Is Apple trying to do too much?

Discussion in 'Apple, Inc and Tech Industry' started by BillyMatt87, Oct 14, 2015.

  1. BillyMatt87 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 23, 2013
    With services like Apple Pay, Apple Music, new products like the Watch and rumored future products like a Tesla-esque car, I'm starting to think that Apple is drunk on power and trying to do too much.

    One thing that I believe differentiates Steve Jobs from Tim Cook is that Steve Jobs was very focused and detail-driven while Cook has no vision and is driven by only profits.

    Apple is at its best when it doesn't try to do everything under the sun and just focuses on making a few great products (Mac, iPod, iPad and iPhone).

    Welcome back to the 90s!
  2. MICHAELSD macrumors 68040


    Jul 13, 2008
    With the size of the company, it makes sense to branch out as much as possible as long as their flagship product don't suffer. With the amount of cash they have to burn, I would hope that they use it for new products and services rather than leave all of it sitting while Apple is in its golden age of popularity.
  3. Pakaku macrumors 68010


    Aug 29, 2009
    The Apple Watch is perfectly symbolic of "post-Steve" 2015 Apple: It's a nice little piece of tech, I'd consider it their next real "Macintosh" milestone, and I'll probably consider the Sport one sometime if it fits my needs, but did they seriously try to sell a gold-plated wrist-computer for a +$20,000 price margin? Because it always seems like they wonder what they can get away with next.
  4. BillyMatt87 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Dec 23, 2013
    I feel like the software quality has taken more of hit than the hardware as of late. If Apple should do anything with their seemingly endless cash pile, they should use it to hire competent software engineers and UI designers as well as people to drastically improve their online services (Eddy Cue needs to go). Instead of focusing on music service which hasn't really taken off, Apple should stop with the services (they never really had a great track record with online services) and focus on making iOS and Mac OS X great again. iCloud is definitely useful but could use some fine tuning and iOS definitely needs a redesign again.

    The Watch hasn't been that big of a hit and Apple is trying to market it more as a fashion (and overpriced iPhone) accessory as opposed to being a potentially useful and standalone piece of tech.

    Apple should really focus on making their core lineup great again (as well as streamlining it since it's gotten a bit bloated again since Steve Jobs died)

    I feel like Apple trying to do everything will not help them in the long run. It will spread their resources too thin and they'll end up becoming a parody of themselves.
  5. Flow39 macrumors 68000


    Sep 7, 2014
    At the Apple Store
    I was thinking about this a while ago as well. Apple has their hands in too many markets and are stretching themselves thin IMO. Like others have said, when Steve left Apple, there were tons and tons of useless products. When he came back, he streamlined the products down to just the CORE. Just build the products that matter.

    That is what Apple needs to do now. Streamline products down again like Steve did. Forget the Apple Car, forget the Apple Pencil, forget the Apple Watch Edition, and focus on the iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple TV, and Apple Watch. Focus on the quality of both the hardware and the software. They just need to focus back on the core products that they built their success off of.
  6. Tech198 macrumors G5

    Mar 21, 2011
    Australia, Perth
    in this day and age? Yep.. for sure !!
  7. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 601

    T'hain Esh Kelch

    Aug 5, 2001
    I don't think they do. A company of that size should branch out way more than it currently is.

    The problem is that they don't focus enough on QA for two of their main products: iOS and OSX. Most of us interact with these on a daily basis, and thus feel the lack of polish that both lack. The yearly releases work more or less for iOS, but could be better, but it sure doesn't for OSX, likely because it has a much smaller developer group compared to that of iOS. I don't see major issues with their hardware, regardless of whatever-gate is currently the hottest topic.

    And making it a Steve vs. Tim topic is just plain out hilarious.
  8. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011
    10 years ago, Apple were selling iPods hand over fist. Why not stick at what they were good at rather than try and diversify into phones? The first attempt was so much of a flop that you probably don't remember it (a joint venture with Motorola to put iTunes on a phone). ANS: because people were already starting to use their phones for music and if Apple hadn't got into phones they'd have seen the iPod market evaporate.

