While Waiting For Apple’s Next Big Thing

Interesting comment from Gruber about an article from the Walt Street Journal on the need for Apple to find the next big thing. Here is an excerpt (emphasis is mine):

There will be major new products from Apple, someday, when they’re ready. There is no rush for them. If you’re worried about Apple’s near-future success, the key is their execution on their existing products. The Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Watch are all businesses that any company would kill for. Apple has all of them, and none of them are going anywhere. Apple needs to keep them insanely great where they already are, and raise them to insanely great where they aren’t.

So let’s try to judge how is the execution going on current products lines.

  1. Repetitive problems with MacBook Pro keyboards since their redesign in 2016. Still in need for a final fix.
  2. Batterygate (all iPhone). Bendgate (iPhone 6, 2018 iPad).
  3. Bad FaceTime camera on recently updated MacBook Air.
  4. Lack of updates on the 2013 Mac Pro, still selling for the same price since launched.
  5. Many years without updating the Mac mini.
  6. Product delays for the AirPod.
  7. Announced but unreleased AirPower.
  8. Software quality was going downhill on up until iOS 12. Not sure this is better on macOS though.
  9. iOS 7. No comment.
  10. Lost of general enlightment while using their software in general with a few rare exceptions.
  11. And on, and on, and on.

You could argue that nobody can’t match Apple on their scale for selling so many devices. This would be a fair point. But as Tim Cook likes to point out, this is not about selling most, this is about selling the best devices.

Any question ?

Oops. Bad Guidance. Great Opportunity.

Yesterday, much to our surprise, Apple created a commotion by announcing that they had to lower their guidance for the last quarter that ended on December 29. In short, iPhone sales are not what they expected mainly because of the Chinese market. As the iPhone is still the main driver of Apple numbers, this is expected to have a material impact on Apple’s bottom line. Apple Tim Cook published a letter to the investors and a paragraph caught my attention:

As we exit a challenging quarter, we are as confident as ever in the fundamental strength of our business. We manage Apple for the long term, and Apple has always used periods of adversity to re-examine our approach, to take advantage of our culture of flexibility, adaptability and creativity, and to emerge better as a result.

I’m not an Apple investor but a consumer of their products and services. To me, this could represent a great opportunity for Apple to rethink a few things. I hope they embrace the occasion to clean up their product lines and make pricing adjustments. These would be easy though as they doesn’t require a lot of resources to undertake. For example, on the Mac side, they could kill the 12″ MacBook and the Mac Pro. More swift actions are needed on the software and services side of the equation and these aren’t short term items. I’ll publish my wishes for Apple in 2019 where I’ll elaborate on this further.