At WWDC 2013, Apple showed its new soul

There was something different about Apple during yesterday’s WWDC keynote. I couldn’t put my finger on it at first.

Part of it was the glitchy developer demo at the start of the keynote. Right around the time Tim Cook should have been waxing poetic about Apple’s accomplishments, two scruffy guys from a small robotics start-up took the stage and horsed around with toy cars.

Then came Craig Federighi. Apple’s new software chief made the OS X Mavericks and iOS 7 demos come alive. He joked around with the audience and poked fun at himself. He came across as warm and personable—the polar opposite of Scott Forstall and Bertrand Serlet, the former iOS and OS X gurus, who always exuded cold intensity and rarely, if ever, strayed from their rehearsed remarks.

And then there was the new Designed by Apple in California campaign. After years of squeaky-clean, product-centric ads, Apple ditched the white backdrops, the oversaturated colors, and the catchy indie hits. It gave us honesty and emotion, and it tried to communicate something profound about its identity.

I think I know what’s happening: Apple is growing a new soul. It’s growing a new identity based not on one man’s ego, but on human ideals we can all connect with.

It did something similar in 1997 with the Think Different campaign, which changed Apple’s image from that of a dying PC maker to that of a champion for idealism. But then Jobs fused his identity with Apple’s, and there was no longer a need for the “Think Different” credo. From 1997 until October 5, 2011, Jobs was the soul of Apple. He shaped the business, vetted the products, and stood on stage alone to introduce everything that came out of the company. He made Apple seem like a flawless machine whose only purpose was to bring his vision to fruition.

When he passed away, Apple became soulless. The people Jobs had hired were still there, and so were the products he had helped create. So, too, was the design and management infrastructure he had put in place. But there no longer seemed to be anything holding it together. The loss was so great that, after just a few months, people began to wonder if Apple had lost its way. They wondered this even as Apple continued to carry out Jobs’ plan and to release the products he had vetted. Because he was gone, the magic was gone.

Apple stayed in this uncomfortable limbo for 20 months. Then, at WWDC 2013, we saw it finally fill the void left by its founder’s death. There was no bold talk of corporate restructuring or rebranding. Rather, the new ad campaign, the tweaked keynote style, and Federighi’s antics showed a side of the company we’d never seen before—a human side, a relatable side that might have been stifled by Jobs’ perfectionism and arrogance before. Watching the keynote, I felt like Apple had gotten a new lease on life. The company seemed emboldened by its founder’s legacy yet free from the weight of his influence.

And all it said was, “We are Apple. This is who we are.”

Companies without soul can prosper. Firms like Microsoft and ExxonMobil post healthy profits and, for the most part, delight their investors. But nobody feels a personal connection to them. I think Apple came dangerously close to following those companies down that dark and dreary road. However, I think Tim Cook and his team were perceptive enough to steer clear of it and, once again, imbue Apple with human qualities. Those aren’t the qualities of the old Apple—charisma and persistence and arrogance. They’re new qualities like warmth, playfulness, devotion, and humor.

That’s the sense I’m getting from yesterday’s keynote, anyway. The new Apple may never be like the old Apple, but from what I saw, it could turn out even better.

Comments closed
    • MarionLima00
    • 6 years ago
    • JudyCrews22
    • 6 years ago
    • JessMcGuire26
    • 6 years ago
    • RachelGat7
    • 6 years ago
    • Cyril
    • 6 years ago

    Guys:

    Some of you seem to be misunderstanding what I’m saying here.

    Nobody is claiming that Apple suddenly decided, “Hey, let’s stop trying to to squeeze as much money as we can out of consumers.” Nobody is claiming that corporations are human beings, or that they’re somehow capable of human emotion.

    When I say “soul,” I’m talking about, in the Merriam-Webster’s words, “the quality that arouses emotion and sentiment.” That is, I’m talking about the intangible emotional impression that any organization—be it sports team, political party, or business—can leave upon the public. [i<]Of course[/i<] that impression is the result of PR and management. [i<]Of course[/i<] it doesn't mean there's some life force that makes the organization more than what it actually is. However, having a "soul" in that sense is very important. It means a business can communicate more effectively with consumers, and it means consumers can more easily relate to that business' advertised ideals and principles. Businesses with "soul" are also, I believe, more effective at motivating their employees and making them espouse the corporate culture and values. In other words, while there's nothing magical about an organization having a "soul," lacking that quality can make the organization less cohesive, compelling, and effective. What I'm saying in this blog post is that Steve Jobs used to embody Apple's "soul," and that went away when he died. And now, it seems, Apple has found another way to connect with people—which is a big deal.

      • tanker27
      • 6 years ago

      Spot on Cyril. I currently work for a Fortune 200 company that has a “soul” and when people ask me why have I stayed there for so long I explain that (what you said) to them.

      But it goes a bit further in my case not only are they attentive to their consumers/ clients they spend more on their workforce…..investing in us. I may not work at Google where I can play pool or swim or what have you but I got a lot of nice benefits.

      • oldog
      • 6 years ago

      Put a virtual Steve Jobs and Jerry Seinfeld in a TV commercial then I’ll believe.