    Now, the PC market is stagnant: you might want to blame mobile devices, the failure of Windows 8 etc. but a major factor is that the PC has matured: you don't need a new one every 18 months when your 5-year-old MacBook Pro is still a very nice machine that will do everything up to and including editing high-def video.

    The phone market is also at saturation and, likewise, there isn't anything really wrong with your 3-year old phone (be it iPhone or Samsung Galaxy). I'd certainly not consider another 18 month contract-subsidised phone (I did the math last time round and as soon as you keep your phone for more than 2 years contracts cease to make sense). The iPhone has many credible competitors and Apple will have their work cut out to maintain their market share.

    Ditto tablets - I suspect that we've passed 'peak tablet' and that the traditional iPad-sized tablet will gradually be squeezed out by phablets and cheap 'media cosumption' devices at one end and ultra thin/light laptops at the other.

    Apple can't bank on phone, tablet and Mac sales continuing unabated and while can try to drive sales by innovation there's a risk of 'if it ain't broke don't fix it' (See: Windows 8 and, to a lesser extent, OS X post Snow Leopard).

    So the watch and the car are quite prudent attempts to diversify. When someone gets the smartwatch formula right, they'll have a cash cow for 5 years. If electric and/or self-driving cars take off, again, there will be 5 to 10 years of huge sales.

    I doubt the $20k watch has caused Apple any loss - I suspect its main purpose was product placement (which goes on the advertising budget) and anybody sufficiently rich and vacuous to actually pay $20k for a gold copy of a mass-produced watch is just a bonus. (If I paid $20K for a watch I'd want to get something actually distinctive which didn't need a professional assayer to distinguish it from something costing $400).

    As for the car, we still don't know whether Apple will actually produce a car or just design electronics and UIs for other car makers: the ergonomics of most cars, even quite posh ones, is rubbish and I can easily see Apple-branded entertainment and navigation systems as an option on mid-range cars.
  9. TallManNY macrumors 601


    Nov 5, 2007
    One thing about PCs is not only is your old PC really quite nice (I sit here using a nice 2011 iMac). But once you get a PC with a retina screen and an SSD (which is pretty much everything Apple sells these days) it is going to be really hard to improve the user experience. Faster processing really isn't going to help that much. I'm going to get a big bump when I go to Retina iMac with SSD (which will probably be next year), but unless I'm using my computer for something vastly different from how I've used computers for the last 20 years, I'm not sure how much better the experience will get. The retina limit is an actual physical limitation as a human. The speed at which programs load and shift can only move to near instant and after that they can't get any faster. Networking speeds is generally the bottleneck now and your computer can't really do much about it.

    However, I do not think the smartphone is peaked or saturated. The three year old non-iPhones are not good and they do not have upgraded OS. And the three year old iPhones really aren't good compared to the 6s. You honestly shouldn't be using them if you are the type of person who really uses your smartphone throughout the day. Really you want the better camera with you. Really you want the faster processor. Going more than two years with the same phone is basically a mistake unless the cost is really going to be too much and it will get in the way of you buying something important. If it just means skipping an item of clothing and two or three fancy meals out THAT YEAR. You should spend the money on the phone. It is worth it. As the ads go, "Compromise elsewhere."
  10. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011
    Of course, if you have a 3-year-old iPhone its probably an iPhone 5 with the tall skinny screen made when Apple completely misjudged the appeal of large-screen phones. So maybe a poor choice of timescale there. There's a reason why I have an Android phone at the moment. Personally, I'm perfectly happy with my 3 year old Galaxy Note II (or, rather, there's nothing I'm unhappy with that would be fixed by upgrading - plus I'd probably lose things like the micro SD card) - that's in stark contrast with three years ago when the Galaxy Note II was a night & day improvement over my (then) 3-year-old Android.

