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 …

  1. J. R. Hartley Silver badge

    Hmmm.....

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

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Hmmm.....

      Cracking cheese, Gromit!

  2. Randy Hudson

    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?!

    1. N2 Silver badge

      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.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        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.

      2. Fitz_

        Re: Wrong turns

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

        1. Nigel 11

          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>

          1. N2 Silver badge

            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'?

          2. Dan 55 Silver badge

            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.

      3. Slx

        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 !!

      4. Delbert Grady

        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 ?

      5. Michael 5

        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.

    2. Ian Joyner Bronze badge

      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.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        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.

        1. Ian Joyner Bronze badge

          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.

  3. aaaa
    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.

    1. Swarthy Silver badge
      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.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    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)

    1. kmac499

      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

      1. Nigel 11

        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.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Luster

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

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

        2. macjules Silver badge

          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.

  5. Jim 16

    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.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

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

    2. Wibble

      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.

      1. paulf Silver badge
        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.

        1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

          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.

          1. Vector

            "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!

      2. balrog

        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.

  6. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    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?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    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.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      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.

    2. Alienrat

      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?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Weird brokeness

      "My Nexus 6P has had no problems"

      You might be the outlier you know?

    4. DougS Silver badge

      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.

      1. jason 7

        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.

      2. Naselus

        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.

  8. Alienrat

    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?

    1. jason 7

      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.

  9. Slx

    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",

    1. Slx

      Btw I typed that on Google GBoard!

      Wow! Riddled with predictive errors...

      1. AceRimmer

        "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

        1. Slx

          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..

          1. AceRimmer

            "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

      2. Code For Broke

        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.

  10. James 51 Silver badge

    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.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

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

      This is forbidden by the Laws of Computation.

  11. Croc O'Dial

    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.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  13. jason 7

    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.

    1. TheOtherHobbes

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

      Replacing Cook and Ive won't make any difference, because there is no one like Jobs in the entire industry.

      Jobs was an asshole, but he was a talented asshole. He was the only person with his particular blend of obsessive insight into aesthetics, design, culture, technology, marketing, and opportunity.

      Cook is a talented politician. But he's a mediocre marketer who is trying to turn Apple into the Louis Vuitton of tech. Ives knows how to do pretty, but he's not nearly as good or nearly as original as he's made out to be. He was a good idea mine for Jobs, but Cook doesn't know how to manage him.

      No one at Apple is championing the users any more.

      This won't end well.

      1. Alex Trenchard

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

        >Ives knows how to do pretty

        That's a matter of opinion. Ives knows how to do "flat". Flat represents a significant change in direction to what a lot of people were used to, and is, to put things mildly, divisive. That Ives is not prepared to consider alternatives to his chosen dogma makes him limited as a designer.

      2. Naselus

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

        "Replacing Cook and Ive won't make any difference, because there is no one like Jobs in the entire industry."

        And yet others in the industry have managed to be successful. You don't need to be a carbon-copy of Jobs. You just need to be more than Cook or Ives.

        Cook wouldn't know a decent ideas if he tripped over it, and so his chosen additions to Apple's offerings have been, well, junk. A few of the other commentards have asked where the new products are. There have been new products (Watch, Apple Music etc)... they've just all been utterly underwhelming brand-wank tat. Steve Jobs was very good at spotting someone else's good idea sitting in a niche, ruthlessly copying it, painting it white and then building a mass-market for it (which is exactly what he did with MP3 players, smartphones and tablets). Cook is not capable of identifying these kind of products; he has no eye for when something has no potential (like the Watch - wearables are just a shit idea) and can't tell when he's already missed the mass-market boat (Apple Music). He's pretty good at just endlessly iterating existing Apple products and extracting rents from iTunes, but not much else.

        As for Ive... I honestly don't know quite why people rate him as a great designer tbh. He mostly just makes things into thin rectangles and then declares himself a genius.

  14. damian Kelly

    This happened before. Slowly Apple lost direction and muddied their product line after Steve Jobs left the first time. This time he isnt coming back. No visionary at the helm, just an accountant incapable of original thought or an eye for detail.

    BTW Dont think I like SJ for anything other than his focus. Any person who treat his kid like SJ did is beneath contempt in my book.

