When do you think the decline of Apple started?

Discussion in 'Apple, Inc and Tech Industry' started by retta283, Dec 4, 2018.

  1. retta283 macrumors regular


    Jun 8, 2018
    Kingman, AZ
    There has been a lot of negative press towards Apple in the past year, mostly because of their rising prices. Most of them are saying that Apple is becoming stagnant, and is on the decline. I was wondering, when do you all think this decline truly started? Some will say it was in 2011 when Steve Jobs passed away, in 2012 when Scott Forstall got the boot after the Apple Maps controversy, in 2013 when they introduced iOS7, in 2015 when their prices went up, and so on. Others even go back before Steve's death, to 2006 whenever they switched to Intel, 2007 when they moved towards mobile and allegedly their QC went down.
    So, when do you think it started?

    Now for me, I believe Apple was in a stagnant but healthy period from 2010-2013, but then the decline started. I've been using Apple products for a long time as a pro user, and they have really been neglecting us for a long time. You cannot buy a true Apple workstation in 2018. (The iMac Pro is NOT a good workstation for the common man, no way can a small business afford to buy computers priced up to $14,000 per unit) Their server equipment is gone, they are axing their airport products, and their OS is slowly moving away from the prosumers. The fact that they haven't updated the Mac Pro in 5 years but continue to sell it is a joke. I, like most others, knew that thing was going to fail regardless.

    Even their consumer products are becoming a joke. iOS has fallen from a stable and rock-solid OS (May not have been all that Android was/is, but it worked well) to a broken mess, their quality control is not what it used to be, their products are too expensive, their removal of ports is pointless, and they do not innovate like they used to.

    The line "Think Different" no longer applies to Apple.
  2. Tech198 macrumors G5

    Mar 21, 2011
    Australia, Perth
    It probably does still apply, because they continue to "Think Different" even today.... eg.Microsoft goes direct, while Apple works around the situation, but still comes to the same conclusion.. That's all users care about. And calls its "security reason" or "privacy reason"

    Apple probably declined when Steve left....But the "when" would be different to different people.

    The reason, Steve was always the one who kept the company 'on-track' Even coming back from Pixar to Apple in 1995-1996
  3. jtara, Dec 4, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2018

    jtara macrumors 68000

    Mar 23, 2009
    It hasn't.

    The financial analysts are fretting because they fear Apple is close to having saturated their available markets.

    What they want and hope is for Apple to create new products in other categories that have little or no current markets. Otherwise, sure, there are limits to their growth.

    There is no way anybody can conclude that Apple (or the other two companies currently jockeying for World's Most Valuable Publicly Traded Company - Microsoft and Amazon) is in a "decline". It's just plain madness to think that.
    --- Post Merged, Dec 4, 2018 ---
    That makes no sense. The "up to" is a plus, not a minus. It provides a performance path for those that need it.

    The "common man" or average small business has no need for the power of an iMac Pro. But for those that do, it's actually attractively priced. I think a low-end iMac Pro is a much better value proposition than a high-end 2018 Mac Mini, for example. (Even though there is a price gap between the two - which gives you one of the best displays available at a pittance.)

    I predict the redesigned 2019 Mac Pro will range in price "up to" $100,000. That's a plus. That WILL open new markets for Apple. It will give them a bigger share of high-end video production, and it may give them a shot at engineering workstations. (Most of the software today for that market only runs on Windows.)
    --- Post Merged, Dec 4, 2018 ---
    On the iOS devices, it is necessary for the ever-increasing water tightness that goes up a notch every year. You may not agree that it's worth it, and may not be concerned with water-tightness. But it's hardly pointless.

    When you are paying $1000+ for a pocketable device, many people make this a large concern.
  4. BorderingOn macrumors 6502

    Jun 12, 2016
    BaseCamp Pro
    I thought I was on Quora for a second, where every question is based on a false premise.

