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Apple's famous walled garden is starting to show cracks (cnbc.com)
126 points by SirLJ 40 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 165 comments



This is not about "cracking the walled garden"; we're comparing, well, not apples and oranges as much as Apples and Netflixes.

This is about laying the groundwork for Apple's new video service -- the question was always whether they wanted to use it as a way to sell overpriced TV pucks, like they've traditionally done with their services, or it was going to be its own thing. they wanted to have everywhere. If you're surprised that they're choosing "have it everywhere," it's probably because you haven't been following the mounting tidbits of Hollywood noise about the original content being produced for Apple. We're not talking about Carpool Karaoke anymore. We're talking new shows from J.J. Abrams, Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey, Ron Moore, Damien Chazelle. We're talking about new children's programming with Peanuts and Sesame Street. Shows starring Jennifer Aniston, Steve Carrell, Chris Evans, Reese Witherspoon, Aaron Paul, Jason Momoa. A series based on Isaac Asimov's Foundation.

The point is, there is serious firepower happening here, to the point where it's pretty clear this is not "service as adjunct to hardware." This is Apple establishing an actual entertainment division.


I'm honestly surprised at how much investment tech giants are pouring into 1st party tv/movie production and also by the consensus that these ventures are virtually guaranteed to succeed. From what I've observed over the past decade, the future of our cultural landscape is going to be that of increasing fragmentation to the point that there will no longer be a single, dominant culture for mass media enterprises to appeal to.

The high production value of traditional HollyWood productions are only sustainable due to their mass cultural appeal. The problem is that mass culture is in fact, losing mass. These tech giants appear to have misread the signs of this pending sea change and interpret behaviors such as cord-cutting among younger generations to mean they are merely moving their consumption online and that their consumption habits remain otherwise unchanged. One only has to look at the popularity of services like YouTube and Twitch with Gen Z to see that this is in fact not the case. Younger millenials and Gen Z as a whole have completely changed their consumption habits to prefer niche content made by individual creators (or at most a small group) on the cheap. While YouTube stars like PewDiePie cannot be said to be "niche" due to the simple fact that his content captures more eyeballs per year than literally anything else by an enormous margin, the content itself isn't exactly something that appeals to a universal audience in the way that a traditional HollyWood Blockbuster or hit TV show might. Ironically, while Google was the tech giant best positioned to capture the future (at least in terms of how I see it developing), they've severly damaged the future potential of YouTube by playing games with the monwtization and promotion of popular channels while also making it impossible for new creators to make money before they've built their channel into a relative behemoth.

While Apple, Amazon, Disney, et al are throwing massive amounts of capital trying to capture a slice of the streaming service market, they appear to have missed signs of cultural change which will likely cause that market to stagnate over the coming decade. I can't say that trying to create a YouTube competitor is a better idea at this point in time either as that market just isn't large or stable enough at this point in time to say there is even space for a second major servicd for small content creators. I can say the future of entertainment is going to look a lot more like YouTube, where the attention of tens of millions of eyeballs are spread over tens of thousands of channels, rather than a handful of sources for traditional mass media productions.


I'm not convinced changing millenial habits are the true threat to this idea--there's still space for longer serialized works. "Todd in the Shadows" is not really in meaningful competition with "Game of Thrones" except in the broadest sense of people only having so much time in the day for entertainment. Also, once you have this infrastructure in place, it's not difficult to pivot to shorter works by smaller producers if it seems that's where the money is.

The real problem may just be saturation. The dream of having all streaming entertainment through one service for $12 a month was never realistic (and arguably not really desirable), and I think we may all have to get used to the idea of paying for several services to get everything we want. But there's "paying for several," and then there's "paying for a dozen or more"; the latter just isn't sustainable.


Here's a question: what mass media hit has taken hold in anywhere near to the same form that GoT has in the past 5 years? From my perspective, new noteworthy cultural touchstones like GoT and the Marvel Universe have ceased to exist since roughly 2012. GoT will end in a few months and while the Marvel Universe will continue, it operates on a certain inertia that has built since before the current status quo came into being. What show or other form of video IP will take their place? As of this moment, I see nothing currently on air or on the horizon.


Well, I don't know, but I bet if you or I or anyone else, probably including George R.R. Martin, was asked a couple years before GoT came on the air if it would become this kind of cultural phenomenon, it would have seemed wildly unlikely. These sorts of things are pretty hard to predict. It's possible that there won't be anything else like GoT, but it's possible that something else will become the must-see thing everyone is suddenly talking about.

(Of course, there's no guarantee it will be on any premium streaming service, or indeed any streaming service at all. Or that it will even be video anything. Currently I'm sitting at a Starbucks listening to music that gave me a possible answer to your initial question: it's the soundtrack to "Hamilton.")


Good call with Hamilton. Although I haven't seen it and have 0 interest in seeing it, I'm not only aware of it but relatively familiar with its premise as is practically everyone in the US. That definitely fits my definition of a mass cultural phenomenon.

I will argue that Hamilton debuted almost 4 years ago now which is a long time ago in cultural terms. Maybe I'm just being nostalgic but I feel like there were at least 3 or 4 mass cultural phenomenons popping into existence each year back in the 80's and 90's.


> While Apple, Amazon, Disney, et al are throwing massive amounts of capital trying to capture a slice of the streaming service market, they appear to have missed signs of cultural change which will likely cause that market to stagnate over the coming decade.

The difference between Disney and the other two being that Disney would be spending that money anyway, and already owns every major entertainment franchise there is to own (and the merchandise rights to it). For Disney an additional streaming service is just a way of further monetizing what they already have.


> Younger millenials and Gen Z as a whole have completely changed their consumption habits to prefer niche content.

I'd say it's always been this way, for every generation, but now there are finally options that cater to these niches since it's no longer necessary to consider mainstream appeal and resort to the lowest common denominator - a limitation of the linear broadcast format. I'm confident Youtube would have been just as valuable for earlier generations.


I think your analysis is close to correct but missing an important point. Cultures you’re talking about strongly push progresivism, to the point that traditional shows look more like hour-long Public Service Announcement than a show. It’s overcharged with girls who take the lead (even in action movies that are still mostly watched by boys) as a way to push a cultural change, but also cluttered with constant disparaging of boys. Not even talking about white males because they’ve been targetted long enough that they probably don’t even watch TV/Hollywood anymore, apart from progressist white males who cheer at people who say whiteness ought to be banned.

The reason people rush on small creators is they’re politically incorrect, meaning they’re non-PSA shows. People are so upset of being told that they’re sexist if they don’t date a transsexual, that they’re able to trade the quality of image/montage/content of traditional TV shows for a content that doesn’t constantly give lessons or disparage them.

