Apple - the return to the ordinary

Discussion in 'Apple, Inc and Tech Industry' started by kshitijshah, Mar 29, 2016.

  1. kshitijshah macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2012
    #1
    this article aptly summarises the slide the company has been seeing since Steve Jobs

    http://yourstory.com/2016/03/apple-return-ordinary/

    A visit to the iconic Apple store at 5th Avenue in New York can be somewhat overwhelming for a first time visitor- given the design, size and sheer size of the crowd there. Having said that, if the crowd doesn’t unnerve you, the confusion will! An innocuous question like “which Macbook model to choose” can put the friendly store assistant totally off guard! The MacBook Air is a good choice but has an under powered processor and no retina display, Macbook is good but somewhat heavy and expensive and MacBook Pro? Not an easy answer to get. After staring at the roof for a full 2 minutes and asking twice about usage pattern, the helpful assistant throws up his hands in despair and shrugs his shoulders with the profound advice- “Don’t Know!”. Suddenly the realisation hits with a deep sinking feeling that Steve Jobs is gone, and is gone forever.

    A visit to the iconic Apple store at 5th Avenue in New York can be somewhat overwhelming for a first time visitor- given the design, size and sheer size of the crowd there. Having said that, if the crowd doesn’t unnerve you, the confusion will! An innocuous question like “which Macbook model to choose” can put the friendly store assistant totally off guard! The MacBook Air is a good choice but has an under powered processor and no retina display, Macbook is good but somewhat heavy and expensive and MacBook Pro? Not an easy answer to get. After staring at the roof for a full 2 minutes and asking twice about usage pattern, the helpful assistant throws up his hands in despair and shrugs his shoulders with the profound advice- “Don’t Know!”. Suddenly the realisation hits with a deep sinking feeling that Steve Jobs is gone, and is gone forever.

    [​IMG]

    Image: wikipedia

    The signs which became loud and clear last week to the world with the launch of the iPhone SE became somewhat obvious to Wall Street some six months back when Apple started trading at an earning multiple of 9 (a steel mill or cement plant might command a better earnings multiple).

    However the signs of Jobs absence were visible much before Wall Street latched on. The launch of iPhone 5 C signaled the first break from the Apple philosophy, way back in Sept 2013.

    Apple, to most of us, was is almost the final word when it comes to product design, seamless consumer experience, imagination, and yes, perfection. And perhaps, that mysterious but pleasant surprise feature/s in each product. This was achieved by not aiming to make analysts and strategists happy, but by completely focusing on user experience with Apple products – starting from packaging to fonts to casing to design to overall manufacturing and feel of the product.

    All this core user experience was achieved not only by keeping a relentless focus on every aspect of product design / manufacturing but by keeping the number of products low. Apple is was probably the only company in the world with such a large balance sheet size (USD 424 Billion Market Cap, 37% EBITDA margin, USD 170 billion cash reserve) and such a limited range of products and equally limited models. Probably told us a thing or two about focus or rather Zen-like-focus!!!

    However, the launch of iPhone 5C signaled a decisive shift from this Apple belief, and the Apple 5C symbolizes everything which Apple was not.

    Describing the Zen of Steve Jobs, Jeff Yang in his weekly column “Tao Jones” describes the impact of Zen teachings in Job’s work and style, and how Jobs was as proud of the things that Apple didn’t do as he was of the things it did. One of the things which Steve Jobs definitely didn’t like was having a bunch of never ending models designed to capture every segment of the market.

    With the launch of iPhone 5C, Apple started to move from user obsession to market obsession where it no longer aimed to delight its users but wished to service number-crunching analysts in order to justify its share price / market cap / valuation and those crazy EBITDA multiples. Suddenly from being a minimal product company, Apple morphed into a company with endless models in each category. There were multiple screen sizes, colours and multiple processor types for each product without any clear differentiation or user delight. There were classics, pro light, S, SE, C, models without numbers, model with numbers and models with multiple scene sizes! While Apple sales continue to grow with additions to each category, somewhere during the journey Apple has lost the plot of innovation. What do you conclude when its biggest achievement since the launch of iPad in 2010 is not any new design but a pink coloured iPhone!

    Hence, iPhone 5C or SE or 6 or 6S are not the continuity of same series of models but rather symbolize the break from whatever Apple had been so far. Over this period, Apple has ceased to exist as a bold company driven by a Zen practitioner, which dared to imagine the future and create it.

