple flame. If only.

Obviously, Tim Cook and company chose the latter. Which, from a business school mentality, made perfect sense. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your perspective), the public doesn’t readily behave like a bunch of recent MBA grads. Apple was in a position very, very few companies ever are—its leader literally embodied the brand. Jobs was Apple and Apple was Jobs. This singularity undoubtedly swayed the Apple succession team not to try and "replace" Steve. After all, how could you, right? But therein lies the rub. Regardless of how qualified, adept, and in-sync "the team" may have been, in the end that’s what they were: a team. A management collective. A, shudder, committee.

At any other company on the planet, that may have been enough. But Apple—the successful version—was a never a faceless tech company offering its version of the future to the marketplace. It was, to the public, the vision of one man who seemed to know what they wanted before they did. A man who got things done by hook or by crook and inspired equal parts awe and fear. He was always bold but seldom, in public at least, brash. You could think Jobs was completely snowing the folks inside Moscone West as he revealed just how magical the latest iThing was, but you couldn’t say he was disingenuous. Maybe that’s just a side effect of, instead of drinking the corporate Kool-Aid, being the one brewing it. But just as nature abhors a vacuum, consumers abhor the bland. (Pipe down, Camry owners.) Right now, the people on the stage during Apple keynotes appear smart and earnest, but not quite prepared to go once more into the abyss.

Could Apple have found a similar visionary to step into the void left by Jobs’s passing? Probably not. Cults of personality are hard to replicate. But they could’ve put a greater emphasis on the idea that one person of vision was steering the ship, even if all the ideas weren’t coming from his brain. People—the public, the pundits, the stockholders—didn’t need the second coming of Steve; they needed the second coming of a powerful leader. The Joshua to Steve’s Moses, if you please. Without one, it still seems as if Apple is reporting to a ghost and not doing a very good job at it, at that. No, they can’t sit around navel-gazing and asking, "What would Steve do?" But they can be sure of what Steve wouldn’t do—simply iterating instead innovating.

Tune in next week—same Hole time, same Hole channel—for reflections on why a certain, as the French say, I-don’t-know-what has left Apple products.

Later,

Fox

Comments closed
    • Theolendras
    • 7 years ago

    Well people needs to realize there must be technological opportunities for a compagny to continue to innovate. Thing is, there may be less of technological opportunities than back in 2007. Touchscreen and iOS were risk, that might look moderate risk when looking backward, but try selling a lot of 800-900$ smartphone today… It must feel like a true revolution to expect this to happen.

    But even tough it was a risk the technology to introduce capacitive touchscreen, it was reliable and mature. It was more market value risk, than the confidence in the product desirability and reliability.

    The market is now mature when it comes to the revolution concepts of the first iPhone. Performance, form-factor and services improved, but nothing ground shaking, what would you expect ? But even Job’s own Siri wasn’t really much of a revolution, though this might have been key for the next step, but recognition even if it’s good, it’s still just that “good”. It needs to be pretty damn good to be considered a must.

    I think they need some technologies to evolve a bit before bringing forward the next big thing. What they will surely do in the mean time is improve the ecosystem, like maybe they’re own tv live stream like many are speculating.

    I find it dishearthing to see people not being able to capture some basic leadership realities, a new roadmap in the tech world if often 2 to 3 years in the making, so I guess next year we will begin to truly see if Tim Cook is capable of driving the ship. Apple remains in a unique position of having the brand recognition to produce volume and sell it at a high margin even today what other players can’t expect. So yes they might have more opportunities to innovate than others that are on tigher margins, but technology opportunities needs to be there first. Maybe Kinect like gesture recognition, much improve and pervasive speech recognition, video projections, but I’m not confident any of those are Apple-grade mature ready.

    • BabelHuber
    • 7 years ago

    I think that the main problem is management. IDK, perhaps it already started under Steve Jobs, but Apple seems to be slow for me.

    When Apple does something, Google and Samsung are very quick to respond.

    Just look at the first iPad. It took Samsung about half a year to counter with the first 7″ Galaxy Tab, and Google released Android 3.0 8 or 9 months later. OK, the first iterations were not the best, but at least they had something out on the market.