    1. telecine

      Yes ... History repeating itself.

      As an Apple user since the II ... Witnessing the catastrophic management based disaster culminating in Gil Amelio < millions of shit variations of the same product and the death spiral to near bankruptcy > till his return and the iMac and all the followed..,. The writing is on the wall..

      1. balrog

        Could you see jobs ever being happy with the stupid female to female charger for the pencil? And no clever clippy thing like the MS surface???

  15. Big_Ted

    A friends upgrade path

    Was happy with the 4S her first smartphone till the 5 came out and bought it for a bigger screen

    Stayed with it then upgraded to a 6 plus.

    because THE SCREENS BIGGER

    No other reason, no other extra built in stuff was a reason.

    Has stated that will stay with the 6 plus till it dies now as can't see anything Apple can do to improve it for non techies.

    She has also changed her ipad 2 to a Samsung, it saved her a fortune and did more than an Apple tablet could.

    I think this is more common than Apple want to think it is and could see them loosing even more market share and overall shares unless they come up with something really game changing.

  16. Slx

    The problem is also that we've arrived at a point where all phone innovations are just incremental.

    Realistically all top end phones have phenomenally good displays, cameras that have excellent resolution, all the new ones supper LTE Advanced (but hardly any mobile operators have it rolled out out in any meaningful way yet). They all have a vast array of sensors etc etc

    The only major change is more powerful processors and packing in more memory. That would really only benefit people who are maybe hardcore mobile gamers but that's not your average punter.

    Apples only major innovation recently has been 3D Touch which is genuinely very useful. I wools find it very hard to move back to a phone that didn't have it on be I became used to it. Things like editing text using a cursor controlled with a full trackpad by just pushing the keyboard harder is really handy and clever.

    Also I genuinely do find they think their hardware out more carefully. I have an iPhone 6S+ and a Nexus 6P and I prefer using the iPhone because it has little things right. The ability to silence the phone with a rocker switch, the 3D Touch etc etc is all great and the phone just feels better put together. The Nexus has major issues with being accidentally powered off by over sensitive buttons and so on. The iPhone doesn't.

    I think Apple has really top notch camera software too which is something severely lacking in stock android.

    The problem though is they aren't going to drive huge sales without producing something that doesn't look exactly like what they produced last year.

  17. prickly & irritable

    The problem with smartphones

    Ever taken a straw pole of users under the age of 25 with iphones, how many have broken screens?

    i'll wait while you count.....

    if apple want to innovate and make the profits go up, make screens that dont break. The next iphone should have a bullet proof screen which can be driven over, dropped from the top of the empire state building - and damage the pavement below....

    now that would see sales go up.

    1. Blank Reg

      Re: The problem with smartphones

      And why is it always iPhones that have the broken screens? About 90% of the phones I see with broken screens are iPhones.

      1. timblackwell

        Re: The problem with smartphones

        From my limited experience, perhaps because iPhones are more likely to survive a broken screen than their android counterparts.

  18. Jason Hindle

    Apple's biggest plus is also its problem

    The basic longevity of the kit it sells is becoming a problem for Apple. My five year old, 13" MacBook Air works absolutely fine. In fact, since Mavericks, it wakes up from sleep faster than it did the day I bought it. I've never had to format and start from scratch. I can't say that about any PC I've owned. My first iPad was the iPad 2. My second? The iPad Air 2. There was simply no need to upgrade in-between.

    That said, Apple has made some crazy decisions. They murdered Aperture (and that hurt). Worse still, they replaced with with photos (hello Adobe :-( and your lovely subscription model). They butchered the OSX UI in El Capitan (no, it doesn't need to be all flat). Come to think of it, OSX has never been quite the same since Snow Leopard. There's the pro level laptop that can't be upgraded. They tried really quite hard to make an enemy of every professional user of Final Cut Pro (some of whom have loud voices). How long did it take them to admit a bigger iPhone might be a good idea? And Apple Music did't exactly "just work" from launch (especially if you were trying to get it to work like multiple accounts, on the family plan - I gave up).