      • Damage
      • 6 years ago

      Wait, you mean nerds were being too literal?

        • Xylker
        • 6 years ago

        Double plus good. Up vote for you.

      • esterhasz
      • 6 years ago

      It’s called a [i<]brand[/i<]. ,-)

        • yuriylsh
        • 6 years ago

        Or “image”.

        Yeah, but “soul”… When somebody starts extensively using words like “personal connection”, “soul”, etc., in context of a company or a brand, my fanboi detector starts sending warning signals 🙂

    • Geonerd
    • 6 years ago

    What a disappointing article; Fanboi Journalism at it’s worst!

    Cyril, you seem a bright lad. How on Earth could you possible mistake a slight strategy shift by Apple’s Marketing Monkeys as evidence that some Brave New Company is emerging into the light? Good Grief, it’s an ad campaign, nothing more. “Honesty and Emotion?!” Please, stop, I’m dying here! 😉 The only ‘Emotion’ felt in a corporate boardroom is unbridled avarice. As for ‘Honesty,’ (ROFL!) well maybe they could start the ball rolling by paying a few ‘honest’ taxes on the squillion$ they have squirreled away offshore.

    Guys, please get back to the hardware and other truly interesting subjects that you do so very well. This fluff in not TR worthy.

      • krazyredboy
      • 6 years ago

      You do realize, this is a blog? At least, I hope you do, but from the sound of your crassness, towards somebody’s opinion, I imagine that is not the case.

      That said, as much as I have disliked Apple, as a company, I have always appreciated their products and their ability. I have no problem with the people that use Apple products. Sure, I’ll make the occasional joke, to a friend (of whom, at least, understands my sarcasm), but I would never verbally bash or be rude to somebody who cares about what they’ve purchased, based on what they like. I would imagine, that you, Geonerd, like something that other people could give you grief about, and you would not enjoy having somebody pointing out the fact that you made an awful purchase or observation. So, why perpetuate this nonsense, then? Cyril has an opinion, to which, he is entitled to, in every respect. You, yourself have an opinion, to which, you are entitled to. Therefor, when you wish to speak it, create a blog and do so, because that is where your opinion matters. Much like my opinion, in this case, when it comes to this kind of negativity, it certainly, does not belong here.

      Again, the biggest thing here, is that this is a blog and not a tech review. And when you think about it, opinions are what this site is based on. It is what gives the staff the ability to correlate their feelings and thoughts to us, about the products they review. Without those opinions, this site would have been a simple regurgitation of spec sheets, sent out by manufacturers, and we would never begin to know what might be good or not.

    • steelcity_ballin
    • 6 years ago

    Overly vague advertising message, heartstrings music, gentle male voice. Hey look, it’s marketing 101. This is a commercial, it’s designed to fool you into thinking a corporation gives a crap about you in attempts to secure profits and market-share. Don’t be ridiculous. Buy a product because it’s good, and suits your needs. Not because a multi-million dollar ad backed by peerless market research and groomed by focus group results tugged at your heart.

      • Geonerd
      • 6 years ago

      All that’s missing from the ad are the ‘electrolytes.’

      Exactly. What’s scary is that otherwise rational people get sucked in and actually come to believe that this wretched, cynical fluff reflects reality. A loss of identity related to Stockholm Syndrome, perhaps? 😉

      • TEAMSWITCHER
      • 6 years ago

      You completely missed the point of the commercial. They never said they gave a crap about me, you, or anyone. They said they gave a crap about the products they make. They want to create products that delight and surprise their customers.

      I knew this was true even before the commercial, the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air have consistently been the best reviewed laptops. Same goes for their tablets and smart phones.

      I think this commercial was to buy some time. New products are in the development but Apple isn’t going to rush them to market just to have new products. They want to move the experiences forward and not just pile on features (Samsung style.)

      I don’t think Apple has to worry. The SGS4 wasn’t the game changer the HTC One is (big surprise). Android can only move forward by leaving existing customers behind. And Microsoft is still trying to make Windows 8 into something that users actually like.

        • yuriylsh
        • 6 years ago

        [quote<]the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air have consistently been the best [b<]reviewed[/b<] laptops[/quote<] Subtle, very subtle... 🙂

    • tanker27
    • 6 years ago

    I don’t think its just Apple trying to show its “soul” or even make a connection with the human spirit. It’s the whole advertisement world that’s doing it. You can especially see this in the Subaru ads:

    [url<]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UO6ztkW4ulw[/url<] [url<]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KwGRk2t8WFU[/url<] [url<]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IiRVu4z6wtw[/url<] [url<]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yMl33cENeB4[/url<] Personally, I kinda like it. I currently LOVE Apple's Music Every Day spot because it just fits. Our lives, Our Moments can be summed up at any time through music. Hear that song from the 80s, 90s, or even today can evoke strong feelings. [url<]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDUKt_XgfJ4[/url<] NINJA EDIT: I couldnt agree with you more Cyril. Double Ninja Edit: I just saw this because it was just posted yesterday: [url<]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGtP6ZQ6Lt8[/url<]

    • Bensam123
    • 6 years ago

    And making billions of dollars hands over fist, so fast that they can’t spend it all (and don’t know what to spend it on). There seems to be a disconnect here between a multi-billion dollar corporation here and the people that worship them. Maybe I’m looking at this wrong, but Apple isn’t a lifestyle… it’s a brand. You can do all the things in the video with a Samsung or HTC device.