    Instead, now the boardroom is filled by a timid group of managers who find the legacy too big to hold and wish to get approval from analyst reports, focus groups, journalist views, and hide behind the fig leaf of banality, and aim to build by not imagining but looking at everybody else for guidance. In that sense, the Apple of yesterday is gone forever and is taken over again by the era of ordinary, which touched Apple in 1985 and almost killed it, but for Steve Jobs. Alas – he is no more!

    RIP Steve. RIP Apple.
     
  2. kerrikins macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2012
    #2
    Last I checked most steel mills don't become the most valuable company in the world. This sounds like the usual ~Apple Is Doomed~ article that we're so used to hearing with every release (or just when a company wants more clicks).

    I mean, come on:

    So the Apple Watch isn't worthy of a mention...? This article is garbage.
     
  3. swarlos macrumors 6502

    swarlos

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    #3
    So when is giving the consumer choice a bad thing!? I thought that's what so many complained about before, 'wah there's only one model iPhone to choose from each year, Android is so much better cause I can buy one of 400 phones that'll never get supported after 6 months of owning' now that Apple is providing choice, 'wah now Apple's going the way of the dodo with all these choices, they've lost sight of who they were blah blah blah'.

    Sheesh make up your mind! It's the ol' adage Damned if you do, Damned if you don't.

    I for one am still excited about Apple and I love my 6S+ and Watch!
     
  4. ARizz44 macrumors 6502

    ARizz44

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    Chicago, IL
    #4
    Steve Jobs did what he had to do in order to re-invent if not save Apple. Cook didn't have to be Jobs Part Deux. Cook instead has provide the consumers 'options' while playing it safe. While that may be 'boring' to the bloggers and tech writers, it's only lead to record breaking sales for 'doomed' Apple.
     
  5. Laserducky macrumors regular

    Laserducky

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    Dec 29, 2013
    #5
    Boy, you guys keep coming back with IF STEVE (THEN) ELSE line of logic ;-)

    Steve was a visionary albeit not a perfect one. He has passed on his company and his legacy to his successors who will shape their legacy and pass it on.

    Will Cook et all be successful ? Will they lead Apple to greatness and leave behind as strong a mark as Steve's ? Only time will tell.

    In the meantime, we can live without the 'If Steve were here' assumptions.

    Cheers !
     
  6. the caveman macrumors 6502

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    Aug 21, 2007
    #6
    TLDR, apple is just fine. Giving people a choice is a great thing not a doom spell for apple. Every year there are people coming out of the woodwork and spelling doom for apple. We have heard this over and over again. Apple will be fine
     
  7. Max(IT) Suspended

    Max(IT)

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    #7
    what a surprise: another "Apple is doomed" thread ...
     
  8. AFEPPL macrumors 68020

    AFEPPL

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    #8
    Well that actually kinda proves his point rather than destroying it..
    AW is a total flop, its less than half baked as a product and more than that it way behind the other vendors in terms of features and functionality. it's one of two returns i have made of apple products..

    And yes they've sold some, but thats more the result of the fanboys who would buy ANYTHING with the logo on.
     
  9. ssong macrumors 6502a

    ssong

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    #9
    Well, I think it's slightly different. Apple the company is certainly not doomed, they will continue to deliver a decent user experience and keep its customers by selling a lifestyle. But the article does have a point that Apple underwent a significant philosophical change in the post-Jobs era. It is seen that from being a company that dictates what perfection is to consumers, Apple has become a bit more inclined to listen to them. I for one preferred the former as the products were focused on delivering the most enjoyable user experience possible.

    Im not a big fan of the choice that many people praise Apple gave under Tim Cook as I believe they were given under the wrong motives. The choice is now there for people to buy more products just because of a logo st the expense of a perfect experience. Example being, despite Apple listening to consumers for smaller and 'cheaper' iPhones, we still get a 16GB base option and a price hike for the new iPad pros with odd storage configurations.

    The premium price charged by Apple was justifiable under Steve as the focus was still on making the best damned product possible. Yet now we pay more for an underpowered experimental line of the new rMB when the tech used in the rMB should have come as updates to the Air and Pro lines. You also see Apple making zero effort to streamline its messy product line. All in all I think Apple is becoming more like Samsung who have the general strategy of 'throw things to the wall and see what sticks', only Apple is letting its competitors do the throwing and cherry pick combinations that sell.
     
  10. Dave245 Suspended

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    Sep 15, 2013
    #10
    I completely disagree! Tim Cook or what you might call Tim Cook's Apple, are giving us consumers more choice, that is a good thing. Let's not forget that since Steve Jobs died, Apple stock has risen and they continue to make billions as well as continuing to make great products.
     
