You know how in life the pendulum swings back and forth? Thesis leads to antithesis, resulting in eventual synthesis, and so on?
Well, right now Apple is swinging backward.
Let’s do a thought experiment. Imagine you wanted a tech company to fail. A recipe for failure for a company like Apple would have components like:
- Let’s kill professional/prosumer apps like Aperture, Final Cut Pro, and so on.
- Let’s kill the only web design app that’s any good: iWeb.
- Ignore the iMac; make everything iOS. Pretend you can have one platform everywhere (my Apple TV auto-installs apps I buy on my iPhone, for instance).
- Make the User Interface so complicated that people like me have to Google simple actions like “how do I watch Apple special events on my Apple TV”.
- Make WatchOS 3 “the best running experience”. Fine, but I am not a runner.
- Hang everything on Siri, which probably works fine – as long as your accent is average. If you’re me, it sucks.
- Make it unreliable. Both my Apple TVs, Gen 3 and Gen 4, crash when I watch the Apple Special Event. The Gen 3 crashes after ten seconds; the Gen 4 after half an hour.
- Let’s lag behind. We now get Touch ID, meaning using your fingerprint to unlock the Macbook Pro. Cool new feature! Only, um, I had this in 1999 on my IBM Thinkpad. That’s 17 years ago.
- And worst of all: let’s remove connectors. I use power, USB, HDMI, connect displays… When teaching, for example, I always connect a laser pointer, my iPhone, and a VGA display. I need more USB ports, not fewer! But no: let’s kill all those connectors so that I have to carry a plethora of dongles.
- Oh and the SD card, let’s kill the SD card slot!
But there’s no way Apple would do those things, right? Right?
Except they did.
Innovation is not removing useful ports and forcing people to buy dongles. I noticed that in today’s Apple Special Event, the audience looked subdued, bored and un-impressed. Oh wait. Someone smiled – after 35 minutes, finally.
Mr Cook is no Steve Jobs, unfortunately.
EDIT: added next day:
I see that they have also removed the best feature of the Apple laptops: the MagSafe power connector. That magnetic connector, that lets go when you trip over the cable (instead of dragging the computer to the floor), has saved my laptop probably a dozen times. Without it, my computers will not last more than six months. Remove MagSafe? Now I know Apple has lost it.