    I mean it’s great and everything that they’re Apple, but perhaps they should consider actually innovating on the level of other big tech companies instead of making cosmetic changes (they’ll eventually run out of those). According to Wikipedia, Apple is worth quite a bit more then IBM… But for some reason I don’t think that name holds nearly as much worth. It’s all fluff, bling, and religious zealotry.

      • End User
      • 6 years ago

      [quote<]and don't know what to spend it on[/quote<] And yet they managed to spend $34.1 billion on something last quarter. [quote<]you can do all the things in the video with a Samsung or HTC device.[/quote<] So what. Some of us prefer OS X to Windows. Some of us prefer iOS to Android. Speaking for myself it's not out of some sort of "religious zealotry" that makes me use Apple products. I build my own PCs, I'm running Windows 8 and I've got a couple of Android 4.2.2 devices. For my core computing needs I go with what works best for me and, for the most part, those devices have an Apple logo. [quote<]but perhaps they should consider actually innovating[/quote<] A few years ago I built my dual Xeon ESXi rig and was pleased at how it turned out (very quiet with lots of fans in a big 700D case). On Monday I was absolutely gobsmacked by the new Mac Pro. So much power in something that is only 9.9" tall. If you are not impressed by the Mac Pros level of innovation then nothing will impress you.

        • Bensam123
        • 6 years ago

        Yuh… And what do they have to show for it? Just shiny chassis and a superb marketing campaigns.

        I think you missed my point with that statement.

        That’s neat. I thought the almost completely unupgradeable cylinder of doom was a stupid idea, especially for servers and workstations where people actually want to upgrade. You wont find those in a rackmount or hiding under a desk somewhere, you’ll find those sitting on a hipsters desk. Servers aren’t about being sleek, stylish, and small. They’re almost at the opposite ends of the spectrum.

        Innovation to you is changing the form factor and slapping a new coat of paint on things, innovation to me is designing those chips inside, sinking money into hardcore R&D. So of course, it doesn’t impress me where it easily impresses the Mac crowd, because they’re been trained to accept that as being innovative.

        I mean you’re not even attempting to compare IBM to Apple because you know it’s no contest. Apple makes hand over fist more then IBM, but as far as pushing technology forward, IBM has done, far, far more.

          • Cyril
          • 6 years ago

          [quote<]I mean you're not even attempting to compare IBM to Apple because you know it's no contest. Apple makes hand over fist more then IBM, but as far as pushing technology forward, IBM has done, far, far more.[/quote<] That's kind of an odd comparison, though. Sort of like comparing GM and Boeing. Both great companies, but they're like apples and oranges nowadays.

            • Klimax
            • 6 years ago

            True. One innovates, the other makes shiny toys…

            ETA: Overpriced.

            • Bensam123
            • 6 years ago

            Last I recall they both made computers, not computers and apples(XD).

            IBM definitely does a lot more then that though… don’t they?

            It would be more like comparing GM with some other sort of immensely popular car company that just changes the look of the parts they receive.

          • TakinYourPoints
          • 6 years ago

          [quote<]innovation to me is designing those chips inside, sinking money into hardcore R&D.[/quote<] Apple has an ARM license and designs their SoCs. As a "techie" you should know this. In the last few years they have hired some of the best chip designers on the planet, as in "only a few dozen people can do what they do", and the dividends have been paying off with the A5 and A6. Anandtech was convinced that they somehow fabricated early Cortex A15 SoCs when the iPhone 5 specs were released, but it was a custom layout. Their employee and technology acquisitions are continuing. You should leave your bias at the door and start paying attention if you believe that Apple is only involved with chassis and UI design

            • Bensam123
            • 6 years ago

            ARM license as in they’re simply reorganizing current arm chips or designing their own arm architecture based chips from the ground up? Because the two are completely different. One being true R&D, the other being very similar to what they do with all their other products.

            Also can you give another example besides this?

            • MathMan
            • 6 years ago

            You are bashing Apple about technical ability and you don’t even know that they have an ARM architectural license and designed their CPUs from scratch?

            Let me guess: you’re not an engineer?

            That amount of technical expertise at Apple is staggering, and that’s just by looking at the talent of former colleagues that have moved there. (20+)

            Apple doesn’t manufacture everything in their own name, but they have a hand in way more components that you can obviously imagine. A PhD friend of mine works in their group that’s responsible for touch screens/pads. There is a reason why their components are usually not only the best but also first to market: they spec and design major parts of it, and then pay for the machinery at their partner to produce it. And they get a time limited exclusivity in return.

            If you don’t know that, maybe you should start reading up on this? It’s readily available if you’re willing to look. (Which I doubt.)