What you call fragmentation will be instantly reunified if a platform ever succeeds to get rid of the pressure to put PSA-compatible characters under the customers’ eye. They’re tired of being the product.


Er...what?

I have no doubt that this may be the reason that you personally have abandoned mainstream media in favor of more niche sources, but to attribute that motivation to an entire generation is a huge amount of projection. It has everything to do with convenience and shifting habits, not a rebellion against political correctness.

Not everything is about right vs left culture wars.


Exactly. For example:

> The reason people rush on small creators is they’re politically incorrect, meaning they’re non-PSA shows.

When I think of small creators [1] that I personally enjoy (e.g. Vsauce's Michael Stevens, Veritasium's Derek Muller, Game/Film Theory's Matthew Patrick, Because Science's Kyle Hill), those are all Youtube success stories, and none of them fit this description even a little bit. Grandparent is just mistaking his particular bubble for the average.

[1] Those all have subscribers in the millions, but I still consider them small media startups compared to the scale of traditional media conglomerates.


You and I are on much the same page, I just omitted much of that from my post to make it a more universal rejection of this trend. Your analysis is correct in that it is rapidly accelerating this process but even if it was removed, the inherent truth that there will no longer be a single mass culture to market mass media to rings true. They are boxed in no matter what direction they head in.


This is the correct analysis. If you have any doubts that Apple can pull something like this off, you don't have to look very far. Right from the early days of the iPod Apple had the biggest players on the scene on board: Jimmy Iovine in that case.

Apple is a much more powerful company than it was then and I see it as very likely they'll pull off a Netflix-sized coup.


This is excellent insight, chipotle_coyote. The article is a poor take.

For anyone who might not be aware of the history, Apple media products have always extended outside of the "walled garden". QuickTime appeared on Windows in 1991, iTunes for Windows was introduced in 2003, and Apple Music has been available on Android since 2015. AirPlay has been supported by 3rd-party devices for quite some time (close to a decade. IIRC).


Then the player to watch for would be Disney. Huge, long history in the area, Mickey Mouse knows everyone in the entertainment business.

Even though Apple has a gigantic pile of cash there's a real question as to whether they can actually make money this way. One could question whether you can just hire a bunch of famous movie people and then have a movie empire.

I'm looking forward to the fight though. There's a good case that we're currently in one of the most productive eras in storytelling, mainly thanks to these titans clashing.


Disney is definitely the elephant in the room, given all the properties they have rights to and/or controlling interest in. I don't know whether as an outsider, Apple can buy their way into this game, either -- although it worked for Microsoft in video game consoles, and if any outsider company has the money to try, it's Apple.


It’s really worth mentioning here that Disney CEO Bob Iger has been on Apple’s board of directors since 2011. Also that when Disney acquired Pixar under Iger, Steve Jobs became the single largest shareholder of the Walt Disney Company.


It is, but it's also worth noting that Disney is so far a notable holdout from supplying Apple with 4K copies of movies for iTunes. I'm not sure the two companies are all that buddy-buddy with one another these days.


In other words, it's an iTunes-comes-to-Windows event?


Giving people on other platforms the tools they need to allow them to purchase content directly from Apple has been around since the iTunes Store and iPod first made an appearance for Windows.

It continued with Apple Music on Android, and I don't see any difference in Apple's strategy here today.

Apple is moving into video subscriptions and wants to make sure the broader market can purchase their content.


And people who don't have an iDevice, probably won't buy a service from them. Because when you have an iDevice, you are a first-class civilian.

Nobody wants to be a second-class civilian.

My 2 cents, so a personal opinion. Would appreciate disclosing if you have a "iDevice" or not, if commenting :). I don't have one now, did buy the 3GS when it came out.

Edit: as I thought. Downvotes and no comments :). Nobody obviously remembers iTunes on Windows...


On the idea of a 2nd class civilian:

Would that include level of support? If something goes wrong in any Google product for me, I am almost certainly SOL. If my scenario doesn't fall under automated support or is something that requires human logic/cognition, there is effectively no support. It's either post on Twitter and hope someone from Google reads it (P = < 0.0000000005) or off to call the credit card company for a chargeback and pray that Google does not decide to ban my entire account for it.

If something goes wrong in any Apple product, the support ranges from stellar to acceptable, regardless of if I'm using Windows or MacOS.

So in that regard, I would rather be a 2nd class Apple civilian than Google's favourite civilian.


No, in the products directly. Eg. Bad ux for Windows, not allowing innovation on browsers and force developers creating an app instead of a html site, no usb-c, ... That's what i mean with "second class civilian" when you don't have/want everything from Apple.

I actually love the Chromecast integration ( it works with everything) and Google Docs (any browser), which seems to be more on topic.

There's a big difference between paying the Apple premium and using free/cheap products of Google though. Didn't had any issues with enterprise support in the past. Can't say anything about the Pixel line-up.

Don't take my word for it, here's a comment from someone else in this thread:

> I still think the nicest media player I used on Windows post-iTunes 7 was a music playing gadget from Google in my Google Desktop sidebar.


I am a long-standing Mac user, entirely in the Apple ecosystem, and gave you an upvote, because I do remember iTunes on Windows and it was always kind of a trash fire. :)

Having said that, though, the moves Apple is making right now are almost certainly about laying the groundwork for their new video service, which they are absolutely going to be pitching to people who aren't in the current Apple system -- which means they need to have player apps on other platforms, TVs, Roku, wherever they can get it.


iTunes wasn’t always a trash fire on Windows. iTunes 7 on Windows was definitely a trash fire that bundled in some version of Apple Software Update but I couldn’t tell you if the fire ever got put out because I bought my first MacBook shortly after and moved my whole library to it. I do remember the hellishly long update process from 6 to 7. I think I started it, went through the prompts and then crossed the street to the supermarket for a few minutes figuring it would be done by the time I got back. Took another two hours after my return for the process to finish.

To be fair, I still kept my PC around for some stuff and I remember every version of Windows Media Player I tried (9 to 11) being something of a trash fire in its own right, so in a sense, it was with iTunes 7+ that Apple first conformed to the platform standard. I still think the nicest media player I used on Windows post-iTunes 7 was a music playing gadget from Google in my Google Desktop sidebar.


I have iTunes for windows. It's still a piece of junk. It has a hard time communicating with iDevice and has a lousy interface for managing playlists and purchases.

Too bad there doesn't seem to be better, especially for someone completely uninterested in any kind of streaming service. (among other things, there seems to be no alternative for purchases .... or very few. Bandcamp I suppose)


Well, your comment feels negative and not balanced. I think readers on HN like balanced views. I guess you knew ;-)

PS: I do


Not all comments can be positive, didn't knew this was a requirement. I hope you don't read the comments when Google has there next privacy related topic...

My view was balanced, based on experience of the past.

