05
May 15

One day they’ll understand Apple

Well, okay. Maybe that headline was a bit too optimistic. Let me re-phrase:

They will never understand Apple. Ever.

I suppose we can just chalk it up to human behavior. As the original Macintosh team at Apple liked to say, it’s more fun to be the pirates than the navy. In Star Wars terms, one could say it’s more fun to be the rebels than the Empire.

Given the size of the company today, Apple can easily be seen as both the navy and the Empire. So I get why the sport of finding the cracks in Apple’s armor is so popular.

That said, I remain amazed that so many fail to grasp how Apple thinks and behaves — though they’ve seen the same scenario play out time after time.

One very good example appeared last week in the international edition of USA Today under the headline, “For now, Apple’s in the sweet spot.”

Here, writer Jon Swartz talks about how great things look for Apple at this moment in time — but then warns that Apple “will go soft” just like IBM did years ago.

At least he’s consistent. In October 2012, he wrote another USA Today article titled “Year after Jobs’ death, how high can Apple fly?” With Apple at the top of its game at that moment, Jon focused on the darkness ahead.

Yes, with nearly three years’ worth of wrongness under his belt, Jon dusted himself off and charged once again into the abyss.

The truth is, being wrong about Apple’s future often stems from being wrong about Apple’s past. If you can’t appreciate what led to past successes, it’s tough to see the future ones.

Remember all the negative articles written about Apple in the quiet years leading up to last fall’s introduction of iPhone 6, Apple Pay and Apple Watch?

The common theme was that Apple had forgotten how to innovate. Samsung was crowned the new king. It was an easy story to tell, because Steve Jobs was gone.

Poor, directionless Apple. All those inventive designers and engineers, taking long lunches and wandering the halls aimlessly without leadership.

That idea, of course, was absurd. The only “proof” offered was that Apple had failed to deliver a new revolution three years after iPad. And that was meaningless, given that Steve Jobs himself took six years to launch iPhone after the revolution of iPod. Yet, with such stories proliferating, more and more people started to believe them.

Fortunately, it all becomes clear in hindsight.

Now we know there was a ton of work going on at Apple during The Period Of Great Whining. Possibly more than at any time in Apple’s history. Now we have new iPhones, Apple Pay and Apple Watch.

To me, this just says that Apple is doing a very good job of being Apple. Its mission is to create products that people can fall in love with. There is not now, nor has there ever been, a timetable for such things.

More important, we can now see how Apple’s pace of innovation worked out to the advantage of both the company and its customers.

It was way back in 2011 that NFC first appeared in mobile phones. Apple remained silent, and iPhone remained NFC-less. To many, this was evidence that Apple was not only becoming sluggish as an innovator — it was now officially falling behind.

As Tim Cook once explained, Apple enters a category only when it feels it has something special to offer. In this case, that something special was Apple Pay. This not only required imaginative engineering, it required winning the hearts of the major credit card companies, banks and retailers.

A me-too NFC capability could have happened years earlier. But it would not have been an Apple-quality solution. It would have diminished the Apple brand. What we got in the end was simpler, more secure, and more lovable.

Apple Watch is another good example.

Samsung introduced its Galaxy Gear watch in fall of 2013, about two years one year before the Apple Watch was unveiled. To someone who doesn’t understand Apple, this was simply more evidence that Apple was no longer the leader.

From our vantage point in the future, we see that Apple was simply doing what it’s always done. It was entering an existing market and taking its time to create something that truly stands apart.

With the Gear Watch, Samsung did an excellent job of proving it isn’t Apple. Determined to beat its competitor to market, Samsung did the obvious — it shrunk the phone to wrist size, complete with camera. To them, it was nothing more than a technology challenge.

Apple, on the other hand, did a good job of proving it isn’t Samsung. As it had done with iPod, iPhone and iPad before, Apple studied the category and imagined how great design and functionality could reinvent it. Understanding that watches are both fashion and technology, it developed — and hired — accordingly. Apple Pay was also a critical part of the concept.

So, yes, Apple really was two years behind Samsung in the watch department. And when all the parts came together, it leaped far ahead — where it will likely remain for some time to come.

Is there a moral to this story?

Indeed. And it’s one of the oldest ones in the book. That is: things aren’t always what they seem.