            • Bensam123
            • 6 years ago

            No, I’m not a engineer. But I don’t need to be a engineer to compare their technological achievements against other companies of similar stature.

            It doesn’t matter if they have talent if they aren’t doing anything notable with it, the same goes for money. That was my whole point.

            They’re first to market because they work directly with manufacturers and have custom runs (they don’t make their own products, Foxconn for instance). If you have tons of money to throw around, of course you can get other billion dollar companies to do what you want.

            • shank15217
            • 6 years ago

            Apple is a product company, not a R&D shop. I am sure they have their share of PhD’s but they sell gadgets, not license IP, that doesn’t mean their impact on computing is any less, just different.

          • End User
          • 6 years ago

          [quote<]So of course, it doesn't impress me where it easily impresses the Mac crowd, because they're been trained to accept that as being innovative.[/quote<] Just ignore us.

            • Bensam123
            • 6 years ago

            I usually do sir, I just found this latest write up to be so flamboyantly religious that it deserved at least somewhat of a grounded response.

      • Haserath
      • 6 years ago

      Apple popularizes digital distribution of music.
      Apple popularizes the smartphone.
      Apple popularizes the tablet.
      Apple popularizes high ppi displays.
      Apple popularizes the ‘ultrabook’.
      Apple builds custom Arm chips for their tablet/smartphone. Arguably the best.
      Apple creates their own OS for their laptops and smartphones/tablets.
      Apple even has All in One desktops and the Mac mini.

      Nope. No innovation. They just created, you know, some of the biggest revolutions of the consumer industry. They also provide some of the longest lasting products for battery life.

      The Mac Pro is also their workstation. Not many upgade the CPU since Intel changes sockets quickly. The graphics might be a problem. I still find it innovative; it’s all about the cooling method. Servers would benefit greatly from an innovative cooling method(not saying this is it).

        • Bensam123
        • 6 years ago

        Apple popularizes digital music distribution by changing the layout (new paint job).
        Apple popularizes the smartphone by simply changing the layout (new paint job).
        Apple popularizes the tablet with a huge marketing campaign so effective people still don’t know why they bought a tablet or what to use it for (viral marketing and paint job).
        Apple popularizes high PPI displays because they weren’t already popular before this and people didn’t want them (they just weren’t readily available)
        Apple… are ultrabooks popular? No, I don’t think so.

        Now we’re past the simple slapping a new paint job on things point and onto something more notable.

        Apple builds custom ARM chips. I replied to Tak earlier up on this one, I await his response.
        Apple created their own OS… True and tons of people make their own Nix OS’s including one man teams. I wouldn’t even consider the iOS on the same level as Nix as Nix is much more robust and there are some pretty darn good UIs that can compete with Apple. They have about the same level of software compatibility with Windows applications too.
        Yay, another company that makes AIW systems! I don’t know of anyone else that does that… You could add the cylinder server of doom to this too, perfect for rackmounts. (Paintjob)

        After you put aside the ‘popularizes’ category, which is simply just fluff, bling, and religious zealotry, you end up with just a custom ARM chip.

        So they made one custom ARM chip… and from what I read till recently they simply reorganized one of ARMs already made designs. Apple has been around for decades. Just like IBM.

          • End User
          • 6 years ago

          [quote<]I wouldn't even consider the iOS on the same level as Nix as Nix is much more robust[/quote<] "The iOS system is based on the same technologies used by Mac OS X, namely the Mach kernel and BSD interfaces. Thus, iOS apps run in a UNIX-based system and have full support for threads, sockets, and many of the other technologies typically available at that level."

            • Bensam123
            • 6 years ago

            So iOS is simply a Nix with a UI on top? I think that makes it even less meaningful.

            • peartart
            • 6 years ago

            You’re ignoring the value of usability in both hardware and software. If being based on UNIX were a mark against technological innovation, everyone should have gone home in the ’70s.

            • KoolAidMan
            • 6 years ago

            Windows is just a skin on top of DOS. Screw it

          • MathMan
          • 6 years ago

          You’re right: nobody buys ultrabooks. They buy Airs instead: after all, why go for second best? 🙂

          The thing about Apple is that their products don’t result in unpleasant surprises. You know you will get something that is best or close to best in class. That will just work. And that has kick-ass customer service. And it’s only marginally more expensive. It’s a fair trade-off.

          I’m amazed how many notebooks still get releases with crappy touch pads. Apple got this down 5 years ago. I love MagSafe for clumsy me. TimeMachine was there before anything else (and personal reason to switch.) I have Airport Expresses around the house because it works better than other routers in terms of repeater configuration (and has a very neat iPhone app for it too: it’s great to randomly reset the router to trick my daughter into getting off Netflix!)

          Oh, and their stuff looks good too. Which is nice for devices that lay around the house and that you use every day: we all like looking at pretty things, don’t we? I don’t see how that’s a strike against them?

            • Bensam123
            • 6 years ago

            Perhaps they just do a really good job of masking those surprises? Their products do break and you’re talking about how they have ‘kick ass customer service’ to compensate for it. You’re not paying for a god like machine that is full of innovation and wonder.