I had no Apple warranty/support when there seemed to be a iPod hard drive bug.

iTunes was a requirement for iPhone and hell. My desktop was no Apple, I felt like a second class citizen.

Ps. You didn't argue why my comment was false. I like second opinions. Which is why we are here, seeing another perspective or learning something new.

I guess you knew :)

But perhaps I'm just here a bit longer than you ;)


I guess you are! ;-)


Sad to see your comment downvoted.

You'd think iOS device and Mac fans would understand well the sentiment of 'not wanting to be a second-class citizen'.

Frame the discussion around Material design in iOS apps, Electron apps vs native apps, and I'm sure all your downvoters would emphatically agree: no one wants to be a second-class citizen.


This. Jobs and Co. brought iTunes to Windows (reluctantly) because people were not willing to buy a Mac just to use their potentially new iPod. The underlying philosophy was that people who used the iPod would be more likely to buy into Apple's ecosystem in the future (such as buying a Mac). Seemed to work pretty well, but a million other factors can also be attributed to increased Mac sales post iPod. I mean how could you see anything but beauty in that magical little MP3 player :-)


> I mean how could you see anything but beauty in that magical little MP3 player

I was given an iPod when they were new. I used it once and gave it to someone else. They were the opposite of "little".

Later, I had a Zen Stone ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creative_Zen#ZEN_Stone ). That was exactly what I wanted -- tiny with no screen. I used it to play music in the car, where I didn't want to have to look at the device in order to control it.

The "tiny" form factor is still around (though... not for iPods, where the Shuffle is discontinued). It's not so easy to find one with no screen though.


Interesting. I just use a thumb drive in my car with a ton of MP3s on it (which would achieve what the Zen Stone did), but cars didn't have USB inputs in 2007 so I see how the Stone could be useful.

For standard music listening though, I have not been able to find anything that beats the iPod's touch wheel. Load rockbox onto an iPod classic (swap out the HDD with an SD card), and it is hard to beat IMO. You can store FLAC/Vorbis/MP3/WAV whatever it is you have, and you then have a device that is just for music with none of the distractions that smart phones bring. It has really transformed how I listen to music, because I am connected to a device that is designed for just playing music with no bells or whistles.

The book "The Inner History of Devices" (https://sherryturkle.com/books-research/inner-history-device...) talks about the anthropology of how we connect to our devices, and how this connection is of course associated with everything that we do with our phones. Music blends into web browsing that becomes numbing, which blends into phone calls, which blends into messaging, etc ...

I can now leave my phone at home, and just carry my iPod with me, and the fact that the device I have on me is for music, and nothing else, changes how I experience it. It is super easy to navigate throughout your music collection with the touch wheel, whereas most other MP3 players have a mediocre touch screen that is laggy/unresponsive (https://www.sony.com/electronics/walkman/nw-a30-series/buy/n...) or buttons that are just as cumbersome to use.

Pretty sad that Apple discontinued their iPod line and how most enjoyable music solutions require a device with an IP stack. The "essence" of the devices that play music seem to distance us from the music, because our music falls into the category of all of the other apps, like Netflix, our internet browsers, or social media if you use it ...


> cars didn't have USB inputs in 2007 so I see how the Stone could be useful.

The car had been purchased by my grandmother and its only methods of playing sound were (1) the radio and (2) the cassette deck.

Prior to the Stone, I used a portable CD player with an audio-cable-to-cassette-tape adapter. The audio cable plugged into the Stone just fine.

I find this an interesting example. If my car had had the current-generation technology (a built-in CD player), I would have been stuck with CDs. But having past-generation technology meant that I could use the existing tape-to-CD-player compatibility shim to plug in the Stone.


Take the iPod Shuffle then. It came out 2 years before the Zen Stone and defined the tiny, no-screen market. Even today you can buy knockoffs at Primark for cheap.


I think the Shuffle is a great form factor.

The Stone did have one other significant advantage -- from my computer's perspective, it was just a flash drive. I believe iPods really, really want you to interact with them using iTunes.


> I mean how could you see anything but beauty in that magical little MP3 player :-)

They had the blandest form-factor of any mp3 player out at the time. I miss the variety of that era.


So, Halo Effect 2.0?


What drives me crazy is the Jobs idol worship. Assuming that if he were alive that Apple wouldn't still have challenges with its platform roadmap.

He might have come up with some other/better ideas but it's not like he didn't fail and produce plenty of duds too.

I have never been an Apple fan but I'll say this, they generally treat their customers far better than the competition. You'll never go to an Android or Microsoft store (the former doesn't really exist I know) and get the kind of service that Apple offers.

I'll never forget the time I went to the Apple store and returned a used laptop battery I bought off of Amazon. It was painless and immediate. My wife loves Apple and for her and for this level of service, I'm happy to continue supporting her having an iPhone, a Macbook, etc.


> I have never been an Apple fan but I'll say this, they generally treat their customers far better than the competition.

It took a considerable amount of time until Apple admitted design flaws in iDevices (iPhones and Macbooks recently). Antennagate, Bendgate, Batterygate, the list goes on. I'm typing this on a MBP where the coating went kaboom.


Apple is always graded on a different curve from the competition and there's a lot of manufactured crises by the press.

Other products from other manufacturers have extremely serious flaws and they're routinely ignored because the expectations are simply that much lower. I'm talking faulty bluetooth chips, processors that slow to a crawl, faulty camera software, a camera lens placed right next to a fingerprint reader, shipping a phone with a button that did nothing for 3 months, literally exploding phones from poor battery design....all of those are things that absolutely cripple a product and they're quickly glossed over.

Meanwhile Apple's issues are repeated ad nauseam no matter the magnitude just because Apple is that embedded into pop culture. Even if you don't like Apple, you definitely have an opinion about them. No one gives a shit if some random new HTC phone is completely awful by design...but a completely fixable communications issue like "Batterygate" will get blown out of proportion.

I'm not saying Apple shouldn't be graded on a curve. They should, they're the leaders in the industry in so many ways and the bar is high. But sometimes the curve is just comical. Just look at the outrage over the notch.


Because the followers of Apple (the big Android brands) copy Apple's innovations such as the notch, the display to body ratio, the removal of 3.5mm jack, price, capacitive touch, and what have you it is justified that even those who'd never use an iOS device criticize Apple's innovations. Because chances are they will find their way into the Android ecosystem.


Complaints about Apple Store service have been mounting in recent years. They've gone from friendly to wanting to upsell you a new iPhone or Macbook as much as possible. If you returned a used laptop battery to Apple, I'd wager that was a long time ago. In recent times they've worked with customs to prevent independent repair shops from getting spare parts.


Funny you mention the store when it's been in the news for their repair ripoffs.


Ahh, well like I said I'm not much of an Apple fan, I haven't had to do a return/repair there for a while.