Apple is actually one of the most consistent companies on earth. When you’re puzzled by its behavior in the present, it can be very clarifying to just look at the past.

It’s easy to do — even if many critics seem unable to do it.

  • Atlas

    Looks at the latest Phonebuff speed test where the iPhone 6 runs as fast as the Galaxy S6 and is actually faster at multitasking.

  • Atlas

    The way to be at the top of every market is to make cheap stuff with low margins.

  • Atlas

    Apple is the only company that has always consistently cared about user experience. Their influence on the software world on this is huge.

  • Atlas

    Also, Samsung bought a company that uses magnetic tech, something that is going to be obsolete in the US in a few months and is already obsolete in Europe. That shows their lack of vision, their incompetence and how much they just react to what Apple does.

  • Awesome

    Benchmarks are actually pretty misleading unfortunately: http://mostly-tech.com/2012/09/29/the-dirty-little-secret-about-mobile-benchmarks/

  • Awesome
  • Awesome

    Keep the insults rolling. I am not purposefully trying to make anyone mad, unlike the way you are acting. I am just giving a different perspective.

  • Awesome

    Who said I cared about Samsung? Apple Pay as far as I know came way after other companies doing the exact same thing. Also, I am sooooo hurt. Ouch!

  • ghoppe

    I see. So your contention is that Apple is gaming five separate benchmarks better than the competition. Please, if you have proof that Android devices are significantly faster than the iPhone, post your evidence.

    You ask for proof, it’s given, then you say the proof is meaningless. You amuse me.

  • Awesome

    I am saying there is no way to give substantive proof unless they are all using the same OS to compare CPU performance. Comparing an OS to OS using the same CPU will prove the which OS is superior and the opposite is true.

  • Awesome

    Never said anything about Android.

  • Awesome

    I personally do not own something I can call innovative at the moment, though I own both Apple and other devices.

  • Awesome

    What am I invoking? Never said what I was using…

  • ghoppe

    Let me see if I understand you correctly. It is impossible to judge performance of two Operating Systems without ensuring they are running on the same hardware, and it’s impossible to judge the performance of two hardware platforms unless they’re running the same OS. That’s right?

    We aren’t talking about measuring exact cycles per second on the CPU here. General performance benchmarks of hardware + software *together* is a pretty reasonable benchmark to measure. How fast CSS+HTML renders. How fast numbers are calculated. How fast XML is parsed. This is going to have some general relevance to how well the device performs in real-world tasks.

    Apple isn’t even listed on the Basemark OS II Benchmark Development Program (BDP) members list. You’d think that this benchmark would favour members with inside info, but it doesn’t. So are you trying to say that iPhone 6 is not competitive? These benchmarks are useless?

    I’m not sure what you’re trying to prove. Maybe you should go back to how useless the device is because it only has 1 GB of RAM.

  • Awesome

    It mean that it wasn’t innovative, obviously.

  • Awesome
  • Awesome

    Benchmarks are influenced by other things than just CPU cycles. If you had any clue about operating systems then you would understand. Here have a go: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operating_system

  • ghoppe

    From what I see of your posts, it’s not really a different perspective. Just the same old Apple bashing talking posts I see all the time, not based in reality. When you’re called on them, you keep digging the hole and responding with more clichés.

  • Awesome

    Explain how this is different then what you are doing?

  • ghoppe

    LOL. Assuming I know nothing about Operating Systems. That’s rich. Who. Cares.

    Thanks for proving my point. Benchmarks aren’t designed to measure CPU cycles, or any other specific part of the OS. Benchmarks are refined and designed to quantify how fast a device *feels*, experimentally.

  • ghoppe

    What I am doing is responding with facts and reason.

    Like I did first in rebuttal to Ray who said that Apple has fallen behind in hardware design by pointing out that Apple’s A8 performance was very competitive. I added a link to a relevant iPhone comparison review from respected site Anandtech, instead of an irrelevant article on OS design from Wikipedia.

    Or when I posted about differences in iOS memory handling and OS architecture, and why that means Apple devices don’t require as much memory as Android to achieve the same performance in response to a blanket “1 GB memory. It sux.”

    All caught up?

