back to article You can blame laziness as much as greed for Apple's New Year shock

Apple "has never been stronger financially, but is plainly already living on past glories," The Telegraph's Jeremy Warner wrote in 2013. Before Steve Jobs returned to Apple, he explained how greed had killed the company he co-founded. Apple "got very greedy and instead of following the original trajectory and original vision …

  1. JimmyPage Silver badge
    Megaphone

    It really is as simple as

    everyone who needs one has one. Even Apple. And if the best you can do in 5 years is shave another hairsbreadth off the thickness, mess around with a "notch" (now there's an artificial "debate" if ever there were one) and remove the headphone socket, I'd expect a 2018 iPhone to be cheaper than a 2013 one.

    On a related note, and I don't know (and care slightly less) where the blame lies, but the fact that a significant UK government service cannot be delivered via the iPhone (thus excluding quite a few high net worth types and requiring them to buy Android) is also something I can't see the late Jobs being overly impressed with. There's a fine line between mysterious and inscrutable and downright arrogance .....

    1. Steve K Silver badge

      Re: It really is as simple as

      a significant UK government service

      Didn't know that - which one?

      1. DaLo

        Re: It really is as simple as

        Apple heavily restrict the NFC to use primarily for Apple Pay.

        Therefore it can't be used for passport verification, unlike android where the NFC can be used for anything the developer wishes to use it for in both secured and unsecured mode.

        https://appleinsider.com/articles/18/11/01/uk-blames-apple-for-issues-with-ios-brexit-app-over-lack-of-iphone-nfc-access

        1. big_D Silver badge

          Re: It really is as simple as

          And in Germany, most banks have NFC payment through their Android apps. On the other hand, Apple only launched ApplePay in December 2018, in Germany, and only has support for credit cards from 3 German banks (Deutsche Bank, Hypoverein and Hanseatic) and some foreign credit card, "popular" banks, like Sparkasse, Volksbank/Raiffeisen Bank, Sparda, ING etc. are not supported.

          Also, with the banking app for my bank, I can chose whether to use the debit card or the credit card.

          Given that, according to official figures, there are 38 million* credit cards in Germany and a population of 83 million, it is obvious that debit card support is essential - not every establishment accepts credit cards, because not many people have credit cards. Germans still, generally, prefer to pay cash or, if it has to be plastic, debit card. They feel they have better control of their finances that way.

          That leaves Apple out on a limb, only a very small fraction of their users (15% market share) will be able to access ApplePay.

          Given that a credit card in Germany is just a "delayed-action" debit card (the full balance is automatically paid off at the end of the month, anything not covered by your current account goes on your overdraught), most people don't see any advantage to having a credit card, unless they travel a lot or purchase a lot online - although invoices and "Vorkasse" (payment before dispatch) are still among the most popular payment methods, AFAIK, and CoD is also increasing in popularity, with DHL, for example, accepting payment when they deliver the goods.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            "Given that a credit card in Germany is just a "delayed-action" debit card"

            Most credit cards can work both way - it is what you stipulate with your bank about the reimbursement that makes it work one way or the other.

            I guess most people in continental EU use credit cards that way, unlike US people who look happy to be strangled by debts to buy things they can't afford instead of fighting for better wages - but German unions are probably the bogeyman of most US executives.

            The option to pay with a little delay without fees can be useful.

            Anyway I feel I have a far better control of my finances paying with cards - as I have a full list of what I did and how much I've spent. The downside is banks & C. can track you unless the law forbids it...

            1. big_D Silver badge

              Re: "Given that a credit card in Germany is just a "delayed-action" debit card"

              Over here, it isn't a choice, it is the way it works... You can't decide that you won't pay off the full balance at the end of the month, if you have a credit card, you agree to pay off the full balance - which is also why the credit limit is usually lower than your average salary.

              I have a UK card which has a higher limit and I only have to pay off 5UKP or 5%, whichever is more. That said, apart from a couple of times where the statement was delayed, I haven't not paid off the full balance.

              1. Phil Kingston Silver badge

                Re: "Given that a credit card in Germany is just a "delayed-action" debit card"

                Does that make them a "charge card" like AMEX?

              2. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge

                Re: "Given that a credit card in Germany is just a "delayed-action" debit card"

                You can't decide that you won't pay off the full balance at the end of the month we call that "charge card" over here, one example is American Express. The card issuer profit is obviously not from the interest but from the annual fee paid by the client.

                1. big_D Silver badge

                  Re: "Given that a credit card in Germany is just a "delayed-action" debit card"

                  It is similar in function to a charge card, but they are Visa and Mastercard.

                2. Persona

                  Re: "Given that a credit card in Germany is just a "delayed-action" debit card"

                  The card issuer makes most profit from transaction charges. Amex charges retailers about 3% of each sale.

            2. Wellyboot Silver badge

              Re: "Given that a credit card in Germany is just a "delayed-action" debit card"

              >>> German unions are probably the bogeyman of most US executives. <<<

              Compared to a French union 'negotiator' the German unions are helpful.

            3. slewbots

              Re: "Given that a credit card in Germany is just a "delayed-action" debit card"

              Yet the German economy is to some significant extent also dependent on overseas consumer credits to afford it’s exports? Or would Germany would not be affected by the reverberation back to the homeland if overseas markets didn’t have credit to tap into?

          2. JohnFen Silver badge

            Re: It really is as simple as

            "Germans still, generally, prefer to pay cash or, if it has to be plastic, debit card. They feel they have better control of their finances that way."

            And this American agrees with them. I got rid of my credit cards years ago, in favor of cash and debit cards (but mostly cash), and it was one of the better decisions I've made.

        2. Steve K Silver badge

          Re: It really is as simple as

          Thanks DaLo!

          No idea why I got downvoted.....

        3. ratfox Silver badge
          Coffee/keyboard

          Re: It really is as simple as

          It's hilarious to read the comments on the appleinsider article, from the people complaining that allowing Android phones to scan the NFC chip of your passport is a terrible security hole that will inevitably cause mass privacy leaks, to those saying "they should have used a QR code instead".

      2. JimmyPage Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: Didn't know that - which one?

        It's the apply for residence for EU nationals "app"

        ..

        https://inews.co.uk/news/brexit/app-eu-nationals-settled-status-brexit-apple-android/

        1. iron Silver badge

          Re: Didn't know that - which one?

          Is that really 'a significant UK government service' that affects a large number of iPhone users?

          Sounds like a minor service to me.

          1. nematoad Silver badge

            Re: Didn't know that - which one?

            "Sounds like a minor service to me."

            That depends if you are a EU citizen or not. Just because it doesn't affect you doesn't mean that it is not important.

            Or is it a case of "I'm all right Jack"?

