back to article What's losing steam at Apple? Pretty much everything

Apple is trying to put the best face on another bad quarter by saying it has exceeded its own meager expectations. The Cupertino giant had previously warned that its revenues would be down, and Apple execs boasted that they at least were at the high end of those lowered expectations. For Apple's fiscal 2016 Q3, ended June 25 …

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Hmmm.....

It's about time they got rid of Paul O'Grady. Pauline Calf might be a good substitute.

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Happy

Re: Hmmm.....

Cracking cheese, Gromit!

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Wrong turns

Apple continue to make poor design choices, like MacBook trackpads that no longer move, and keyboards that barely move.

I went to buy a new iPad last weekend, excited about the keyboard cover. After using it for a minute, I found it extremely annoying that it had a key for emoji, but no ESC key. WTF?!

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N2

Re: Wrong turns

I agree entirely, a few more idiotic decisions to add to the list:

The removal of "Save as" in OSx Lion

The abandoning of Aperture

The mess they made of the Mac Pro

Non upgradeable components in MacBook pros: HDD & memory

& the fact they no longer seem to give a shit about the creative professional folks who they've all but abandoned

Just a few examples.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Wrong turns

Having been asked some questions about iPhones I did my usual web search expecting to grab some techinical response from online forum, what I discovered is that a lot of Apple users are non technical but can post on the net, trawling through the wrong answers and completely illogical thinking had me feeling it is more than a brand it is a mindset and until that mindset can be cajoled into new purchases it is not going to move forward until beards or tatoos are seen as "yesterday".

It's not the technical details that people are looking for, many of them don't even get that side it's the tech envy buttons they need to polish.

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Re: Wrong turns

'Save as' is still there - just hold option when you click the file menu.

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Re: Wrong turns

'Save as' is still there - just hold option when you click the file menu.

<rant>

This is the sort of non-answer that completely drives one up the wall. How is the person who has been using an interface for many years supposed to know this? And how is it a good idea to force them to abandon an established pattern of use which is built-in to their synapses in much the same way as riding a bicycle is, and to lose their train of thought concerning the actual *work* they are trying to perform, to be replaced by mental rummaging for "Yes, I remember that they changed it, where did they put it this time? " followed by frustration, raised blood pressure, and subvocalised(?) four-letter words.

It's not just Apple. It's a pandemic. It's the reason Windows 8 and Windows 10 were so hated. It's the reason Gnome 3 was so hated. All have lost user share as a result.

**LEAVE THE USER INTERFACE ALONE**

If you really must, add things to the menus, which established users can ignore or explore at their leisure. But please, DO NOT TAKE THINGS AWAY!

This should be up there with the investment manager's first and second commandments. (Rule 1: Do not lose money. Rule 2: do not forget rule 1)

</rant>

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Slx
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Re: Wrong turns

Removing Save As drives me nuts. I keep accidentally editing documents and realising that I've just modified the original and can't Save As.

Whoever decided to change that really needs to realise that's like deciding to put a car's brake pedals on the ceiling! You can't just change an interface element that's that fundamental without any warning and for no logical reason.

Save As works very well and it's still in use across the majority of applications other than the infuriating Apple ones!

Also Final Cut seems to go out of its way to make saving and loading projects as confusing as possible.

Who in Apple is doing this and why?!? It's basically scoring massive own goals.

Also the endless doing away with ports and that bloody MacPro that has hardly any ports, no expansion and looks like a bin?!!

Did you actually ever ask what pro users want ?

The old Mac Pro cheese grater was an amazingly practical design that did what you'd want to do in a studio or similar space. The new one is like a piece of modern art (and not a very good one)

Why would a studio user need a tiny, pretty machine that's a totally impractical shape?

Basically it's a machine that's unattractive to studios and creative media users and way too expensive for home users.

So who exactly was it for? Or did you even think about that before rolling it out and killing what was one of the most successful studio machines ever built !!

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N2

Re: Wrong turns @ Nigel 11

Quote: **LEAVE THE USER INTERFACE ALONE**

Agree entirely, another example of 'dumbing down' or malicious fiddling is the Airport utility in V 6.3.5 it does not show half the options, the (not very) advanced but useful stuff has just vanished.

Fire up my ancient MacPro with SL running older version of Airport Utility & presto its all available.

perhaps its 'progress'?

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Re: Wrong turns

As others say, it's still there, but 'hidden' - and that's the root of the problem as i see it.

It's not limited to Apple of course, it seems a common trend in all popular user interfaces,

hiding features and flattening things and generally art for arts sake IMHO.