  • ghoppe

    USB-C

  • Mark Jones

    Apple has mostly used Samsung as its Ax chip producer. And the Anandtech reviews show Apple has much much better responsiveness and power management because it has a vertically-integrated Ax chip design and iOS software design combo. So I know when I, as a consumer, buy an iPhone I have an even better experience. I don’t need higher-clocked chips to get an excellent experience, and I get better efficiency because of it.

  • Mark Jones

    You surely jest. The Ax chips are 6-18 months old? Where is Samsung’s 64-bit ARM chip? iPhone’s GPUs are 6-18 months old? Apple uses the just-released Imagination PowerVR designs, many times even uniquely modified.

  • Mark Jones

    The 64-bit capability obviously has nothing to do with RAM. It has to do with deeply-integrated secure processing. Android always-on-encrypted-phone is still optional, unlike iPhone — can you guess why?

  • Ray

    Same could be said about other dominant companies in the past, particularly in the fast-changing technology field. IBM, Microsoft, Nokia, Google were all incredibly dominant at some point in their history and seemed to be destined to dominate their industry forever in a virtuous cycle of more profits, better talent, more market share… until a major technology or market shift occurred. What always brings down the number #1 in any discipline is complacency and lack of hunger. Apple executives are humans and are not immune to this, no matter how brilliant and rich they are. Case in point their reluctance to produce a larger iPhone (they gave away billions of dollars in the process to their competitors). Combine that with the speed of progress in the technology industry and you have a recipe for short “kingdoms”.

    Take into account that Apple has only really been dominant for a few years (e.g. Apple’s revenues only surpassed Microsoft’s quite recently, around 2010), and some of their dominant products have already been disrupted. For instance, Apple was dominating the digital music industry with iTunes just a few years ago, and now they have been disrupted by streaming services such as a Spotify. No matter how brilliant the iTunes executives were, they did not see it coming or did not react.

  • Ray

    An analogy is an analogy, not an identity. It’s used only to illustrate certain properties, and should not be taken literally. Of course both Apple and Google are capitalistic organizations. The difference is that Apple tries to control everything with a central planning approach (“we know what’s good for you, consumer”), whereas Google provides an OS and lets OEMs use it as they wish (within certain limits, just like any democracy has also laws that limit freedom).

    There is very little choice once you live in the Apple ecosystem. Apple released 1 phone (now 2) per year. If you like it, great. If you don’t, you’re stuck with no choice. Large smartphones were “banned” by the central planners of Cupertino, until just a few months ago. Apple realized that their customers were defecting en masse to the democratic country (Android ecosystem) and they realized that if they continue this dogma they would soon no Apple citizens to rule. Once you live in the Apple country, you have no choice but to use “government” provided products and services. If you live in Android country, you have a plethora of private service providers (OEMs) that provide devices at any price points and with any features or design you may desire.

    I like freedom and choice, and I know what I want, I don’t like when a single company tries to tell me what is good and what is not.

    Again, it’s an analogy to illustrate the difference between living in Apple country or Android country, don’t take it literally.

  • octy

    Many have repeatedly argued (http://www.ted.com/talks/barry_schwartz_on_the_paradox_of_choice?language=en) that too much choice creates unhappy people.

    I’m glad you know what you want, but I think most people do not. By which I mean that human beings, when faced with too many choices, choose poorly. After all, how can you judge with certainty if a device is better than another given a limited amount of time? You need to think about: a possible wall of features, software, memory, megapixels, quality, design, size, price, brand… and on and on it goes. When you multiply these factors by the number of versions and carrier options, it’s like (analogy coming up) trying to solve a system of equations with an impossibly high number of variables. At this point, any normal human being will give up and choose almost randomly. That is, basing their decision on one or two “features”, and completely ignoring the other criteria. Others will choose based on ideology (“Apple is closed vs Android is open”). In the end: Too many variables => high complexity => poor choice => unhappiness.

    Apple (i.e. the group of people working there), *chose* to make it simpler. It’s company culture at Apple to create products that ultimately reduce the complexity of choice. You’re spot on saying that in the “Apple world”, choice is limited. But, it’s limited to only the best you can possibly choose or need. They make decisions for you, so that you won’t have to. It’s a simple equation with one or two variables (how do you like my analogy?). In Apple’s view, it’s win-win, because it makes way for happy customers and it makes good money for the company. And by the way, innovation also comes from making things simpler, not only from making a wider mess and *more* of them (a.k.a. “throw a bunch of sh*t at the wall and see what sticks”).

