Is Apple so far behnd (and distracted) that catching up is now impossible?

Discussion in 'Apple, Inc and Tech Industry' started by MarkB786, Apr 12, 2018.

  1. MarkB786 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 20, 2016
    Rocky Mountains, USA
    Apple is neck and neck, and maybe behind Samsung and others, with respect to truly meaningful hardware features on phones. Their Mac line is sadly dated and the latest innovation (Touch Bar) is a relative flop. The HomePod speaker and Siri just aren't doing well and are easily upstaged by offerings from Amazon and Google. Self-driving car development flopped and had to start fresh. The iPad is easily matched by Samsung's Tab series and somewhat by Amazon's Fire. Apple Maps is still not there compared to Google Maps, and Apple Music is still clumsy but gaining traction. Mac Pro is old, Mac Mini appears to be dead. Apple Watch is somewhat of a shining star, but ugly, only works with iPhone, and not far ahead of Samsung, FitBit, and a slew of others in terms of function.

    Yet here is Apple, talking politics, making TV shows, and posturing with statements about the environment, immigration, and privacy (don't be fooled, this is all marketing aimed at the young crowd). What will it take for Apple to regain that old glamour and competitive edge. Or are they slowly settling into a behemoth company that simply lumbers along, distracted by flashy lights, but with little direction of its own. Still love my Mac, but not so much the speakers or mobile devices... My Note 8 remains amazing after several months of use, and the Oreo update has made it even snappier. Meanwhile, my wife's iPhone 8 and the kids' 6 struggle, sputter, crash, and do nothing but open apps. What is Apple's future under Cook and his current (only slightly talented ) exec team.
  2. bluespark macrumors 68000

    Jul 11, 2009
    New York
    I guess one's perspective on this really depends on priorities and subjective judgment. The Mac line no longer stands out among computer manufacturers, but I disagree that much of it is "sadly dated." In my view, the recent 27" iMac really has no peer at its price point, for example. Like most, I am unmoved by the Touch Bar, but Apple's notebook computers still fare well against their competition. The difference now and then on that front is that Apple's notebooks face real competition -- something that hasn't always been true.

    As for Apple Music, it at this point has to be considered a complete success -- it is booming while its only real competitor is showing signs of weakness. Apple Maps is indeed not as current as Google Maps, but for me at least, it's far more pleasurable to use. And many of us *love* the appearance of the Apple Watch. To me, it's a thing of beauty and one of my favorite Apple purchases ever.

    Don't get me wrong -- I have plenty of gripes with Apple and I think the company has a much less cohesive vision now than it did when Jobs was CEO. But I turn to them frequently for purchases not just out of habit but because they make the products I want. Sounds like that's not true for you anymore. It happens.
  3. MarkB786 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Sep 20, 2016
    Rocky Mountains, USA
    And now I read on another Apple blog site (AI) that Apple appears to be frittering away its initial lead in AR. Too much going on at the spaceship campus all at once...
  4. s15119 macrumors 68000


    Nov 20, 2010
    Short answer. No. Longer answer, Hell NO.

    Apple is the most successful company in the world. They produce amazing products that all work together amazingly well. People love using them. They have the best customer service most of us have ever encountered from a technology company.

    The gloom and doom meme is just total nonsense.

    I personally use a Max Mini - aging, but working perfectly as a media server. An MacBook Air that's an amazing lap top, an iPhone SE that I love, a Ipad air 2 that is used daily and works perfectly under the latest OS and the latest generation of Apple Watch. All of these amazing products work flawlessly together.

    I'm glad that Apple is politically aware and has a moral compass.

    There are millions and millions of consumer like me. The doom and gloom is just on forums, not in real life.

    So. No.
  5. eltoslightfoot macrumors 6502a


    Feb 25, 2011
    You can honestly see the financial results on their latest quarter and think, yeah, they are so done.

    See here is where I disagree with your family's results. Windows 10 is mostly terrible (I use a custom PC for gaming), and Samsung has been REALLY awful for me--especially when they give up on their products within a year or two. If I had to get Android, it wouldn't be Sammy. It would probably be a Nexus product. And look at the iPad. No one makes anything close. So yeah, not ecstatic with Apple, but they are so much better than the competition.
  6. TiggrToo macrumors demi-goddess


    Aug 24, 2017
    Out there...way out there
    Fyi, Google have long since dumped the Nexus line in favor of the Pixel devices - which are not exactly flying off the shelves these days...
  7. eltoslightfoot macrumors 6502a