    Apple has made some really great products over the years. Some real crap too. Today is no different. I’d argue that for the most part they are getting more products right now than in the past.
  5. LauraJean, Dec 4, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2018

    LauraJean macrumors member


    Jan 7, 2015
    Denver, CO
    I agree with the decline starting after 2010-2013 time frame. I switched to Apple from Microsoft in 2010 when I retired (from a career in IT). I was spoiled by Snow Leopard and iOS 6, which were visually non-irritating and the software professionally, and therefore, robustly maintained with attention paid to quality testing BEFORE update releases. The major disappointments, for me, since 2013 were: the change to flat icons in comic-book colors with lots of white space, faint, tiny fonts, all visually irritating, especially in iOS, somewhat in OS; the loss of certain functions in iWork, namely in Pages; and the loss of an understandable iPhotos in favor of a confusing, hard-to-figure-out Photos with its in-your-face automatic albums that can't be deleted. I think some of the good is gone because of the iOS-izing of OS, sort of a dumbing-down that seems to match an apparent decline in software employee expertise.

    I still have my old 2010 Macbook Pro, and old 2012 iPod Touch and iPad mini for special, off-web use. My upgrade from those, in 2016-2017, are two MacBook Airs, early 2015 running Sierra, an iPod Touch for camera use, and an iPad Mini 4, both on iOS 10. I still like Apple better than any one else and plan to stick with them. I admit I am not a new features junkie, just want basic stuff to not go backwards

    What I think Apple consistently provides, based on my MacBooks and iPad Mini 4, is very good hardware, classy good-looking, light-weight, and a pleasure to use, far ahead of competitors. As for the iPod Touch, it has the much reported battery issue, but usually holds its charge long enough for my needs.
  6. bbednarz macrumors 6502a


    Nov 16, 2017
    Aside from prices getting a bit too high I really don't see any decline... Lets not forget it was a couple of months ago that Apple reached the $1T mark... I guess in relation to that they have declined a bit. Many of your points aren't really that big of a deal.. You are right, the iMac Pro isn't for the common man, it wasn't intended to be. iOS to me is in a really good spot especially with iOS 12. This seems like it has been the most stable release ever. Could it use an updated version for iPads? Yeah.

    Sure they aren't making routers and servers. That sucks for those that liked those products, but at the end of the day if they were actually selling well they would still be selling them today. Aside from the iPhone how have they really been innovative? I would call the AirPods and Watch innovative, but it wasn't like they came up with some brand new idea. I think the X models with Face ID are innovative, but I guess thats more just an improvement on the current models. In general they typically take a piece of tech and just make it better. Smartphones existed before iPhones but iPhone improved it. Smartwatches existed before the Apple Watch, but again the Apple Watch improved it. Tablets existed before the iPad, but again the iPad improved it.

    The biggest gripe with Apple in the last few years at least has been price and I think they are reaching a point where they need to reel it in a bit. iPads and Apple Watches increased in price this year. iPhone added an even more expensive model. IMO, each device is $100 higher than it should be.
  7. trifid, Dec 4, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2018

    trifid macrumors 68000


    May 10, 2011
    2011 was the death, Apple's DNA has been innovation, that's what Steve had brought since his comeback in 1997, in retrospective you can easily see it's missing:

    Apple Music - too little too late, why did it take Apple so long to compete with Spotify? no vision. It still sucks today. And what the hell happened to UX? iPod/iTunes UX iconic ease of use and elegance, where did it go?

    Siri - a dinosaur, it should have evolved exponentially by now. There is no leadership, no vision.

    iOS - boutique closed-garden on iPad, waste of hardware, no vision.

    Apple Maps - still takes ages for Apple to react to road/building changes, user feedback, still has significant issues.

    macOS - on life support. That stacks feature in Mojave is so ridiculous UX-wise.

    Touchbar - form over function, Steve would have killed that. Wait sorry, he already had, Craig Federighi brought it back.

    iCar - cancelled.

    iTV - where is the Spotify for TV shows? Apple has nothing yet.

    Apple Watch - it's ok, some people like it, but it's not in the league of iPhone, iPod or Mac.

    AR/VR - we see the yearly demo at WWDC, but I have never seen anyone in real life holding ipads going around a table playing some game yet.

    Airpods - this is ironically the only Apple product I feel is in line with Steve's vision.
  8. retta283 thread starter macrumors regular


    Jun 8, 2018
    Kingman, AZ
    I do agree with what you said about analysts and Apple.

    The decline of Apple can be more than just its financial success. Also, I'm pretty sure the main reason for the increase in iPhone prices is due to a lack of increase in sales, and they had to make sure their profits from iPhone did not decrease.

    The iMac Pro starts at $5000. That is more than almost every PowerMac and Mac Pro model ever.

