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AidenShaw

macrumors P6
Original poster
Feb 8, 2003
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The Peninsula
Troy Wolverton is a tech writer for Cupertino's home town daily. He's fairly balanced, but does have an occasional nip of Kool-Aid.

Wolverton: Apple out of touch with both fans and average consumers

Company neglecting product lines, offering tepid updates even as sales fall

By Troy Wolverton | twolverton@bayareanewsgroup.com

Apple is looking more and more like it’s lost its way.

Revenue and earnings are falling. Sales of all its major products are in decline. Numerous individual products are getting long in the tooth, waiting years for updates. Even for products that are getting refreshed, the updates are underwhelming.

Some of this might be understandable if the company were focusing on new products that will likely pay off big in the future. But the last new product the company launched — Apple Watch — looks increasingly like a dud. Apple’s long-baking TV project has amounted to nothing; the company’s never released either an Apple-branded television or TV service. And, with every new report that comes out, the company’s “Titan” car project looks more and more like an expensive debacle.

Apple established itself as the premium brand, the one everyone envied, with an enthusiastic customer base. Under Steve Jobs, it made a concerted effort to reach out to new customers with lower priced products such as the iPod shuffle or the Mac Mini. Those worked the same way that an entry-level Mercedes does — they get people in the door and attached to the brand.

Now it seems to have lost touch, and others are passing it by.

... continue at http://www.mercurynews.com/2016/11/...f-touch-with-both-fans-and-average-consumers/

(the topic title is the headline for the story when it ran today in the print edition)
 
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ITguy2016

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May 25, 2016
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'“We have the strongest pipeline that we’ve ever had and we’re really confident about the things in it, but as usual, we’re not going to talk about what’s in it,” Cook said.'

Apple is doing a great job of the latter if the former is accurate.
 

asleep

macrumors 68040
Sep 26, 2007
3,656
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The problem...

...others are passing it by.

Windows laptop makers like Razer recently have been releasing the kind of high-powered but elegantly designed machines that we used to expect from Apple. Microsoft just showed off an innovative touchscreen all-in-one desktop computer that’s clearly targeted at the kind of creative professionals who have been loyal to Apple for years. And Google, Roku and Amazon are offering digital streaming devices that not only cost less than Apple TV, they support new standards like 4K and high-dynamic range video that it doesn’t.

Cook's solution...

'“We have the strongest [reconfigurations and marketing/sales departments] that we’ve ever had and we’re really confident about the things in it, but as usual, we’re not going to talk about what’s in it,” Cook said.'
(FIFY.)
 

DakotaGuy

macrumors 601
Jan 14, 2002
4,127
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South Dakota, USA
Apple lost it's way after a few years when Jobs went away the first time and the same is happening again just in a different era. Now of course Jobs is never coming back this time, but that doesn't mean someone with the same qualities doesn't exist out there somewhere.

When I watch recent keynotes Tim Cook makes me cringe. I personally think the man has no control over people under him and is just letting them throw out what they want. Jony Ive has went rogue and he is only concerned about the few products that really matter to him. He is operating on the courage model instead of introducing new tech solutions that truly improve the product.

Tim Cook is just "too nice" and worried more about collaboration and everyone being friends then being a strong leader. These are the reasons he fired Scott Forstall. The fact is Forstall might have been a bit of a jerk who would not admit to mistakes or hurt people's feelings, but he was effective in his capacity.

Personally I say it's time for Tim Cook and Jony Ive to go. Bring back Forstall and hire some fresh new talent. Apple is now just recycling ideas and no one around there (minus Phil Shiller) even care about the Mac anymore.

Anyhow this is all opinion, but as long as Cook and Ive keep directing this company be prepared to be disappointed. Oh sure their rich and with that sort of money can keep this direction going for a long time, but we as consumers will lose unless you only care about the iPhone.
 
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DakotaGuy

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Given the level of worship he receives from some, I wouldn't be too surprised if there was a group of fervent Apple devotees who are awaiting The Second (Third?) Coming of Jobs.

Oh I'm sure a few are praying he will rise from the dead, but they will wear holes in their knees because he is not coming back. Of course I'm sure there is someone else with the sort of vision and leadership he had and that is the sort of person Apple needs leading them. Tim Cook isn't that person.