    So again, I think it’s useless to base this argument solely on principles of politics or economics. I didn’t take your analogy literally, I understood your argument about freedom of choice, but I still think that you are unable to detach yourself from it and see it in a different perspective.

    (P.S. Some of your assumptions are, IMO, unfounded and ridiculous, e.g. related to iPhone screen size: “Apple realized that their customers were defecting en masse to the democratic country (Android ecosystem) and they realized that if they continue this dogma they would soon no Apple citizens to rule.” – As the author of the post @ksegall:disqus said, you’re not looking at the past – for years, Apple had a very loyal and happy user base)

  • Samsungsanity.

  • Chan

    Bravo!

    Apple the missunderstood.

  • Chan

    For me it was never a doubt since the Mac Classic, Apple’s were the best people friendly things on the market, only those days I could afford very less of Apple.

    Now I get the every first thing Apple puts out, by not being a fan but for the fact they have never let me down when in need. and I can afford them.

    So will be what comes next Apple Watch

  • Ray

    “choice is limited to only the best you can possibly choose or need.”
    That sounds exactly like a slogan of a totalitarian government.

    The approach of one product fits all just doesn’t hold in the long run. It works when it’s a new product category and consumers are still trying it and finding new use cases, but as the product category matures, consumers develop their own specific needs.

    For example, just focusing on the handset size, we all have different hand sizes, so producing only one phone with iOS will essentially leave a lot of people unhappy (people with hands too small or too big). Same with the main use cases: some people use their smartphones mainly to make calls and text, while others like to watch movies during their commute. The requirements in terms of display size and quality, battery life, etc. are completely different.

    The central planning committee in Cupertino essentially decides what is best for you (as if there was just one stereo-typical consumer, and not 2B+ smartphone consumers).

    I understand this might be difficult to understand now that Apple had just had a great quarter due to pent-up demand for a larger iPhone and new customers in China, but once that pent-up demand is satisfied you will observe again the same phenomenon: consumers will start to change again to the Android system looking for those more customized handsets that fit better their specific needs.

    Even in this blog (of mostly Apple fans), some of you have already expressed that you actually preferred a smaller display size. If you were in the Android ecosystem, you’d be able to buy small smartphones (e.g. Galaxy S5 mini) as well as very large smartphones for power users (e.g. Galaxy Mega).

    The main reason consumers don’t switch is the ecosystem lock-in. This is “cleverly” designed by Apple so that once you start making an investment in their ecosystem (apps purchased, time learning their OS, specific connectors and cables, etc.), the switching costs of changing to another system (Android, Windows) are high. Therefore, most consumers stay with Apple even if when they release devices that do not meet their needs as well as devices from the other systems. Again, wait a few quarters until the pent-up demand is satisfied and you will see again iPhone growth stalling. The only chance that Apple has to avoid this is by creating something truly revolutionary that disrupts smartphones as we know it. As a consumer, I hope they do.

  • AC88

    “Literally no one saw the vision, outside of Apple.”

    I don’t think “literally” means what you think it means.

  • ksegall

    I think your analysis (and that of many others) is flawed in the way you talk about choice.

    Forgetting any individual company for the moment — phone customers today have a ton of choice. They can choose all kinds of sizes and shapes from all the phone makers collectively. Apple’s strategy is to not try to make everyone happy. They do fewer things, but focus on making those things the best in the category (their opinion, of course).

    This strategy was actually born on the day Steve Jobs got up on stage to unveil the iMac in 1998. In addition to showing off his new computer, he announced that he was killing over 20 products made by Apple at the time (printers, scanners, etc.) and selling only four: a home and pro version of a desktop and laptop computer. The idea was that Apple would do fewer things better. Instead of making a lot of me-too products, they would make each product the best in its class. That was the way Steve saw the company innovating itself back to health.

    And it certainly worked. In the 14 years that followed, the company went from near-bankruptcy to the most valuable company on earth.

    This philosophy is still at work today. Apple does not itself offer a wide range of choices. It provides people with a small number of choices among the countless choices available to them. You choose an iPhone because you like the idea of a proven platform curated by Apple, well-integrated hardware and software, great design and reliability, far less malware, and no problems with fragmentation. If those things don’t impress you, you’re free to buy from someone else.

