To hear the nattering nabobs of negativism tell the story, each one a card carrying member of the technorati elite politburo, Apple is in decline. Indeed, following an industry trend, hardware sales are down.
Has Apple lost its mojo? Has Apple lost the ability to innovate? Has Apple’s magic died? Many of the aforementioned antagonists think so. What do you think? Where would Tim Cook’s Apple be without iPhone?
Expectations Of Magic
We live in the morass of the 21st century; an era along the space time continuum where anything goes and often does, where everyone has an opinion, and, right or wrong, a place in society where it can be shared with anyone else.
According to Simon Helyar, another of the aforementioned technologists, but one who loves to make things up, Apple’s magic has died.
Has it? Or, has magic changed and become more mainstream? Are we, as a species, more jaded than ever, therefore, far more difficult to convince that modern technology is anything less than magic?
If Apple is out of ideas and cannot innovate any more, then how does a critic explain Apple Watch, or Touch ID and Face ID, or AirPods, or Apple Pay or any other product category where the company that Jobs and Cook built absolutely demolishes the competition?
Yes, across the board, Apple dictates the direction of each technology industry segment– all PC notebooks look like Macs, all smartphones look like iPhones, all tablets look like iPads, all smartwatches look like Apple Watch (you get the idea, right?)– and seems to own the most important metrics which determine both success and leadership. Revenue and profits.
Apple’s iPhone fell behind Huawei’s smartphones in sales? Only in unit sales; not exactly what Apple is about, right? The Mac only runs as fast as Intel Inside? Wait’ll next year when ARM grabs the PC industry by a testicle or two.
The problem with measuring Apple’s seeming resistance to innovation and magic and mojo is that such comparisons are relative to a moving target of acceptability. Look at what you can do with iPhone today that could not be done with Steve Jobs’ original iPhone in 2007 and then tell me Apple cannot innovate.
The inability of technology watchers and critics like Simon Helyar to differentiate magic from cynicism exists because humans seem to adapt to magic and that makes it seem boring.
Yet, every new Apple product does more than the one before.
Helyar has a wonderful list of features that he wants Apple to create– magic– but such considerations are hardly new. Back up to 1984 and the Mac’s bit-mapped display and mouse were roundly criticized. Move to 2007 and critics howled that iPhone wasn’t a 3G smartphone and would never be a success. A list of features you want is not magic to me. They are merely features on a magical device, that must be compared to the past to understand the present and the future.
The iPhone caught the world’s fancy because it was magical, but it did not have even a tiny percentage of the features in today’s iPhone.
The problem here is neither magic nore a lack of magic. The problem with Helyar’s magic is much like how we view beauty. Magic, too, is in the eye of the beholder.