Here is an opinion piece that basically show's the parallels of the Bill Gates to Steve Ballmer transition at Microsoft to the Steve Jobs to Tim Cook transition at Apple.

http://qz.com/819739/why-tim-cook-is-steve-ballmer-and-why-he-still-has-his-job-at-apple/
 
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Huntn

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May 5, 2008
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They are overpriced, and while why this can basically be said forever, the price is increasing without a comparable increase in value. I'm using my perspective as a gamer, and yes yes I know the Mac is not a gaming laptop, but the increase in price of approx $400 to get a dedicated graphic card and basically up and down the line is a substantial dissapointment. I predict sales will continue to fall, not that I am any less a fan of the MacOS, I feel that the MacOS may have out priced itself although a MBA can be purchased for about $1000 and an iPad cost within 20% of that, way overpriced (the iPad).

I wonder how bad sales would have to get for Apple to rethinking in their business model, i.e. lower their prices?
 
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pat500000

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Zirel

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Here is an opinion piece that basically show's the parallels of the Bill Gates to Steve Ballmer transition at Microsoft to the Steve Jobs to Tim Cook transition at Apple.

Never heard of the guy that wrote that.

Guess he got his 15 minutes of "fame".
 

deppest

macrumors member
Oct 6, 2009
69
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Though there is a man in laughing hysterics - his comments are spot on.
Sorry Mr. Cook this guys tells it like it is.


You do realise this same clip also exists in an alternatively subtitled version where the guy 'talks' about the Swiss and their love for fondue/melted cheese
 

honeycombz

macrumors 6502a
Jul 6, 2013
510
127
They need to get back to smaller bumps in specs for updates, iterative improvements and stop worrying about every update being the next big thing. Throw out trash can mac pro, go back to 5,1 and start a new design from that one. They need to stop using the word 'Pro' as a marketing buzzword and stop EOLing perfectly functional machines.
 
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theluggage

macrumors 603
Jul 29, 2011
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So, summary of out-of-touchness:
  • Letting the Mac Mini and the Mac Pro wither on the vine - either upgrade them or slash the price.
  • iMac isn't so out of date (the 27" is already on Skylake) but an update with better graphics and TB3 in place of TB2 should have been ready to go at the same time as the new MacBook Pro (but if the iMac, a desktop, loses its USB-A and ethernet ports, Tim is holding Ive's neck wrong).
  • General price hikes are not good, but what really throws it is not having a new ~$1000 entry-level machine to replace the Air. The base nMBP is just too expensive, and the 12" rMBP too compromised on power & connectivity.
  • 4xTB3 only is defensible (its a huge amount of i/o capacity for a laptop - probably as much as a mobile CPU can support) but 2xTB3 on the entry isn't enough when those ports have to double for charge, external display and legacy USB. At the very least, they could have kept the magsafe so that TB3 charging was an option.
  • Could they really have not squeezed at least one USB-A in there? The interface is ubiquitous and its not going away any time soon. The rMBP is way too thick - said Jony Ive and nobody else, ever.
  • Ok, so, no, you're going to be purist and go all-TB3. There's some merit to that. At least anticipate that customers won't rejoice in buying half a dozen replacement cables & dongles at $25-$70 a pop, chuck in a couple of USB-A dongles and have the special offers on the table on day one.
  • You're the richest company in the world: contrive to have the flipping Thunderbolt Display and a range of TB3 docks available alongside the new machines which pretty much depend on them to make sense. Heck, you're loosing potential sales if customers can't just tick the box to get one alongside their new Mac.
  • Oh, Tim, you did so well getting through an entire keynote without mentioning watch bands, then you blew it: nothing says "Pro" like a picture of a touch bar showing emoticons. The touch bar is nice, but won't change the world - don't devote half the keynote to it, instead spend more time selling the advantages of TB3/USB-C.
  • You're the richest company in the world #2: you had to adjust international prices to reflect exchange rate changes at some stage but did you have to do it at the same time as hiking the US prices, giving the rest of the world a double whammy? (Lets see what the dollar is trading at in a week's time when we find out whether the US is going to be run by the clown or the joker).
  • Leaving the Mac aside: I give you the iPhone 7. It has the incremental performance increases that everybody pretty much expected, its available in Scratchy Black and the only other interesting thing about it is that it doesn't have a headphone jack. Oh, and don't rush because the iPhone 8 is going to be much better. Genius. The only thing that could save you from that is if, say, your major rival's latest handset starts exploding on aircraft. That would be a lucky escape.
  • The Watch. An idea with one killer app - sports & fitness tracking - that is done far better by a purpose-designed FitBit or similar because you don't want a $600 "water resistant" halfbrick strapped to your wrist when you're doing sport.
  • The Car: imagine an "Apple Car"... what would it look like? Er, pretty much exactly like a Tesla, but probably without the free charging networks and the stuff about giving the patents away. Or a minimalist shell around BMW i3 innards. Still not a bad idea - if they'd started showing off a prototype about 18 months ago. Maybe they've just got stuck up on the self-driving tar baby (...an idea who's time will surely come, but which will have to achieve a ridiculous level of safety, wait for new laws and probably road modifications before becoming mainstream - Tesla have shown what happens if you try to run before you can walk).
On the other hand, we consumers need to get in touch, too: we've enjoyed 35 years in which computer prices have consistently fallen against inflation while their specifications have grown exponentially. This was partly because the market was growing exponentially and customers were replacing their kit every 18-24 months because they needed those new specs - the cost of electronics is hugely affected by economies of scale.