    I'm sure smartphones are a few years behind the PC curve but they'll hit the same problems: once you make a 'retina' phone that just fits in a shirt pocket there's nowhere to go on screen size. There's a limit to how good you can make a camera with a 3mmx1mm lens and the lousy ergonomics of a smartphone.
  11. TallManNY macrumors 601


    Nov 5, 2007
    Yeah, I hear you on this. Smartphones will hit their end game point much quicker than PCs. They already basically can't get thinner or they won't be easy enough to hold. Making them lighter at this point is also a waste of time. There is little advantage gained in making the screens sharper. Battery life could be longer. But for most people it is already comfortably a day. Unless you can get the battery to last three days, then for most people better battery life isn't going to make a difference. The daily or near daily charge is going to be part of the process.

    The only counter to this, I think, is that A.I. needs to get much better. And that will require much stronger processors. So I see myself upgrading every year to get access to those better processors.

    But if I dropped an SSD into my 2011 iMac, I don't think I'd notice a difference between it and any current PC unless that PC has a retina screen.
  12. iphonedude2008 macrumors 65816


    Nov 7, 2009
    Irvine, CA
    Apple is trying to create a closed ecosystem. If people only use their services, they can only use their devices, and somewhat the other way around. They really should dedicate more time into a few things, buts it's still good to have a company putting effort into making a welcoming environment.
  13. Unami macrumors 6502a

    Jul 27, 2010
    i'm with you on the software quality. they can branch out as much as they want, but when the quality isn't there in their core products, it's going to hurt their reputation and their business in the long run. also, it's not going to get better in those other products - the more complex the ecosystem gets, the harder it will be, to keep the apple level of quality over the whole product line.

    i also feel, that compatibility with older products has gotten worse because of complexity. if you've got several apple products, and one is too old to get a software update, it effectively breaks your iwork, photos, notes,... workflow. you have to either abandon the old device or not make the update on the others.
  14. BillyMatt87 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Dec 23, 2013
    Well said! iOS needs a major overhaul (both in terms of UI and engineering) and Mac OS X should also get some love too.
  15. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011
    ...not if the AI processing is done by servers "in the cloud" which, AFAIK, is how Siri, Cortana and co. currently work. Current AI is as much about having huge data sets and sharing the benefits of 'machine learning' as it is about powerful processors. Also, like it or lump it, collecting and selling personal data is what is going to pay for the development of Siri and Cortanas children...

    That's what I did and, yes, a 2011 Mac with a SSD is quite powerful enough for general use. I'd like USB 3 and multiple external displays but both can be solved for a lot less than the cost of a new Mac. The 5k iMac is calling to me, but my head is saying "wait for Thunderbolt 3 & USB-C". I certainly don't need to upgrade, and I'd still expect to get another year or two out of my 2011 MBP. In the past, I'd have upgraded every 18 - 24 months.
  16. TallManNY macrumors 601


    Nov 5, 2007
    Did you do the SSD replacement yourself? I've got a friend who did that and I've seen pictures, but it might beyond my DYI capabilities. I've replaced batteries in iPhones and I've put in a new graphics cards back in the day. But this looks like a fairly difficult project. But paying someone might end up in costing more than it is worth to refresh a nearly 5 year old machine.
  17. wakinghour macrumors regular

    Jul 16, 2012
    If your navbar on your homepage becomes too large to list your product line without using a dropdown menu, you're a conglomerate, not a "boutique" company.

    Joking aside, apply this rule to vs Then consider how much space Apple has left once you get into Cars, Home Kit...etc.
  18. Tech198 macrumors G5

    Mar 21, 2011
    Australia, Perth
    so we could have an Apple car always connected to cloud ? ya what a concern that would be.
  19. Aluminum213 macrumors 68040


    Mar 16, 2012
    are they really doing too much? They are much bigger then Samsung or MS but have a small fraction of the products

    music service
    setup box

    and some smaller things like routers ands backup machines, it really isn't much at all when consider the size
  20. phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    Apple should be able to do all these things given their finances but we have seen that money doesn't always mean producing an elegant solution with a pleasing interface. Apple is the new Microsoft - money first, and customers last.
  21. satchmo macrumors 68000

    Aug 6, 2008
    I can't help but feel Apple's poor quality testing (more software than hardware) has to do with limited resources.