            1. Graham 32

              Re: Didn't know that - which one?

              But it's not a service you keep using every day like a chat app. It'll be something more akin to doing an online tax return - not something that drives your phone buying decision.

            2. Teiwaz Silver badge

              Re: Didn't know that - which one?

              Or is it a case of "I'm all right Jack"?

              Isn't that the Brexit attitude?

              The Winds of the future blowing back, showing how it's going to be. UK thoughtlessly bundling government services on a platform tied to one provider alone.

              Provided the service or the manual paper based alternative actually work in the first place or the information doesn't get sold/left on a bus or dumped several months before it's critically needed to identify you as not an illegal alien...

            3. Mr Benny

              Re: Didn't know that - which one?

              If it doesnt concern UK nationals then by definition its not an important UK government service. EU nationals chose to come here, no one forced them and theyve had plenty of notice about this so boo hoo if the app doesnt work on their overpriced bling phone.

              1. alexmcm

                Re: Didn't know that - which one?

                According to the article it affects 3.5 million residents of the UK. Whether they are UK nationals or not, I'd still say it is an important government service.

                1. Mr Benny
                  FAIL

                  Re: Didn't know that - which one?

                  No it isn't. By definition a governments first duties are to its own citizens, not foreign nationals who've rocked up here.

                  1. W.S.Gosset Bronze badge
                    Alert

                    Re: Didn't know that - which one?

                    > No it isn't. By definition a governments first duties are to its own citizens, not foreign nationals

                    Actually the in-process UN Migration Policy change says exactly the opposite.

                    The "Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration".

                    Almost but not quite global law now: only 29 of the 194 countries had pushed back against it, last time I looked.

                    To be clear: that policy requires that national governments' first duty is NOT to citizens but rather to anyone who wants to come into the country.

                    Regardless of national rules re immigration. Regardless of current situation or current citizens. And regardless of whether they've actually physically got into the country yet.

                    Were you Brits not aware of that?

                    1. Mr Benny

                      Re: Didn't know that - which one?

                      "To be clear: that policy requires that national governments' first duty is NOT to citizens but rather to anyone who wants to come into the country."

                      Utter drivel. Apart from it not legally binding it says nothing about taking priority over native citizens.

                      "Were you Brits not aware of that?"

                      No, because you just made it up.

                      1. W.S.Gosset Bronze badge

                        Re: Didn't know that - which one?

                        Suggest you take a more careful look.

                  2. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

                    Re: Didn't know that - which one?

                    Which definition would that be? There is nothing inherent in the concept of government that makes one group of people habe priority ovet another . History is full of governments that ignored entire sections of the populace, even (or especially) if they were native.

                    I'll leave the bollocks about citizens only being those people born within an arbitrary line fo someone else to pick up on.

                  3. Aspie73

                    Re: Didn't know that - which one?

                    Really? My partner is French. She's lived and worked here for 28 years. She's paid tax for 28 years. Does that not give her a right in your eyes when she's contributed more to the country than your average dole scrounger?

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Didn't know that - which one?

            Well it is certainly a 'significant' service, that is not a very high bar. However the implications are that users who have only access to an Apple device will need to manually get their passport verified by posting it in to the immigration service.

            Therefore the decision will take longer, there is a risk of the passport being lost/stolen, and there is a 'significant' amount of more manual work which will need to be done requiring resources and money.

            It also means that simple and easy to use applications like this may not be done in the future due to the reluctance of having no Apple support. I know that the 2 years behind supporting modern web technologies from Apple's side on the iPhone has scuppered some interesting projects that we wanted to roll out.

        2. Steve K Silver badge

          Re: Didn't know that - which one?

          Thanks!

      3. Roj Blake Silver badge

        Re: It really is as simple as

        I think it's the application for EU nationals to stay in the UK after Brexit.

  2. djstardust

    Hmmmm

    Raise price of new handset every year for incrementally the same tech.

    Try selling a "cheap" version for £749 which has the same spec as a £250 Android handset

    Remove headphone jack

    Charge an absolute fortune for accessories and cases

    Change connector every couple of years to force accessory upgrades and therefore licensing fees

    Make a "Pro" laptop with midrange specs and no upgrade path (not even the SSD) and charge far more than Windows machines

    Around 2009 I bought in to the Apple system and quickly realised I was getting screwed.

    We still have our 2009 Mac Pro tower running Windows 7 Ultimate on a Samsung SSD. It's a beast of a machine from the Apple of old. Those days are long gone.

    1. commonsense

      Re: Hmmmm

      For the purposes of balance:

      "Try selling a "cheap" version for £749 which has the same spec as a £250 Android handset"

      Sort of. It's got a nice chip in it and some clever software, but yes, by and large it's nothing special. Not £749 special anyway.

      "Charge an absolute fortune for accessories and cases"

      So do Samsung and any other major player. There are third party cases, and Apple haven't (yet) found a way of putting a chip in a case to make it not fit the phone.

      "Make a "Pro" laptop with midrange specs and no upgrade path (not even the SSD) and charge far more than Windows machines"

      Yes. But then a Surface Book 2 with the same specs and upgrade limitations costs the same. It's not just Apple at it.

      "Around 2009 I bought in to the Apple system and quickly realised I was getting screwed.

      We still have our 2009 Mac Pro tower running Windows 7 Ultimate on a Samsung SSD. It's a beast of a machine from the Apple of old. Those days are long gone."

      You bought an Apple Mac Pro in 2009, it's still running strong 10 years later, but somehow you were getting screwed? Not sure that computes.

      1. W.S.Gosset Bronze badge

        Re: Hmmmm

        > "Around 2009 I bought in to the Apple system and quickly realised I was getting screwed.

        We still have our 2009 Mac Pro tower running Windows 7 Ultimate on a Samsung SSD. It's a beast of a machine from the Apple of old. Those days are long gone."

        You bought an Apple Mac Pro in 2009, it's still running strong 10 years later, but somehow you were getting screwed? Not sure that computes.

        Please observe his final sentence in the bit you actually quoted.

        Please note I was a Mac convert shortly after my first introduction in '88 or '89, and can confirm that Apple (the company) 's dedication to frikkin around with hardware to stuff up its users was well in place by the time of the Mac Plus. Go look up what the "SE" means in Mac SE, then look at what that implied for the hardware. Gassée has a LOT to answer for. Or look at the take-aparts for some of the quadras. Or the powerbooks. Or the deliberate soldering-in of components to prevent upgrade. Or the deliberate removal of components/interfaces to force upgrade. Or... etc. etc.etc.

        For some sad reason, that particular ultra-toxic internal meme of Gassée's has sustained itself (well, he literally sacked everyone who wasn't gung-ho for it, so the remainder were then the next senior mgrs to hire people, etc, so... ), and Apple hardware retains even today, 30yrs later, the same dedication to A/ building solid kit, which B/ is a massive pain in the arse 12mths later when Apple does yet another pivot on shinymeme-du-jour.