    Android OTOH introduces a lot of new form factors, from 7″ tablets and phablets to convertibles like the Asus Transformers.

    Apple has only answered with the iPad mini until now. Apart from this, they haven’t changed strategy.

    And this is their main mistake. Of course Apple could get into trouble if they release cheaper iPhones and/ or phablets, but they shurely will get into more trouble if they do not change anything at all.

      • End User
      • 7 years ago

      And by trouble I am guessing you are referring to Apple capturing 45% of PC industry profits and 72% of phone industry profits.

        • BabelHuber
        • 7 years ago

        Apple currently makes huge profits, you are right. But the outlook is not so rosy.

        You have to keep in mind that the smartphone market is a very difficult one:

        One device can skyrocket your profits – look no further than the iPhone and the Motorola Razr.

        But OTOH companies which are failing tend to fall ‘over the cliff’.

        When you look at Siemens, Palm, Motorola and Nokia, sales started to collaps pretty quickly. Note that Nokia owned about one third of the smartphone market in 2010, it was bigger than Apple and Samsung combined back then. In Q4 2012 Nokia was on 10th place…

        So Apple has to change course before falling from the cliff. When you immediately see your sales collapsing, it is difficult to get back on track.

          • peartart
          • 7 years ago

          Android’s varying form factors can’t cause someone else’s sales to collapse, unless you really think Apple made the precisely wrong choices and a few millimeters more or less is enough to outweigh any other differentiation.

          The smartphone market has matured, the tablet market will soon be mature, and those aren’t problems unique to Apple.

            • BabelHuber
            • 7 years ago

            [quote<]Android's varying form factors can't cause someone else's sales to collapse[/quote<] Yes they can - when one form factor falls out of fashion, companies with multiple form factors do have an advantage. [quote<]The smartphone market has matured, the tablet market will soon be mature[/quote<] Yes, in North America and Europe. But not in Asia and Africa. You can sell literally billions of smartphones there. In Kenia you already get a Huawei Android phone for $50. Of course it is junk, but let's see how future models will look like - they only can get better after all. Really cheap smart phones will put pressure on the market, and Apple cannot escape this trend unless it wants to become a niche player again.

            • peartart
            • 7 years ago

            Apple rumors have put them as working on a cheaper smartphone, if that’s what you are worried about. Also their high margins are built on low manufacturing costs and negotiating power; they have a lot more room for error than almost everyone else. Don’t just think about market share, profits are what matter for them as a business.

          • End User
          • 7 years ago

          [quote<]So Apple has to change course before falling from the cliff. When you immediately see your sales collapsing, it is difficult to get back on track.[/quote<] There are no indications that Apple's sales are about to fall off a cliff. Companies in decline: - Microsoft - Dell - HP - HTC - Motorola - Nokia - BlackBerry Companies on the rise: - Samsung - Apple

            • BabelHuber
            • 7 years ago

            [quote<]There are no indications that Apple's sales are about to fall off a cliff. [/quote<] Of course not, it is the nature of a cliff that you fall rapidly. If this would have happened, the press would already be full of it. 🙂 I'm just saying that other companies have already fallen from a cliff, so not adjusting your strategy for years can be dangerous in this business. And some news from Apple's suppliers don't look good, so it's not all well and good.

            • End User
            • 7 years ago

            [quote<]And some news from Apple's suppliers don't look good, so it's not all well and good.[/quote<] You are referring to Cirrus Logic. Did you read their press release? "as the customer migrates to one of Cirrus Logic's newer components" Sounds as if "the customer" is shifting to a newer product sooner than Cirrus expected. [url<]http://investor.cirrus.com/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=756941[/url<] Apple still looks strong to me. iOS is growing in the US [url<]https://twitter.com/asymco/status/324926520642650113[/url<] and check out the iPads Web presence! [url<]http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2013/04/18/apple-ipad-kindle-chitika/[/url<]

      • Kharnellius
      • 7 years ago

      I think you are missing the point a little. Apple doesn’t really respond to anyone….but a lot of people seem to respond to Apple. Apple has rarely been quick to get something to the market when others came out with it first.