That's over. The PC market is mature and hardware is improving incrementally - partly because we don't need much extra power at the consumer/prosumer level. If you sell someone an upgradeable computer now, you won't see that customer again for 5-6 years. For every customer that desperately needs 32GB RAM and the latest GPU there are now probably 100 who can probably do everything they want on a phone or tablet. Traditional laptops and desktops still have a role - but maybe not the exclusive starring role they once have. Volumes will go down, so prices will go up and the annual spec hikes will be less dramatic.

Its worth noting that the Microsoft Surface Book range is no more affordable than Apple, and even the comparable Dell XPS models (with the UHD screens) are creeping towards Mac prices. Its the lack of cheaper (or chunky but powerful) options that make Apple look expensive, not like-for-like comparisons.

We also have to contend with the fact that Windows (and Linux) are solid, credible OSs capable, between them, of running more Pro software than the Mac. If you want a power-user machine it is pretty easy to build (or have someone build) the exact spec you need provided you don't need to run MacOS. There may just not be a market for pro workhorses built to Apple's standards...

Microsoft (still) gets a rake-off from every PC sold, and huge licensing revenue from corporates to fund the development of Windows, and 3rd party hardware makers have no choice but to support it. PC makers building mainstream PCs survive on wafer-thin margins and support contracts. Apple's business model relies on them getting high margins on premium-priced laptops and SFF machines to fund MacOS development - they like making things thinner because they can charge a premium for it. The proverbial xMac (the affordable, expandable mini-tower Mac) would either make Apple no money or look ridiculously expensive c.f. comparable PCs, would not be guaranteed to win new customers but would be guaranteed to hit sales of MacBooks and iMacs. The idea of licensing MacOS to PC builders has been tried and failed, twice: once by Sculley in the 1990s (with the now defunct classic MacOS), but also by Jobs with NeXTStep (which later evolved into Mac OS X)... or, at least, that has always been the logic. Now, maybe, with desktops fast becoming a niche market, its time to revisit that idea?
 

phrehdd

macrumors 68040
Oct 25, 2008
3,489
826
You do realise this same clip also exists in an alternatively subtitled version where the guy 'talks' about the Swiss and their love for fondue/melted cheese

Is my post a little too straight faced? hmmm I thought it was a bit shaggy.
 

Galacticos

macrumors 6502a
Apr 5, 2016
692
379
'“We have the strongest pipeline that we’ve ever had and we’re really confident about the things in it, but as usual, we’re not going to talk about what’s in it,” Cook said.'

Apple is doing a great job of the latter if the former is accurate.

More absolute horse **** from Tim crook. He is what a failure of a CEO looks like. Parachutes in on the worlds richest company and one of the biggest brands and proceeds to nosedive it. I really hate you tim
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
68,619
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'“We have the strongest pipeline that we’ve ever had and we’re really confident about the things in it, but as usual, we’re not going to talk about what’s in it,” Cook said.'

Apple is doing a great job of the latter if the former is accurate.
We've been hearing that comment from Cook for around 4 or 5 years, when will we see those products?

