Betteridge’s Law of Headlines notwithstanding, something has been haunting me recently. I want to have a sit-down with Apple CEO Tim Cook and perhaps a few other high ranking executives and ask them a few questions.
First on the list would be ‘Are you broken?‘ I ask that question because hardly a day goes by where some member of the technorati elite politburo predicts Apple’s demise based upon the hatred they have for one of the company’s new products, how Apple has lost its edge, and how everything the company makes is going downhill.
Record Profits? Meh!
To see that all those stories about Apple do not completely harmonize with one another is not a difficult endeavor. Google it. Apple’s profits are the highest in the industry. In any industry. The iPhone, which critics say is about to become a footnote in human history, has all the smartphone industry’s profits. All. Of. It.
If only the Mac could fare as well. The product that was once synonymous with Apple itself barely gets half the personal computer industry’s flagging profits. Poor old iPad. Sales are down. Profits are up and almost to iPhone percentage levels. What about Watch? Why did Apple even bother? Watch, in less than a year, didn’t even make as much as industry giant Rolex. Everyone else, yes. Rolex? No.
See? I’m getting mixed signals with everything Apple. Critics howl at every little innovation while customers keep ordering new products which keeps them in short supply. Want a Jet Black iPhone? You’ll need to wait. Want a new MacBook Pro? You’ll need to wait. Get the idea?
If Apple is broken, and many say it is, why does the company continue to make more money that those companies that are not broken? Not broken? Well, if they’re innovating and Apple is not, then is it Apple that’s broken? Or, if they’re not making any profit and Apple is making all of the profits, then how is it that Apple is broken?
Yesterday I read a review of the new MacBook Pro which said it was ‘fast, light, innovative, and expensive.’ Actually, ‘extremely expensive.’ Then I read a comparison of the Mac vs. a new Microsoft Surface Book notebook and the price– as close to a comparison as you get for what should be a high end machine– was about the same. Yeah, I know you can buy plastic-like Windows PCs for less– maybe half a dozen for the same price as a fully loaded MacBook Pro– but that’s always been the case. Nothing to see here. Move along.
Yet, Apple must be broken because the Mac doesn’t have one of those touchscreens that hardly anyone uses, or a notebook that can double up as a tablet in a way that hardly anyone uses. Just yesterday I read that Apple plans to get rid of some Apple-branded accessories, including the division that makes and sells wireless routers like the AirPort Express, AirPort Extreme, and AirPort Time Capsule.
Few such devices are as easy to set up and use as Apple’s and I do not long for the next Wi-Fi standard where I have to buy a D-Link or LinkSys or some other Windows-like device to install and configure. It’s hard to believe that Apple would lose money on expensive products it never promoted or that critical engineering talent is in such short supply that the company couldn’t maintain an accessories line, but then there’s no longer an Apple-branded display so it’s obvious the company doesn’t mind pruning a line of products if they don’t sell enough or take up too much sales space in the Apple stores or gobble up support resources.
The problem here is that Apple at times appears broken. And there are times when the company wows with a new innovation or an upgraded product; but the reactions and responses to either are the same; one of two. Haters gonna hate, and buyers gonna buy. My thanks to Apple veteran Wil Gomez for such a great line. What we need are standards and definitions as to what constitutes broken and successful. Otherwise, we have to deal with the repercussions of both.