    1. jason 7

      Re: Apple's biggest plus is also its problem

      Yeah works both ways. My 2009 13" Dell laptop with a CULV 1.3GHz CPU which does have 10 Pro installed on it, still works fine too. Its been upgraded some time ago with a 120GB SSD and 6GB of ram. It has a nVidia GPU so it can push pixels which helps. To be honest it should still run fine for another 7 years.

      It still gets 2-3 hours+ from the battery.

      If you look after kit it will look after you. Doesn't matter if its Apple or Dell or Lenovo.

      1. Naselus

        Re: Apple's biggest plus is also its problem

        Yeah... honestly, I don't associate Apple kit with longevity. I mean, it's not like it dies any faster than anyone else's... but it doesn't last any longer either really. Generally, a Thinkpad half the price will have the same specs and the same life expectancy, while an equivalent-priced 'luxury' laptop will generally be better and last longer (and be more upgradable). In regard to phones, the same more or less holds true - a flagship 'droid at the same price as an iPhone is almost inevitably substantially beefier, usually has SD card slots, and will not be obsoleted by software upgrades within 3 years (in fact, 'droids are more likely to be obsoleted by the lack of them :) ).

  19. Nano nano

    ""We believe that iPhone replacement cycle/upgrade rate is like an accordion around new product cycles "

    HOW is it "like an accordion" ??!!

    Keys ? Buttons ? Weight ? Music ? Pneumatic ?

    1. m0rt Silver badge

      accordion - I have a feeling he was dictating using Siri, and it interpreted 'a cordon' as accordion.

      Hilarious.

    2. James 51 Silver badge

      Probably something to do with compression and expansion rather than fiddling with knobs and keys.

    3. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Maybe the iCordion would be a top seller?

  20. Delbert Grady

    Style over content

    Jony Ive been set wild without Steve Jobs to wind him in, Maybe Mr. Ive gets so far up his own ass, spending an inordinate amount of time in the Aple ecosystem, he has become blind to his self indulgances, and apple is becoming just another company.

    In a world recession, (or at least the western world) upper market goods still sell better than you might expect, counter-intuitive as that seems, but the gotcha is that as this high-teir hardware is basically just becoming a throw-away item, as there are few (if any) user replaceable parts inside Apple things nowadays and people are starting to want to hang on to their iDevices a little longer perhaps, and they're discovering all that glitters may not be gold.

    My brother is a long time Apple fanboi, but recently has switched mobile fone to Android..

    he had the latest iPhones up until last year, but he had to stand outside the kitchen door to make phonecalls, and if he moved, the call dropped, now his new Samsung fone works whan he's sat anywhere in his house.. and he doesn't need Apple TV to stream stuff to his smart TV.. win win.

    Plastic keyboards, poor quality design and general cheap plastic crappy PS bought me to Apple computer hardware. I have a couple of 2009 iMacs and similar vintage Macbook / pro 15" and the hardware is very good from that vintage. i can change RAM, battery and HD easily. The hardware was very good, i say was.

    Xmas 2015 i bought a Macbook Pro retina 15", 2012 from business sellars on Ebay.

    the first one had the screen issue, so after a day sent it back, the second had pitted keys on the keyboard and display weirdness, so that went back, so last try, a 2011 Macbook Pro retina 15"

    - this too had display issues, so was sent back.

    Three different Ebay sellers on Ebay UK sending three duff Retina Macbooks out, Yes i did my research before i bought money, but i thought out of three over xmas i might have got one good one, but no, the fiasco that was the early retina MBP bit me three times in a row, I was ready to replace the tricky battery if needed, i can live without DVD drives, and such like, but QUALITY was so low, i would *cheap* chinese laptops to fare better. Wrong.

    Apple care less now, I'm not sure they cared too much in the first place, they're a huge multinational business which almost by definition doesn't give a shit about anyone, even it's customers.

    The video card fiasco in the older Macbook Pro's - the ensuing class action following on,

    with Apple slapping customers in the face after daring to complain about GPU failures after paying top dollar - you can push people away time and time again, but eventually, they'll stop coming..

    1. jason 7

      Re: Style over content

      I had a customer who's son wanted to buy a Macbook (maybe the Air?) about three years ago. It had a 4GB or 8GB option (obviously the 8GB option was exponentially more) but I suggested for longevity and potential resell value going forward to get the 8GB one as it couldn't be upgraded later.