            It just sounds like you’ve been drinking the koolaid so much and so often you don’t even realize what you’re buying anymore, you just see the logo and think ‘this will never break’ and ‘I need it’.

            For instance pretty much every SOHO router I’ve messed with has a button to reboot it remotely. If you think having a app is more handy then going to a IP address, you can always install the software that comes with the router too.

            Being pretty isn’t a strike against them, that’s one of the points I said they had… but remains far from what I consider innovative.

      • tanker27
      • 6 years ago

      You’re right Bensam123 Apple IS a brand. And while there are others that can do the things Apple can do better or worse what comes down to for me is the service. No other company does anywhere near this level of service that Apple does.

      For example, When I wanted to upgrade my MBP from the 17″ to last years 15″ I had a personal assistant/ Apple guru that set everything up for me. I walked into a Apple store with my 17″ MBP and told them I want to buy a 15″ MBP. They literally sat down for two hours with me migrated everything from my 17″ to my new 15″ Then proceeded to show me the ins and outs of my new MBP. Sure I could have done it myself but it was that personal attention that I got.

      2 weeks ago my wife’s iPhone 4s was on the not charging or holding a charge. I called to set up an appointment and we went in. They did diagnostics and since I had apple care on it walked out with a new one no questions asked. But we just didnt leave with a new 4s, my wife got a 5 out of it. And the Apple guru sat with her and showed her everything new about the 5.

      Whether this level of service to its customers is a “fluff and Bling” I dont care. It works. And it works well. One less thing I dont have to worry about.

      • Cranx
      • 6 years ago

      I like how no where in this post do you say apple makes bad products. All you are saying is that people really buy into Apple’s marketing campaign. I can see through it just as you can. I agree with pretty much everything you just said. Right on!

      I’d like to say that I own a macbook pro and I love it. However, I don’t care for iOS. I don’t just buy into Apple’s marketing blah blah. I like to evaluate devices and use the one I like best, not because of the brand that makes it.

        • Bensam123
        • 6 years ago

        Apple doesn’t by any means make terrible products, but for what they are and how much hype, religious zealotry, and dollar signs surround them, they aren’t worth it in the least bit. I believe they have way too much money for their own good and it may actually be detrimental to others (money doesn’t come out of thin air).

        If anything I think Apple is a marvel in terms of what good marketing can do. It’s so good people don’t even know what they’re buying anymore and simply buy it for the religious experience.

      • jameskatt
      • 6 years ago

      You have no idea what Apple is about – to the point you are completely blind.

    • lilbuddhaman
    • 6 years ago

    What kind of idiot thinks that a company (especially one as large and money-hoarding as Apple) has a soul? That so called “soul”, [i<]like 1 in 4 iphones[/i<], is a cracked mess.

    • SonicSilicon
    • 6 years ago

    The video’s narration sounded exactly like a list of bullet points to fulfill in an ad campaign.

    • jdaven
    • 6 years ago

    Your anthropomorphic description of apple makes me think about the politics behind the ‘corporations are people’ nonsense. It’s just a company like all the rest.

    • yuriylsh
    • 6 years ago

    [quote<] Companies without soul can prosper. Firms like Microsoft and ExxonMobil post healthy profits and, for the most part, delight their investors. But nobody feels a personal connection to them. I think Apple came dangerously close to following those companies down the dark and dreary road of soullessness. [/quote<] That's what I never could understand. Personal connection to corporations? And as if accepting corporate personhood (at least in the USA) was not enough, now we are talking about corporate soul? P.S. I wouldn't extend your own perception to other people. I personally know several people who do feel a "personal connection" to Microsoft (and they are not shareholders 😉 )

      • riviera74
      • 6 years ago

      Yuriylsh, only a court (the US Supreme Court, in this case) would ever accept the notion of corporate personhood, despite the fact that our constitutional rights were never intended for anyone who is not a human being.

      A corporate soul? LMFAO! Sounds like a really effective marketing campaign from Apple, again.

    • Chrispy_
    • 6 years ago

    Does this mean that Apple will be less bigoted, pompous and self-righteous as a company in the future?

      • BIF
      • 6 years ago

      Absolutely! You can bet your next paycheck on it!

      • jdaven
      • 6 years ago

      I can play too. This means that apple will eat babies, burn houses and shoot fireballs from their arses.

    • dashbarron
    • 6 years ago

    It’s like the transformation of GLaDOS:

    1) Cold and menacing yet promises of just wanting to be your friend.

    2) Apologetic, reformed, and exuding emotions, now you almost feel sympathy for her.

    3) She’s back in power and now you doubt rather the emotion was honest. You fear for your life and want to just GTFO as possible.

    Edit: trivial spelling.

      • riviera74
      • 6 years ago

      What is GLADUS?

      Thanks for the edit for spelling. Had no idea it was a reference to Portal 2.

    • trackerben
    • 6 years ago

    Apple’s a company with lots of competent people trying to run it as creatively as the founder. Cyril and other observant guys are witness to this mission they’ve obligated themselves with. Cook might never find a substitute for Job’s qualities in his team but by just trying Apple will likely exceed the competition. But’s that’s if they keep focus on product and don’t slowly go down in infighting or bureacracy encouraged by faithless stakeholders.