      They just seem to set their own pace and let others decide if they should be worrying about what the competition is doing.

      Will this continue to work? Hard to say, but it definitely won’t in the long run if they don’t have some new killer product to surprise everyone within the coming years.

    • sammiej230oo
    • 7 years ago
    • End User
    • 7 years ago

    Apple: 5% of the PC market brings 45% of the PC market profit

    [url<]http://www.asymco.com/2013/04/16/escaping-pcs/[/url<] "The real problem for the PC vendors is not that they have such low margins–they’ve had low margins for decades. It’s that the volumes which “made up for” low margins are disappearing. Apple is not immune to a gradual erosion of Mac volumes, but they have positioned themselves for growth with devices and content commerce and services. They have essentially “escaped” PCs and indeed caused the need to escape in the first place. The problem is what could the others do? It seems all they can do is depend on Microsoft getting their strategy right. Sounds risky."

    • dashbarron
    • 7 years ago

    Not meant as an insult to Steve or Apple, but comparing the near worshiped status of the aforementioned, I’m thinking about this in context to North Korea and it’s former/current three leaders.

    • annamavrovski230
    • 7 years ago
    • HisDivineOrder
    • 7 years ago

    The problem at Apple is that Jobs wasn’t as much an inventor as an editor. The true genius of Jobs was not his ability to invent things. Inventing things is easy. It’s making them really work and choosing which of the ideas that “really work” are also the ones you’re going to pursue. If you just pursue everything, you spread your product line too thin and you force yourself to make lots of different versions of a product, thinning out your profit margins as you try to keep up.

    Jobs could get people who would otherwise want a 7″ iPad to buy (or want to buy) that 9.7″ iPad and actually make them believe that’s what they really needed. He did this by selling the value of the iPad as being worth the extra investment through constant reinforcement of the Apple brand and truly imaginative uses of “leaks” and rumors. I think right around the time of Think Secret, he realized that the rumor sites that were his bane were also his greatest advertisers. So he began a program of deliberate leaks where he controlled the message, focusing it on revving his faithful flock up to insane levels about things that either were inconsequential or at least were upcoming. For example, Retina on iPad 2 (or not on iPad 2) set the stage for iPad 3.

    He edited what the faithful expected and when he brought the things they wanted, he had either created a frothing frenzied mob ready to be wowed by exactly what he had to wow them with (ie., creating their dreams for them through careful selection of “leaks”) or he set them up to be thrilled by what they got (ie., every Apple product comes with a known missing bullet that is ready and waiting to go in the next version (iPad 1 came out, promising iPad 2 would have camera on the back; iPad 2 came out, promising iPad 3 would have Retina) AND/OR setting price expectations for the iPad 3 with rumors that its price would go up to help pay for the Retina despite the fact the iPhone kept the same price with Retina, then releasing it with the same price. Instead of the ruckus of, “Why hasn’t the price dropped?” of the years before, you got people actually praising the starting $499 price point of the iPad 3. More than praising, they worshipped it.

    Then look at what he did at Apple. Ives would come to him repeatedly with ideas and he would shoot them down, one after another, until eventually he arrived at a particular look and simplicity. Jobs was exacting and demanding and very particular and that all led to him repeatedly refusing something, sometimes probably just on a whim because he felt his people could do better even when they thought they were all tapped out. And usually they did. He was willing to throw money at something seemingly done and no one questioned him because he was Jobs. He was the one guy at Apple who could not be fired (though technically he could and had been). I suppose since he’d already had it happen and then he was brought back, he had no fear of it and so could make the hard choices that few others in the industry would do or attempt.

    He had his fair share of failures, but failure wasn’t seen by him as the end of the world or even as a disaster. Anyone else with his track record of failures–even with successes–would have been booted, but he could get by because he had the flexibility to do whatever he wanted. He could fully commit to what he wanted and ONLY what he wanted. He functioned as the editor at Apple, killing entire projects if they just hit him the wrong way on the wrong day.

    And he had the advantage of looking at all the great ideas those incredibly smart people at Apple could come up with and being able to say, “No,” to a lot of them that most corporations would have wished they could have had. Jobs kept the company focused on simplicity.