Apple ditched Skeuomorphism apparently because we are all familiar with the devices now, and i guess Skeuomorphism seemed a friendlier way to represent objects on screen and as display tech improved you could see things better (i guess) and, whilst doing so, UI designers dropped the eye candy, the latest Windows UI looked more like a kids interface than ever before, as Microsoft seem to delight in making neat, useable interfaces into big clunky screen wasters (Skype anyone?) the result ? - - a less appealing interface. Steve Jobs for all his faults, said (about OS X) he wanted an interface so pretty (or whatever) you wanted to lick it.. of course exposure to the same interface gets dull and dated after a while, but instead of improving the configurability, UI designers just hide and remove stuff.

Filling an OS with unwanted, CPU sapping, cloud uploading, privacy invading, social media, desktop searches, every OS - (from almost every vendor) becoming more bloated than the last, with ever increasing daemons, synching and such all cataloging all that you do on your device, and less ways to take proper control of your device and switch off or remove these, is making the device theirs, not yours. The farce about the password on the iPhone from San Bernadino and the backdoor to it was likely just that, a farce, played out for us to see, and Apple has now been owned, like Microsoft always was, and Apple is slipping from grace now as their original ethos has been set alight and sold down the river, like we all have, and customers are getting weary, and it's showing.

What worries me, is where to go next ?

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Re: Wrong turns

It's not as if that UI goes with the underlying file system either, HFS+ can't version files. Underneath the hood it ends up copying previous versions into the Library directory and the root directory of the file system. It doesn't work for external disks. It clashes with Time Machine. It's rather bollocks. I turned it off, although it needs two terminal settings, a preferences setting, and a keyboard shortcut modifier to bring back Save As... to the File menu.

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Re: Wrong turns

I am curious...

1) how is your "save as" missing (and my goodness Lion was a long time ago). I have always had "save as' and still do.

2) yeah - I liked Aperture - a sad decision

3) Huh? What mess is that... of course the refresh cycle bites - but other then then its an amazing bit of professional kit (not for games, or general desktop users)

4) WTF? I have a MacBook Pro 13" Mid-2014 - and I can upgrade my SSD just fine (MBPs don't use HDD btw)

5) If you are a true creative professional... then #3 is for you.... But it seems that you have not upgraded in a long long long while... hence why you complain about OS X Lion.

Not trying to flame or otherwise pick a fight.... But just that there were some serious issues with your statements.

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Re: Wrong turns

So many posts about 'save as…'. Actually save should be abandoned altogether. It exposes the user to the memory hierarchy in the computer. That is makes the user think in computer-oriented terms, rather than work-related terms.

When a document is created it should just be there, until you delete it. If you close it, it should be automatically saved. But it should be auto-saved, so that in the event of a crash (which is quite rare on MacOS – I'll use the new name instead of OS X), you won't use much work. The old Save command is for those thinking in terms of 'computer might crash, so I must save', but then they forget anyway and find a whole hour's work gone.

I think most of the complaints are from people thinking in terms of old paradigms.

Why would you want an escape key? What does it do? Very ill-defined. Or is ESC ESChew? Might help break out of prison!

Apple correctly identifies many things to be anachronistic and should be retired in favour of better abstract thinking.

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Re: Wrong turns

You saying people don't want to make a temporary copy of the document they're working on or a new version based on this one? Save As... does that perfectly.

Autosave can unexpectedly change the original version of the document if you make changes and then decide not to save them because they get saved anyway.

Maybe it's an old paradigm or maybe it's expected understood behaviour. But Apple should have implemented the new paradigm better - autosave shouldn't affect the original document unless you actually confirm the changes. There should have been a master switch where you say if you want Save/Save As... without autosave or you just want to work on documents and have autosave. At the moment it almost does it but with enough caveats to make documents keep unexpected changes if you're not careful.

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Re: Wrong turns

That's what duplicate is for. Just get out of the old thinking of RAM vs disk. That is thinking in implementation terms. Users should think in terms of their documents.

I don't think that Apple have the change in paradigm perfect, but it is a step in the right direction - making computers do what people need rather than making people work because that is the way computers work.

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Flame

If only I could make sense of your commentary...

"The iPad continued its downward slide in shipments with 9.95 million units, a 9 per cent drop in revenue. However, sales of higher-cost tablets led to revenues of $4.88bn, a 7 per cent gain on last year."

What are you saying? "a 9 per cent drop in revenue" or "a 7 per cent gain"?

