Yes, as with most myths, there’s some truth to that but I doubt you’d find a technology company– or any company– on planet earth that would not mind swapping out their financial statement with Apple financials. It wasn’t the best of years for Apple, but it wasn’t the worst.
Dudley, Do Right
Apple has problems. Plenty of problems. But they are the kind of problems every competitor would prefer over the problems they have. Apple makes money hand over fist and then some more, despite the fact that revenue is going down, profits are going down, and unit sales of major products are going down.
Terrible, horrible, no good, very bad financial results in 2016, right?
What Apple did was surprise the aforementioned politburo members and their nabob kin with an iPhone that looked the same outside but fooled everyone with everything new inside, and iPhone 7 and 7 Plus sales are on the upside, not downtown. Thanks to the iPad Pro, revenue and profits stabilized, if units dropped a bit. The Mac continues to slide but sales are double what they were just a decade or so ago, and the whole PC industry is going south thanks to mobile, and it’s mobile where Apple is the industry’s big moneymaker.
What did Apple do right in 2016? Let me count the ways.
- iPhone 7 – Dual cameras, water resistance, stereo speakers, no headphone jack from the last century, indistinguishable from perfect screen, what’s not to like? Price? Apple is proud of what they make.
- Watch Series Two – Crazy good battery life, and a few thousand applications that run as apps in the Dock or as watchface Complications added to watchOS 3.x and the smartwatch has a new definition; and most of the industry’s sales and profits.
- AirPods – Even people who don’t like Apple and don’t want to like these oddly shaped devices like these oddly shaped devices. Forget Bluetooth sync. This. Just. Works. Stereo. Mono. They stay put and sound great.
- iOS Games – Curated, the iOS iTunes App Store may not have quite the selection as Google Play which has a few hundred thousand more apps; mostly crappy games, but it’s the iPhone where the good ones come to play. Pokémon GO and Super Mario Run are just a few of the most awesome games ever on such a small device. I think I read somewhere that games on iPhone are a bigger industry than Nintendo, Sony, and Xbox combined.
- Touch ID – Let’s hope it’s more of the future to come because it works on the new MacBook Pro models much the way it does on the iPad and iPhone.
- TouchBar – Honestly, the critics of these need to try it for more than two minutes. The old keyboard had a mostly static Function key row which hardly anybody used. Apple didn’t replace it. Function keys are still there in the MacBook Pro but now every application can have their own function keys. Too. And some of them are useful additions which do not require Advil or Aleeve to soften the blow of tendinitis of elbow and shoulder, a disorder suffered by Windows PC users thanks to their touchscreens.
- Apple TV Apps – I have mixed feelings here. The apps and games are good, easily accessed and viewed, but there’s still that hop, skip, and jump between cable TV networks and Apple TV apps. Worse, apps are a pain to navigate compared to the simplicity of a cable TV remote (which is butt ugly but works simply, while Apple TV’s remote is simple, but doesn’t work well).
- macOS Sierra & iOS 10 – Apple ups the ante every year with more stability, more security, more integration with the ecosystem, and it’s all free.
- AAPL – Well, it’s been an up and down year but up over a year ago. Donald Trump takes the credit.
That’s just a partial list of what Apple did right. They also swapped out my wife’s new iPhone 7 when the camera stopped working, so there’s that. I just didn’t have the heart to put the late 2016 MacBook Pro models on the list.