        To put it another way: any given Apple machine is well built and will continue to give good service. But ONLY so long as you take on serious that-machine-specific knowledge and effort to keep it running as software/hardware moves on. From keeping banks of spare hardware adapters, to remembering just WHICH particular flavour of low-level hardware instructions a new piece of kit must be compatible with, to keeping special software drivers, to maintaining multiple libraries and installations of old software in order to keep running it, etc.etc.etc.

        Do NOT get me started on firewire. Or Mac OS. Hell's bells, Apple threw away Macintosh and replaced it with just-another-application-server, aping windows (as did unix/linux): Mac OS X. Worse, with MacWinX 10.3.8 Apple deliberately and permanently discarded what had been a core and key benefit of Mac: continuing app compatibility. And then with a massive giggling headrush as the hysteria kicked in, started wiping backwards compatibility every version or less (there are 3 different stages/isolationlevels of app compatibility just within 10.3). I think it was MacOSX 10.6 where I finally spat the dummy, having had to crack the OS (just another *nix) for the London Mac User Group and the Oxford University Mac User Group to restore everyone's home NAS's, because Apple had created a custom intra-machine firewall to exclude NASs with less than military-grade encryption because it thought that was cool. Regardless of their users' actual external security, and of the fact that if anyone took the easier option of just hacking the (now vulnerable *nix) mac they'd get the pre-authenticated drive for free. Everything post 10.3 had been going backwards in terms of user functionality anyway, and 10.3 was only a pale shadow of Mac OS 8.6, and the trend has only continued linearly down since then, so no real loss. Though I mourn the mouse drivers.

        "Amusingly", Microsoft a few years before had finally decided to ape Mac's back-compatibility. The NT kernel's API remains stable nearly 20yrs later and I can still install and run 20yo software on Win 10. Apple and MS basically swapped positions on that front.

        1. W.S.Gosset Bronze badge

          Re: Hmmmm

          > I think it was MacOSX 10.6 where I finally spat the dummy,.... Everything post 10.3 had been going backwards in terms of user functionality anyway

          By then I'd noticed that Win XP was Mac OS X 10.3 with some of the holes filled in and some nice things added for users. MacOS was dead, Mac OS X was in deathdive, but I could still use the best of the remainder of Mac, plus a bit better.

          "Hunh!" I said. "Could be worse."

          Then Windows 7 came out and I was right.

          .

          .

          (8 & 10 confirming the above observation that MS was aping Apple's approach again: steady anti-user decline)

        2. Mr Benny

          Re: Hmmmm

          "10.3 was only a pale shadow of Mac OS 8.6"

          Yes , that System 8 co-operative multi-tasking, non existent command line and propensity to crash is sorely missed. Just because you're pissed that you can't still run 68K apps doesn't mean Mac should still be running some prehistoric OS.

        3. gigabitethernet

          Re: Hmmmm

          Lol so what? I have a dell from 2007 running Windows 10. The lengths people will go to to defend Apple.

    2. Halfmad

      Re: Hmmmm

      Headphone jack is why I haven't upgraded.I don't want to have to use adaptors and I have a set of headphones I've used for almost 20 years that I LIKE and don't see why I should ditch them as they are super comfy.

      I don't really have any brand loyalty, if a product is good and I like it then I stick with it until it breaks or is obsolete - My iPhone SE is a couple of years old now but it's fine for what I need it for and I see no point in changing it, but if I did the replacement would have to have a headphone jack!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hmmmm

        Same, absolutely.

  3. the hawk

    Seem disingenuous to compare prices in a non-native currency for the product. Not only that, but to pick the years when the exchange rate resulted in the lowest (2014, Pound worth $1.60+) and highest (2016, Pound worth only $1.30ish) prices by direct conversion. Whether or not you’ve got a point, those numbers are deliberately misleading in the context of the article.

    1. DavCrav Silver badge

      "Seem disingenuous to compare prices in a non-native currency for the product."

      So why did you? The iPhone is assembled in China, so you should look at yuan-to-pound exchange rates. 2/1/2014: exchange rate 9.4. 4/1/2016, exchange rate 9.6.

      At any rate, if you live in the UK you are paying in pounds. And you don't care what the exchange rate with the dollar is, because you are (almost always) being paid in pounds. The fact is, the iPhone costs twice as much now as it did, and that isn't true for other companies' offerings. The laptop I bought last year isn't twice the price for a similar specification as a few years before.

      1. the hawk

        I don’t disagree with you - but it still doesn’t support his argument. If it were about Apple in Britain specifically, sure; but to use UK prices for a company that cares about profits in USD, as evidence of their systemic wrong-thinking is laughable.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      These high-margin products are mostly priced to maximize profits in a given country taking into account what customers are willingly to spend (and their spending capability), how much other items are priced, taxes, etc.

      Sure, when currency fluctuations start to impact profits they could correct the prices, usually only in one direction - higher, and rarely they came down when currency fluctuations go the other way.

      1. Rainer

        No. They are priced in USD.

        IIRC, if you convert the UKP prices back to USD (and subtract the tax), you're more or less at the US-level.

        Same here in Switzerland.

        This was not the case in the past, where you could actually save some money by doing your own US import - this is now pointless.

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          People keep going on about the price of the sim free unit bought outright, when in fact most people are getting a deal bundle with minutes, text and data included and paying some low initial price and monthlies.

          It's that monthly that buyers look at.

          1. overunder

            "It's that monthly that buyers look at."

            Yes but, while the initial cost of Apple hardware is factored in, it's also factored out when the carrier bundles it. At that point the argument jumps to carriers rather than Apple. If you state that carries nearly randomly make up a price for the hardware higher than they paid... sure. The correlation between buying hardware outright vs contract is measured in how much more you generally pay with the contract (which a lot of people don't understand), which again, isn't an Apple debate.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Apple are stuck.

    The high price fools idiots that their tat is premium. If they lower the price, the idiots won't buy, and if they don't lower the price, the rest of the world outside of the US won't buy.

    1. overunder

      Re: Apple are stuck.

      They're not stuck by the image of prestige, but by the fact they don't know how to make less "prestigous" products. The reason for that this article nails... greed. Apple isn't stuck, they're greedy.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Apple are stuck.

        Apple gear does genuinely merit a bit of a premium (my Mac laptop is currently in for repair (I accidentally damaged the screen), and so I'm using my slightly older fairly generic Linux laptop instead just now. Admittedly, it's a low/middling spec laptop so is not directly comparable, but it is coming as a bit of a shock to me to remind myself again how the keyboard isn't quite as good, the screen doesn't have as wide viewing angles, how it feels less sturdy than a metal cased laptop, etc).