Just be careful if they tell you that the repair is too expensive and you should just buy a new item. Check with a free repair shop first.


I feel like apple has definitely matured a bit on the biz side that they’re effectively making drastic culture change within a few quarters of sales pace slowdowns, considering the years where they let rot fester the last time the company was in trouble. Maybe they’ve learned lessons from the past or from Microsoft’s journey but in either case, it’s promising that they seem to understand what some of the big deals are when committing to services business line.

I also think apple has one of the most compelling digital movie purchase systems so it’ll be interesting to see if this follows the iTunes music biz model where they expand to more platforms and take over a lot of the revenue. The system is way more stable at higher quality than competitors like vudu, and they’re trying to do the right thing by avoiding this push to charge more than $20 per movie. Also backdating purchases to upgrade 1080p movies to 4K was a very slick move.


> also think apple has one of the most compelling digital movie purchase systems

People don't decide which platform to purchase a movie from based on how compelling the streaming technology is. It needs to be a platform that's accessible on their device firstly.


If you purchase a movie from either iTunes, Amazon Prime, Vudu, or Google Play, you can use Movies Anywhere to sync your purchases across all of the services.


Paramount, Lionsgate, and MGM do not participate in Movies Anywhere and movies from those studios will not sync across services.

https://help.moviesanywhere.com/hc/en-us/articles/1150052819...


Which seems to be something Apple is starting to expand upon, with Apple Music now available on Android and Amazon Echo, as well as iTunes and AirPlay coming natively to Samsung TVs

https://www.cnet.com/g00/news/apple-itunes-airplay-2-coming-...


I did not know Apple Music was on Android. I wonder if they're using FairPlay (used on iOS and macOS) to do DRM or if they use Widevine?

Apple Music's recently released web portal uses Widevine to do DRM (same as Netflix and Spotify web) https://tools.applemusic.com/en-us

FairPlay on Android surely has some bugs if this is the case ...


Deleted due to misunderstanding.


> In this case, he didn't say anything about streaming tech

They did, they commented that iTunes had better streaming than Vudu:

"The system is way more stable at higher quality than competitors like vudu..."


i'm making a generalization of how the mass majority of consumers behave.

Most people are not apple fanatics. Most people do not need to purchase the movie and value "portability" of such digital format. Most movies are not worthy of repeat views, esp at different locations. Most people do not differentiate that much between HD and 4K when watching at home, on a setup that is not a home theatre.


When the ability to make books for iBooks came out I was excited. I would like to write a math textbook with embedded videos in it. I was about to explore doing this in iBooks but then I realized that I would be limiting my audience to those with Apple devices. I abandoned the idea.

I buy digital books from Amazon and not Apple because I know that Amazon will make its books available on any device. As far as I know iBooks are not available on non-Apple devices. Why would someone lock themselves in? If they made their digital services device agnostic I’d buy from them.


Amazon could kill support for any platform at any time if they wish. If I get any eBooks at all I want them to be in an open standard (e.g ePub) with no DRM whatsoever.


And they have a history of doing this. Before they had the Kindle, they sold Adobe digital editions content, and after they made the switch they retired the Adobe digital edition license servers. I lost an ebook I desperately wanted when they did this. They didn't send a warning about the upcoming retirement either, despite the books being registered to email addresses which they could easily have sent alerts to.


They probably couldn’t do this to the kindle stuff now at this scale, if that’s any comfort.


I definitely prefer that. Amusingly, most of my DRM-free ebooks are in Apple Books, because it's become a really great reader and it's trivial to get "outside" books into it.


That is certainly true. But given the choice between Amazon or Apple when it comes to digital content I choose Amazon for the reasons given. Maybe they'll lock things down but I doubt it.


Bean books sells theirs on the kindle store with exactly that requirement.


> As Apple struggles with sluggish iPhone sales

Yeah, iPhone sales are below expectations, but Apple's struggling? Hyperbole remains the tech journalism's go-to, I see. I was hoping tech journalism might've made cutting that nonsense out part of their New Year's resolutions, but apparently not.


I used to feel that it was hyperbole when a big deal is made at huge companies that miss earnings but still do significantly better than most. The problem is investor sentiment. All investors want their investment to grow which makes stability (not stable growth but actual stability) seem bad. New investors including hedge fund managers making decisions for thousands of investors will want to choose investments that grow. Less demand will end up decreasing the value of the stock, potentially wiping billions away from the marketcap. The actual company could be making gobs of money but the way the market is, companies get a premium on their valued based on multiples of their future growth potential. If growth potential goes away, the stock price will take a hit accordingly. An investor might see iPhone sales increasing year over year and conclude that their investment will be worth more because of the future value gained from more and more sales in the future so they hold the stock. If the hope of increasing growth goes away or decreases in any way, so does that premium. Dividends help with this reduce this effect but not completely.


The effect you're referring to is caused by speculators who predict that growth will continue and bid up the stock price, which then falls back to the baseline when the prediction is shown false. Companies should stop eating their seed corn just to keep quarterly profits above the level dumb speculators predicted it would be, at the expense of the long-term health of the company. But most of them probably won't as long as executive compensation is tied to short-term numbers rather than long-term numbers.


I hate inaccurate journalists as much as the next guy, but I think you're being a bit hyperbolic on a single adjective while also misreading it. I think they mean it's the sluggish sales they are struggling with, not a struggling company.


Even so, they're missing expectations — still selling millions of devices. If that's struggling, I'd love to struggle.


They are struggling with something, not themselves struggling (I shouldn't have said adjective earlier, that is used as a verb it's different). Either way, with the really bad journalism these days about tech companies, this specific pedantry is hardly notable.


I don't agree. Every instance of the tech press using their one weapon, language, to do what they've always done — lazily yet consistently spell the doom of so-and-so company — is always worth a mention. Ignoring one symptom of a cold doesn't make the cold go away.


When it's difficult to identify a cogent strategy, other than milking the cash cow, I think it is definitely a concern when the cash cow shows weakness.

Remember Microsoft's position pre Ballmer? That's Apple.

Tim may be one monkey dance away from being the next Steve Ballmer.


52-wk high 233.47

52-wk low 142.00

I don't think "struggling" is hyperbole. They are still making lots of money, sure. But the market smells something significant.


That is the Apple stock price, not iPhone sales. These are related, though separate issues. A stock price can go or down for a number of reasons.


What I was replying to:

"Yeah, iPhone sales are below expectations, but Apple's struggling? Hyperbole remains..."

The complaint was specifically the article's characterization that Apple is "struggling".

First sentence of the article: "As Apple struggles with sluggish iPhone sales and a falling stock price..."

falling-stock-price


I have a naive question related to this:

Why does a company care what its stock price is? If I buy or sell a share of Apple, Apple doesn’t get any money from the transaction, right?