  11. ssong macrumors 6502a

    ssong

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    #11
    Well my point was pretty much that I'm personally not a big fan of the choice. Cos I feel like the product line is being bastardised for the sake of profit. Apple has indeed become a very efficient company capable of raking in billions of dollars in profit, but I would say that the overall user experience suffered. The lack of OIS between the plus and regular sized iPhones, tiered release of different sized iPad pros (and let's be real the new iPad Pro is pretty much the iPad air3 only the air line in both iPads and macs are now redundant), not to mention the lack difference in features between sizes of the iPads.

    I just think that apple should stick to its principles and release qualityproducts that offer an even range of perfected user experience regardless of size or product. The rMBis what the air should have been, the updates to macs are way over due, no discrimination of features in size differences is just not cool.
     
  12. Max(IT), Mar 30, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2016

    Max(IT) Suspended

    Max(IT)

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    #12
    Apple Watch, the best selling smartwatch in the world, a total flop.
    I think a lot of companies would like to have flops like that...
     
  13. Phoenixx Suspended

    Phoenixx

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    Jul 3, 2015
    #13
    According to the marketplace itself, Apple only makes ONE great product, and that is the iPhone. It represents nearly 70% of ALL the profits that Apple makes. The fact that they are relying almost entirely on a single product, shows just how poorly Apple is really doing. When the inevitable happens, and the market looses interest in the iPhone, Apple will be in serious trouble, and they know this. This is exactly why they are doing everything they can to try to keep iPhone sales going.

    As for the rest of their product range, the standards continue to decrease. Computers stuck together with glue, a netbook heralded as a laptop, an underpowered games console hidden as a TV device, and a watch that didn't even have a proper OS on it when it was released. Apple is becoming a bit of a joke. The next thing they will be doing is releasing iPhone models without enough memory to use their wonderful new features, or they might come out with software full of bugs, or rip the guts out of the functionality of their desktop software such as iPhoto, (oh hang on, they already did all of those).

    People are getting sick of Apple. If the company keeps this behaviour up they risk loosing the one thing that they took decades to build: their reputation as a producer of premium products that "just work".
     
  14. Max(IT) Suspended

    Max(IT)

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    #14
    Mac are doing quite well in a collapsing PC market ... Apple Watch is the best selling smartwatch after 1 year .. SO even if the iPhone is the most prominent Apple's product, Apple is doing well in other fields
     
  15. Dave245 Suspended

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    Sep 15, 2013
    #15
    I was just about to say this, Mac's are doing very well compared to the rest of the market, Apple does do very well from the iPhone but it's greatly exaggerated when people claim that the iPhone is the ONLY good product that Apple sell.
    --- Post Merged, Mar 30, 2016 ---
    I have to disagree, Apple's standards are still the same as they have always been, i own an iPhone 6 Plus, iPad Pro, Apple Watch and an iMac, all of which are brilliant devices in their own right. I have never had a problem with any of these devices and if you look at customer satisfaction it is VERY high for Apple products. They are a company yes and they will make mistakes after all no one is perfect, and you will probably not like every Apple product, the Apple Watch for example may not be for you, but after using one for nearly a year i can say that it has impacted on my life, i use it when running and to keep track of my over all fitness (heart rate, amount of times stood in a day). I think it's a bit of an overstatement to say that Apple is a joke. Are they different under Tim Cook? yes for one they offer more choice which i think is a great thing to do, 3 iPhones, 4" SE, 4.7" iPhone 6S and a 5.5" iPhone 6S Plus, all are great phones for those who want bigger screen sizes.
     
  16. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    #16
    The issue is, look at the amount of money iPhones pull in compared to their other products and its evident that Apple for all intents and purposes is a single product company. If iPhone sales were removed from the equation, Apple's profit, and performance would be very pedestrian. While I agree that Mac sales are increasing where as the industry is shrinking, the fact remains the majority of money coming in is related to the iPhone.
     
  17. Max(IT) Suspended

    Max(IT)

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    #17
    people getting sick of Apple ? tenth millions of customers begs to differ....
    --- Post Merged, Mar 30, 2016 ---
    sure, and if BMW would stop making .... cars, BMW's profits would be very pedestrian.
     
  18. yep-sure macrumors 6502

    yep-sure

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    #18
    People need to forget the Steve vs Tim argument that they automatically assume these topics are about, and just look at what the main point of the posted article is - and it's something many of us have been posting here for some time now - the product lines are bloated and overcomplicated, as is iOS.