    In hardware design. In contracts with OEM’s. In marketshare mindset. In advertising. In R&D. In UI design. In product differentiation.

    Anything that had Apple straying into competing with itself, it minimized. It focused on making products that expanded the brand and/or ecosystem and limited self-competition to a minimum. You don’t have an iPad Mini competing with the iPad for marketshare. The iPod Nano didn’t compete with the iPod Touch. That’s why the Nano could be so close in price to the lowest cost Touch. They fit different markets. People would conceivably buy both and be happy to have both. Plus, they might buy a Shuffle, too. Again, different markets.

    You could imagine the truly Apple fanatical buying themselves an iPod Touch for the kid who games, the iPod Nano for the kid who is active, the iPod Shuffle for themselves to work out with, the iPhone for themselves, the iPad for themselves, the iMac/Macbook for the family, an AppleTV, and have it all built around an ecosystem of iTunes-purchased content with Netflix as the backup.

    There were limited options. You got black and you got white. Hope you like silver. Thing is, people were fine with that. They loved it. And Apple loved it because it limited the exposure to making “pink” high dollar items that few will buy compared to say black or white.

    You didn’t have a new lower cost iPad showing up to basically eat the $500 iPad’s lunch. Especially when the $330 price of the iPad Mini ensures it’s not even competing with the Nexus. It’s only competing with the $500 iPad. At that price, they’d be better off saving the money on manufacturing and losing a few of the sales that WOULDN’T be more of the many people who chose to pay $330 instead of $500.

    But Cook didn’t have the cahoneys to buck the market and stick to the $500 iPad OR to pull a Jobs Maneuver and drop a $250 iPad (ie., iPod Touch is now $199!, cue the applause for Mr. Jobs). He doesn’t have the imagination or the courage to do it. There’s a big perceptual difference between a $200-250 iPad Mini and a $330 one when compared to the Nexus at $200-250 and the regular iPad at $500. At $330, the difference is so small, you really are competing for the same people. At $200-250, you’re not because you can make it an argument about value-priced hardware at the lower pricing that you can’t at that $330 premium over the Nexus.

    Plus, if you look at the last product release for iPhone and iPod Touch, you see them just making more and more versions of the devices. They’re spreading themselves so thin on manufacturing instead of focusing all their fans into few, select options and they’re paying more per customer to give them all those options. This was something Jobs would not do. He was running a circus and it had three rings. No more, no less. You enjoyed one of those rings or you moved on to something else. He made no apology.

    Cook’s already apologized twice in one year. Once even to the Chinese government.

    But really, even Jobs knew this would happen. He may even have secretly wanted it to happen.

    One of the last things in his biography was his comments on how Microsoft compared to Apple and what he expected. He said the thing that took Microsoft down was that as savvy and ruthless as Bill Gates was, he was always focused on the product. He knew a good product makes the company good. He commented that what he saw as the flaw for MS was that they chose a “business” guy instead of a “product guy” to run the company and as a result business decisions were not made with the focus being on what made the product better. Money was all that mattered. After saying that, he went on to describe Cook was a great choice. After a long comment about how great he was and how he’d done well while Jobs had been on hiatus (and how disappointed he was that the stock continued to rise even when he was NOT CEO for a time), he reassured himself that indeed Cook would do well without him. He even said he didn’t leave his people any Bible to follow and told them to just follow what they thought they should do.

    So he told you everything when he said his one complaint about Cook was that he wasn’t “exactly a product guy.”

      • MadManOriginal
      • 7 years ago

      [url=http://cdn.memegenerator.net/instances/400x/37014078.jpg<]Holy WaltC[/url<]

      • Theolendras
      • 7 years ago

      Cook first apology was for Map dubious quality, it was a misstep to approve it to early, but it’s a service that was envisionned by Jobs, the iPhone 5 probaly mostly was as well. Just saying management can’t shuffle the whole roadmap as they will, they compagny must have been investing a few year’s time to really see it turn around…

    • trackerben
    • 7 years ago

    Again, imagine how Al Gore must sound like at Apple board meetings. A fantasy:

    (Impassioned Gore) “The consensus is settled! The deniers can say all they want. But we all know that if left unchecked, the increasing distance of Apple from Job’s hand in time could only lead to drastic falls in revenues, losses in mindshare, and yes, a hit to even my image! I point out these conclusions are not mine, but those of a vast majority of analysts. So let’s focus on the one thing which matters – profitably attracting and keeping people on our platform against all the others, no matter what.”