    Feb 25, 2011
    HA! Good catch, I meant the Pixels. But you are correct, this is why I stay with iPhone...
  8. MarkB786 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Sep 20, 2016
    Rocky Mountains, USA
    How can you say nothing close tomthe iPad? I switched to the Tab S3 after owning each version of the iPad since v1 with an unlimited att plan. I like the Tab MUCH more than the Pad. So more functionality and much snappier. Better screen. I have extensive experience with both products and the Tab S3 wins very handily.
  9. paul.j.nelson macrumors newbie

    Nov 17, 2015
    I own both the iPad Pro 10.5 and the Tab S3 and the iPad is a better device overall. What functionality does the S3 have that the iPad doesn’t? The AMOLED screen on the S3 is the same as most AMOLED screens, with well over saturated colors. That does not make is better, it even has the same PPI as the iPad. The S3 only supports 5 touch points whereas the Pro supports 10. The Pro has ProMotion for incredibly smooth animations etc.

    The processor is well behind the iPad Pro by a large margin and the S3 will inevitably slow down as the majority of Android devices do. Samsung will stop supporting the S3 much sooner than Apple will with its iPads. The quality of Apps in the Apple App Store are, in general, at a much higher quality than those on the Google Play Store.

    Other features I prefer on my iPad - iMessage, Handoff and notification synchronisation.

    You are free to prefer which ever platform you want, but you need to back up your statements. You can’t just say, “more functionality” without quantifying it.
  10. MarkB786 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Sep 20, 2016
    Rocky Mountains, USA
    Fair enough. The iPad features you list are things I don't use and don't care for so much, so it's good that we have choices! For my iPad, I started to feel like it was simply an app repository. On my Tab, I like the S-Pen (more built-in features than the Apple Pen), widgets, and the easy unlock. Notifications are easier to manage and the pull-down quick settings is something I use all the time. The iPad just takes too many swipes and taps for me. I also find the Samsung screen to be more responsive, where my iPP would take a couple of taps for it to respond. I also like the Samsung OEM keyboard better.
  11. paul.j.nelson macrumors newbie

    Nov 17, 2015
    That’s fair enough, at least you list some relevant points. To many people just sit back and say one platform is better than the other without actually saying why they think it is better.

    Although, my iPP responds first time every time. It may be worth getting yours checked out if it is unresponsive at times.
  12. HDFan macrumors 65816

    Jun 30, 2007
    Guess you don't like face recognition on the iPhoneX. Or the fact that the iPhone cpu is the fastest in the industry. Or the way that everything integrates together seamlessly, or (the list goes on).

    In FaceID everyone else is 1 to 2.5 years behind there. Asian manufacturers are putting in the screen notch, even though their phones don't have faceID. It is true that the mobile phone is a maturing industry. Breakthroughs are just not going to happen as frequently as they did when it was maturing. In the old days there wasn't that much of a fundamental difference between a Ford or a Chevy, and that is becoming true for phones as well.

    iMac Pro is state of the art, and relative bargain compared to comparable PCs. The modular Mac Pro may be dated, but we know there will be a new one in 2019, almost two years after it was announced. Apple doesn't just slap the latest processor in a box so they can be called the newest, the fastest - they think things through.

    The HomePod is an amazing audio product, best in the market by far in its price range, but fails rather miserably in app, home, and Siri integration. But the foundations are there. Given the years that Apple products take in development it is impossible to predict where this will be in a few years.

    They decided not to be involved in manufacturing a car. Self driving has been in the mix from day 1. The ability to change directions is the sign of a company that is going to be around for a long time. IBM is a totally different company than it was originally.

    True. But Google forced them into creating Apple Maps. Given a bad situation they seem to be doing a reasonable job, given that Google Maps is Googles core technology.

    That's a personal opinion.

    A lot of people disagree with you when they make their watch purchase decision:

    Looks very good, actually.
  13. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011
    This is the trap: Need Xeon/ECC for stability and I/O bandwidth with a built-in a 5k 27" glossy screen featuring a DCI P3 colour gamut? The AMD Vega GPU fits your needs? Yup, iMac Pro looks like a bargain.... However, prefer a pair of matching 32" UHD screens, but don't really need Xeon? Maybe need a NVIDIA GPU for your CUDA workflow? Suddenly that 5k screen that makes the iMacs such good value doesn't count for anything - and where's the value of an all-in-one if its going to need a load of external boxes?

    This goes for almost the whole Apple range now: good value if, and only if, they are exactly what you want but Apple are systematically stripping out all the versatility and diversity from their range.

    Case in point: if you want a tiny, voice-activated Apple Music client with really good sound for its size then Homepod hits the sweet spot (you can pay a lot more for high-tech mini speakers). However - that's about all it excels at.