Why should a company be concerned about its stock price at all?

I’m not talking about when a company IPOs and sells shares, I’m talking about after that.


The company doesn’t care so much as the employees, especially those who have a significant amount of comp coming from RSUs or other forms of stock, which these days is a large part of the workforce at big tech companies.


Because when it's lower than expected, shareholders start meddling, sometimes in ways that counter company goals.


And in the extreme case, an undervalued company may be subject to a hostile takeover. Apple is somewhat protected by its sheer size, but at a P/E of 10, it's a quite attractive target.


To the extent that you believe a company's primary responsibility is to it's shareholders, increasing the share price (over the long term) is the main thing a company is meant to do.


I would state it more broadly and say that it is the responsibility of the company to ensure a good return on the shareholders' investments. That could be by increasing the share price, but it could also be by paying dividends. Also, remember that a company's stock value doesn't necessarily reflect its true intrinsic value. Sometimes when a company is liquidated, it turns out that it was undervalued by the market. But more importantly, it may valuable to control the company in a way that is not reflected in the share price at all. Warren Buffet gave an example of this the board of the Washington Post in the 70's, when he was advising them how to invest the money in their pension fund. He said that for a newspaper specifically, it might make sense to invest in a printing company because of the benefits it might give to the newspaper to control the printing company. The value of owning the printing company might not directly be reflected in the in the financials of the printing company, but indirectly in the reduced costs or higher quality product of a different company.


Struggling to meet high expectations isn't the same thing as generally struggling.


But saying that a company is struggling because it stocks price is falling is like saying that a dog is happy because it is wagging its tail. In other words, it is reversing cause and effect. A company’s stock price may be falling for any number of reasons, one of them being that the company is struggling in the market, just like a dog may wag its tail for any number of reasons, one of them being that it is happy.


You don't think they sit in board rooms speculating/struggling on how to get the stock price back up? Discussing potential non-root-cause fixes like buybacks, PR, etc? Whether it makes sense or not, company leaders do often fret about stock price separate from the actual drivers.


No, I don't think they do in most boards, unless the board members are individually dangerously exposed to drops in the stock price (Elon Musk cough). Apple more so than most other companies, is famous for taking the long view strategically, so I would be very surprised if drops in the share price in and of itself would cause them to alter their strategy. They haven't any of the previous times in the last two decades, when the stock dropped significantly.


Oh, thanks. Since there were two options, at first it seemed the earlier reply was concerning both.

Also, on the falling-iphone-sales - I also wonder how big the fall is; but I am conscious that journalistic reporting might use hyperbolic comparisons to an extreme.


Yeah. The iPhone 4 sold like hotcakes, but the antennagate media circus made the stock go up and down like mad.


Seems like the market alternates between irrational exuberance and irrational pessimism.

And there are rewards for being on the leading edge of both, if others follow.


Apple makes their money from services, not hardware. Declining new iPhone sales would only be a problem if people left the ecosystem to buy Android phones.


That’s not true. They make less than 20% of their revenue from services. The iPhone accounts for about 60%.

Here are some nice charts you can look at: https://www.macrumors.com/2018/11/01/apple-4q-2018-results/


Most of their money comes from hardware. And for the largest part of 2010s their services (Store, Music, iCloud) income were insignificant. Even now it's just around 20% of total revenue.


This is false.


Apple really needs to double down on Siri and take voice interaction to the next level. Part of this means that apple really needs to get its own knowledge/sematic web solution.

The new Google interactive radar thing is neat. Apple needs to figure that out.

That the iphone/ipad can be a bigger compute device with external attachments could be a bigger development then we think (like the Samsung dock thing).. People don't buy laptops in the same sense anymore and that will help justify higher prices.

The Apple upgrade rent/lease program is basically a way to get higher prices over time.

Apple should have its own MVNO.


I think Microsoft's Surface line is showing what computing can be about. Its lacking the one thing though that Apple is really leader, a phone.

I think Apple should look there to get some inspiration, they could easily bring that to the next level.

Its 2019 for instance and my MacBook Pro still does not have a touch screen, seriously? Which to me, coming from PC world, seems like I'm using a device from 6+ years ago. It has an interesting touchbar though. Ok.

And everything seems too expensive I feel also. I would never pay for a MacBook, my employer does.

Personally I did research end of last year and bought a Surface device and am very happy with that decision.


The Microsoft Surface hardware is not the problem. It’s the OS. Windows tries and fails to be both a desktop OS and touch screen friendly.

I have a work Dell with a touch screen. I never use it.

I also bought a Dell 2n1 and thought that it would serve as both my computer and tablet. Windows 10 is still a horrible experience as a touch screen and the 16x9 ratio just doesn’t work.


Still better than the 2n1 experience with either ChromeOS or any GNU/Linux variant, where one needs to rent a private cloud for any meaningful work.


I can't imagine every wanting a touchscreen on a laptop with a keyboard. I used to have one, and it constantly irritated me if I accidentally touched it.


Reading through documents, scrolling, and especially when having discussions or jam sessions with others a touchscreen really makes a difference. It's such a natural way to interact.

I have only noticed this now with the MacBook at work which I have to use and how limiting it is not being able to touch the screen and have it do things. It seems just a natural thing.


>

I can't imagine every wanting a touchscreen on a laptop with a keyboard. I used to have one, and it constantly irritated me if I accidentally touched it.

I don't own such a device, but I can easily imagine how it could be very useful for entering handwritten notes with a stylus.


Yeah Siri is limited in its ability to answer queries, and it also doesn’t handle multi-device situations well in my experience.

While holding my phone, I ask Siri to open Netflix. My HomePod in the next room responds that it cannot open apps. Impressive that it can hear me, but maybe consider that My iPhone is much closer to my voice and is able to do the thing I requested?

Just returned the HomePod, for various reasons including this (but mostly because paired HomePods cannot he used as the audio playback device on my Mac, except in iTunes).


What's the interactive radar thing you mentioned?


There was a story a few days ago about using radar for object recognition and gesture tracking (among other things).

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18855337


2019 iPhone is rumored to have new Sony depth sensing (time of flight) camera on rear, for AR and normal photos.


Google also had Project Tango, which I believe used hardware IP they acquired through their brief ownership of Motorola. They scrapped that approach since current mobile processors are powerful enough to accomplish the same thing in software.

Occipital's Structure Sensor has been available for years, and uses an active scan along the lines of what the Kinect does.

Among the available options, I'm most interested in calculating depth from parallax relative to motion using scale heuristics and dead reckoning, like Tango. Particularly for outdoor applications.


The iPhone is so powerful now I don’t understand why they don’t sell a dock for it that runs a desktop environment. or a laptop enclosure where you drop it in as the trackpad. I’d be back on the upgrade cycle if they did.


