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back to article Peak Apple: Cupertino belatedly spends some money on R&D

Apple is ploughing more cash into research and development ahead of new product launches expected in the coming 12 months. Cupertino shelled out a hefty $1.19 billion on R&D in the first three months of this year; an increase of 41 per cent on the $841 million it spent in the same period last year. If the pattern continues, …

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Childcatcher

2.5%

How much of the R&D spending is researching and writing up all those patents? I'm sure that is on the R&D budget. I accept the ligation is a different budget.

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Anonymous Coward

Mostly on Maps

It is probably mostly going on fixing the maps mess. Google spend a billion a year keeping theirs up to date - and that is all counted as R&D.

The sort of innovation that Apple does well doesn't involve a lot of money - designing shiny cases, "simplifying" UIs etc. You don't need billions of dollars for that, you just need a few highly talented individuals and a certain company culture.

Apple's biggest problems at the moment are that they don't have a particularly inspiring leader, and they are no longer the underdog coming back from the brink of bankruptcy - not that they aren't spending enough on R&D.

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Re: Mostly on Maps

Hmm.

If Apple wish to kick Google maps, and replace it with their own - then I'm guessing they're about a billion behind on their R&D budget already.

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Stop

So we know who the replacement for Anna Leach is

Job description: Write inflammatory and wildly inaccurate stories about Apple, thus gathering many page views.

Apple have been increasing their R&D spend year on year for many years. You can't just dump a big pot of money into R&D and expect magic to happen. Staff of decent calibre have to be found, hired, integrated into the company structure and assigned to projects. Growing at even 40% per year and doing so productively is far from easy. Add to this products based on that research are unlikely to appear in less than 2 years.

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Trollface

Re: So we know who the replacement for Anna Leach is

Which part was inaccurate? Apple maps having teething problems? The amount Apple spent on R&D? The amount that Microsoft spent on R&D? If it was the share price, then I suspect there are some pension funds who'd love to sell you some shares assuming that their price has not dropped :)

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Unhappy

Re: So we know who the replacement for Anna Leach is

"You can't just dump a big pot of money into R&D and expect magic to happen"

Really?

I thought that's all that Apple did make happen. You know, 'Double, double, toil and trouble'?

I've been using Apple devices (iMac/Pad) for more than a year now and my impression I'd of pretty shi**y software with shiny, wiggles gloss. I'd forgotten software was once so bad. A web browser that crashes or freezes me in a week than the M25 manages in ten years. A UI that is as consistent as a class of 9-year-old's first effort at PowerPoint (poor things).

Whatever Apple does well, it isn't something that's taken much input from software engineering or UI classes.

Oh well, they don't do magic either, eh.

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FAIL

Re: So we know who the replacement for Anna Leach is

Hmmm... The fact that you claim to use the devices you apparently despise (and spending well over two thousand quid on a Mac and an iPad in the process) leads me to believe that one of two things are happening here.

A: You're an idiot, who's somehow incapable of using hardware you DO like, or....

B: You're lying about using Apple hardware, in a poorly thought out plot to make your uninformed and hysterical hate to the fruity firm seem a taaaad bit more reasonable.

In any case, you've failed good sir. Failed hard...

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Re: So we know who the replacement for Anna Leach is

Well, lets see, where do we start...

How about vastly exaggerating the problems with Apple Maps. (Usually there are casualties, when something is described as 'disastrous') or the way it's implied that its a failure not to introduce new product lines. (How many tech companies introduce new product lines every year or every other year?)

Then there's the gloating over the fall in profits, while completely leaving out the fact that its primarily caused by a maturing market, rather than anything Tim Cook did. A good journalist would also have mentioned at the same time that Apples profit margins are still significantly higher than their competitors. (Actually scratch the good part, its something just an average journalist would have done!)

Leaving out all of Apples good results (record iPad sales, record revenue) would also be considered shoddy reporting.

You want me to go on?

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Flame

Re: So we know who the replacement for Anna Leach is

Now, now... You know the target demographic for this article, right?

Neckbeards whose major (and usually only) source of pride in life is that they know how to use a command line, and neckbeards and it students to poor to buy an Apple product. They lap this stuff up.

IT professionals who want or need to know what's going on with Apple don't come here much anyways, so might as well go for the lowest common denominator...