    (However - there is another fly in the ointment there - whereas Homepod might sell you on an Apple Music subscription the rest of the "smart home assistant" market is dominated by loss-leader devices subsidised by their role as Amazon's in-home cash register or Google's data gatherer. If Apple truly doesn't want to adopt a "the customer is the product" business model then they're going to have a hard time competing).

    Another case in point - the 2013 Mac Pro cylinder was a nice Final Cut Pro X appliance... but even Apple have now admitted that it didn't meet the needs of many of their Pro customers.

    So between the not-so-impressive Cheesegrater speed bump in 2012 and sometime in 2019 (which could easily slip to "shipping in quantity in early 2020" if it follows the trajectory of the nMP. iMac Pro and Homepod launches) there has been no suitable Pro machine for those customers - and business customers who did buy nMPs that are now past the end of their lease/support contract have no replacement option (other than 'same again') and no concrete idea of whether the replacement will be worth waiting for. By the time the mMP emerges, any lingering "pro" customers who haven't migrated to PC will be mid-lease on their iMac Pros.

    You really have to be drunk on the Kool Aid to see the current Pro situation (= press briefings to "manage customer expectations" of a mMP announcement at WWDC) as anything other than a mess.

    ...and is a risky long shot at a market that isn't going to exist without massive legal and infrastructure changes which will be a long time coming now that autonomous cars are notching up a body count (which, like it or not, is not going to be considered rationally). I fear its going to be a "tar baby" for companies like Apple and Tesla who might otherwise have shaken up the "manual" electric car market.

    IBM was decimated (certainly literally, and maybe figuratively) by its failure in the PC market - its good (for IBM shareholders and executives - former employees, not so much) that they've managed to re-invent themselves, but its hardly a good aspiration. Basically: IBM is only still around because they were too big to fail

    If, 10 years hence, Apple-Disney Corp is dominating the media market, or has built on its success in watch bands to become a major fashion accessory chain - but the "Macintosh" and "iPhone" brands have been sold to Foxconn for their new range of MicroGoogle Windroid 12 machines - then the Apple board and shareholders may be perfectly happy, but I think most of the Macrumors crowd would regard that as a failure.
  14. mtneer macrumors 68030


    Sep 15, 2012
    I think you ought to manage your expectations. Apple has grown up a lot since its early pioneer days or even the upstart days in the late 90's and early 2000's. Just like you cannot expect a 40 year old, with a beer belly, to move and behave like a teenager, Apple now is a mature company with 123,000 employees. All that comes with a burden of decision-by-committee, approval boards and very, very large egos. Without a megalomaniac at the top, all of these slow down decision making and the fact that the iPhone has become such a large cash cow consistently, Apple is kind of trapped in thinking its way out of that success, lest it cannibalize itself.
  15. McGiord macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2003
    Dark Castle
    Forced obsolescence is Apple’s double edge sword, so far they had successfully managed to keep it giving them continuous $$$$$$ from upgrades for non caring customers which were very well trained and developed to expect replacing their cell phone and computer every 1-3 years.
    Paying for a subscription service for almost everything you do with a very crippled ‘all you can eat’ experience is the best gimmick they found to get more money, iCloud storage, etc
  16. Tech198 macrumors G5

    Mar 21, 2011
    Australia, Perth
    Tim's legs will be going like the clappers constantly in years to come.
    I hope he works out.
  17. HDFan macrumors 65816

    Jun 30, 2007
    I have no interest in having all my 5 RAID devices (6,5,5,4,4 drives each respectively) in one desk size enclosure. When I took my nMp in for service I just popped it into a shopping bag and took it to the Apple store. For a lot of us it meets our needs much better than the alternative you suggest. Your needs seem to be different and the iMac Pro just isn't for you.

    Don't understand your definition of decimated. They sold their PC division in 2004. Revenue numbers from around then (rounded to closest billion):

    2003 $89
    2004 $96
    2005 $91
    2006 $91
    2007 $99
    2008 $102

    So if we ignore 2004 since it was the sale year, revenue growth seems relatively unaffected by the sale.