        But having said that, there is paying a bit extra and it being worthwhile, and then Apple completely taking the piss on RAM and storage upgrade prices, etc, which bear absolutely no relation to the cost of these components (sure, add 10% on top, few would complain, but double, triple, quadruple levels of profiteering, it really is insulting!).

        I think Apple have now found just how much the market will bear, and it has come back to bite them. I sincerely hope they learn from this and that we soon se their pricing strategy drop from "ludicrous" to just "pricey", or even better, "reasonable but not exorbitant premium" (and a bigger market share to boot!).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Apple are stuck.

      Their products ARE premium, and their software particularly so. The problem is that generally to be competitive and keep a reasonable market share you have to be technically better and the SAME (or only slightly higher) price. Apple have disappeared up their own backsides with price and they are now starting to suffer the consequences in sales volumes. All is not lost though, as long as they change course quickly enough in terms of price, and besides that start INNOVATING again. They should be totally ashamed at how they have allowed Amazon and Google to totally eat their lunch in the smart speaker space, and everything else that will come from that.

  5. Jove Bronze badge

    National Champions ...

    IIRC Apple became a casualty, or rather a primary target, of a directive in China some years ago to support national champions in Telcoms and Devices over foreign owned businesses. This however was before the own-goal of excessive mark-ups on Apple products.

  6. tiggity Silver badge

    Never mind China

    Too expensive for the majority of us in UK

    Only major selling point of iPhone (beyond whatever "wealth flaunt" / fashionable status aspect there may be) is easy integration with rest of Apple ecosystem e.g. the little things such as photo taken on iPhone is seconds later accessible via iPad, iMac etc. I know a few (very much non techie) people who are wedded to Apple products due to the ease of use / integration without them needing any tech skills to achieve it.

    .. But, for anyone not using other Apple products, I'm really struggling to see any reason to buy at that price.

    1. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Never mind China

      My wife got a hand-me-down iPhone 3GS a few years back. When it finally became unusably slow, she wanted it replaced. We looked at the new iPhones at the time (5S or 6, I think) and she refused point blank. She was willing to pay out 250€ at most. She couldn't see the point of paying "silly money" for something that is only going to last a few years - the 250€ was still "silly money", until I convinced her that the sub 100€ phones at the time would cost more over the long-run, due to more frequent replacement.

      1. ThomH Silver badge

        Re: Never mind China

        Similarly, re: Apple's failure to expand beyond the phone, I've been an avowed Mac user since 2004 and an iPhone user since 2008 but when it came to replacing my activity tracker a year or so ago I looked at the Apple Watch and concluded: too expensive for the likely lifespan, allowing for OS updates and battery degradation. Especially the latter if it lasts only a day at first purchase.

        So, an ordinary appliance-esque Garmin it was.

        For as long as it is usable as a development machine, I'll never give up my Mac; I'm definitely keeping my current iPhone 6s until its bitter end, but then we'll see. I mean, it'll probably be another iPhone but I've effectively cut the usual price of an iPhone for myself by just spreading it out over a much longer period of time. And I don't think any other Apple products are currently for me, even where the company is trying to get itself into new categories.

    2. iron Silver badge

      Re: Never mind China

      Any phone taken on my S8+ is available seconds later on my Win 10 desktop, Win 10 tablet, Win 7 media centre, old Android tablet, my old S6 Edge and on the web. So what is the point of paying extra for Apple again?

      1. Roger B

        Re: Never mind China

        Any photo taken on my Lumia 625 is also available on my Windows 10 laptop/PC/tablet and Xbox One, obviously I see the irony of talking about another eco system, but still, I believe there is a Onedrive app for Android and iOS which will chuck your photos straight into the cloud for access anywhere, once its set up, you never have to worry about it again, and I think OneDrive offers larger "Free" cloud storage than Apple.

      2. Andre Carneiro

        Re: Never mind China

        You are right but my one misgiving is that you’re relying on an notorious data slurper to run those services (I’m assuming you use Google products but am happy to be corrected) and whilst I agree on most of the above comments about the extortionate pricing, I still see Apple as pretty much the only large tech company willing to fight for your privacy. I avoid Google like the plague.

        That has value to me and makes their products contenders and difficult to compare side by side to other manufacturers, but it is of course a value that varies from person to person and is difficult to put a price to.

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: Never mind China

          It's nothing to do with wealth flaunt, when every kid on the way to school and every man woman and their dog is carrying an iPhone anyway, and it's in a case so you'd have to look closely at the screen when it's working to see if it's apple.

          People love to chuck that wealth flaunt thing around, I guess it helps them feel a bit better about something.

          1. doublelayer Silver badge

            Re: Never mind China

            The utility of icloud's approach for the non-technical user is the ease with which the thing sets up and works. It does the "sane and useful defaults" thing. For readers here, the sane defaults thing is usually not what we want because we want settings set to exactly our preferences. A person without that skill or who cares less about that may appreciate that apple has built it so it will work from the get go.

            Recently, a family member wanted to view some pictures that they had taken on their phone, so they called me up to ask how to get them on their computer. They were happy with the answer that, because this was an apple computer and icloud was enabled, that they were already there and they just had to launch the photo application to view them. For me, this is actually a downside because I don't need my photos auto-uploaded. For them, it let them do something that would have been more difficult. That is one benefit of apple's approach. It's not for everyone, but it provides real benefits for some.

    3. cambsukguy

      I find iPhones exactly the opposite of 'play well'. They may do so with their ecosystem but try taking a photo and sharing it with nearby phones users in all its 20MP glory.

      "Just WhatsApp it to me", nope, quality is shit. FB, quality is shit. email? - I don't wanna give you an email just so you can save a 5MB file on the email system forever.

      "Well, obviously, the answer is simple - Bluetooth it via NFC preferably. No Pairing, No fuss". Oh, right, you can't do that with an iPhone can you?

      I pass 10 photos directly (when required 'right now' because the person wants it now or we don't wanna email OneDrive links etc.) just by NFC/BT sharing.

      I am not gonna pay loads more money to lose the facility.

      That's besides the rip-off prices, dubious robustness, lack of OLED screens (until recently), UX I despise (Jesus Christ, if you pop up a MODAL dialog that says the battery is flat, a la Windows 3!, at least REMOVE it automatically when I actually plug the thing in).

      And, as for the notch, well, 'nuff said I think.

      1. Tom 38 Silver badge

        I find iPhones exactly the opposite of 'play well'. They may do so with their ecosystem but try taking a photo and sharing it with nearby phones users in all its 20MP glory.