    At every stage of Apple’s success, critics have been very good at coming up with reasons why the current success is only temporary. Yours is that the huge sales numbers of iPhone 6 can be explained by the pent-up demand for a bigger iPhone. You’re absolutely right that there was a huge demand for this, and we’ve certainly seen the result of that. My personal theory is that for some large (but unknown) percentage of Galaxy owners, the biggest reason for their purchase was simply that Apple didn’t make a bigger-screen iPhone. Given the collapse in Galaxy sales since the iPhone 6 was launched, I feel like my theory is correct. To me plummeting Galaxy sales say that a huge number of Galaxy owners weren’t ever loyal Galaxy fans. Given the choice at upgrade time, they’re going back to iPhone.

    To me, that’s a lot more substantial than simply satisfying pent-up demand.

    That said, I do agree that over time iPhone sales will begin to erode again. That’s life in the technology business. The observation you make today could have been made at any time in the past, looking at every Apple revolution. The only way to thrive beyond any one product is to keep coming out with new ways to make the offering more exciting.

    It’s interesting to me that you conclude by saying that the only chance Apple has to avoid a falloff in sales is to “create something truly revolutionary that disrupts smartphones as we know it.” I think you’re looking at that today with the Apple Watch. Granted, I’m looking at a very small sample currently of people I know who have received theirs, but I’m seeing people’s eyes light up from the moment they put the watch on. One person in particular (an even smaller sample!) is not a technology fan at all. Yet she’s practically jumping for joy each day as she discovers something new about it.

    So it could very well be that the thing that does bring a new wave of excitement to iPhone is the Watch — which will only get better and better in the next year or two. It gives people one more reason to get sucked into Apple’s ecosystem.

    And yes, locking people into its ecosystem is Apple’s business model. A pretty good one too. You can look at this as one more reason to rationalize Apple’s success (implying that it isn’t deserved by products alone), or you can look at it as one more reason why so many customers love the Apple user experience. The fact that Apple always comes in first in surveys of most loved brands and most valuable brands is a pretty good indication that being “locked in” is not seen as a negative by most customers. For Apple, it’s the entire ecosystem that keeps creating loyal customers — which is something every company wishes it could have.

  • Bart

    Apparently grammar is another thing you don’t get. Literally no one means no one. Not figurative, in the strict sense. Go back to school.

  • AC88

    I understand that you didn’t mean to be figurative, and you meant your statement literally, and that’s the problem. Many folks saw the first iPod as a breakthrough product particularly because of its interface (simple) how it worked with iTunes (seamless). Just because you didn’t see this don’t assume that “literally” no else did, because–literally–many other people did.
    And it’s not grammar that you’ve mistakenly attempted to correct, it’s word choice, scholar.

  • octy

    If you believe in your freedom of choice, you should agree that no one (and not even Apple) can impose anything on you. You are the only one actually limiting your own choices, by way of convictions you force upon yourself.

    To keep to the subject of understanding Apple, I don’t believe they’re in the business of imposing the same smartphone on everyone. They’re in the business of making *some* people happy, *all* of the time. Not in the business of making *everybody* happy, *all* of the time. This, Apple learned, makes way for a more sustainable business model, which in my opinion, is one of their cultural pillars.

    You say: “The main reason consumers don’t switch is the ecosystem lock-in.” – It’s not a prison, you know. Again, you fail to view this debate from a perspective detached from any political analogy. Granted, Apple uses lock-in as a strategy to keep its customers. But it also delivers on its promise to make technology work simply, beautifully, coherently and most of all, feel right. Yeah, you could say Apple locks its customers in by giving them enough arguments to feel happy about themselves choosing Apple products. I would even go as far as saying that Apple is in the business of making people have feelings for their technology! Whether it’s like or dislike, love or hate, wonder or disinterest, they succeed very well at it. The proof of that is an entire community of people having debates like this one right here.

    Right, consumers switch platforms when disruption comes along. Screen size, was somewhat disruptive (albeit only from a marketing point of view!). But let’s see, can you name a *disruptive* feature or characteristic compelling enough to make customers switch from an iPhone 6 to a Samsung G6? or from iOS to Android? (Don’t answer that, it’s a rhetorical question).