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Bronze badge

Re: So we know who the replacement for Anna Leach is

"A good journalist would also have mentioned at the same time that Apples profit margins are still significantly higher than their competitors. (Actually scratch the good part, its something just an average journalist would have done!)"

Sorry? You clearly don't come here often, nor do you read any form of journalism from what I can see. A "good" journo only uses the bits that make the story sensational and thus read by people, thus preserving the job they have. Fact and statistics... always used to suit the story's angle.

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Re: So we know who the replacement for Anna Leach is

I think the register hires people that aspire to become daily mail writers. Can't call them journalists, that'd be a lie.

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Re: So we know who the replacement for Anna Leach is

Unless, of course, he's working with a company or on a project that requires him to use Apple gear, or something to that effect. In which case the argument is perfectly plausible,

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Linux

Re: So we know who the replacement for Anna Leach is

"Hmmm... The fact that you claim to use the devices you apparently despise (and spending well over two thousand quid on a Mac and an iPad in the process) leads me to believe that one of two things are happening here.

A: You're an idiot, who's somehow incapable of using hardware you DO like, or....

B: You're lying about using Apple hardware, in a poorly thought out plot to make your uninformed and hysterical hate to the fruity firm seem a taaaad bit more reasonable.

In any case, you've failed good sir. Failed hard..."

Thank you for your thoughts and conclusions.

Allow me to suggest C.

C: My employer has had a fit of the Apples; has given me an iPad a year and a half ago; has installed a couple of Appley things (iMacs) in communal work areas.

The iPad, I use all the time, as a leisure device, away from work. Great to get it out for a quick bit of browsing whilst eating at home or stopping at a coffee shop. Even for the occasional unimportant email, where I can afford the spelling 'adjustments' to inject the sort of linguistic use I'd normally be embarrassed by. But, hey, these days things like proper spelling and grammar and punctuation and capital letters are apparently unknown to so many that I can allow myself to be one of the herd, a little. And after all, what do you expect in return for finger-pecking at a flat sheet of glass.

The funny thing is, when I was first given it I used to take it ino the office every day. Now it stays in the car as I never used it when there were so many proper keyboards and screens at hand.

The iMacs, there is a story of persistence if which I'm slightly proud. I made a point of using them for at least some of every day. It turned out that the other 100 or so people who'd drift into and out of the shared work area would sometimes stop and look and say, 'Wow. Don't they look good'. But they hardly ever used them, preferring the much older, cheap-screened Windows computers. Even with my determination I'd rarely stick it for more than an hour before also returning to Windows (Outlook, Word, Excel, VNC (note the subtlety)) or heading back to my Office and mostly Linux on desktops or in Amazon's cloudy land.

During my self-imposed iMacness I learned quite a lot of OS X keyboard shortcuts and found tha the terminal / bash did expose some familiar, usefulness. I seemed to overtake most of the few 'We've got an Apple at home. Do you know how to...' Apple users (who also seemed, mostly, to prefer using the Windows computers in the shared area).

The screen was great. But, of course, if 2/3 of the amount had been spent on decent screens for the Windows computers they'd have been even greater.

The thing that bugged me the most was how slow the iMacs were from the moment of clicking to start a program to the moment when it was ready for input. It seemed that most of the processing power had been steered into making icons wiggle and fly around the screen. Great to look at, but a bit frustrating when it took longer to do actual work than on a, typically, two years older and a quarter of the price Windows PC.

Software? On the iPad, that I use more than any other electrical gadget outside work, Safari freezes or crashes maybe once every day or two. Remember? Like browsers used to do years ago. I'd forgotten. (Well, except for Firefox until it started to sort its act out at 3.something. But Firefox always has other compensations). And after a while I got used to his Jobsness knowing better than I do that 9 tabs and one window is enough browsing for anyone.

BBC news site? Yes, you get used to 'this content (video) is not available for your device'. Jobsy had good reason for banning Flash. It needs more processing power than an ARM-based tablet can muster, so far. Ever noticed how things like timers in non-active tabs stop running? Hmmm, must conserve CPU cycles for shimmery stuff that cool users will notice. I remember single-tasking OSes from the 60s, before the days of MVT and MVS. Well, Apple seems to have reinvented them for iGadgets, which I can understand, given that ARM is, currently, battery life rich but CPU power poor.