    “We need people to see the dire necessity of increasing that share of their disposable income dedicated to our best ideas. Of contributing to the noble defense of our shared way of life is personally rewarding. We must show this is not an economic issue, it is a moral issue. If we stick to such personable messaging, our customers are going to be demanding this.”

    (Turns to point at the overhead screen where Steve’s Job’s black-turtlenecked visage appears, tinkering with a photoshop of the latest iDevice on a sleek white table)

    “From now on, I propose that every new product be marketed as Steve’s last, his final baby, his signature project. I propose for all lock screens to permanently feature this evolving image of my friend, along with the bold caption “After me, the Deluge!”

    • oldog
    • 7 years ago

    What the Magical People at Apple know better than anyone else is that the most important thing in the tech industry is innovation (Bill Gates’ favorite buzz word).

    The fall of Apple stock and the general perception of the company is that they have nothing truly innovative in the pipeline. This may or may not be correct but it is the thinking inside and outside the industry.

    My personal feeling is that the information revolution is tapped out for world changing innovation. I believe the big changes will occur in biotech, genetics and robotics. Interestingly, this innovation in the US seems to be taking place on the other coast in Massachusetts. And somewhat ironically it was only possible because of the tech revolution that started in the 90s.

      • HisDivineOrder
      • 7 years ago

      Ask the people back in the 90’s and they’d say they’d pretty much tapped out on tech, too. All it takes is a clever company, a visionary, and a convergence of newly economical hardware put together in an unconventional way and presto-chango, you’ll have your next mind-blowing device you can’t even imagine right now.

      Hell, if nothing else, Google Glass is going to be the next world changing innovation and, if you don’t think so, it’s because you haven’t considered the pr0nz ramifications alone of the device. Or thought of a world where instead of people all staring down into their laps while their fingers move rapidly over tiny devices, you have a world where people are murmuring to themselves while staring off into space, never quite meeting one another’s eyes as you communicate more readily with people thousands of miles away than the ones right across from you in the subway or on the bus or plane.

      Every once in a while, you’ll have a Luddite ask you, “What did you say?”

      Blinking, annoyed, you’ll look up and find them NOT wearing glasses. “Oh, I was just talking to…” and you’ll trail off, tapping the side of your glasses. “Sorry.”

      “No,” they’ll say with a hint of sadness. “I’m the one who’s sorry.”

        • oldog
        • 7 years ago

        The real secret of Silicon Valley is making money quickly. You cannot do this in biotech for instance. Development and testing takes time. Lots of it. I have no doubt that people will try to invent the next “iPad”. I just don’t see it happening.

        I been wrong before.

        • Ringofett
        • 7 years ago

        I disagree, to an extent. Certain areas just aren’t going to change.

        Look at the kitchen. What’s really changed there in the last decade? If you exclude ever-fancier blenders and non-stick materials, the last big change was microwave ovens.

        Look at the bathroom. That technology has stayed about the same, give or take the odd electric shaver, for centuries.

        Look at cell phones. There was a game-changing leap from ‘dumb’ to ‘smart’, but what more can you expect there except more fancy features like curved screens or bendable phones? A bendable see-through fusion-powered cell phone is still a communicating device.

        Now with tablets, we’ve got every form factor from super-tiny cell phones up to 30″ IPS displays covered. So no, I gotta agree with the OP. This industry is tapped out, its mostly evolutionary from here, with the occasional fun twist, like implantable technology or augmentation hardware like Google Glass. But go too far down that rabbit hole and, guess what, then we’re in the OPs field with biotech.

        And compare all the above with robotics. We’ve all already got computers and phones in our lives. How many of us have a flippin’ robot?!!? Nobody. That markets wide open. How many of us have had some sorta genetic therapy to remove a disease thats plagued our families for generations? None of us. Etc. That’s where the new horizons are.