      • BIF
      • 6 years ago

      I agree. Keep the mission in mind and push all the BS to the side.

    • windwalker
    • 6 years ago

    This whole idiocy was always inside the heads of journalists and bloggers.
    Nothing major has changed about Apple.

    While Jobs was alive, he was the target of every complaint and insult anybody could come up regarding Apple and their products.
    When he died, he magically became the one and only reason for everything good that ever came out of Apple and all mistakes were forgotten. Yes, people are that stupid.

    Apple did not become soulless because their founder died. Jobs knew he was dying so he prepared Apple for it.
    What became soulless was coverage of Apple in the press. The press didn’t have Jobs anymore to demonize and to adore, so they fell into the easiest narrative possible when the leader changes: decline and doom.
    Yesterday was simply the wake up call, the slap in the face of naysayers. It is you who have been sleeping, not Apple.

      • esterhasz
      • 6 years ago

      Good analysis! The problem with Apple is that their corporate communication is so restrained (see the recent Cook interview at D3) that there’s not much to go on for journalists besides rumors and the occasional keynote. Phantasm ensues.

      The real question, IMO, is how Apple’s product policy fares in maturing markets. Their capacity to focus and execute is remarkable and so very successful in establishing new market segments with incredible maturity and polish in early generations. They iterate products internally many, many times instead of pushing stuff out and letting the market decide what sticks. The iDevices where [i<]products[/i<] when they came out and not inconsistent prototypes like Microsoft's tablet PCs. But this focus can become a weakness in a mature market, when competitors have reached parity or near parity in functionality, design, etc. Then suddenly we're in a situation like right now, where Android has gotten mostly really good (fragmentation and skinning is still a real problem though) and roughly equal to iOS for most intents and purposes (or maybe even better in the eyes of some). In the meantime, the market has gotten big, a lot of very different people with different tastes, needs, desires, etc. buy smartphones and tablets and not just very specific early adopter segments. But I have only one or two phones to chose from on the iOS side and hundreds on the Android side filling the shelves - and many different companies iterating in all kinds of directions. I love having a huge screen on my phone. Other people don't. What Apple needs is not a new "soul" - in a big diversified market, people who care about technology in that way are a fringe. It needs an answer to that diversity in a situation where the quality difference (whatever that means, to some it's specs, to others polish, usability, design, integration, etc.) is no longer overwhelming. I don't think it's time to license iOS, but it's time to seriously think about a wider product portfolio (including price segments) - despite the risk of losing focus.

        • Theolendras
        • 6 years ago

        That’s an opinion I mostly share, except I would argue that Android has not much weakenesses vs Apple since Android 4.2 with the arrival of Project Butter in particular. Except the obvious Apple eco system integration and software update control (which is the most obvious cause of the platform fragmentation). I would be one of those arguing this makes Android technically superior platform for the additional freedom, iTunes riddance, expandability and standard compliance (no proprietary adapter, SD card).

        Tough with iOS7, my opinion might change again, I’ll see soon enough anyway, my job’s phone is an Apple device.

          • DarkUltra
          • 6 years ago

          Arrival of Project butter? Wasn’t project butter a long term project to gradually improve Androids smoothness and responsiveness by implementing triple buffering and v-sync? I still find the top of the line galaxy s3 to be very jerky especially contacts list and the browser. My sisters iohone and my own windows phone is smooth as butter so i guess im spoiled.

          • esterhasz
          • 6 years ago

          The point is that defining a “superior technical platform” in a mature, diversified market makes no longer a lot of sense, much like a statistical average fails to describe a non-normal distribution in a meaningful way. By betting on a singular definition of “superior” – embodied by a single device – Apple misses out on capturing other visions of quality, for example yours. The bigger the market becomes, the bigger the problem. One person’s feature is another one’s bug – but Android now covers a continuously growing set of definitions.

            • Theolendras
            • 6 years ago

            That’s a really nice way to describe the market as a whole.

      • Theolendras
      • 6 years ago

      A lot of Apple followers did exactly the same as the media, mind you… For me I’d say the Apple we saw at WWDC is probably bearing the first ideas Tim Cook had in mind when taking leadsership. IT compagnies are not something that can turn on a dime. Even with the best talents, the time to market is, for most software and hardware implementation, calculated in years, not months.

    • kruky
    • 6 years ago

    They got as much soul as every other good con artist.

      • bfar
      • 6 years ago

      Hear hear!

      • BIF
      • 6 years ago

      Now this ^^ is a troll comment.

      Would you care to explain how are they con artists?

        • travbrad
        • 6 years ago

        I wouldn’t go as far as saying they are “con artists” but I think saying a company has a “soul” and “human” quality is a bit much. Where Cyril sees a new soul and relatability, I see effective PR/marketing.

        I wonder how “relatable” Apple seems to the Foxconn/Pegatron workers making phones that would cost them 2 full months of their salary to buy.