Apple can't seem to make up its mind on the car thing that we keep hearing about. How about Apple-TV (the rumored TV that was supposed to be rolled out. Then of course is the actual apple-tv product - they've largely failed to sign anyone, largely due to hubris and arrogance from Eddie Cue. I loved how Tim Cook proclaimed the future of TV is apps, then proudly announced a band new app, call "TV" where you can use an App to watch TV, something that I can do easily without Apple-TV right now. How's the HomeKit initiative? That's largely lack luster. The Apple watch (which I own), went to being highly promoted as a fashion accessory, to now a fitness watch (initially being marketed in high end fashion magazines to being sold in Walmart - I don't consider Walmart as a place to buy premium high end products) and while sales have not been horrible, they're clearly no where near where they were hoping for. This was Cook's baby, post Jobs and its not been the barn burner they were wanting.

People don't want to hear about how great a pipeline is, because that's just an evasive answer, They have no grand plan, beyond the iPhone, they can't seem to figure out how to reverse the sliding iPad sales, and while the MBP is proving to be popular, its largely alienated a large swath of Apple's most dedicated fan base.

It sounds like I'm down on Apple, I am in a sense, because it I've been a fan and follower of them for many years, there was excitement and great products being produced, even of some of those products were software, they did great things. Now, its a shell of its former self. I'm disappointed that Apple isn't "Thinking Different", they're no longer swinging for the fences, but rather trying to play it safe.

Wow, I didn't expect this post to be as long, or as ranty, but I guess, I got my juices flowing on this.
 
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OS6-OSX

macrumors 6502a
Jun 13, 2004
918
694
California
'“We have the strongest pipeline that we’ve ever had...Cook said.'
Tim is talking about the surf in front of his gazillion dollar Oahu house and everyone in this forum is talking about Apple products! :cool:
Pipeline.png
 
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Galacticos

macrumors 6502a
Apr 5, 2016
692
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I think Tim Cook could be one of the least trustworthy people in public life
[doublepost=1480163350][/doublepost]I mean does anyone, and I mean anyone, including tim, truly believe that
 

I7guy

macrumors Penryn
Nov 30, 2013
27,434
15,761
Gotta be in it to win it
We've been hearing that comment from Cook for around 4 or 5 years, when will we see those products?

Apple can't seem to make up its mind on the car thing that we keep hearing about. How about Apple-TV (the rumored TV that was supposed to be rolled out. Then of course is the actual apple-tv product - they've largely failed to sign anyone, largely due to hubris and arrogance from Eddie Cue. I loved how Tim Cook proclaimed the future of TV is apps, then proudly announced a band new app, call "TV" where you can use an App to watch TV, something that I can do easily without Apple-TV right now. How's the HomeKit initiative? That's largely lack luster. The Apple watch (which I own), went to being highly promoted as a fashion accessory, to now a fitness watch (initially being marketed in high end fashion magazines to being sold in Walmart - I don't consider Walmart as a place to buy premium high end products) and while sales have not been horrible, they're clearly no where near where they were hoping for. This was Cook's baby, post Jobs and its not been the barn burner they were wanting.

People don't want to hear about how great a pipeline is, because that's just an evasive answer, They have no grand plan, beyond the iPhone, they can't seem to figure out how to reverse the sliding iPad sales, and while the MBP is proving to be popular, its largely alienated a large swath of Apple's most dedicated fan base.

It sounds like I'm down on Apple, I am in a sense, because it I've been a fan and follower of them for many years, there was excitement and great products being produced, even of some of those products were software, they did great things. Now, its a shell of its former self. I'm disappointed that Apple isn't "Thinking Different", they're no longer swinging for the fences, but rather trying to play it safe.

Wow, I didn't expect this post to be as long, or as ranty, but I guess, I got my juices flowing on this.
I think there is a lot in the pipeline that can't be really discussed, and it comes out a floundering. Healthcare, and analytics and IoT as it relates to healthcare is the next big frontier. I think there is more going on here than meets the eye and the AW plays a significant role in it and I think there's more to come with the AW. But to your point, nobody I know says the AW is a must have. (In support of that my fitbit isn't a must have either)

IPAD they are in a pickle with. It's the best out there, IMO and the hardware is so good, it could OS/X. But that is a problem for Apple(also for other companies in the same situation) that I don't think they know how to solve. Maybe they should make an ipad pro, os/x edition and sell it for a few bucks more and add connector or two to it.

I don't use apple computers as my primary device, so I can't really comment. My kids love the Macbook pros though.

I do think there is a strategy, the management team is not stupid (in spite of the fact, all of apples customers can run the company better), but it may be more difficult and/or more time consuming than they though to start to get the foundation in place.
 
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