        You mean "sharing it with nearby non iPhone users". Otherwise you'd just use either Wireless Beaming or AirDrop. As the only android user in my extended family, the benefits they get are quite clear (but then again, so is the cost).

        1. cambsukguy

          Indeed, and, as iPhones become less and less ubiquitous, it will be more and more difficult to share using iPhone-specific mechanisms.

          I still see quite a few iPhones (I think the UK is more USA-like in this respect compared to Europe). However, they are hardly the default, de-facto or otherwise.

          I hardly see them at all in my regular trips to Spain for instance.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Never mind China

      For me, it’s not that it’s “too expensive” as in I can’t afford one, they just aren't good value. There’s no new killer feature that I can say would change my mind at the moment. As for Apple Pay, I don’t see why it’s so hard to just carry a debit / credit card? Having stood waiting for some dickhead in front of me last week trying to pay with his Apple Watch that wouldn’t sync back to his phone it’s a solution looking for a problem that doesn’t exist which just leads to higher prices due to an unnecessary middleman creaming off a cut.

  7. Lordbrummie

    The approach Apple had with it's ecosystem was brilliant, effectively single sign in access across all devices for all services, ease of use, the parental controls etc showed that they were thinking in an innovative holistic way.

    Now it seems to be a simple "how much can we get out of our customers" without an innovation. We were a full apple house, 4 iphones, 4 ipads, apple TV, Apple Mac and 2 Airs, now that's a lot of kit, but the ecosystem from itunes and appstore was a constant stream of income they didn't have to do anything for.

    Now with the prices they are charging, we as a family are out of Apple. Just have the phones left and 1 iMac, my son has made it plain when the iMac dies he would prefer a windows laptop and as soon as the phones start to die we'll be on android.

    How can a company that had done so well hooking it's target customers in be so arrogant, they basically priced us out of their services, what's more they do not seem bothered. Once these customers leave they will never come back...

    How the mighty have fallen.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      My 2014 iMac is still chugging along nicely but looking at current prices I don't think I'll ever be able to replace it.

      Like you, that will be another household converting out of the apple sphere of influence.

      1. sebbb

        Same here, in my family my first computer was a Macintosh Performa (oh that ugly, hideous beige box with the robotic floppy). Now I have a MacBook Pro from 2012 that still rocks, but for the price I paid that year now I can't even imagine having discrete graphics, compared to the Nvidia I have now.

        Reason being I probably won't get a new Apple and/or stick with the current one until it really falls apart.

        Plus I have my work laptop (a Dell XPS) where I can basically do everything else.

    2. Marcus Fil

      Who is doing the active listening at Apple?

      The rot set in when Apple started backing out of computers because of the easy financial fix of iPod and, latterly, iPhone. The steady emphasis on dumbing down and closing off the MacBook Pro line until it is some effete object d'art, not fit for professional use, is symptomatic of a company that does not understand its user base. If the current MBP had a 4K screen and appropriate ports it might be worth the ticket price - it doesn't - it costs about 3x what it is worth - and only idiots are buying. Heavy duty users are either ekeing out MBPs from better days or working on their migration to Windows or Linux. The crisicism is there from hardline users and many quarters of the less sycophantic press, but is Apple listening? Apparently not - so let us hope some of the share holders turn up with pitch forks and baseball bats and get the ship turned around while it is still afloat. JMVAO

    3. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
      Childcatcher

      How the mighty have fallen

      Cook has been a very exacting beancounter CEO, but in the long term Apple needs a diverse range of products and services – and that's a diversity that's missing right now. It isn't clear if a beancounter can deliver that.

      No. It didn't work last time. It won't work next time. It seldom works anywhere with a competitive market that requires innovation to keep from going under. Even when it "works", it is often hard to tell from the outside the difference between long term profitability and short term financial maneuvering, much as the article alluded. A good CFO has a different skill set than a good CEO and the two should not be confused.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: How the mighty have fallen

        A good CFO has a different skill set than a good CEO and the two should not be confused.

        That's true, but Cook was an operations & supply chain guy, not a CFO.

    4. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      The approach Apple had with it's ecosystem was brilliant,

      I never bought it. I've been using MacBooks for over 10 years but have never had an I-Phone. I squirmed a bit when I bought the most recent MacBook because RAM and SSD are so expensive but it's for work and I'm definitely more productive on MacOS than I would be on either Windows or unix. But the phone: a glorified media player and sat nav with chat functionality.

      Still I think the doom and gloom about Apple is being overdone. $ 37 bn per quarter from phones is astonishing whichever way you look at it. Even if they sack St Jony and Timbo (they won't), they can afford to adjust the portfolio to include something along the lines of the 7 at the lower end. They can also push harder for their continuum vision and look at doing something like the Gemini, call it the I-Newton or whatever, and put the fear of God into Microsoft and Google. Competition is good.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I’m genuinely interested to know what makes you more productive working on a MacBook?

    5. Tim99 Silver badge
      Gimp

      The ecosystem thing was/is important. The easy transfer between iPad, iPhone and computer was/is important in smaller businesses that use iPhones. The whole “it just works” thing was nearly true (in my experience, certainly compared with Windows8/10). A sign that they took their eyes of the ball was the decision to drop the Airport/Airport Express - They were expensive compared to an entry level Belkin, but if you had an iPhone and an internet connection they were working within a couple of minutes, and they kept working - Their networks were very extendable, and capable of relatively high-end and sophisticated use by a knowledgeable installer. The prices almost look reasonable compared to later generations of mesh WiFi networking.

  8. chivo243 Silver badge
    Mushroom

    like moths to the fire

    profit profit profit profit profit, where's the profit, ouch, we got burned! profit profit profit profit profit, ouch, we got burned!

    It's a shame that Apple isn't putting effort into both gadgets and computers. The gadgets offer nothing new, and the computers are only special because of macOS. The hardware inside isn't even current...

  9. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
    FAIL

    Replay

    I agree we are just seeing a replay of what happened the last time Jobs left Apple. Took about a dozen years of his absence to bring Apple to the verge of bankruptcy. Only this time, Steve ain't coming back. Give it another half a decade or so, Apple will be on the verge of bankruptcy again.

    1. Andre Carneiro

      Re: Replay

      Whilst I see your point, I think it’s unlikely that Apple will be on the verge of bankruptcy any time soon.

      They are still an insanely profitable company and have plenty of cash in the bank to keep going for a very long time.

      I do mourn the death of Apple the Innovator, though...

      1. katrinab Silver badge

        Re: Replay

        People said the same thing about Marconi, and look what happened.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Replay

        @Andre Carneiro; Indeed. If it all went tits up for Apple tomorrow, it could probably survive almost indefinitely on its past glories and what it has in the bank, the business equivalent of a white dwarf.