        Can never rule out some curve ball, but the weight of history says its time to move on.

        That said… Purses haven’t changed in decades either, and that doesn’t stop luxury brands of purses from making boatloads of money.

    • End User
    • 7 years ago

    Your article is a reflection of the current trend in Apple reporting:

    “But that’s how news reporters increasingly are treating the state of the industry. The desire for the “Oh, how the mighty Apple has fallen” narrative is so strong that the narrative is simply being stated as fact, evidence to the contrary be damned. It’s reported as true simply because they want it to be true. They’re declaring “The King is dead; long live the King” not because the king has actually died or abdicated the throne, but because they’re bored with the king and want to write a new coronation story.” Daring Fireball

    The only “Funk” that I see these days is the one the PC industry is in:

    “PC Shipments Post the Steepest Decline Ever in a Single Quarter”
    [url<]http://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS24065413#.UWXcLb9abHO[/url<]

    • ronch
    • 7 years ago

    Nope, they can’t replace Steve. No one ever could, the same way no one can ever replace your mother or father. You can put Obama or the Pope in there but it simply wouldn’t be the same.

    The problem is that Apple relied on Steve too much to push their products. Apple became synonymous with Steve, so you will naturally have a problem when that guy leaves. You can’t avoid it. You probably can’t fix it either. Apple needs to shift gears and rethink about how they want to present themselves to consumers.

      • smilingcrow
      • 7 years ago

      So that’s why the Pope resigned.

    • Jraptor1959
    • 7 years ago

    Yours is one of my favorite sites. I think, as a follower of Apple and Steve since the Mac was released, that Apple is less now that Steve is gone. You cannot replace a genius like Mr. Jobs. Apple has one of the toughest battles in its “interesting” history.

    • Thresher
    • 7 years ago

    Jobs died right after all the gadgets were invented.

    I have no clue what gadget is next. The rumor industry has had a remarkable record of identifying the next Apple innovation. First it was iPods, then iTunes Music Store, then iPhones, then iPads, with AppleTV thrown in for good measure.

    Now the rumors are pretty much limited to improvements to existing products. There is the odd rumor about a TV, but that really makes no sense to me. The TV market is mature and very few of the vendors these days are very profitable. I suppose it’s possible, but I just don’t see it.

    Apple doesn’t stay as valuable a company if all they do is improve existing products. Their growth has been based on finding and exploiting new categories of products. If Apple isn’t innovating, it’s dying.

      • Jason181
      • 7 years ago

      [quote<]Apple doesn't stay as valuable a company if all they do is improve existing products. Their growth has been based on finding and exploiting new categories of products.[/quote<] Aren't those two statements contradictory? New categories of existing products are, by definition, improving existing products. Ever since Apple began it was improving on existing products: computers, mp3 players, phones, tablets, set-top boxes, etc.

      • HisDivineOrder
      • 7 years ago

      Remember, they also have a long, profitable history of suing companies that compete with them, too. If they ever came up with it, they INVENTED it. Timing is otherwise inconsequential. Never forget.

      If they EVER came up with the idea, even if it’s after someone else, they’re still the INVENTORS. You still need to stop trying to STEAL from them and go, do something original, and stop being a thief.

    • windwalker
    • 7 years ago

    Every time Apple has as you call it “innovated” every halfwit with a blog and most of the commenters dismissed as a stupid and useless gimmick exactly what today is hailed as “innovation”.

    From the “less space than a Nomad”, to “not even a real smartphone because it can’t run J2ME MIDlets” and “crippled big iPod without Flash”, the whining has never ever stopped.

    The reality is that new categories are exceptionally rare and they are refined in iterations spanning over decades.
    The Mac hardware and OS look and work quite similarly in 2013 as they did in 1984. Much fancier of course, but the basics are the same.
    It’s the same way your car looks and works quite a lot like the Ford Model T, but with lots of improvements.

    So it goes for iPhones, iPads and iOS. The hardware gets faster and the software gets better each year.
    Deal with it.
    It doesn’t matter who runs the company, who is alive or not. That only influences the perception of those feeble minded enough to believe what gets parroted out instead of thinking for themselves.