    In the case of removing ports, I was referring to all Apple products. The removal of USB-A on MacBooks is not needed yet. I can understand phasing older tech out that is already on the way out, but USB-A was an industry standard in 2015-16, and still is for the most part. The removal of the headphone jack on iPhone is more understandable, as it helps keep water out. This is a trade off. Having a water-sealed phone is practical, not having an industry standard port on a professional computer is not.
    --- Post Merged, Dec 4, 2018 ---
    The fact that I stated in the thread that people are right now saying Apple is starting a decline is not a false premise. The topic is up for everyone's consideration, if you believe that Apple has not declined, that is your opinion and you're welcome to have it. There could be someone who responds to this and says Apple has been on a decline since they made the Apple III, that's an opinion as well. Although I did give my opinion on the topic in my original post, the question is up to everyone else to answer. Now I was going to add more selected common opinions which would have included abstain, but Snow Leopard and Firefox do not like me so I forgot in the 25 minutes it took me to write this due to freezing...
    --- Post Merged, Dec 4, 2018 ---
    iOS 12 is better than the god-awful mess of 11, but it still has problems. The UX is mismatched across apps, compare the app store to the iTunes store for example. The iPad needs its own OS at this point, perhaps something more akin to macOS, as it is a very powerful piece of hardware but that is not being taken advantage of by iOS. Not in the slightest.

    What each person defines as innovation varies. But to most, Apple just improves now instead of re-invent. MP3 players existed before the iPod, but the iPod was a completely new way of doing it. The iPhone expanded the smartphone far beyond what it was in 2007. It was nothing like anything else. iOS was also a very different OS to the others.

    The Apple watch is a smartwatch, just an Apple smartwatch. (I know near nothing about smartwatches so I cannot compare it as well to prior products, but I think the smartwatches before the Apple watch were very similar.)AirPods were closer to innovation, but they shared the design and tech with existing products.

    You're exactly right on Apple products all being $100 too expensive. Of course their prices on memory are just out of this world, way beyond a $100 difference. I think Apple is going to have to back down a bit, I don't see people taking this much longer.
  9. InuNacho macrumors 65816


    Apr 24, 2008
    In that one place
    The dark day Lion came out and crashed like Windows Vista.
  10. BarbaricCo macrumors newbie

    May 7, 2012
    I don't see any decline but the introductory of a golden watch signaled that Apple products are no longer for me.
  11. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Oct 14, 2005
    Here's a quote from Steve Jobs, the man who removed the floppy drive from Macs back in 1998 (when it was a still an industry standard).

    So if "early removal of interfaces still being used" is a metric to gauge Apple's decline, that aspect started in the late 90s.
  12. tromboneaholic Suspended


    Jun 9, 2004
    Clearwater, FL
    Your question is not supported by the evidence.

    1. iOS 12 improves performance on older devices, and runs on phones as old as the 5s.

    2. QC complaints are a function of scale. Apple sold 218 million iPhones last year, so even if 99% are perfect, that leaves over 2 million with defects.

    3. Apple products have always been expensive. Adjusting for inflation iMac Pro is less than most of the computers they sold in the 1980s.

    4. Apple has a vision for a wireless future, just like when they added wifi and removed the floppy.

    5. Apple Watch and AirPods are two new product categories where Apple is the clear leader.
  13. Wek macrumors member


    Dec 5, 2014
    For me it seems that Apple have the edge on quality. Products last for to long, so people don't but that many Apple products, when they have what they need.
  14. retta283 thread starter macrumors regular


    Jun 8, 2018
    Kingman, AZ
    You've got to remember that the floppy drive was already clearly on its way out when the iMac was introduced. CD had been on the rise for over half a decade at the point, and no new software was coming on floppies in 1998 because it was too big for the floppies, and companies didn't want to include 50+ floppy discs with all their products.
    --- Post Merged, Dec 5, 2018 ---
    1. iOS 7-11 all had major problems, sometimes for most of their lives. iOS 12 is a refinement, but IMO it will not stay as stable as it is.

    2. QC might not have been the best term for me to use, I was more referring to the hardware problems they have. iPhone 6 bending, iPhone 7 audio IC failure, warping iPad Pros, bad keyboards, and so on. Of course stuff like this happens but it has been happening a lot in the past few years.