    The Mac Pro has always been updated at irregular, irritatingly long intervals, the 1202 days wait for the December 2013 version being the worst. I appreciate the fact that they told us when the iMac Pro would be coming out, and that the modular version would not be expected in 2017. The recent update that it won't ship until 2019 allows us to make informed purchasing decisions. Without this information I would have been really annoyed expecting it in 2018 only to have it ship in 2019. It's a very long interval, worth the wait for some, evidently not for you.
  18. Lloydbm41 Suspended


    Oct 17, 2013
    Central California
    If you think the iPad is the best in the tablet/hybrid space, then I know for a fact you don’t know about (or used) the competition. The iPad is a sad excuse for a tablet. So much wasted space. No cohesive use of apps. No real file directory. Can’t use or download any file type you want without downloading a separate app and then sandboxing the data. It’s really a pitiful excuse for what some would dare call a computer.
    --- Post Merged, Apr 14, 2018 ---
    No Google phone has ever flown off the shelf, nor will it when there is no real advertising by Google and Verizon is the only carrier able to sell it in the US.

    It has a great reputation via word of mouth, but that’s only in tech circles. And Apple has the teen demographic wrapped up!
  19. eltoslightfoot macrumors 6502a


    Feb 25, 2011
    Well, that is interesting. I have over two decades on Windows, Linux, UNIX, Mac. I remember "tablets" from Gateway, Dell, and others. I have owned a SP2, SP3, and SP4 (before I finally gave on hybrids that suck at being a tablet anyway). I am not saying that one can use an iPad ONLY and get by (although some do just that). What I am saying is that one can use a desktop and an iPad and get by just fine. I blog (Wordpress), draw/paint (Procreate and Affinity), edit photos (Affinity), work with Office docs (Microsoft and Apple), Use OneNote for research, Dropbox and Files for file management, Aeon Timeline for timelines in my novel, Scrivener for writing, paprika for recipes, Coda 2 for light coding, prompt for ssh, transmit for ftp, Plex for movies, and they all work fantastic.

    Now, I can't do Xcode. I also can't use Scapple for mind maps. That's about it. What were you saying didn't work on a tablet again?
  20. Lloydbm41 Suspended


    Oct 17, 2013
    Central California
    I’ve been using Windows since it was invented. Started on DOS. Used the Commodore 64 when I was in high school as my go to PC though. Dual floppy drives, 100 baud modem, and a dot matrix printer. It was a sweet setup.

    I’ve owned just about every type of tablet, chrome book, PC, Mac in my time. The iPad is the least capable without having to download apps to be able to use data. Then that data is sandboxes because it is only located within the app. Photoshop and anything of the like is a non-starter. Being able to utilize and download any file type, play any media file type, etc becomes a complete pain just to get things to work. I use an iPhone, but absolutely hate an iPad. I’d rather use a MacBook, Cheomebook or laptop over an
    iPad. Just to many restrictions to deal with.
  21. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011
    Where did I suggest that any Mac needed space for 5 RAID arrays - especially in a paragraph that was talking about the iMac and choice of displays? That's ridiculous. We could have a useful debate about whether a re-vamped Mac Pro tower would really need the old Cheesegrater's capacity to hold half-a-dozen hard drives in the age of SSDs and Thunderbolt - probably not.

    Actually, some people who needed that amount of hard drive space would be looking at a rackmount solution, and Apple used to make a Mac for that...

    I'd hope that breakdowns would be sufficiently infrequent that the ease of carrying it to the Apple Store wasn't a major purchasing decision. Or are we still talking about the only possible alternative being a ludicrous Fat Mac with 24 hard drives?

    My whole point was that current Apple products are great if they happen to meet your needs exactly, but they lack versatility for anybody outside an increasingly narrow target audience. "Works for me" is not a particularly compelling refutation of that...

    A year ago, Apple themselves stood up and admitted that the nMP didn't meet the needs of some of their pro customers.

    Decimated: colloquially "drastically reduced" or literally "reduced by 10%" from the historical Roman meaning of "killing 1 in 10".

    Which has nothing to do with IBM's near-collapse in 1993 and subsequent restructuring (there are acres and acres of ex-IBM factory/office buildings near where I used to live)? By 2004 IBM's PC division had gone from a near-monopoly on the whole business PC market (remember Apple's Superbowl ad?) to just the Thinkpad.

    When in 2019 is it shipping? Precisely what is shipping? How much will it cost? Will it start at entry-level-iMac Pro-like CPU/GPU specs, or will it be serious-callers-only starting where the iMP leaves off? Were you planning on doing any work between now and (possibly) early 2020?

    All we have is "It'll be a 2019 product 'shaped by workflows' so don't let it stop you buying an iMac pro. Pretty please. Oh, talking of workflow, our pro team has just discovered the Logic Remote App for the iPad that was released in 2013".