      He got the 4GB version. He now regrets it big time.

      Had he been after a Windows machine I would have told him to get one with 4GB and then slapped in another 4GB and a SSD for half the cost of the 8GB upgrade on the Macbook.

      Ah well.

  21. Ilsa Loving

    Apple is losing it

    Apple is seriously losing it. Their product refreshes lately have been a joke. They've essentially abandoned valuable products (mac mini), and they making lousy design decisions on the stuff they do refresh.

    It looks like Apple may be teetering on the edge of a nosedive like they did a few decades ago... And this time it won't be possible for Steve Jobs to come back and save them from the mess they made.

  22. Mikel

    For all the gloom

    The stock had a nice bump, suggesting performance was better than expected. So at least the corporate privacy shield is still working, or leaks would have evened out the bump. I like to see the strong momentum through the emotional $100/share barrier.

    I'm looking forward to further strong performance in the next two quarters. Back to school is a great time for them on the PC, and of course going into the holidays with a new model iPhone is always a slam dunk. With W10 killing the Wintel PC market, Apple PC should do really well even with Chromebooks taking an ever larger share of Education. Something creative with iPad would be bonus. Of course a totally new product category from Apple is overdue, and their gnomes have been slaving away on some things, but it's impossible to tell when those will hatch. They're ready when they're ready.

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Re: For all the gloom

      Yes, it is funny how the US press mostly wrote positive articles about Apple's results, "not as bad as analysts expected" was about the worst any headlines were, and noted how the stock price soared by almost 7% in after hours trading.

      The Reg, as always, tries to put the worst possible light on Apple and probably makes people who otherwise wouldn't have paid any attention to Apple's results think they're tanking. They've now had two quarters where they reported results that were lower than the same quarter in the previous year. Samsung had over two years of that.

      You have to peak sometime, you can't keep growing forever. Apple peaked pretty damn high, with profits larger than any public company has ever reported. In fact, despite almost certainly doing worse in 2016 than they did in 2015, they'll still report higher profits than any other public company has ever reported. Now unlike the fact you can't grow forever, you CAN shrink forever, until you go under, but just like Samsung, Apple will decline for a while and then rebound.

  23. azaks

    peak Apple?

    The trend continues - no surprises here.

    Much of the world has woken up to the fact that they make nice products, that are over-hyped (and priced) compared to the competition. Consequently the number of people willing to pay a premium or upgrade to a slightly shinier version of what they already have is shrinking.

    This is good news for Apple fans. Now that there is no real differentiation from the competition, they will have to lower their prices to prevent erosion of their large base.

  24. Windows8

    Mobile is starting to show its age...sales are slowing because the excitement is dead. Even a $50 phone can do a lot why pump hard earned money into a new phone each year without any gain?

  25. Robert Sneddon

    Doomed by Jobs

    Apple's doom was sealed (so to speak) by Steve Jobs back in 2008 when he slid the first Macbook Air into an envelope during the Macworld keynote to demonstrate how slim it was. Ever since then new Apple kit (absent the dustbin Pro) has had to be slim and every succeeding generation of tablets, laptops and phones has had to be slimmer than the previous one. That means pro-class laptops that can't be opened for repairs or upgrades, iMacs that are glued together to be pointlessly slim on the desktop and ever-slimmer iPhones which will be losing their headphone jack in the next release because it limits a further reduction in case thickness.

    Slim has had a good run but it's hit the buffers.

    1. Ian Joyner Bronze badge

      Re: Doomed by Jobs

      Apple is not doomed and form factor of casings would not be a cause of that doom anyway.

      The most damage done to Apple is those who just copy their ideas.

      If a unit fails then whole unit should be replaced, since that is cheaper. It is not the hardware but your information that is important to save.

      Thus when someone talks about 'my iPhone', that is a concept that has probably existed on many different pieces of hardware over time.

  26. spannerpog

    No surprise to me. My personal experience consists of poor phone integration with my BMW - Samsung et al are all better - and my daughters constantly complaining about lack of storage space on their phones. Not quite enough to give up on Cupurtino yet, but it's getting close.

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