(Funny how you get used to things. I was genuinely shocked that iPads were, almost, single-tasking when they first came out and now I just think, oh, that's what they do).

But, I go on too long. And to no purpose. After all, I expect you knew exactly what you were talking about when you told me that I'm an idiot and a liar. My respect to you, sir. You are clearly a very experienced computer user and assessor of character. And I'm sure that your 'A' and 'B' exhibit the same omniscience and insight that The Jobs did when he knew that no one needs more than 9 tabs in a browser.

Sent from 'my' iPad, as I believe we're supposed to say.

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Re: So we know who the replacement for Anna Leach is

Sounds like your iMacs need more RAM

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So we know who the replacement for Anna Leach is

Sounds as if you know much less than you think you know and are so thoroughly used to Windows inconsistency that you can not adjust to a new model.

I think you must be a secretary or typist or general office-wallah who thinks he/she is showing their technical credentials by slating something they do not understand.

As for crashes etc.: no, I do not believe you. I know many, many people with iPads, from deep technical to absolutely not technical. I've never heard of or observed these frequent crashes you claim. I have got an iPhone: it is rare to have a software crash. It can happen, but very, very seldom.

I have a good friend who does heavy mathematical modelling and data analysis on an Apple laptop, another with an iMac on which he and his wife prepare course materials, edit videos (for the wife's work) and the first also prepares those complicated charts that fill a wall, summarise the biochemistry of life and cost more than a cheap computer. Funny, they and others I know have got no problems that outweigh any other operating system. Curiously, many of the Windows support staff here run Apples at home, because, they say, they do not want to waste their time fixing problems when they leave work.

I read BBC online on the iphone. I did get a couple of videos last week that I could not view, first for a very long time. But the vast majority do not present that problem. But then, even on the Windows machine some things seem to require one to install yet another programme.

I've got an oldish, white macbook, that I can not take beyond Lion. It runs as fast as ever (which is more than fast enough for browsing, emails, documents, a bit of scripting in the shell, running X (twm) window manager, Windows in a VM (faster than on most windows machines I have to endure). I work all day on Windows and UNIX/Linux. My wife uses Windows. I have got, at home, an ageing Thinkpad running Windows, that runs like treacle after all the windows "improvements" and needs disc defragmenting fortnightly, though used only for browsing, email and Excel. I gave up on regular reinstalls, life is too short.

So, I do wonder just what you try to do. I suggest you go to a couple of good courses or even try the on-line videos provided by Apple.

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Re: So we know who the replacement for Anna Leach is

@AC

"Sounds as if you know much less than you think..."

Allow me to summarise your incisive line of reasoning...

"My friend users computer X.

My wife uses computer Y.

I use computer Z.

We don't have problems, so if you claim to you must be imagining them."

Sounds as if you have a lot of experience writing and testing programs.

Respec'!

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Re: So we know who the replacement for Anna Leach is

@Frankee Llonnygog

"Sounds like your iMacs need more RAM"

Indeed.

Interesting situation for a newish iMac running MS Word, when much older Windows PCs (I tend to use free cast-offs) with half the lowest memory you can have on an iMac don't struggle with such 'demanding' programs as word processors.

If you prefer seeing shimmery graphics to doing actual work on computers, of course, YMMD...

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WTF?

Startups

But doesn't the startup normally begin with the innovative idea, and then starts up?

By starting out without the innovative idea, aren't they just emulating all the people who don't have the innovative idea? and what percentage of them suddenly have an innovative idea?

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Happy

Peak Apple?

When their situation gets really sticky you can call it 'Toffee Apple'

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Re: Peak Apple?

And when it gets real bad : Rotten Apple..

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TEQ
Mushroom

Re: Peak Apple?

Well they've been selling horse-apples for years...

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Re: Peak Apple?

If the stock keeps slipping, Peaked Apple.

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Silver badge

*By us, anyway

and the Graun.

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Trollface

So, how much was Microsoft's growth this year?

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Huh?

I don't really understand this article. Clearly Jobs was right. Tightly focused spending is vastly more profitable than throwing money around. I am sure that Microsoft Research is full of great stuff, but it seems like it rarely makes it past the tiers of management unscathed. Google on the other hand seems more concerned with fulfilling geeky dreams (driver-less cars and x ray specs) than with profits.