Seems to me you had written the headline and are twisting the numbers to fit.

Let me write it for you:

iPad revenues were up because the ASP of the iPad was up due to the iPad Pro.

iPhone revenues were down because the ASP of the iPhone was down due to the iPhone SE.

MacBook revenues were down because no new releases vs. last years new MacBook Pro.

Since the bulk of the business is still iPhone, therefore total revenues were down.

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Trollface

Re: If only I could make sense of your commentary...

The writers of TFA managed to get the same information in your post across (to those of us with decent reading comprehension) in two sentences. It took you an entire post.

I guess that's why they are writing for El Reg, and you are writing comments.

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Something's gone awry

I move in 'tech savvy' circles (at least that's what the circles think of themselves as). Essentially, people that follow trends on all matter of electronic gadgetry, and have enough disposable income to indulge themselves.

What I am noticing is that there's a shift in perception. Where 2 years ago, no matter what gadget (phone, pad, watch, laptop, router, etc) their goto place was Apple, because of 'their design, user friendliness, reliability and value( (just paraphrasing here) they've now gone decidedly to a 'meh'. In essence, when they need electronics, they are looking at other 'premium brands' first. In the case of watches, phones, pads etc I would go as far as to say Apple isn't even on their radar anymore unless they need some specific functionality that no one else offers (for instance, if they already own a mac or macbook), and even then they first try to find out if they can't make it work for them anyway.

I can't comment on the quality of their recent products, but the Apple brand's luster appears to be dulling for some reason or other I do not know.

If I would have to venture a guess, I would probably say that Jobs was half of the Apple brand. And since he's no longer here...(or there)

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Re: Something's gone awry

".......Apple brand's luster appears to be dulling..."

As an inveterate mistyper myself I'm not moaning about the spelling..

But I think that's a wonderful freudian slip

lustre :- a gentle sheen, soft glow or radiance; see pearls, gold or the like

luster :- The ability to cause desire in others for your latest shiny shiny stuff

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Luster

Brilliantly spotted. I thought it was USA spelling. But while we are at it, maybe

lustre (UK) :- a gentle sheen, soft glow or radiance; see pearls, gold or the like

luster(US):- a gratuitously shiny surface pretending to be other than what it is, like a gold-plated turd.

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Re: Luster

Apologise I must....foreign I am...hmmmm

P.S. In my native language, a luster is a chandelier...talk about shiny !

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Re: Luster

"a gratuitously shiny surface pretending to be other than what it is, like a gold-plated turd."

Shh. No way to talk about the much vaunted forthcomingifever iPhone 7.

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Newsflash: if you stop updating your products, people stop buying them. Everyone in the market for a new Mac is either happy with what they have, or waiting for an update.

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I think they're held back by Intel in the case of the MacBooks.

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I've got a 5 year old 17" Macbook Pro which I will need to replace in the next year or three.

My problem is this: I have fitted a 2TB SSD and 16GB of RAM. The top-of-the-range MBPs have less storage and the same RAM. That's in 5 years.

Also screens are smaller, shinier (don't like reflections); I can't change the SSDs for more space (or remove it if it goes in for repair); they don't have network connections (I know that WiFi is prevalent, but not if security's an issue); they've lost the DVD (useful for watching DVDs whilst on holiday, plus work stuff!)

So what do they have. Thinner machines -- was that a problem? Higher resolution screens are nice.

It's a whole pile of meh. Hence there's no rush to upgrade.

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Unhappy

This is exactly the problem. They've taken well specified machines and removed features like the Ethernet port simply to save 1mm. The person who wants a 15"/17" laptop isn't going to be fussing about which one is 1mm thicker, they'll want plenty of ports. Also not everyone wants to have all their media/files/installs in the cloud so optical drives are still useful. This all means you have expensive machines with a rats nest of adaptors and peripherals hanging off them. If the next iPhone does have its 3.5mm jack removed it'll also need an adaptor to replicate it - all in the quest to save a fraction of 1mm so they clearly haven't learned this lesson yet!

When it comes to things like phones you can argue the toss as to whether saving a mm is worth doing, at the expense of some battery capacity, but on a machine like the MBP people are looking for features and specs. If you want something ultra small+light+thin that can't be upgraded/repaired and no ports get a MacBook Air!

PS - I have a 17" MBP still going strong with 8GB RAM and 1TB SSD. Best laptop I've ever owned.