        Of course, pressure from greedy shareholders probably wouldn't let them do that, and it's more likely that they'd be forced by them to waste money on ill-directed attempts to become as profitable again as they were in their glory days. Either that, or they'd simply be broken up.

        But that's beside the point. Apple is not going to go bankrupt any time soon unless they start being *unbelievably* wasteful with money, which isn't happening at present.

      3. Graham Lockley

        Re: Replay

        There's a certain company that had a massive cash stockpile and market share, and had users locked into their ecosystem that managed to coin the middle management phrase 'nobody got fired for buying IBM'

        Seen how well that company that was innovative and invested heavily in research is doing today ?

    2. Tom 38 Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Replay

      Only this time, Steve ain't coming back.

      Why do you think Apple need so much money? Cloning aint cheap

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So what should it do ?

    Simple, get this thing, called innovation board, which is apparently stored in the last basement level at Cupertino, with a sign saying "beware the tiger", and move it back to engineering, and bloody use it !

    They really need to innovate again and there are plenty of fields:

    - car entertainment consoles: given what people are paying for the crap car manufacturer one, plenty of margin there. Already, Android is all over the place here.

    - home music

    - home automation

    - allow their product to interact with other ecosystems

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So what should it do ?

      > - allow their product to interact with other ecosystems

      Given the treatment they gave Palm Pre, I think this one is quite unlikely.

    2. Simon Ward

      Re: So what should it do ?

      Simple, get this thing, called innovation board, which is apparently stored in the last basement level at Cupertino, with a sign saying "beware the tiger", and move it back to engineering, and bloody use it !

      "Beware of the Snow Leopard" would be more appropriate - IMO, that's when Apple peaked. It was downhill from there. I bailed out of the walled garden years ago, and I don't miss it.

  11. Starace
    Alert

    Obvious problem

    Their fate was sealed the second they put an operations guy in the top job.

    So lots of feature optimisation (aka removal), margin optimisation (aka only sell the few products with the biggest profit) and manufacturing optimisation (aka screw your suppliers)

    Product innovation has gone, and that combined with their product development will chase them into a niche.

    They're just lucky they have a mountain of cash to fall back on.

    Also interesting to have another example of "build shiny new office/campus, company goes wrong" to point at. Always a strong indicator people have taken their eye off the ball and hubris has arrived.

  12. Wade Burchette

    Apple is trying a different trick

    Instead of innovating or lowering prices, Apple seems to be try to sell privacy with the slogan "what happens on your iPhones, stays on your iPhone". Link: https://phys.org/news/2019-01-privacy-tech.html. I do not think that will work. Unfortunately, very few people care about privacy. They pay Amazon and Google to have a device to listen to them all the time and keep a record of what was said to it. They tell the willingly tell Facebook every mundane thing they do in life. When I talk to people about how much slurp Google and Microsoft do now, there is never any outrage.

    Or maybe Apple is trying to sell security. But I don't know such a slogan can work considering how many famous people have had their iCloud hacked.

    To me it seems that people care about privacy only when you tell them about it but never care enough about it to do anything to reclaim it. This slogan will not help switch many people to an iPhone. First, people like me that do care about privacy are either already using an iPhone or have taken steps to block tracking in Android. For me, I installed Blokada and use Firefox with NoScript. Second, for people not like me they don't really care about privacy just as long as they can avoid walking 5 feet to adjust a thermostat. They will happily surrender their privacy for a minor convenience.

    This is a sign of desperation if you ask me. A literal sign at CES showing their desperation.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      "Apple seems to be try to sell privacy"

      It could be - but even many privacy-conscious users may not want or be able to burn 1000+ for a phone - if that was the model, why not keeping at least something like the SE around? Especially since privacy conscious users aren't the one who spend a lot of time on their mode for FB/Instagram/YouTube...

      Actually, Cook may be forcing them to buy Android, just like Nadella is pushing users outside Windows.

      Both looks to be "unidimensional" CEOs, unable to think about more than one product at once - Cook with the iPhone, Nadella with Azure, which not surprisingly, both are the products that lead them to become CEO - but they're still stuck in their previous role.

      1. John Robson Silver badge

        Re: "Apple seems to be try to sell privacy"

        How many high profile people have had their iCloud accounts hacked - rather than being socially engineered into giving away the keys?

    2. Ken 16 Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: Apple is trying a different trick

      Blackberry tried selling build quality and security, along with an intuitive UI and integrated ecosystem. It didn't work for them.

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: Apple is trying a different trick

        It worked very well for them until they compromised privacy and sercurity in order to be able to do business in certain nations.

    3. Mike 16 Silver badge

      Selling security

      Some folks on another list have mentioned that the Apple "Privacy" sign is on the side of a Marriott hotel. Odd choice given the Marriott data leak.

      Meanwhile, I do believe the Apple ecosystem is (a bit) more secure than most, as long as:

      1) They don't get subborned by some TLA

      2) You avoid iCloud like the plague.

      Problem is, with the rise of authoritarianism, (1) will not last long, and (2) requires constant vigilance to avoid the dark patterns that try to get you to click the "leak all my info, passwords, email, etc. to Apple" link that _looks_ like a "make your device more secure with our guard-unicorn! It even farts rainbows!" button.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Selling security

        Avoid iCloud like the plague?

        It is stored in AWS, Azure and Google-Cloud so it should be fine,

        It does not allow checking the history of the doc, so GDPR will be a breeze. Fill out on the form: I do not know who edited what. :-). But we have high resolution retina screens and it all looks yummy.

        1. JohnFen Silver badge

          Re: Selling security

          "It is stored in AWS, Azure and Google-Cloud so it should be fine"

          I don't follow this logic. Why does using AWS/Axure/Google cloud mean it would be fine?

    4. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: Apple is trying a different trick

      "Unfortunately, very few people care about privacy"

      I care very deeply about privacy, but that doesn't translate into a desire to own an iPhone.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Jobs could keep the team together which was not an easy task. When Cook came along it fell apart with Forstall et al leaving. Since then we've had Pencil.

  14. Ian Emery Silver badge

    Ré double the price of local Chinese phones

    For a phone 1/2 the price of an iphone, you will get one of several major Chinese brands that can run rings around Apple without even getting sweaty; you need to drop down into the £200-£300 (1/4 to 1/3rd the price), to find a phone that you can compare a top-of-the-range iphone to, and sub £200 for a phone Apple can actually beat on the majority of specs.

    WeChat and PayPal now have instant pay systems that the majority of Chinese use for even micro-payments like the RMB1.8 (~22p) bus fare. Local shop owners, taxis, and bus drivers were all bemused to see us paying with cash.

    Apple appears to be nearly extinct in China.

    1. Rainer

      Re: Ré double the price of local Chinese phones

      > Local shop owners, taxis, and bus drivers were all bemused to see us paying with cash.