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You can't just dump a big pot of money into R&D and expect magic to happen.

So you agree with us!

This won't work

apple are fucked!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: You can't just dump a big pot of money into R&D and expect magic to happen.

If Apple are fucked then god help all the other firms such as Samsung when they have nothing to copy ..

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buying in innovation ain't as cheap as it was

In the good old days innovators were falling over themselves trying to demonstrate their new shiny to Apple or Microsoft. Nowadays they're putting a lot more effort into trying to get paid if the shiny gets used, before showing anything to the circling sharks. And there are more sharks in the hunt.

That's got to increase the R&D spend a lot ;)

Apple: polishing other peoples innovating for decades.

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Re: buying in innovation ain't as cheap as it was

Surely you can't be so dumb, as to seriously believe what you just wrote?

Or do you perhaps suggest that it's divine intervention that's behind the fact that most cellphones released after 2007 look like an iPhone in form and function.

Everybody has been polishing other people's innovating for decades. Apple is just a lot better at it...

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Re: buying in innovation ain't as cheap as it was

Here we have another effect of excess polish fumes on thinking ability.

Many of today's smartphones are indeed rapidly converging on the artists mockup I remember of what pocket PC's would look like, a mockup printed in a PC magazine back in the 1990's. They haven't yet dispensed with the bezel around the display or gone for a solid glass body but the grid of icons, the touchscreen control, the ability to make phone calls (yes, that was predicted), they've achieved all that. At the time the only slightly surprising prediction was putting a voicephone in the device, everything else looked pretty obvious.

And of course polish fumes wipe out memory, of things like the LG Prada, so like the iPhone Apple were accused of copying it. A phone shown publicly *before* any iPhone details were revealed.

Apple are so very good a polishing they've completely polished away history for so many of you. Those of us that lived through the entire Apple era remember a lot...

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Anonymous Coward

iPhone copied LG Prada???

Under Sculley Apple allegedly spent a billion 1990 dollars on Newton, which was undoubtedly the most innovative computer I have ever used. It was released in 1993. Up to that point pocket computers used punch cards. OK, almost. Sadly Jobs hated Sculley, and therefore he axed Newton, Apple's greatest achievement, out of spite. He publicly called it "that scribble-pad thing". Even if it were introduced today, it would still be revolutionary. Jobs re-integrated the spun-off Newton division so that Newton technologies and patents could one day morph into the greatly inferior iPhone. So you can forget about LG Prada as inspiration for the iPhone - what you have there is an LG potato Jesus.

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Spoke with someone recently who thinks Apple have a major marketing problem.

He also thinks the people in charge are working on pumping all the profits out before dumping the stock. And I think he was making an objective not emotional argument. He owns an iPhone and worked for a retailer who moved lots of electronic kit for whoever was hot at the time.

His comparison of Apple to Android phones: Android probably has better tech at any given price point, but Apple have longer support cycles. He thinks if you buy an iPhone you'll probably have support for 5 years, whereas with Android you'll get 2, maybe 3.

He credited Jobs with being a marketing genius for creating demand and maximizing profit. He noted that Jobs typically (like Sony with the Wii) held back production to create demand and desirability for the product. His specific example was the iPhone version that Conan OBrian got ahead of almost everyone else. And that if you actually had the same model phone at the time Conan was bragging about it, it elevated a certain status for you. The recent iPhone release didn't have that kind of hold back, elan, or profitability for the product.

I personally don't want to be involved in those kind of rat races, which is one of the reasons I tend to avoid Apple. But if that's the market where you are making your profit, it seems to me you have to continue to play to your strength. And shifting into mass market where MS and/or Google pretty much have the high and surrounding ground advantages is generously described as suicidal.

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FAIL

"Jobsian diktat 'innovation nothing to do with R&D' "

You can't really call the process of cloning a product that was already innovated by others and give it rounded corners "R&D". Apple's version of "innovation" would more accurately be describe as "creative faxing".

I heard Tim Cook had an original idea the other day and had to sit down for a few hours to recover from such a novel experience.

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>He credited Jobs with being a marketing genius for creating demand and maximizing profit. He noted that Jobs typically (like Sony with the Wii) held back production to create demand and desirability for the product.

Umm I think you may want to edit that bit to include Nintendo, just a thought.

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