          • Cyril
          • 6 years ago

          [quote<]Where Cyril sees a new soul and relatability, I see effective PR/marketing.[/quote<] When I say "soul," I'm talking about PR, management, and corporate culture. I don't think there's some ethereal quality that drives Apple—or any other firm, for that matter. 😉

            • travbrad
            • 6 years ago

            Fair enough. Maybe I’d be more excited about their “new” corporate culture if it meant something in terms of new products. All I’m seeing is a lot of “me too” announcements.

            -An iOS GUI more like Windows Phone
            -copying Google Docs
            -a new workstation that finally has a CPU architecture more modern than 2009
            -music playlists (radio)
            -A thin notebook using Haswell.

            They are all probably good products, but I’m not seeing anything new (which is what a lot of us have come to expect from Apple)

        • kruky
        • 6 years ago

        Every company marketing/PR tries to be a bit of con artist 😉
        But I’ve seen more lies and misinformation from apple then from anyone else (UK adverts from few years ago for example)

          • jdaven
          • 6 years ago

          Lol! Now that comment is more nonsense than the corporations are people nonsense. I guess you are an Enron shareholder. Remember to separate the perceptions of your computer hobby interests from the reality that actual effects the rest of the world from big pharma and oil to the drug warlords of Africa and Mexico.

    • snakyjake
    • 6 years ago

    From what I’m reading of OS7 and the iPhone is they are playing catch up to Google and a bit of Microsoft. I don’t see the leadership. I’m concerned that by the time OS7 is released, it will already be superseded by something from Android.

      • BIF
      • 6 years ago

      I see one leap ahead. Calendar enhancements, particularly for offsite appointments. I might have to re-enable iCloud to try it out.

      • jdaven
      • 6 years ago

      You can’t say they are catching up without saying Andriod came out after iOS and windows 7-8 for phones is six years late.

    • TakinYourPoints
    • 6 years ago

    I know a few people who feel the same way, thanks for putting it so clearly.

    The Apple keynote had humor and looseness and humanity that I hadn’t seen from those people before. It was really good.

    Surprisingly, the other keynote that had some of those same aspects was Sony’s when they were talking about the Playstation 4. They did it with humor and swagger. Contrast this with Microsoft’s always soulless keynotes, whether it is Windows or XBox or Surface, keynotes that feel pieced together by MBAs targeting an idealized hypothetical target user caricature rather than an actual human being.

      • BIF
      • 6 years ago

      I have not yet watched any of the presentations. Maybe over the weekend I’ll have time.

      But I did have the MacRumors interactive blog on during the keynote. I did get a sense of “more human” presentation, and I even got a sense that the other presenters may have been better, more enthusiastic than Tim Cook. We’ll see if that holds true upon my viewing.

        • Cuhulin
        • 6 years ago

        Several of the presenters were. Tim Cook is not a showman.

      • MFergus
      • 6 years ago

      While not nearly as bad as Microsoft’s Xbox announcement, very few people posted positively of Sony’s PS4 announcement. Sony marketing is closer to Microsoft quality than Apple.

      The PS4 announcement was full of bland stereotypical humor, it was awful.

    • spuppy
    • 6 years ago

    Really, I would have said the opposite… They seem directionless without Jobs. Instead of trying to innovate, they are catching up and copying wholesale from HTC, Samsung, Microsoft, and Google.

    I think the garbage can Mac Pro was Steve’s last project. After that, I would expect them to go back to making plain products in shiny packages, relying on the excellent mindshare and religion like devotion Jobs built for them. We’ll see how long that lasts, I guess…

      • spuppy
      • 6 years ago

      Downvoting is usually reserved for troll comments, and this was not a troll comment. I would have hoped for anyone who disagreed to actually respond…

      When talking about things like company having “soul” you are referring to marketing. Yes the keynote had ‘soul’ but do we care about that? No, we care about the products.

      iOS 7 is a much needed improvement. But people who have been using other devices already enjoy everything it has to offer. That doesn’t make it bad, but it doesn’t say anything about the ‘soul’ of this company… just that they finally caught up.

      So instead of downvoting because I disagree with Cyril, how about some discussion? Is it because I said the Mac Pro looks like a garbage can? Well it’s just my opinion, but I think [url=http://i.imgur.com/G5GiFfv.jpg<]it does[/url<]

        • Arag0n
        • 6 years ago

        I also think apple showed an iOS that mostly copies Android and new Microsoft design language… I feel funny that at the same time Microsoft is the one pushing for the new outlook, and Google the new features… people still thinks apple is leading? Are they for real?

        • trackerben
        • 6 years ago

        Not a garbage can, more like a room air cleaner or tissue dispenser in the Bauhaus style.

        You lost me there when you said Apple copied from Samsung. WTR to smartphones and tablets, that’s not just false, that’s perverse.

          • spuppy
          • 6 years ago

          [quote<]You lost me there when you said Apple copied from Samsung. WTR to smartphones and tablets, that's not just false, that's perverse.[/quote<] Well saying they are "catching up" or copying is all subjective to be sure. But PERVERSE? [i<]Perverse...[/i<] Granted, I mostly lumped in Samsung with the makers that had similar design and feature elements that Apple is using in 7. I should have actually included Symbian and WebOS, since those interfaces were copied even more directly. As for similarities with Samsung, I would say that AirDrop looks basically like Samsung S Beam, except without NFC. Most other stuff I'm sure people can make the connections themselves, all the way down to the use of a bokeh wallpaper that HTC used a few years ago.