The last iPad Pro allows you to hook it to external screens...


They could do it before too: the difference now is a direct usb c connection. But most apps don't support anything but mirroring. And the resolution only partly fills the monitor.

Iphones can connect to external displays too, with an adapter. But I don't see this being influential until there's a framework for the second dosplay, mouse support etc


>*They could do it before too: the difference now is a direct usb c connection

The main difference to me is that now it's officially sanctioned, and even mentioned on Apple's material (shown in the keynote, etc).


I agree, I think it's a very interesting change for the future, and we may see why it happened when ios 13 is released.

But as of now, very early days.


It would cut into Macbook sales.


To be fair this has been suggested, at Apple, so many times. Trying to get ideas through the exec team was always problematic.


I assume now the only growth is going to be found by increasing their market share, it'll be suggested again.


Won't happen, but an Apple iCloud/Maps/etc enabled AOSP phone to compete on the low end would interesting.


Alternately, Microsoft could step in with the various service layers they developed for Windows Phone.

If they were to open source alternatives to Google's Play Services and give developers a low or no cost app distribution method, I could imagine them doing a lot of business hosting instances of those service layers on Azure.

Developers get lower costs and Microsoft picks up more cloud share.


They already did started that with their Android launcher; Arrow. (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.microsoft....)

It'a also why they're updating Windows 10 steadily to support integrating with Android deeply as well.

Not to mention they've working on their Linux subsystem for Windows (WSL), cross-platform services and apps like VSC, buying Github, Xamarin, etc), and also porting/improving macOS apps like Visual Studio and Office on macOS.

Microsoft's cash cow is now their services and why they're turning previous Windows and Office cash cows into subscription services. I suspect they plan to do an overall Microsoft service; get Windows, Office, OneDrive, and Surface for a monthly price.

Which is what I suspect Apple will do as well as Google; all of them will do software+hardware bundle subscription service. Imagine paying 100$ a month to get latest hardware and software all the time.


Definitely would never happen. iCloud is a huge lock in factor to iOS / macOS. Opening that up would be like opening up iMessage, it would allow way too many people to easily leave the Apple ecosystem. iCloud + iMessage are two of the best features of iOS (and that lovely UI + good security)


Well, the idea is opening it up only for an Apple sold AOSP phone. In some way that attracts customers that aren't in their current demographics, but without cannibalizing current customers. But, yes, agree...won't happen.


Apple's resurgence was built moreso on great hardware than software, due to Jobs philosophy and the nature of hardware this naturally led to a more vertical / walled garden approach.

The next "big thing" in tech is trending to be AI powered voice assistants, an assistant is more of a horizontal play as you'd need it to be compatible with many different devices and services. With the PC and phone markets mature, what differentiates Apple from it's competition? Especially when the gulf in quality is getting smaller and smaller?


Well, Apple reached $1 Trillion in market cap in 2018. Odds were that the only way was down...you can't keep growing at 20% qtr to qtr forever, or you'd own the world.

Add the fact that today's smartphones do 99% of what people want and new ones are not that much better to justify spending $1000 on them. Add Android competitors from all over the world and you have a very profitable Apple, but not one growing like a "startup."

Cheaper iPhone? Maybe, but the $500 iPhone would way worst than a $500 Android one made by others so...


> you can't keep growing at 20% qtr to qtr forever, or you'd own the world.

Yeah, a lot of people don't intuitively get this; but any growth above GDP growth is some part of the pie you're taking away from someone else.


We are a long way from the launch of the iPod and Apple has done just fine. The article reads like you still need an Apple gateway (AirPlay2).


for those that remember 90s tech.. it was a Very Big Issue that Apple created The Apple Store where all software must be purchased (online). Lots of smaller companies made money selling software for Macintosh in various ways.. because they ran their own store, you know, the ones that determine and hold the profit margins on sales? It was not-at-all decided that the one mothership company should run the only store, and to REQUIRE users to purchase software there?

The phone ecosystem has since become FAR more dollars per month than Mac software ever was in its entirety, and the norms of the phone market are not the norms of the desktop market. Massive centralization is ordinary with the phones.. meaning centralized control.

There is nothing ordinary about the way citizens and phones and markets are working .. this is new territory.. without commenting on the article, I take the headline as a comment on the (highly controversial) Apple Store. Evolving past that Apple company store is news.


Do you remember what a low percentage of the retail price of software the developers took home in those days?

It was necessary to make a deal to sell through a software distribution company (for example Ingram Micro) because brick and mortar chains would not deal with software developers directly, and they took a cut.

The retailer took another cut and required things like unsold inventory be returnable, cost sharing for newspaper sales circulars in the Sunday paper, and fees for shelf space.


It wasn’t THAT much lower, compared to today, if you include things like advertising costs you need to pay today, to get your app to sell.

It works differently and you have different middle mans, but it’s not that much different for an average joe.


I would love to see Apple move towards a truly modular phone. Just broke my screen. If I could walk into a retail store and get the screen module I would have done so right away. Now I have to go on eBay order and wait hoping I can survive with a cracked screen until it arrives. If anyone could do a modular phone it would be apple.


The problem with a modular phone (no matter who makes it) is there are big design tradeoffs. To increase the modularity, especially from an end-user perspective, you have to give up some combination of size, cost, power, battery life, water-resistance or other features.

It just probably isn't worth it, especially for the case of a partially damaged device where there are probably better solutions... Like a "loaner" program or 2-hr on-site repair for most repairs. These would increase the cost of repair (or repair insurance like Apple Care)... that's a tradeoff in its own right, but at least it doesn't impact your day-to-day usage of the device.


The Novation Apple-Cat II was the last truly modular Apple phone. You could plug in your favorite stylish handset with a standard connector, and easily replace the screen with any TV set or monitor of your choosing.

https://apple2history.org/history/ah13/#attachment_1622


That’s beautiful.

I just set up a home office and I’m thinking I need to get one of these and figure out how to set it up as my office phone somehow.


> The famous Apple walled garden may not be crumbling, but the cracks are starting to show.

Bashing Apple never seems to go out of fashion. Companies change strategies for various reasons, including slowing, stagnating or negative growth, revenues, profits, etc. Apple is doing what any capitalistic company would do.

There are many things Apple is yet to open up and/or bring to other platforms (and in all likelihood it will never become the Microsoft of recent times). Apple didn’t just wake up last month and say, “Oh, by the way, our services side doesn’t have a defined growth strategy, and now we need all hands on deck to figure it out.” It already had a strategy for at least a couple of years, if not longer, to make services a bigger piece of the pie and growing it was a key focus area.

Any arrangements, in relation to other platforms and devices, that we have seen announced in the last few weeks or months have likely been in the works for several months or years.