    One of the main things that drew people to Apple in the Jobs era was the simple, minimalistic design that was super reliable. You picked a storage size and colour of your device and you loved it because it just worked.

    These days, it's about sacrifice and trade offs. There's not one device in each product category that means all our needs. Maybe it's sacrificing the best camera available because we don't like super size phones, maybe it's sacrificing having ports because we want a super light computer with a great display, or maybe we're sacrificing a great display because we want a super light computer with USB ports, maybe it's sacrificing phone portability because we want a phone with the 6S+'s decent battery life, etc...

    Buying an Apple product now takes 6 months of research, and listing the pros and cons of each to work out what you can sacrifice the easiest. By the time you pull the trigger and make the purchase, the next model is announced and released, and guess what, it addresses a bunch of things that were on your "cons" list.

    In the Jobs era, user experience was at the core of its design principals. A product or service wouldn't be released unless it was the best it could be. It had to be perfect. Now sadly, it certainly seems like it's all about profit and sales numbers at the expense of user experience. Apple is only in a position to do this because of the legacy and customer loyalty that was established during the Jobs era. People are still buying Apple products, yes, but with the expectation of getting great design and reliability, and in many ways these expectations are no longer being met. The average consumer is starting to see many of these imperfections, especially when it comes to the product lineup, and the frustration of iOS, and services like iCloud and Apple Music.

    I think the next few years will be an interesting thing to witness with Apple...will they continue down the same path, releasing a hundred different variants of all the products, with fragmented and confusing naming conventions at high price points? Will they step away from yearly product and OS refreshes? Will they sink some time and money into making iOS and OSX great again instead of cramming as many features in as possible at the expense of reliability and performance?
     
  19. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #19
    Interesting indeed.

    Apple has been on the top for a long time, and no company can remain #1 forever, apple is doing everything it can to squeeze out all the sales they can from the iPhone but growth is slowing.

    They've yet to figure out what's wrong with their iPad sales, and I think raising the price is probably not their best move.

    Macs are certainly selling well but as I mentioned, its a small part of their financial success.

    Right now I see Apple playing it safe, looking not to lose, where as years ago, Apple was playing to win. In sports when teams play not to lose they typically do.
     
  20. AFEPPL macrumors 68020

    AFEPPL

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    #20
    I totally agree the post jobs era is much better, but thats the personalities.
    Jobs was a complete moron most of the time
    Go back to the comment... "fanboys" "logo" "anything"...
    AW is a crock.. the most enjoyment and functionality i got from it was returning it. even the sales assistant it was returned to was like "yep", so pretty common complaint.
     
  21. Max(IT) Suspended

    Max(IT)

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    #21
    SO basically you don't like it and so it suddenly became " a flop". Interesting point of view.

    It still is the most sold smartwatch out there, so your opinion counts only for you, apparently.
     
  22. AFEPPL macrumors 68020

    AFEPPL

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    #22
    It is a flop, you (as you alway appear to do) don't have to defend every apple product...!
    The software is poor, the functionality is poor when compared to competitors.
     
  23. Azl macrumors member

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    Jul 21, 2012
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    Karlsruhe, Germany
    #23
    So, what products are lacking?
    Compared to what?
    Whatever other Products you look at, they have their own issues - mostly worse than Apples.
    And people tend to romanticice the past. There have always been issues.

    Apple is always doomed -
    less choice -> bad
    more choice -> bad

    Profit on the other hand is not an issue right now.

    And I like my AW, if that makes me a fanboy...

    The only Product that really disappointed me was my ATV3 - you got 5 of them? FANBOY
     
  24. AFEPPL macrumors 68020

    AFEPPL

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    #24
    Or the kids have one each, one in the den, one in the office and one in the room...? But you have a point. The ATV is lacking again vs other offerings around but the eco system doesn't allow you out. The ATV4 was returned as it was also a beta product and not really ready.
     
  25. Dave245 Suspended

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    Sep 15, 2013
    #25
    People need to realise Steve Jobs is gone, Apple is now under Tim Cook and Johny Ive, people have different opinions and that's fine it wouldn't pay for everyone to think the same. But I haven't had a problem with any of my Apple products since Tim Cook took over, i'm glad that there is now options for the iPhone and i love my iPhone 6 Plus, i'm looking forward to the iPhone 7 Plus or the Pro which ever one they decide to announce/release. Apple is far from doomed, and i for one wont count them out of anything just yet.
     

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