    Resources that would have been available had they not wasted their time on Tim's pet project, the Apple watch.

    Cook is a great logistics person, but certainly is not the visionary like Jobs who instinctively knows what not to make.
  22. Rogifan macrumors Core


    Nov 14, 2011
    You're comparing apples and oranges. When Steve came back he had to narrow Apple's priorities to get the company healthy again and back to being profitable. If you look at FY2010, the last full year Steve ran the company, Apple's revenues were $65B and cash was $51B. Fast forward 5 years and revenues have ballooned to $230B and cash is over $200B. One, at $230B it's pretty tough to grow revenues without the introduction of new products or going into new markets. Two, shareholders expect something to be done with that enormous cash pile, and something more than just buying back stock. You mention Mac, iPod, iPad and iPhone. Who decided those are the only products Apple should ever make? Because those are the only products that were released while Steve was CEO? I'm sure there were/are Mac fans who have no love for iOS devices and wish Apple would go back to being a small, niche company that only makes desktops/laptops.

    The problem isn't that Apple is doing too many things, it's that Steve Jobs didn't do a very good job of positioning the company for bigness. He set up Apple to run almost like a startup but that's impossible to do when you're as big as Apple is now. At one point Google had more employees than Apple (ex-retail). That's nuts. I think Cook is starting to change that but he needs to do more.

    You mean like the Cube and iPod HiFi? Just because you don't like Watch doesn't mean it's a wasted product that shouldn't exist. I couldn't care less about the Mac Pro but I would never suggest it shouldn't exist.
  23. satchmo macrumors 68000

    Aug 6, 2008
    I'm not suggesting it shouldn't exist. But rather understand that expending resources on the Apple Watch could affect other departments.

    I don't like the Watch merely for the simple fact that it doesn't truly solve any problem. I'll be in line to buy one if it can in the future, do everything untethered to the iPhone.

    And that's the gist of where I feel Apple has forgotten how to say 'no' to projects. The buzz word for the past 3 or 4 years was wearables. It's as if Cook felt he had to make his mark and became 'laser focused' on this one pet project.
    Of course I have no knowledge of the happening behind closed doors and all of this is pure conjecture.
  24. BillyMatt87 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Dec 23, 2013
    The biggest issue I have with the Watch is that it's a glorified iPhone accessory. The fact that you can't use an Apple Watch without pairing it with an iPhone makes it more of a money pit than an iconic game-changing product like the iPhone, iPod, iPad and the Mac.

    I also agree that Tim Cook doesn't have nearly the level of discipline and restraint that Jobs had when saying no to product ideas. He comes across as more of a complete 'yes man' who has no vision of his own and relies on others to decide for him, basically just throwing all the crap on the wall and seeing what sticks rather than properly analyzing each idea and making a thoughtful decision on how it would impact Apple. Jobs definitely would've said "no" to a bunch of Apple's latest products, for example: he would not have green-lighted Jony Ive's flat UI in any way shape or form, he would've laughed at the mere thought of the Apple Pencil, with Jobs' taste in music and Cook's lack thereof, Apple wouldn't have had the need to buy Beats so Apple Music would have no reason to exist. As for the display sizes, I think those would be the only recent changes Jobs would've warmed up to but I still think he would've said no the iPad Pro seeing as it serves no real purpose other than being an even larger iPad with the same blown-up and unoptimized UI. The Watch may still have been released under Jobs but I think he would've treated it as an actual tech product and not a fashion accessory like Cook does so the Apple Watch lineup would've been limited to the sport model (which I would be fine with).

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