One can argue how well the services side is picking up...or not. But calling it as “the walled garden is cracking” is just a negative spin to catch eyeballs.


>Bashing Apple never seems to go out of fashion.

I keep hearing this and people's memories are funny. It wasn't even a fashion until Steve past away. Apple were the media darling for the during iPhone 2G to 5 era. It started with iPhone 6s when they had a first YoY iPhone Unit drop, mostly because iPhone 6 in previous year were doing far too good. Then the bashing seems to get louder as every iteration after it continues.


Had Steve Jobs not brought Apple back to its roots, and there wouldn't be a company to bash about.

I remember how it looked after the amazing Copland launch.


When hardware slows to sell you ramp up services ??

better make more interesting phones and laptops and accept the end of growth rather than dilluting your spirit into chasing revenue


It started crumbling when Apple joined Alliance for Open Media. Since they were obnoxiously anti free codecs in the past, it was surprising to see Apple there.


I sold my Apple stock about 8 months ago. These are the relevant data points:

- Apple is a superb company but the stock price is still too high.

- Apple faces increasing competition from its own older phones that still work just fine.

- The older phones work just fine because Apple was caught crippling the older phones to preserve the life of the $20 battery inside the phone, and ended up having to simply replace batteries rather than sell new phones. This should be considered a scandal on par with the Volkswagen emissions scandal. I suspect the crippling was timed to make the shiny new phone seem all that much more appealing.

Note that Google recently rolled out Android updates that default a lot of battery killing AI features to "on" even on older devices, dramatically reducing their battery life. This may have been an attempt to boost sales of new phones, or it may be that Google thinks the AI features are so compelling that they will drive new purchases.

- Apple has continued its practice of small, steady improvements to iOS, but has also dramatically increased the price of the phones. I had to chuckle when I realized I spent $1K on my last iPhone. Wow.

I'd argue that the incredible Moore's law-like growth of mobile technology has actually held back a lot of innovation, and now that the platforms are more mature we'll see bigger investment in platform technologies that were risky before when the target devices two years out were largely unknown.

Apple has still shied away from trying to defend its market share by entering the low end market. Like Github's decision (far too late, after Bitbucket nearly caught up) to offer unlimited private repos, Apple will eventually enter the low end market, but only after its lunch starts to be eaten by competitors.

What happens when new big budget production apps don't prioritize iPhone by default as the first platform to launch on? Apple has no strategy to deal with this, and has neglected its development tooling substantially. This is basically the position Microsoft was in (and a nearly identical strategy) right before it took its own nose dive.

Apple should:

- Release a $199 iPhone as quickly as possible, and a $199 iPad also.

- Team up with Facebook to make React-Native a first class citizen for iOS development, even if this is a hostile fork and a blessed version released directly by Apple.

- Institute some programs (battery replacement, etc.) that show that the devices are the only one anyone would ever consider buying.

- Work with software vendors to create apps that actually do require the latest hardware features and the newest phones. Most apps do not need these.

- Make the devices fully waterproof so I can throw mine in the dishwasher once in a while to get it clean.

- Create car radios that are "CarPlay Only" that can be retrofitted into vehicles that didn't ship with one.

- Release a version of OSX that works (and is supported on) Intel NUC hardware.


> Apple has still shied away from trying to defend its market share by entering the low end market. Like Github's decision (far too late, after Bitbucket nearly caught up) to offer unlimited private repos, Apple will eventually enter the low end market, but only after its lunch starts to be eaten by competitors.

They have rather a serious problem there actually. There are many people who buy an expensive iPhone for reasons that would be entirely satisfied by a less expensive one if it existed. It's hardly worth raising sales by 15% if you would have to lower overall margins by 50%.

They could produce an intentionally crippled one to avoid cannibalizing their high margin products, but that would dilute their brand, and anyway who would buy it over similarly-priced non-crippled Android devices?

There is a place in the market for a luxury brand, but Apple already has more of the market than luxury brands typically have. It's going to be difficult for them to do much better when the main thing they could adjust is the trade off between margins and volumes.


They have rather a serious problem there actually. There are many people who buy an expensive iPhone for reasons that would be entirely satisfied by a less expensive one if it existed. It's hardly worth raising sales by 15% if you would have to lower overall margins by 50%.

I could have bought a midrange slower phone in 2015 thst would probably never get an update and then by another midrange phone 2 years later and buy yet another midrange phone this year.

Or alternatively, buy a 64 GB iPhone 6s in 2015 for $749 and still be getting updates and have a phone that is more performant than any midrange Android phone that was sold over the next three years and faster than high end Android phones in single core performance.

If history is any guide, the 6s will still be getting updates for two more years.

As a bonus, my phone isn’t running an operating system made by a privacy invading ad company.


If you're worried about updates you can get an Android One phone for $199 which is guaranteed to get updates for at least three years.

And a $749 phone is faster than a $199 one, sure, but it also costs $550 more, which is the whole issue. That's real money to most people.

> As a bonus, my phone isn’t running an operating system made by a privacy invading ad company.

This is kind of a silly complaint when it's open source and anyone can modify it however they like. Especially with Apple pushing Apple ID and iCloud as if sending all your data to them is completely different.

If you're legitimately concerned about this then rather than Apple your vendor is Purism.


This is kind of a silly complaint when it's open source and anyone can modify it however they like.

Most of what makes Android what it is are the closed sourced Google Play Services and you still require closed source binary drivers.

This is kind of a silly complaint when it's open source and anyone can modify it however they like. Especially with Apple pushing Apple ID and iCloud as if sending all your data to them is completely different.

iCloud is easily disabled. But I was shocked to find out when I looked at my dad’s Google account that Google recorded every time he opened any app on his phone. Apple doesn’t make money from my user data.


> Most of what makes Android what it is are the closed sourced Google Play Services and you still require closed source binary drivers.

This trade off is inherent. If you want a map service that lets you bring up a map of your current location without first downloading a map of the entire world, you have to send your location to the place that sends you the relevant portion of the map. But you get to choose -- you can use Google Maps, or you can install one of the OSM apps that actually downloads the whole map and can operate offline. You can install apps from Google Play or you can install them some other way.

You can carve Google out of Android, and then it's worse, in much the same way that iOS is worse without iCloud and the App Store. Except that if you want to use F-Droid or Amazon instead of Google, on Android you can and on iOS you can't.

And closed source drivers are lame, but I don't see Apple providing driver source either, and presumably the drivers are not sending your data to a third party in any case.


Without iCloud, you just can’t sync between devices and get untethered backups. But you can still backup your device from your computer.


And what is the equivalent of F-Droid for iOS? What's the alternative to Apple's App Store?


That's a guaranteed two years. Not three.

https://www.indiatoday.in/technology/features/story/google-p...