      You need a Chinese bank account to be able to use WePay (in China).

      Good luck getting one as a foreigner. Even more so as a tourist - it's pointless.

      1. Ian Emery Silver badge

        Re: Ré double the price of local Chinese phones

        True, but then you need a Chinese mainland bank issued Visa or Mastercard to buy anything anyway.

        But thanks for giving me another reason for SWMBO not to close her Chinese bank account.

  15. Franco Silver badge

    I've never been an Apple fan, that is no secret from my comment history. My exposure to Apple devices and software is largely through my family on the grounds of Hey, you work in computers so you can fix this (I'm a Windows Server/Virtualisation consultant but hey ho).

    I've noticed recently a lot of dick moves from Apple, the sort of thing that Microsoft get slated for (and rightly so) being written off as "progress" with the removal of the headphone jack being a major one. I spent several hours this week trying to get my Mum's laptop to sync photos to her Gen1 AppleTV, only to find that I had to downgrade the iTunes version as Apple had forced an upgrade on her to a version that isn't compatible with the only device it was connected to. Now I know that the Gen1 AppleTV is ancient, but surely a warning is in order if it's going to break syncing with a device, and it wasn't exactly easy to find the info that support had been removed for that device, eventually I found a lot of angry customers on Apple's support forums to get the answer.

    Most of my family has now switched to Android phones and tablets, exactly for the reasons in this article, the Apple premium is far too high for what you get (or often don't get).

    1. Rainer

      Try managing an older AirPort device with the current software....

      No chance.

  16. Howard Hanek Bronze badge
    Linux

    They Literally 'Don't Know Jack'

    Right. They're also losing that 'connection' with investors.

  17. hellwig Silver badge

    Apple has nothing left

    The original Apple was created by Jobs and the Woz in a garage. Apple Computer Co. was helmed by Jobs and the tech led by Woz until 85. Then Apple went through a series of blunders and nearly went out of business, saved by an investment from a Microsoft desperate to avoid ant-trust issues. Then, Apple brings back Jobs, releases OSx, moves to x86, releases the iPod to HUGE success, releases the iPhone to even greater success, becomes worlds richest company. Then Jobs dies. And since then we've gotten what, the iPencil?

    Apple has nothing left, there will be no next new big thing from Apple after the iPhone, they'll end up drifting to the wayside.

  18. Dropper

    It's not just the cost of iPhones

    As much as I enjoy randomly bashing large corporates like Apple, the truth is they aren't the only phone company that's going to feel pain.

    1/ It's taken a while, but people have finally woken up to the fact that new phones aren't that much better than old phones. Apple kind of blew it for everyone when they decided to cut the price of battery replacement to $30 for a year. Anyone who replaced their battery found out the phone started performing like new for a multitude of reasons, not least the fact the a cell phone OS is not exactly demanding on a modern day processor and most cell phone processors have been overkill for tasks they perform for about 10 years now.

    2/ The cost of phones has sky rocketed for sure, but the real factor in slowing down new purchases is the fact that phones are no longer discounted and tied to 2 year contracts. Instead they are leased for 2 years on a monthly payment plan. Once those payment plans go, phone bills go down $20-$40 per line. Anyone here eager to suddenly increase your monthly phone bill for the sake of a slightly larger screen with a slightly better (but still crap) camera? I have an iPhone 10. The photos I take are still shit because a/I'm shit at photography and b/it has a sensor the size of a pin head. The only reason I have the phone I have is because it was heavily discounted and my old one broke. If either of those was not true, I would not have saddled myself with a monthly payment plan. You see the whole "contract free" thing is a scam. You still have a contract, only now if you don't pay the bill instead of only slamming your credit and cutting off your service.. they can also repo your phone.

    So yeah, phone sales are going down.. and I can't wait to see what other companies also feel the pain when everyone realises that cell phones can easily last 4 years.

  19. James Anderson Bronze badge

    Zero inflation for digital devices

    If you look at the price of something digital, you can reasonably expect to get more

    for the same price or less.

    A good example would be Thinkpads, the one that went into space

    a year 2000 T series had a list price of $3,699 by 2014 a T450

    was listed under $2000. With 8 times the merory, 16 times the processing power

    20 times the disk space etc. etc.

    So apple charging twice as much for something just marginally better really

    goes against the grain.

    Especially when you compare a 2015 Galaxy S6 at $699 with the latest

    2019 S10 at $799.

  20. This post has been deleted by its author

  21. Jay Lenovo Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Steve's Mass Appeal

    "What they should have been doing was making rational profits and going for market share."

    Nope, let's aim for snobby, snobby, overpriced. Mid 90's Apple has returned (-sigh-)

  22. Confused Vorlon

    Too inefficient to manage the 'ecosystem' products

    Part of the Apple 'story' has been that you can buy a whole ecosystem of products where 'everything just works'

    I have iMacs using Thunderbolt extra displays, macbook pro, apple tv, mac mini as a media centre, backing up to an Apple Time Machine.

    Apple have completely given up on the wifi networking.

    If they were innovating - they could be selling mesh network devices that extend the apple network around the house while offering airplay 2 speakers or Apple TV and Siri.

    (assuming they decided to make Siri decent)

    TimeMachine is fantastic - but suddenly more difficult now that I can't buy an apple device to back up to

    No thunderbolt/cinema display is available any more

    Mac Mini and Mac Pro have been abandoned for years (mac mini recently updated).

    As they narrow the product range - they force people to connect with other ecosystems and lose their grip on the 'everything just works' story.

    They are behaving like a small company that can't afford to manage a wide product range and needs to focus on a few core items.

    That seems like a mistake to me.

    1. TheOldBear

      Re: Too inefficient to manage the 'ecosystem' products

      Some [not too] recent software choices echo this.

      My personal example is the termination of the Pro level Aperture photo management tool in favor of a phone centric 'Photos' application with dramatically reduced capabilities.

  23. Marty McFly
    Thumb Down

    Apple....

    New product releases are evolutionary. They haven't had a revolutionary product release for a long time. Removing the headphone jack is arrogance - thinking they can lead the industry by forcing consumers in a certain direction that they don't want to go. And the facial recognition unlock (while cool tech) is just creepy. The only reason I stay with them is their strong stance around privacy and security.

    That said.... If/when my iPhone 6 dies, I will have to think long and hard about what its replacement will be.

    1. I sound like Peter Griffin!!

      Re: Apple....

      I've just about managed with the jack being dropped by going from iPhone 6 to 7Plus..

      I see no clarity beyond 7Plus though

  24. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Doomed to the dustbin of history?

    Making more expensive products gives a short-term steroid injection to revenue, but is very risky long term – the risk being long-term irrelevance.

