Apple’s critics and fans have one thing in common. We grumble. We grumble and complain about Apple. Apparently we have something else in common, too. We buy Apple products by the truckload, complaining all the while, as Apple smiles all the way to the bank.
Look at Apple’s product line. There are gaps everywhere, plenty of product opportunities going unattended, some products aging beyond acceptability, and yet nearly everything Apple sells also sells at record levels and soaks up industry profits. Is Apple immune to the ravages of mistakes?
Wherefore Art Thou, Screw Up?
If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and most of us agree it is, then is a company that’s missing the boat doing so because it believes there is a better way? Yes. That company would be Apple.
As my aging recall may be faulty, here’s a quick list of the more apparent screw ups that came from One Infinite Place in Cupertino, CA that became obvious breadwinners anyway.
iPad – if Apple has a failing product, it’s iPad. Failure, too, is in the eye of the beholder and every tablet maker and PC manufacturer would love to have such a failing product. Sales are going down, but there is hope for the future. What happened? Device fatigue, for one. Big screen iPhones is another.
iTunes – here is the Apple app we love to hate. Everyone criticizes iTunes. Except actual customers who use it for all the things iTunes does. It’s old and creaky and cumbersome and cluttered, and even a makeover every year or two hasn’t done much to, 1) appease the critics, or, 2) cut down who uses it.
Mac Pro – we could easily add other Macs to the list, including Mac mini, iMac, and the MacBook Air; all still around, and the Mac sells at record numbers, but there is one that does not. Apple admitted a mistake with the non-modular Mac Pro and promises a replacement. Maybe next year. Or the year after. In the meantime, it would be nice to get some faster chips in the Macs still on sale.
Watch – yeah, I know– what a blunder, amirite? Every critic with a blog or a paycheck for writing drivel calls Watch a failure. Except for the success, they’re right. Watch owns the nascent smartwatch industry, and probably is the world’s fastest selling watch company with the most revenue. Yeah, uh huh. Failure.
Touch Bar – if you never used the function keys on a Mac notebook then Touch Bar is not a big whoop, but if you did use those keys, then Touch Bar is to be loved. Again, critics howl that it’s a gimmick, but customers– those who actually use the Mac– find it very handy.
iPhone 5c – alright, this was a dud. You still see some in the wild, and their owners probably prefer to die with it in their cold hands, but the colorful and inexpensive iPhone, along with the iPhone SE, tell us the future has arrived. Small screen smartphones are yesterday’s news.
Dongles – of course I hate dongles. Who loves ’em? They’re a necessary fact of life because not all external devices and their connectors are created equal. There’s a reason the Mac doesn’t come with a SCSI port or Parallel port anymore. Things change. Usually smaller, and usually for the better. Dongles help us cross the bridge from yesterday to tomorrow. Deal with it.
Cables – this goes on the list not because it’s a mistake, but because Apple just cannot be trusted to choose its own customers. Every Apple-branded cable I have has lasted at least five years, some longer. Technology critics complain about everything, and everyone uses a cable, so why complain about that, too? From my father: “Wil, treat your belongings well and they’ll be there for you when you need them.” Cables are no different. Unplug and plug in carefully and they’ll last longer. If they don’t, then the user is more to blame than Apple.
See how easy that was?
If one man’s hamburger is another man’s steak, and if beauty is in the eye of the beholder, than technology that someone criticizes yet sells in record numbers from a company with a billion or so satisfied customers probably has more going for it than the critic who gets paid to criticize, not analyze.