"Monthly security updates to be supported for at least 3 years after initial phone release."

https://www.android.com/one/


There is a difference between “OS updates” and “security updates”. You get both with iOS and currently for the 5+ year old iPhone 5s.


Or you could get lifetime updates with a Librem 5, which could also presumably run the latest Android indefinitely as well.

Hopefully the entire concept of needing OEM or carrier involvement to update your OS will be dead soon.


And then not get any compatibility with apps that require Google Play Services or get updated to the closed source parts of Android that Google includes....


Google Play isn't built in to LineageOS or similar, but you can still install it if you actually want it.


The average consumer doesn't hold updates in the same high regard that the tech elite do. To many consumers, updates = high probability of shit breaking. I bought a phone last year and got Pie on it recently. I was apprehensive. Most are even more so.


But they do notice a phone that is slow and unresponsive. The Moto G was supposedly one of the better midrange Android phones. I got one for my son last year. It was slow compared to my iPhone 6s - that was 3 years older.

When I got my iPhone 8 Plus, I gave him my 6S, he couldn’t be happier. When will a midrange Android phone finally catch up to the performance of a discontinued iPhone 6s from 2015?


> They have rather a serious problem there actually. There are many people who buy an expensive iPhone for reasons that would be entirely satisfied by a less expensive one if it existed. It's hardly worth raising sales by 15% if you would have to lower overall margins by 50%.

That is true for a luxury hardware company, but not a services company that wants bigger market share. Your services won't get used if they only work with < 20% of mobile phone users - people will migrate to ones that can be use by everyone.

This is the biggest Apple dilemma - they can't be luxury walled playground and a services company at once.


I'd argue that the main luxury aspect of iPhone is the GPU and top quality animation and visual effects. There is a superb polish to the UI/UX which (along with the high build quality of the hardware) makes it feel like a seamless hardware/software integration of the highest quality.

My impression is that Apple is creating custom hardware that will be able to support high end chips while offering an extremely efficient and performant glue/systems layer that is well suited to the low end and much greater scale.

The problem is that transitioning to a more mass-market model will be accompanied by a period of reduced profitability. It's also not clear to me whether it is too late. I recently bought $10 and $100 Android phones and compared to a year or two ago these low priced models are significantly less clunky and annoying to use.

With every month that passes, Android gets closer and closer to the Apple quality experience on much cheaper hardware, and all the while Android market share grows.

This has been Google's strategy all along (obviously) but I had expected that Apple would step in with a market share move long before things got to the point they are today where I'd argue Google has the advantage.

The biggest hindrance to Google eating up more of Apple's share is that Apple has focused on lock-in products like Photos, Notes, Messenger, etc., which can't be installed on other devices. While these are convenient, they are not something to take to the bank, as consumers ultimately resent the lock-in and are eager to break free. WhatsApp's success is an example.

The biggest reason to open up the low end is to increase the audience size for apps and reduce the appeal of cross-platform shortcut frameworks.


They will not survive on only luxury, however. They do have a legitimately great system in many areas, but are currently not selling it to as many people as they can.


IoT is the big market Apple should focus on. It plays to their strengths:

- People want integrated solutions, not one-off devices

- Control of hardware and software, including updates

- High quality cameras, sensors, design aesthetics, etc...

- High price, because integration differentiates their IoT making it hard to compare directly with other products

- Latest technology: Siri voice assistant, face recognition, AI, VR/AR

Imagine if Apple IoT in a home worked with guest iPhones. The networking effect of people talking about iDevices (do you have Apple?) might be enough to create a monopoly.

An example of a simple opportunity: Apple could have in home data caching for music and video where an IoT device acts as a peer server that works with Apple TV -- buy more Apple IoT and all your devices get better.


Agreed. Apple went the wrong way with this by killing AirPort - which could easily have been expanded to become a semi-standard smart home hub.

That space is probably going to be owned by a descendant of Alexa.

But Apple's problems go much deeper. Product design has been mediocre since Jobs died, which either suggests that Ive isn't quite the genius he was sold as, or that Cook + Ive is a zero sum game.

Software quality is also mediocre. There always nice features, but discovery has all but disappeared as a concept, and bugs are a real thing.

But the real problem is lack of imagination. While everyone is arguing about how much an iPhone should cost, iPhones are already last decade's product line.

There should have been a new market-leading product line by now. There isn't.

Car is going nowhere. AR might be a thing, but unless it's a bullseye it's going to be Watch 2.0 - nice tech that doesn't have a can't-argue-with-this sells-itself need to exist.

IoT and smart home could have been a huge thing, but instead Apple handed HomeKit over to the market with a shrug. (Were the margins too small for Mr Cook? Maybe...)

So now there's a big yawning void where the new ideas should be. Momentum will keep the machine running for a long while yet, but without some freshness Apple is in danger of becoming a rather dull company with negative wowness.


> Agreed. Apple went the wrong way with this by killing AirPort

Possibly, that device dying has lead to people discovering some truely excellent products. For me it has been Ubiquiti and Synology stuff, but you see other names here. For me it has been beneficial (though expensive) that Airport went away.


Most people aren’t buying third part routers. They are using whatever came from their ISP.


This might be relevant to Apple killing their airports, but it hasn’t stopped others making excellent products.


> Note that Google recently rolled out Android updates that default a lot of battery killing AI features to "on" even on older devices, dramatically reducing their battery life. This may have been an attempt to boost sales of new phones, or it may be that Google thinks the AI features are so compelling that they will drive new purchases.

As an Android developer, I haven't heard anything about any such "battery killing features" being rolled out to anything. Can you provide a source or did you just make this up?


I didn't make it up, it's definitely on vanilla Android at this point, not sure if the features are on most of the older phones by other manufacturers.


I am not even sure if you are trolling or is this suppose to be a joke.


Neither, not sure what points you took exception to but I'd be happy to elaborate if you can be more specific.


Apple should

Pretty much everything you suggested would result in lower profits.


Exactly. Lower short-term profits in exchange for significantly greater market share and future profits.

For some reason Apple doesn't see the competition rapidly approaching. Neither did Microsoft. All it takes is one misstep.


Starting?


I think it is more likely that Apple's strategy is Embrace, Extend , and Extinguish. Does anyone else remember when iTunes could sync with a Motorola phone?


Apple's strategy has largely avoided "embrace". Their couple of attempts at it - letting third parties make Mac clones, and the Motorola ROKR - flopped spectacularly.

The ROKR was largely a way to build relationships with cell carriers. If you watch Jobs introducing it, his disgust for it is palpable, and they launched the iPod Nano alongside it as an additional "fuck this thing".


*and the iPhone was under active development at the time. Jobs additionally played Fadell and the iPod team with this move.




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