            • trackerben
            • 6 years ago

            If you were only comparing mobiles on their OS features then I would mistaken in qualifying that as “perverse”. In hardware packaging (“dress”) Samsung is legally and culturally established as imitating Apple. They are noted in industry and media for a “fast follower” strategy, and I thought this behavior peculiar to Samsung is what you were covering.

            Note that I didn’t downvote (I usually don’t one way or another), and you did touch on good points when looked from another angle.

            Because if you were referring mostly to iOS vs. Android, this would be more an Apple-Google matchup. In this case Apple notably copied great Android features like notification swipe-ins and standard maps/navigation.

        • Pancake
        • 6 years ago

        I would have said more like an advanced vacuum cleaner.

        • Scrotos
        • 6 years ago

        Perhaps you are unaware of the option to be down voted because people disagree with you. Not because they think you are a troll. Not because you disagree with the story author.

        Hey, if you want to play the victim card, more power to you, but by drawing attention to your down votes it presents you as both defensive in trying to justify your position to faceless people who didn’t actually give you something to respond against and also as someone petty and insecure enough to care about a meaningless popularity metric, something you’d think an apple fanboy would be shallow enough to really care about.

        I’m not saying that’s who you are, but you really weaken your initial points with the “come on guyyyyssss that’s not nice!” schtick. Just stick to your guns and don’t reply to questions or points that no one brought up. 😀

          • spuppy
          • 6 years ago

          No, I honestly wanted to have a discussion on this here discussion board. It’s easy enough to just downvote someone for disagreeing with him, but that is (usually) not the purpose of those thumbs. It’s just improper etiquette.

          Downvoting systems are (usually) there to allow people to ‘flag’ a comment that is especially worth reading or not reading. This goes all the way back to slashdot and the like. Feel free to disagree with me or anyone else all day. But that doesn’t mean you should flag their comment, deeming it unworthy of reading.

          I am not playing the ‘victim card’ or being ‘defensive’ I am just trying to see if my opinion holds weight or not. And if not, why not. That is how we form opinions; it would be bullheaded and pointless otherwise.

          So no, this is not a “that’s not nice schtick”. I am not offended if someone disagrees, nor should the author or any other commentor. I’d just like to know why, so I can reconsider my point of view. trackerben made a good point about Samsung, and I reconsidered. And he agreed with me on Android vs iOS. That’s what can happen when you discuss things on a discussion board, rather than blindly downvote opinions you disagree with.

          • BIF
          • 6 years ago

          You are right that there are many reasons for somebody to downvote.

          But accusing this thread’s OP of “playing the victim card” is a bit off track. Downvotes without explanation CAN be offputting, so the person being downvoted most certainly has a right to ask why, especially if he feels that he made a cogent presentation of his thoughts and they weren’t just “flip from the hip” comments.

        • BIF
        • 6 years ago

        [quote<]"Downvoting is usually reserved for troll comments"[/quote<] Not necessarily. I upvoted your original post for good reasoning. I have but one vote to give, however.

        • NeelyCam
        • 6 years ago

        [quote<]Downvoting is usually reserved for troll comments[/quote<] Downvoting is usually reserved for attacking people whose opinion differs from one's own.

          • dragontamer5788
          • 6 years ago

          What a stupid comment. Downvote.

          (I kid, I kid…)

        • jdaven
        • 6 years ago

        You are probably being down voted because you think apple is copying people. It’s like saying its global cooling instead of warming.

        • DarkUltra
        • 6 years ago

        Looks are in the eye of the beholder. I think the unified heatsink design is awesome, if your cpu is not very busy the other components will run cooler and the whole pc will be more quiet. But I prefer a watercooled, overclocked and completely silent pc (at most workloads).

        • Cuhulin
        • 6 years ago

        Actually, I am both downvoting and commenting.

        I do think it was a troll comment, and I think that because of the way you said things.

        I also disagree that Apple is copying wholesale from anyone. Some of the features are in other products; some are new – but that is the case with any set of competitive products.

      • Deanjo
      • 6 years ago

      Last big Apple project Steve had input on was the iPhone 5.

      • someuid
      • 6 years ago

      I didn’t down vote or write any kind of informative reply because your post doesn’t really have anything of substance. Your first sentence is ok. Your second sentence is so vague it isn’t worth debating.

      After that, you start using derogatory terms like ‘garbage can’ and ‘religion like devotion’. It is obvious you’ve already made up your mind, are willing to slander rather than discuss pros/cons, and are just looking to argue.

      I’m not trying to be cruel or inhumane. That is simply what I what I thought when I read your post. It was your second follow-up comment about being downvoted that prompted me to post.

      • jdaven
      • 6 years ago

      Wow you actually said nothing yet your comment is full of words. How is that possible? Lol!

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