back to article It's a lot of work, being popular: Apple, Tim Cook and the gilets jaunes

People participating in the so-called gilets jaunes* populist protests in France looted an Apple Store in Bordeaux earlier this month – taking care to snaffle the high-tech bling before trashing the place. It must dismay the iGiant's CEO, Tim Cook, to discover that Cupertino's stores are held in about as much esteem as …

  1. trevorde

    Apple business plan

    Sell less and less, even more expensive devices to fewer and fewer rich people.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Apple business plan

      The trouble is that it's a hard strategy to argue against, whilst it's working financially. It doesn't have to work forever, just long enough for the man responsible to be able to retire with a net positive impact on the company's figures. A total collapse afterwards is somebody else's problem, provided he's sold all his stocks by that time...

      The increasing services revenue ought to be a wake up call. You can't make money from services if no one is buying the phones through which those services are delivered.

      1. Waseem Alkurdi

        Re: Apple business plan

        You said:

        if no one is buying the phones through which those services are delivered.

        And the article says:

        Consider how more relatively useful an old iPhone is today, as I noted last week (this was not an ironic piece: Apple did the right thing by forgetting to include built-in obsolescence), and that's reminding everyone to keep old iPhones longer.

        This leaves Apple with only two methods for shifting new iPhones:

        (a) _God forbid!_ decrease prices

        or

        (b) enforce obsolescence.

        The latter worked and successfully killed off the iPhone 3GS with iOS 6, iPhone 4 with iOS 7, and iPhone 4S/iPad 2 with iOS 8 and 9.

        (And was about to kill iPhones between 6 and 7 with iOS 11.0 but people objecting do actually have a point when they say that it's the battery depletion that mandated such a measure)

        And the author thinks that Apple are NOT forcing obsolescence AND Apple are not dropping prices. One I'd these statements has to be false.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Apple business plan

          My ancient Ipad 2 is chugging along just fine, while being used daily. Okay, it's primitive by today's standards but it works fine for surfing, and my admiration of its durability increases with every year that goes by. I do have a folding cover and a stick-on screen film for it that's as old as it is, but still.

          1. Waseem Alkurdi

            Re: Apple business plan

            My ancient Ipad 2 is chugging along just fine

            Mine too! ^_^

            I have two of them ... But both are in repair for fractured internal screens, then will be sold.

            But that's the point. Apple doesn't want this.

      2. JLV Silver badge

        Re: Apple business plan

        yes and no. high margin low volume is the lifeblood of aspirational luxury brands like Hermes or Louis Vuitton.

        but if you look at cars, most of the luxury brands are parts of consortiums now.

        the difference is that old style luxuries do not require heavy R&D nor benefit greatly from economies of scale.

        Apple can choose to sell exclusively to the 1% (ok, 10-15%) but its fixed R&D costs would then be spread on too few units.

        to be able to innovate they need volume. selling lots of phones cheap in India is however not without branding risks and would not necessarily result in much profit either. even if investors want to hear it.

        i suspect they will have to find ways to deliver better value to midlevel consumers at some point. but that is somewhat complicated by their products’ relatively long lifetime. media-wise they seem expensive and locked-in and, to me, deliver less value than in hardware. apps are good, but bound to hit saturation on existing users

        tough having to justify valuation of $100/human.

    2. N2 Silver badge

      Re: Apple business plan

      And make them impossible to upgrade and hard to fix.

      'Green credentials', so important these days you know.

    3. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Apple business plan

      Too be fair, that is the American business model in a nutshell.

      The holy grail of American business to sell nothing and make everyone pay for it by law.

      People often think I'm joking when I say this. Ignore it at your own peril.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Apple business plan

        > "...sell nothing and make everyone pay for it by law."

        So, carbon taxes then.

  2. Stephen McLaughlin

    Where history repeats itself

    In the early 90's Apple was getting its lunch eaten by Microsoft, specifically on the lower end. So Apple focused on the high-end market but steadily losing market share. By the mid-nineties, the company was a shadow of its former self - down to the point they accepted a financial lifebuoy from Microsoft. I see the same thing happening now with their iPhone strategy.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Where history repeats itself

      "I see the same thing happening now with their iPhone strategy."

      .... except this time I don;t think that Google will suddenly show up at an Apple Launch to announce that they'll guarantee future support for Google Apps on iOS as they know what happened when BillG took pity on the floundering Apple.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Where history repeats itself

        "what happened when BillG took pity on the floundering Apple."

        I thought it more about taking pity on poor Microsoft that was in danger of being bullied by the big bad regulators on account of its being a monopoly.

    2. JLV Silver badge

      Re: Where history repeats itself

      to be fair its fairly shit macOS 8.x didn’t help either. they’d failed, twice, at creating a new one (Taligent and Copland) and by then the poor thing was really showing its age to anyone else than the most uncritical fans or specialized industries.

      i recall a Word resume-printing session with about half a dozen bomb icons in 30 mins.