    • Farting Bob
    • 7 years ago

    I think the stock price is just dropping to more realistic levels, it was never going to sustain the growth it had for that long. As long as people don’t completely panic and sell the shares all at once it will remain incredibly valuable for a while i suspect, especially with the ever increasing profits Apple brings in every quarter.
    It’s no longer the sole halo brand for consumer gadgets like it was a few years ago though (particularly with the rise of Samsung and the continued goodwill for google and android) and that will certainly effect the general aura of all Apple products in the eyes of the consumer.

    No mistake though, Apple is still in a stronger position that almost any consumer orientated company has ever been, and it’s unbelievable stockpile of money means if it has to do something drastic it can afford it.

    • destroy.all.monsters
    • 7 years ago

    People love cults of personality. The only person with as much press as Jobs I ever took seriously was Martin Luther King who I feel justified in looking up to even today.

    I’ve always been uncomfortable with those that idolized Jobs and Apple products. They’ve always taken it so seriously as if it was by divine intervention that the Jobs laid down the perfect computing paradigm. I’ve always felt the fervor was far worse and involved less self knowledge than that of Amiga zealots.

    The desire to acquire is not a good thing – and what bothers me the most is that there is no introspection as to why people fell for the rdf and no desire to see what’s wrong with it just a desire to have emotional needs met by *products* and a focus on how Apple has purportedly fallen from grace.

    tl;dr I think it’s ok to love a product for what it helps you achieve but we don’t worship Cherry or ALPS or oems that make keyboards using them. It’s about time people realized how dysfunctional their attachment to Apple is.

      • ronch
      • 7 years ago

      This ^^

      • NovusBogus
      • 7 years ago

      Eventually the zealots and useful idiots get bored with it and go for the cheaper, more feature-rich sea of successors and Apple’s insistence on charging a fortune to tell people what to do pushes them out of their own market. The 80s will repeat themselves, and it appears that Google is the new Microsoft (the old Microsoft having taken IBM’s place as the clueless corporate vendor that fades to irrelevance).

        • End User
        • 7 years ago

        Keep telling yourself that if it makes you feel better.

    • anotherengineer
    • 7 years ago

    It’s sinking faster than AMD’s stock after the C2D and economic collapse of 2008.

      • Deanjo
      • 7 years ago

      It’s actually higher then when Steve Jobs left.

        • Alexko
        • 7 years ago

        There’s a certain amount of inertia to these things. When Jobs died, all the things he’d been working on didn’t suddenly vanish with him, but came out (iPhone 4S/5, iPad 3/4, etc.).

        But then came the matter of figuring out what to do next without him.

        I’m not saying that Apple’s “troubles”—I think a lot of companies would like to be in the same kind of trouble, with billions in net profit each quarter—are necessarily the result of Jobs’s death, but accounting for inertia, the evolution of their stock is consistent with this notion.

    • Noigel
    • 7 years ago

    I think your “funk” is coming from wanting a new product. The high is fading and you’re needing another hit of sweet, sweet innovation.

    Check out the Lenovo “extra touch monitors” for laptops from this video: [url<]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AnAvjS39O_g[/url<]

    • dpaus
    • 7 years ago

    I think you’re mistaking this producer of fashion accessories for a technology company.

      • peartart
      • 7 years ago

      If they aren’t a technology company, then there are a lot of technology companies that are both untechnology and unfashionable.

    • Convert
    • 7 years ago

    Agreed, there’s more to Apple than their products and some people were buying in to that. Now that things have changed is it really going to matter all that much from how it would have played out anyways? It would seem like sooner or later the “cult” followers would get bored of it all, I don’t think that even with Jobs around people would perpetually buy in to the persona of Apple (or Steve if you want to look at it that way). I guess what I’m saying is that Apple was just enjoying a long honeymoon, it was going to end sooner or later.

    I do believe their products can stand on their own though, without the RDF. So while Apple may no longer be on track to becoming its own sovereign nation, they will have to settle for beating everyone else in their respective markets.

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