    As @ksegall:disqus mentioned in his reply, the Apple Watch may well be the next disruptive thing. Was the Galaxy Gear disruptive? No. From an utilitarian point of view, all smartwatches before the Apple Watch are interesting devices. But not disruptive. Why? Again, none of them are able to play on their potential to make people feel something, as well as the Apple smartwatch does (so far, anyways).

  • jorge

    Only iTunes is still the largest music retailer in the world and Spotify’s days are numbered….

  • Bart

    Completely disagree with you on this. Again, watch the video on YouTube. He got basically a slow, golf clap at best. Apple was in trouble. The fans wanted Mac development. It was NOT seen OR described (outside of Apple’s presentation) as any kind of “breakthrough” until much later.

    Music fans bought it for the large part initially. Certainly Apple users were first (they didn’t port iTunes to windows until later.)

    First Apple users catch on to benefits, then the average person about six months later. And then, Wall Street about six months after that. And repeat for next product…

  • AC88

    You completely disagree with what? That “literally” no one outside of Apple saw the vision for the iPod?

    Well, you’re “literally” wrong. Here’s what Eliot VanBuskirk at CNET said in his October, 2001 review:

    “Some of what’s revolutionary about the iPod is obvious: lightning-quick FireWire file transfers, small size, and a brilliant design, not to mention its 5GB storage capacity. But a few things make me wonder if the iPod is not the harbinger of a new type of device, unrelated to its function as an MP3 player . . .

    [If you] look at the whole picture, you’ll see where I’m going with this. The iPod is more than an MP3 player; it’s a prototype of the data wallets that we’ll all carry around within the decade. These devices will sync info between multiple machines and allow for music and video collections to be carried around everywhere. They won’t have a complicated interface, but they will include a variety of ports for connection to keyboards, Webcams, monitors, networks, cell phones, PDAs, stereos, headphones, video goggles, GPS modules — whatever peripheral you can think of.

    . . . If a more secure identification technology were added, the device could even act as some sort of secure digital ID for activities such as boarding planes or filling prescriptions.”

    I’d say someone outside of Apple literally got the vision of the iPod even though you didn’t, and that you’re literally wrong about this fact (not an argument or an opinion) and you are literally incapable of understanding how to use “literally” in a sentence.

  • Bart

    Congratulation, you’re quite literally anal. It was not widely seen as a breakthrough product for quite some time. This was prior to anything like the long lines for products that we later saw.

  • AC88

    I think it’s less about “understanding” Apple and more about the notion that the media abhor a vacuum, and Apple used to give them a messaging vacuum with grave consistency that they could fill in almost like clockwork.

    If you look back at the earlier history of the iPod, you’ll find a somewhat consistent pattern emerged as the iPod gained its cultural status that looked a little something like the following five (four really) steps:
    1. Apple says nothing or next-to-nothing about products before their ready for market.
    2. Because of the resulting messaging vacuum that Apple’s created (through silence), the media speculate about new features, models, and even colours. Mostly this is highly positive earned media for Apple.
    3. Apple releases the new models, often as an early 3Q announcement that coincides with back to school and in advance of the Christmas buying season.
    The media covers this event, again mostly in a positive light.
    4. Apple releases ads and the media then report on how right/ wrong they were as well as cover the public reception of the new devices in addition to the effectiveness of Apple’s campaign(s).
    5. Apple says nothing or next-to-nothing about the next product cycle . . . and go back to step 1.

    At the height of this strategy, Apple would repeat this cycle with product announcements in January, late March, June, and September–every quarter with products getting approximately 45 days of promotion after their release and pre-announcements for new events coming 30-45 days in advance of the next event. January was for new products like the iMac, MacBook Air, iPhone, iPad, etc. and connects back to the days of MacWorld, March was for laptops or Mac updates, June was often for software, and September was for iPods.
    Before and after each of these announcements, there was an Apple-induced vacuum, that the media could not resist and which they voraciously filled with speculative pieces on the next new Apple product, from the Mini and Nano to the iPhones and iPad.
    This general pattern continued year after year from about 2005 to 2010–a very long time in mobile devices and consumer electronics.
    And then Apple changed the pattern, making release dates more “random” or at least less-knowable for the Media.
    They did this, I suspect, for two reasons: by 2011 Google, Samsung and others were attempting to counter-punch with their own timing of product releases–carpet bombing the dates around Apple’s “traditional” announcement periods. The most infamous of these might be Samsung’s release of 4 versions of a new android phone–one after the other–that were supposed to herald a new naming strategy: the S (for Smart), the R (for Royal), the M (for Magical), and the Y (for Young)–failed as a naming strategy but succeeded like seasoned photo-bomber at disrupting Apple’s marketing calendar.