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They want to lure us into "the cloud". Partly because it's all the rage right now, partly as a hedge against the slowing down of the hardware market. Lock in the existing customers even tighter. Offer more products "as a service", switch to subsrcription models. You may still own your device, but in order to make good use of it, you must use their services on their server farms.

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"They want to lure us into "the cloud". Partly because it's all the rage right now, partly as a hedge against the slowing down of the hardware market. Lock in the existing customers even tighter. Offer more products "as a service", switch to subsrcription models. You may still own your device, but in order to make good use of it, you must use their services on their server farms."

I suspect it's far simpler than that. I think it's more a case of the Silicon Valley ivory tower. Around there, broadband internet is ubiquitous, so they forget it's not across many parts of the rest of the world. I've said before that all SV developers should be dropped into the middle of the Mojave desert on an annual basis to remind them what the "unconnected" world is like. I guess we need to load up the designers too!

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You are lucky, my 17" died and now I have a 15" MBP. It plays nicely with my other stuff but if I had time to learn something new I would have ditched Apple for computers. Now my music is on one external disc, a load of other crap on another disc because 512Gb doesnt cut it and 500 quid to upgrade to a TB that still isnt enough is extortion.

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That's still a lot of money

Yes, Apple confirms what we all knew: it's not immune to the laws of gravity.

People still love their I-Phones but their just not desperate to buy new ones. Given the state of the PC market in general and the fact that Apple have yet to update their notebook line I'd say their sales are holding up incredibly well. Shit, I'm sounding like a fanboi! The bottom line is that the bottom line is still very health. It's just that the growth has stopped. Where are the new products?

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Anonymous Coward

Weird brokeness

All my iPhone owning friends and co-workers have weird broken features.

Siri does not work at all on one phone, going "I'm sorry, I can't do that" or similar error messages, no matter what you ask, or who does the asking.

Another phone just doesn't do secured Wi-Fi. It sees the networks but it can't log in.

Another phone isn't seen by iTunes on any PC or Mac.

Another phone just drops calls after about 50 seconds. You can pretty much time it with a stopwatch... 47... 48... 49... and there goes the call.

Another phone doesn't do calendar. It's blank and any entries you make disappear in an hour.

Another phone doesn't have a working GPS. It never syncs up and finds its location.

Most of the Apple responses are "there's nothing wrong with the phone, you can buy a new one if you want" or crap like "it's water damaged" (no, it's not - the person in question treats her phone like gold)

So all the Apple fanbois are going f--- this.

My Nexus 6P has had no problems.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Weird brokeness

Or how about the built in obsolescence? With older i-devices you have to be careful how far you update the os before you hit the performance limiting update that renders the device almost unusable.

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Re: Weird brokeness

And yet almost all of those problems you claim they have would warrant a replacement at the apple store, apart from the one that is water damaged (ie, if the water sensor has been triggered), which leads me to believe that either they don't exist, your 'friends' are either too lazy to return them, or maybe you live in a nuclear waste dump?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Weird brokeness

"My Nexus 6P has had no problems"

You might be the outlier you know?

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One person's experience

I guess my experience is the opposite, the only problems my iPhone owning friends have are broken screens if they drop them too much. But a lot of the Android owners have problems where batteries only last half the day, a corner of the screen can no longer detect touches, won't make a sound when a text comes in (but it works if you have headphones plugged in) and other weird stuff.

Smartphones are pretty complicated machines, it isn't surprising that things go wrong, but the idea that iPhones are having more problems than Android - when Android has such a wide range of quality from high end to bottom feeders and most rarely if ever get software updates - is laughable to me.

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Re: One person's experience

In my experience the folks that have the most smartphone issues are the ones that fiddle the most with them.

Ask 1000 XDA members and 999 will say they have many many issues with their phones.

Ask 1000 normal people in the street and 999 of them will go "Hmmm no...seems to work okay for me! It's alright I suppose!"

The less you dick around with smartphones the fewer issues and longer battery life you will have.

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Re: One person's experience

"he idea that iPhones are having more problems than Android - when Android has such a wide range of quality from high end to bottom feeders and most rarely if ever get software updates - is laughable to me."

Well, that range is why tbh. And geography, for that matter.

If you're in the US/UK, then more or less anyone who can afford an iPhone goes for an iPhone and the android market tends to be concentrated at the bottom end of the income chain - so you're looking at $50 junk 'droids and comparing them to $650 iPhones. When you're looking at $200 worth of high-end parts versus something drummed up in a factory in China for $8, then naturally the iPhones are gonna look better.