    3. Adjusting for inflation the iMac Pro is more expensive than almost all the PowerMac and Mac Pro models. I don't expect the prices to stay the same forever, but the iMac Pro starts at $5,000 and tops out around $14,000, versus a Mac Pro 10 years ago topped out at around $5,000, of course adjusting for inflation it is a bit more.

    4. I know that Apple has always been move towards wireless, but they've moved in some cases not only too fast for the industry, but too fast for the consumer in removing things to get there. Also I don't think the move away from floppies had anything to do with wireless.

    5. They are not the first in their categories though. Samsung released their smart watch in 2013. Of course you can say the Apple Watch is better than Samsung's, but the tech was already there. Same with AirPods. (Even though IMO AirPods are the best wireless earbuds, I like the way they do it. If they would fit my ears, I would consider buying them)
  15. tromboneaholic Suspended


    Jun 9, 2004
    Clearwater, FL
    Apple wasn't the first with a computer either, or for most of the technology they have thrived on. It's always been about how they have put everything together, software and hardware, in a way that delivers a complete solution.
  16. ThunderSkunk macrumors 68030


    Dec 31, 2007
    Colorado & Ontario
    Apple under Jobs was unusual in being a large company still run by a product guy. Generally the going gets pretty rocky as companies started by product guys grow, until they're taken over by business guys, who smooth the business end out but make a mediocre mess out of the product line. Apple is no different, and did suffer this fate, but on a lark managed to give Jobs a second swing at it, taking an established brand and reinvigorating its product line like a startup. Pretty wild. His departure brought the inevitable.

    I'm glad that Cook turned Apple into a better, healthier company internally, but also hope that when it's time, the board replaces him with a 24yo design student.
  17. AidenShaw macrumors P6


    Feb 8, 2003
    The Peninsula
    The first visible sign was on 23 October 2001.
  18. StellarVixen macrumors 65816


    Mar 1, 2018
    It started? What did i miss?
    --- Post Merged, Dec 5, 2018 ---
    Cold, hard facts, I like this. :)
  19. vanzantapple macrumors 6502


    Aug 26, 2010
  20. silver_mtb macrumors newbie


    Nov 27, 2018
  21. whooleytoo macrumors 604


    Aug 2, 2002
    Cork, Ireland.
    Apple was - relatively recently - the first trillion dollar company, so I think it's a bit early to talk about the decline, in terms of popularity/monetary success at least. It was only natural that their growth rate would level off, it can't keep growing indefinitely.

    That said, I think Apple has somewhat lost their innovative edge. With the move to laptops, phones (and, perhaps going forward, smart-watches) there may be less scope for innovation in terms of form factor and external features; and thus Apple seems to be locked into cycles of incremental internal upgrades, trimming the size (and possibly dropping some ports). They are doing some really interesting engineering, but with minimal noticeable benefits to the user.

    I'd love to see more of a focus back on the desktop, were there's more scope for innovation, and also on the software. Even on "boring" stuff like junk filtering in Mail; very 'un-sexy' but can have a big impact on our daily workload.
  22. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Oct 14, 2005
    People still used floppies to move data. It was expensive and slow to use re-writeable CDs, USB thumb drives hadn’t even been invented yet, and WiFi was far from ubiquitous...
  23. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    In one respect I'd say Apple is not in decline, but in another respect, I feel Apple lost its soul if you will. What I mean by that is, making great products, and innovation seemed to be what was important. Steve Jobs and his folks who literally go over pixel placement. They were zealous about designing the right product, sure they messed up and laid some eggs, including the G4 cube and the infamous mold lines, or the Titanium Powerbook and its finish flaking off, but overall design, function and innovation seemed to be of primary importance.

    Now we get products like this.

    Or this

    The focus now is on profits and money, they seem to be more concerned about stock prices and where apple fits in, i.e., most profitable company, first to hit a trillion dollars etc. The move to stop reporting units sold is a thinly veiled attempt to hid the fact that sales are decreasing. The price hike in all of their products, were offsetting that to some degree but that's just a short term fix. As people are less willing to spend that much money and so we're seeing the longer term consequences of the price hikes.

    Overall, I think apple produces great products, but they've made some questionable strategic decisions on their products that may impact my ability to buy them in the future. If they value profits over innovation or making insanely great products, then they will continue sliding.
  24. jtara macrumors 68000

    Mar 23, 2009
    Haha, at least they got that right on the TrackPad 2!

    What Were They Thinking?!

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