    In short, the competition saw the pattern and wanted to disrupt Apple’s ability to gain the earned media that it did. The second reason was that new releases began to take longer than 12 months to bring to market. The evolution from the 2007 iPhone to the 2014 iPhone is akin to that of the 1965 Mustang to the Tesla S, and that takes time to do well, never mind factoring in iPads, Watches, Pay, and Macs.

    An unintended consequence of Apple’s adjustment to Android/ Samsung and its new product development cycle is that they unhinged the media’s expectations around the timing of the vacuum–the predictability that Apple had created which allowed the media to transition season to season and year to year from prediction to event coverage to product review and cultural observations. Now, with this shift, they didn’t have that consistency or reliability and as a result–coupled with the death of Jobs and arrival of Cook–they started writing different narratives. They started to write failure narratives–as if by waiting 15 months instead of 12 months to release a new iPhone Apple had suddenly lost its ability to innovate.
    A new cycle began to emerge that was fed not by Apple (as Apple remained as quiet as ever when it wasn’t in release mode) but instead it was fed by other members of the traditional print media and social media who managed to create an ultimate FUD echo chamber that told the world (by telling themselves over and over) that “Apple was doomed.”
    They couldn’t have been more wrong, but in the content is king world of the media, that didn’t matter. They had filled the vacuum, and didn’t let the facts get in their way.

    So they may never understand Apple, but they never really seemed interested in doing so any way.

  • AC88

    “you’re quite literally anal.”

    Yep, you really don’t know what literally means.

    But you have learned how to avoid owning up to your own mistakes and instead compounding them with silly, stupid claims (“grammar”?) and personal attacks.

    And by the way, thanks for sharing the truism that the introductory version of the iPod wasn’t has popular as the later versions. That’s a stunning insight.

    Nice work, scholar.

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  • Bart

    Mistake? LOL, It was a minor exaggeration, at most. Speaking of insights, where are yours? You haven’t even made a point yet, let alone an insightful one.

    You’re just arguing semantics.

  • AC88

    The first time, It was a minor exaggeration.
    The second time, when you attempted to call me out on grammar (wrong) it was a petty insult to cover up a mistake that you couldn’t own up to or you really didn’t understand.
    The third time, ( when you said “completely disagree with you on this”) it was simply flametard obstinance.
    The fourth time when you claim i was “literally anal” only further made clear that your vocabulary is rather limited.

    As for my insights, try reading the whole comments thread before you make such claims. I wrote something about an hour or so ago that’s much more than semantics and responding to an idiot who doesn’t know what literally means.

  • Bart

    You played the grammar card, not me.

  • AC88

    “You played the grammar card, not me”

    Yeah, actually, you played the grammar card in your first response when you said:

    “Apparently grammar is another thing you don’t get. ”

    Except it’s not grammar, it’s word choice.

    You literally chose the wrong word with “literally.”

    Mo-ron.

    I guess “literally” is not the only word you don’t know the meaning of; “grammar” is another one.

    And I didn’t start a rant. I made one (completely accurate) comment. You should have simply learned from it and walked away. But no, you had to prove that you’re a douche.

    Nice work scholar: you’ve proved beyond a doubt that you’re a complete douche.

  • Bart

    Now you are just repeating yourself, and your infantile grammar-rant becomes a temper tantrum. Grow up, loser.

  • AC88

    “Grow up,”

    Okay dad.

    And I apologize for trying to make an observation about diction (the choice of words and phrases) to someone whose first and second languages clearly aren’t English.

    That was my mistake. Totally on me, that one.

    And to be frank, I don’t speak gibberish or bullshit. So I guess we’re not really communicating as effectively as we’d like, given that one of those two are your mother tongue.

    So let’s just leave it here: you’re clearly an illiterate shit bag and I could care less about your obvious inability to understand at a grade-school level what words like “literally,” “grammar” and “diction” actually mean.

    Good luck with those remedial language workshops, and don’t forget: the dictionary is your friend. (probably your only friend).