The Apple event last week was admittedly not the best, but it wasn’t half as bad as some would like you to believe. I admit that releasing a new iPhone that is the size of the one before the big one seems a bit strange, but there is obviously a market for it and it is impressive that so much power has been crammed into such a small space.
The new iPad Pro, which is effectively an iPad Air with a pencil, is a logical move, but one that feels bereft of innovation. It was so painfully obvious and so was the announcement of more Apple Watch straps and iOS 9.3.
There are two ways to look at the event. Some would argue that Apple has nowhere to go with new products and that the reliance on the iPhone for the vast majority of revenue and profits are big problems while others will say that Apple is building on what it already does very well and that all of this makes sense until the iPhone 7 arrives.
Adrian Kingsley-Hughes from ZDNet is suggesting that Apple’s transition into ‘just another tech firm’ is almost complete – “After about ten minutes I was bored rigid, and after about 20 minutes I came to the conclusion that Apple’s event felt like a Microsoft event, or Google event, or Samsung event, or an event hosted by any one of the myriad of tech firms out there. Don’t get me wrong, the iPhone SE and new iPad Pro are interesting devices, and they’ll no doubt sell well, but they’re just devices in a sea of other devices.”
But then we have evidence to suggest that the iPhone 6 is faster than the brand new Galaxy S7
It would seem that Apple is concentrating on making what it already makes more stable and faster than before, but it also seems to have lost its way in terms of focus. Luke Wroblewski posted the following image on Twitter with this description- “When Jobs returned to Apple in 1997 the company had lost its way w a confusing lineup of undistinguished products”
I don’t know what to think at this time. It does seem that Apple is struggling to make great leaps forward and is likely to continually update the iPhone with extra features hear and there. The iPhone 6s has 3D Touch, a feature I never ever use, and better specs all round, but this can only go on for so long. Smartphone sales are dropping. Tablet sales are tanking and the Apple Watch has just had a price cut. John Gruber says the following re the price cut- “I do not assume that the $50 price cut for the Sport models is a sign it’s not selling as well as hoped. My guess is that it’s a sign that, one year in, they’re significantly cheaper for Apple to produce.” That is possibly one of the most Apple-biased things he has ever wrote because he completely ignores that Apple never cuts the prices of products after they have been in production for more than 12 months unless a newer model has been released. It’s obvious to anyone that the Apple watch is not selling well and that smart watches in general are not taking over the mobile world. Ask Pebble if you don’t believe me.
To be fair, I feel that Pebble is a modern version of Palm and that the writing has been on the wall for a long time, but still I see very few people wearing smart watches in the street. Hardly any in fact.
I have changed my mind since I started writing this article and am leaning to the fact that we are passed peak Apple, but it is not a fault of the company. The success of the iPhone, and by association the iPad, was always highly unlikely to be repeated. Apple has always produced very good products at a premium price and will continue to do very well, but even a quick look at corporate history in any industry would lead rational people to see the past 10 years are nothing more than a highly profitable blip.
It could be that Apple needs to accept that profits cannot continue to rise forever and that amazing new products will not be a yearly event, but the money men will not accept that. Seems to me that Apple is desperately trying to fulfil the wishes of outsiders, but that is quite simply impossible.