April 04, 2016

Apple Falling Far From Tree

It's been almost 5 years since an ailing Steve Jobs stepped down as CEO of Apple.

At the time, I wrote a couple of pieces about his departure from the company and the likely outcomes.

Despite Apple's sales success and market leadership, I don't think there's much doubt that the thrill is gone. It has been a very long 5-year drought of innovation and imagination in Apple products.

Walking through an Apple retail store today what we see are mostly line extensions of products developed years ago. The loneliest table in the store is the Watch table.

Here are excerpts from a few pieces I wrote almost 5 years ago:
After Steve Jobs stepped down as CEO of Apple last week, speculation about the company's future began immediately.
The story line went like this-- while Jobs will be missed, he is no longer essential to the future of the company and it will go on brilliantly without him.
I don't buy this for a second. Genius is non-transferable.
The most likely scenario is that Apple will continue to shine for a few years while the initiatives that Jobs started are still in the pipeline, and then slowly the company's radiance will start to dim... 
They will be successful and will continue to produce excellent products for a long time -- but the startling brilliance will slowly fade.
I can't help but feel that I actually got something right there. The "introduction" of the smaller iPhone SE recently was a very bad sign. If Apple was amazing at something it was keeping us from yawning. This was a major yawn.

Apple seems to be headed in the direction it was in in the late-90's when Jobs re-took the reins  and eliminated a confusing, unnecessary disarray of products.

Tom Goodwin put it nicely last week...
"From a company obsessed with reductivism, we saw an event with little actual news and zero unexpected surprises — just simple linear iterations of devices we’ve seen countless time before...we now have 77 SKU’s of iPad to chase ever dwindling sales."
In many ways, Apple is starting to look and feel like a traditional marketing company. I'd like to think that Jobs would not have let that happen.

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