Remember way back when, back to the glory days of yesteryear, back when Apple both surprised and delighted customers with new products? You remember those days, right? They weren’t that long ago, right?
Yes, after every new product introduction, critics and analysts howled and laughed and criticized like they’ve always done, but Apple knew the way, and prodded by CEO and co-founder Steve Jobs, Apple always delivered not just a new product, but a new way for technology to evolve. That’s what’s missing from Apple now.
Titanic Deck Chairs
Early Tuesday morning Apple introduce a few new products. No, not new products as the iPhone was new. Not a new product category like the iPad. Not even an engineering marvel that was the Mac Pro about four years ago and since abandoned by Apple. The company’s newest technology marvels are marvels indeed; Watch and AirPods. Yet, both are merely accessories for the iPhone. So, after being castigated by critics and customers alike, what does Apple do?
The announcement that should have been:
Hey Apple customers, we got some new product Red iPhones for you. Oh, and that creaky old iPad Air 2? It’s gone. Now it’s just iPad. And it’s heavier, thicker, faster, and cheaper. See you later, OK?
The highly anticipated iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus now come in Red and they’re priced high enough that Apple can contribute to the Global Fund to support HIV/AIDS.
Apple is on a roll. Downhill.
In addition to iPhone Product Red, the iPhone SE got a makeover. Well, actually, only the storage got a makeover. The 16GB model went to 32GB. And the 64GB model went to 128GB for the same price.
The roll continues.
Apple introduced a new 9.7-inch iPad simply called, iPad. Gone is the iPad Air 2, in favor of the heftier and far less expensive iPad which now starts at a low, low price of $329. Goodbye iPad mini 2, too. The new iPad gets the A9 CPU from a few years ago. The two iPad Pro models use the faster A9X for better graphics, and both work with ApplePencil and Smart Connector, which the newly updated 9.7-inch iPad does not.
Am I being too critical here? No. Critical? Yes. Too critical? No.
Yes, I know Apple is sitting on a few hundred billion dollars in cash. Yes, I know last quarter’s sales were records for both iPhone and Mac. Apple’s profitability is not the issue. The Titanic was the best ship modern technology could build just before it sank. BlackBerry had record sales just before it faded off into the sunset. Nokia was once the world’s largest smartphone maker before it sank.
See the pattern?
It’s as if way back early in 2016 someone on Apple’s board of directors asked CEO Tim Cook what’s coming down the product pipeline in the near future and Cook replied:
Honestly, I got nothing. I mean, we’ve been busy with the new headquarters building, and Intel won’t give us any faster CPUs, and Jony Ive just doesn’t like the color on Samsung’s OLED smartphone screens and they’re the only ones who can build enough, and I know iPad sales are going down but we’ve got new commercials coming and a new price but I don’t want them to be too powerful because that would cannibalize the Mac, and…
Then, logically, the board member asked Cook to forget the excuses and just explain what is in the pipeline and Cook replied:
Well, Jony is still on sabbatical, so early in 2016 I created a team of outside consultants to bring in some fresh ideas for new products. The team is top notch; the best. David Blaine, Criss Angel, and David Copperfield. They looked at the product line and decided Apple needed a new MacBook Pro that was pretty. Power wasn’t important. Then, they designed a pair of wireless earbuds and called them AirPods. Just recently, they came up with a new iPhone model that’s Red. Cool, huh? And because we have so many iPad parts they cut the iPad’s price. Great, right?
That can’t be too far off the mark, right?