  3. IceC0ld Bronze badge

    FANBOIS quiet ?

    would usually expect to see a rush of the appleatsi all telling us how good the product is and that the price merely reflects this ...........

    maybe, just maybe, Apple have actually started to price out their biggest supporters ?

    and that isn't going to help, if you have a mediocre range and a sky high price, then every little bit of positive print helps

    ME ? I have an MS phone .............. so what do I know :o)

    due for replacement as of the 19th December, and as MS have decided to ditch all of their clients, I am left looking at Android - price alone sets Apple out of the basket - but I have only ever used windows smart phones, and so will need to re-train myself into a different OS, but at least Mr Cook's market plan means I only have to think about one OS :oP

    1. Charles Calthrop

      I am an ex fanboy

      I used to love Apple, Macs, specifically. Having to work with terrible Dells, with tiny trackpads, crummy software loaded on XP, cheap build quality and just an overall air of 'eh, this will do', it was a pleasure using a Mac instead. The ascthetic of the mac pleased me every time I noticed it.

      Not so much nowadays. I am totally indifferent to them. I am typing this on a MacBook pro, but only because it is closer to hand than my thinkpad. The build quality is excellent, and I don't care about the price anyway, as work pays for them, but my thinkpad is also excellent, and while the touchpad isn't as good, the keyboard is better

      I keep watching youtube videos about how you can use the iPad pro as your main daily driver. But they all focus on editing video. What about software development? I would love to run Apache / Sublime etc on an iPad. I can't see what Apple is doing which will impress developers. Maybe we don't matter anymore?

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: I am an ex fanboy

        Apple need to address some pretty big things with iOS before it can be used for development.

        1. Access to local drives.

        2. Access to local network.

        3. Transfer data between apps in a less clunky way.

        4. Compile and run arbitrary unsigned code.

        In short, Mr. Cook, tear down this wall.

        But it's not going to happen, as it would mean less money from the App Store.

        1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

          Re: I am an ex fanboy

          TBF you can run your own code - on your own machine, but I suspect their later problem (as they see it) is that despite problems with vetting Apple's service, for many (maybe most) people, the even less well regulated world of the Google store is worse.

          Maybe the time has come for an independent auditing organisation that takes a lower percentage and pdes a better jb than Apple - it would not be anti competitive

  4. redpawn Silver badge

    I have one of those SEs

    but I'd love to put on few stone and buy new trousers so my pockets would be big enough for a new iPhone. Bigger is always better and that goes for price too. How is the public to know a phone is good if the price is too low?

    1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

      Re: I have one of those SEs

      Well maybe not put on weight

  5. -tim
    Meh

    Tariff planning?

    I wonder if part of the high price for the newer products was so they could "absorb" the tariff if they did go to 25%. Of course it could just be price gouging or even something else. Apple has made some very odd decisions lately like not allowing removable storage in the mac mini to be removed even though there appears to be pads on the motherboard for connector for an high speed add on board. A simple option would have made the machines much friendlier for companies that have security compliance issues.

  6. Rainer

    India is a race to the bottom

    How much money are all those Android handset makers making in India anyway?

    Even if Huawei is making some money, and Oppo - there'll soon be a new Android OEM that'll build slightly worse handsets for a little less money and Indians will flog to that.

    1. CJ_C

      Re: India is a race to the bottom

      India is a market, a huge one that is getting richer. The top names are not unknown in the UK: Samsung and Xiaomi are top with nearly 50%...

      1. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: India is a race to the bottom

        When you have so many buyers, you don't need a lot of margin for that to be a big thing. When you have such a large market with customers who will show their devices to others, you have a chance to become a brand that is popular across that market. This is how certain areas get a surprising distribution of a specific brand, and the phone manufacturers would not mind at all being that brand across India or some areas therein.

        1. Rainer

          Re: India is a race to the bottom

          Yes - but how much money are they actually making?

          OK, so it may not matter to Huawei, as the Chinese government funds them.

          But still, "making it up with volume sounds a bit too dot-com bubble-familiar".

  7. K Silver badge

    Apple has increased prices across the board to "obscene" levels

    I think they've gone past obscene... even ridiculous obscene, they have now reached ludicrous obscene!

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Apple has increased prices across the board to "obscene" levels

      Plaid. Plaid obscene.

      1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

        Re: Apple has increased prices across the board to "obscene" levels

        Nahh that was the old Cray -

    2. P. Lee Silver badge

      Re: Apple has increased prices across the board to "obscene" levels

      I don't think this is an apple-only issue.

      All that QE (printing money) governments were doing is coming home to roost. I noticed my shampoo manufacturer dropped from one litre to 300ml (2/3rds) and dropped the price by 1/3rd.

      There is/was a problem in the financial markets which governments liked to pretend wouldn't have many consequences. The governments didn't bail out the subprime mortgage companies, we did. And we have to pay for it.

  8. StuntMisanthrope Bronze badge

    Turn on, tune in, drop out. #vote

    That second SIM, the one that make sure that data arrives, fast or not, I would suggest that the default state is on. As let’s be honest the customer service has been shocking recently and expensive. #opendemocracy #seasonsgreetings

  9. veti Silver badge

    Luxury goods

    It's a valid market niche. By taking ever increasing slices from the filthy rich, Apple performs the valuable service of keeping the money in circulation. Somebody has to do it, else we'll all be screwed.

  10. Aseries

    Who cares?

    Not Android users.

    1. Jeffrey Nonken Silver badge

      Re: Who cares?

      Some of us Android users like the fact that there are competing operating systems to prevent total monopoly and stagnation. Two really isn't enough, but at least there are two.

      Though I haven't forgiven Apple for the notch.

  11. ecofeco Silver badge

    $1000 phones?

    What could go wrong?

  12. Danny 2 Silver badge

    McDonald's at least can claim to be feeding the poor

    Qu'ils mangent de la burger royale.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019