But if you're in Germany, say, where Apple is a bit player in the market, then the high-end phones tend to be Sammy flagships, which have at least equal build quality to iPhones (and usually superior to the presently-available iPhone model at release, in fact, though that's mostly due to release dates). iPhones are rare, and there's not much of the fanboi queue-for-new culture, so they tend to be used for a long while. So usually you're looking at a 3-4 year old phone which is several models out of date. Unsurprisingly, a modrange iPhone from 2012 is not really on par with an S7 in, well, any respect.

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meager?

So we are in a world where a company producing phones only having a revenue of $42bn can be declared, an amount that if it was a country would make it the 88th richest?

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Re: meager?

It's what happens when you see something believed to be a 'god' suddenly bleed a little.

The Man Who Would Be King.

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Slx
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They haven't exactly been releasing new iPhone updates that would make it worthwhile upgrading.

The iPhone 6S+ is basically exactly the same as the iPhone 6+

The iPhone 6SE rather shockingly is there iPhone 5S with new innards.

You have excite the market by rolling out the exact same product over and over with a new go faster stripes and expecting people to Riyadh out and buy it.

They dropped popular professional applications like Aperture and they've really dymbed down Final Cut, Compressor looks like they're not even bothering ; awful UI etc and Motion is being outranked by other products.

Professional design and video was a big chunk of their market and also a huge generator of their brands image as many of the trend setters were using Apple products. They idiotically have been abandoning and annoying those people with these decisions.

Also because Apple keeps behaving so high handedly around apps like Final Cut it's actually putting people off relying on it. There's a sense that abandoned Aperture so, will they just differently drop FCP and expect us to do everything with iMovie? so many of us hedged our bets and moved to other software.

I think Apple has begun to hit that dangerous phase where companies become too "cool" for their own good and start to forget they actually have to sell products not just manage lines of adoring fans at their stores.

I still like many of Apple's products but, I think the complexity needs to wake up and smell the coffee before it's back to the days of being "beleaguered Apple",

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Btw I typed that on Google GBoard!

Wow! Riddled with predictive errors...

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"Wow! Riddled with predictive errors..."

It doesn't say much for your ability to check what you're typing either! Those predictions are only optional suggestions and can be fixed

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Silver badge

Em, yes ... Indeed.

It's a wonderful piece of utterly flawless technology - All hail Alphabet.

It doesn't help that I'm a bit dyslexic and the keyboard makes changes retrospectively based on the context of what it thinks you are trying to put into sentences. So after you've seen the correct word appear, suddenly several words behind where you're focused, it changes things.

The iOS keyboard does something similar but not usually as bad a that.

Anywa, thanks for your most helpful comment. I'll just get my proof reader to go through my posts in future or just nor bother posting here again..

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"I'll just get my proof reader to go through my posts in future or just nor bother posting here again.."

Keep your proof reader, they've done a sterling job on all your previous posts

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Android keyboard

The July update to Android has decimated what had been becoming an excellent predictive keyboard. I believe they once again have tried to make it more Appleish.

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One of the main selling points of Apple products is suppose to be the physical design including the robustness and longevity of the product. There has to come a point when the market is saturated and it looks like Apple have reached in. I wish investors and analysts would grow a functioning synapse and then use it.

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Anonymous Coward

investors and analysts would grow a functioning synapse and then use it

This is forbidden by the Laws of Computation.

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A fool and his money...

iPad? iPhone? A fool and his money are soon parted.

Oops! I just remembered I'm typing this from my iMac.

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Anonymous Coward

Apple hasnt been innovating lately

There's nothing outstanding coming from Cupertino any more (since Steve Jobs passed away, actually). Just meager refreshes of existing products, high end PCs that look like rubbish bins (Mac Pro). Add to that the saturation of their markets (phone, tablets, laptops).

They must produce something groundbreaking, or their revenues will continue to go downwards.

Nobody is keen to spend an arm and a leg only to get kit with a little bit more steam but not much else.

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A few folks I know that run Apple gear...

...all seem to be losing patience. The feel that Apple just doesn't listen to its customers anymore and just wants to pander to the tech luddites that cant handle a choice of more than two ports.

Power users or anyone that knows the difference between USB and HDMI? Apple doesn't want you.

The fact that support from a Apple Store is limited to either "is it a problem with iTunes?" or "have you dropped it?" speaks volumes.

I think Mr Ive needs to go ASAP. He has painted Apple into a corner with his reduce and refine stance. There does come a point where you cannot reduce the interface available between user and computer any further. Ive doesn't understand that. They need some new ideas and new designs.

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