    Meanwhile we have the choice of a 6-year-old nMP design (which Apple admits wasn't the best solution for all Pro users) or an all-in-one (which certainly fails your shopping-bag-to-the-Apple-store test, along with anybody who has different display requirements). Not great.
  22. Apple Fritter macrumors regular

    Apple Fritter

    Oct 20, 2017
    OP never claimed Apple was dooomed. He claimed that the wide gap between Apple and its rivals keeps closing. As is evident, you can lose your edge for the most part and still remain profitable. The halo effect from the iPhone is still in full effect. Since they neglected everything else, they will go the way of Nokia with both eyes open should the phone scheme ever die on them. Then we can hold an honest doom and gloom debate. I personally can't wait for them to tuck their tail between their legs and put Computer back in the company name. They'd be awesome with both feet firmly planted on the ground again.

    As for the best customer service ever I challenge you to just take in a new MBP with a faulty riveted keyboard out of warranty for repair and celebrate the little service fee. Recommend to bring some vaseline for the process.

    They work so flawlessly together that even Messages in the Cloud or operating 2 of their overpriced speakers is a thing yet.

    I'd be glad if Apple wouldn't play zeitgeist and political awareness for mere marketing reasons. There are political parties for that. Actually, I'd like a technology partner that keeps their hands off politics and is content doing their job: delivering electronic devices, gadgets and services without feeding me any agendas.
  23. eltoslightfoot macrumors 6502a


    Feb 25, 2011
    LOL I remember the Atari 2600, Apple IIe (I was in elementary school), and had a C64C growing up. Was stoked to get a nintendo, etc., etc., My point is that not all devices need the same amount of freedom. I actually like the fact that I don't have to treat it like a computer. Instant on, battery lasts for days, etc. You act like it is all bad. I can literally play any kind of file I want in Plex. I can literally make any graphic edits in Affinity Photo. That's fine if you don't like it, but don't act like it isn't functional for others. It really, really is. It is a matter of perspective. It all works awesome. I don't have to configure images/hard drives/etc. I just use it. If I can't use it, I have my desktop.
  24. HDFan, Apr 15, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2018

    HDFan macrumors 65816

    Jun 30, 2007
    Right here:

  25. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011
    ...nice try, but you've snipped out the preceding sentence which made it clear I was talking about iMacs and eGPUs.

    ...and if having either of those externally was a problem, you used to have the choice of a Mac tower with a spare drive bay that could take a floppy drive or a Blu-Ray. Anyway, the floppy was much further down the road to obsolescence, especially in the Mac world, by then than some of the more recent things (USB-A ports?) that Apple have been dumping.

    And I said:

    If, 10 years hence, Apple-Disney Corp is dominating the media market, or has built on its success in watch bands to become a major fashion accessory chain - but the "Macintosh" and "iPhone" brands have been sold [....] then the Apple board and shareholders may be perfectly happy, but I think most of the Macrumors crowd would regard that as a failure as far as goes,IBM are dead. The PC, however goes on without IBM (that's kinda why IBM lost their PC division). Not so clear that would happen for the Mac.

    iPhone? probably around September, the same as it has for the last 10 years. Maybe a month or two early, maybe a month or two late. Its been regularly updated (whether or not its keeping up with Samsung is a whole other debate) Even when the iPhone X missed this schedule, it was pre-announced, and the iPhone 8 looks a lot like a stop-gap to ensure that they had something new to offer last fall.

    iPad? Not quite as dependable as iPhone, but close.

    These are mass-market consumer devices, Apple know and understand the annual consumer sales cycle and treat it as a priority. Beyond that, the target customers aren't expected to have any long-term IT strategy.

    Mini? Ah, now we're onto the neglected stepchildren in the attic. It's not an iDevice with 9-digit annual sales so it's in the line behind Godot, King Arthur and several religious saviours. Its last "update" in 2014 was more of a downgrade and it hasn't been touched since. Its dead. Its pining for the fjords. If Apple do release a new Mini, it won't be an update, it will be a resurrection.

    Mac Pro? The cheesegrater was left to stagnate for a couple of years (actually discontinued in Europe well before the nMP was announced), then replaced with a completely different class of product.... which in turn has been left unchanged for 5 years with no prospect of a replacement until sometime in 2019 and no hard facts as to what form that might take.

    I think the contrast between the iPhone/iPad and the Mini/Pro is pretty clear.

    Odds of senior Apple person standing up this summer and saying "with the new Apple Watch Pro and AirPods, who needs an iPhone XI - so we haven't made one"? Not gonna happen.

    Odds of senior Apple person standing up in 2019 and saying "With iMac Pro and an eGPU box, who needs a modular Mac Pro."? I'd be surprised, but not astonished. Stock price would twitch and recover.

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