    There's the problem. Apple has decided to live and die by the quarterly figures. Market analysts don't care about long term goals only about the quarterly profit. Apple has fallen for this. The worst thing any company can do is put a bean counter or one of their ilk in a position to run the company. A lot of good companies with good products have fallen into this trap. Jobs stopped it once but I don't seen any visionaries high enough up in Apple to change this trend.

    Anyone remember Chrysler before and after Iacocca took control? They were in deeper trouble than Apple, but turned around. Once the bean counters got back in control, they've fallen a long way. Pricing themselves out of any large market is not a good thing unless you accept that your products fill a niche like certain sports car companies.

    1. paulll Bronze badge

      Re: Doomed to the dustbin of history?

      "Anyone remember Chrysler before and after Iacocca took control? They were in deeper trouble than Apple, but turned around. "

      So what you're saying is that in order to be successful, a company must be run by a complete bastard?

      (Not disagreeing)

      1. LDS Silver badge

        Re: Doomed to the dustbin of history?

        Where's Chrysler now? It had to be saved by... .FIAT!!!

  25. DougS Silver badge

    The OLED upgrade isn't worth the price

    The reason the X/Xs cost so much more was solely because of how much more an OLED display costs. If Apple wanted to maintain the same margins they needed to up the price by a lot to capture that increased production cost.

    Is it worth it? I have the X, and the display is beautiful, but it isn't worth anywhere near the $250 upcharge over the Xr. The reason I got the X was because I wanted a bigger display without the bigger device (i.e. no bezels) but now that this is available with the LCD if I was buying this year instead of last I would buy the Xr over the Xs in a heartbeat. The difference would need to be more like $50 for me to think it was worth it given how good Apple's LCDs are.

    The problem with the current price structure that they have made the Xr into the "cheap" model in the minds of buyers. Its a compromise - because it also has lower resolution and only one camera.

    Apple probably should have stuck with LCD, the OLED upgrade drove prices into the stratosphere with very little tangible improvement in one's experience with the device. The problem is that now it would be difficult to backtrack and drop OLED so they are stuck with it. They could mitigate the problems by dropping the 'r' line for next year and have two versions of the s / sMax lines, one with one LCD and one with OLED, that are otherwise identical especially resolution and number and cameras - and called the OLED ones "Pro" or something but make it clear to people that the display type is the only difference.

    Let the market decide if it is worth spending that much extra, and don't force those who don't think the OLED 'upgrade' is worth it to feel like they are cheapskates by handicapping the product in other ways unnecessarily.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That new HQ

    I don't think Jobs would have allowed that grotesque new HQ. Or if he did, developers and engineers would not be forced to work in 'open plan' spaces. They'd have every whim catered for. Though as others have said, Apple killing off many product lines (Xserv, Cinema Display, iPod*, so many to mention) killed a loyal customer base they'd built up.

    1. alexmcm

      Re: That new HQ

      It was Steve Jobs (and Jony Ive's)idea:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_Park

      "The idea for a new headquarters was conceived by Jobs and Apple's chief designer Jony Ive.[12] Ive was Apple's immediate choice to design the project, going on to work very closely together with Norman Foster across five years, designing every detail, from the glass panels to the elevator buttons."

    2. alexmcm

      Re: That new HQ

      There is a theory that a lot of large companies that fail can trace their downfall back to when they moved in to their fancy new headquarters. It is a mixture of management being way too up themselves and self congratulatory, losing connection with their original base, living in a new corporate bubble with groupthink, wasting shareholders money, new environment stifling innovation etc....

      The most recent one that springs to mind is RBS, who moved in to their lovely new $350 million headquarters in Gogarburn in 2006, and we know how they did.

    3. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: That new HQ

      The Apple HQ seems like something Jobs would have been thrilled with -- it's entirely about looking "cool", after all.

  27. N2 Silver badge

    Laziness, Greed

    And a fanatical devotion to our shareholders...

    Customers and good products seem an inconvenience.

  28. I sound like Peter Griffin!!

    IF Apple price-matched your Windows or 'Droid, which would you prefer?

    Answers below - PLEASE provide a consice grown-up argument for your preference

    1. paulll Bronze badge

      Re: IF Apple price-matched your Windows or 'Droid, which would you prefer?

      My Key2 ... and if there wasn't that, I'd still be on my BB Torch.

      -Physical keyboard

      -Headphone jack

      -Ability to move files on and off it as I see fit (ie, I can fire pics from my phone to my laptop over BT, no cloud, and vice versa with tunes. Usually)

      -SD slot

      -Feels less fragile (The torch certainly was)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: IF Apple price-matched your Windows or 'Droid, which would you prefer?

        What about user replaceable battery?

        They glued in the battery to deter this and forced upgrades despite perfectly useable hardware. Android makers also started copying this shitty practice. And the hideous notch (also being copied). With Apple, less is more, and have redfined the dictionary.

        Two words : PURE GREED

        Capitalism, at its worst and extrme manifestation.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: IF Apple price-matched your Windows or 'Droid, which would you prefer?

      Apple. They is boss fly.

      1. Greywolf40

        Re: IF Apple price-matched your Windows or 'Droid, which would you prefer?

        'Droid. A few years ago, I'd've said iPhone, but the 'droid phones have surpassed iPhone.

    3. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: IF Apple price-matched your Windows or 'Droid, which would you prefer?

      I'd prefer Android, because Android gives me a much more flexible and capable machine without being locked into a specific ecosystem.

  29. gigabitethernet

    Pure ego driven greed.

    At over $1000 AUD for a phone in high income countries it is no wonder sales a dropping. Plus all the overpriced accessories.

    Meanwhile my $99 AUD 2015 ZTE with $15 32 gb microsd combined with my recent 8 megapixel ZTE $40 AUD means I can do everything I want to do.

    I can browse the web, take photos, send/recieve e-mail, use facebook, listen to podcasts and use spotify.

    Also I can still actually USB 2.0 microusb that uses much less power can be used with other devices on powerboards and doesn't become randomly undetectable on my PC that lacks USB 3.0 ports.

    I like my Macbook pro mid 2010 edition but probably won't buy new macbook again due to the lack of dedicated graphics card on 13 inch models plus the lack of things like usb or ethernet ports which will require more $$$ for accessories. Also Windows 7 and 10 along with Linux distros all run better on it than Mac OS (which is absolutely slow and unusable for me) does so I just use Windows 10 these days which runs flawlessly fast.

  30. JLV Silver badge

    Yes, it was interesting to see the stock plunge. They well deserved it

    Bitching about innovation isnt totally justified. Smartphones have reached a certain technological maturity. See PCs,, CPUs for examples thereof and no one company can reliably and repeatedly out-innovate everyone else at this point. Until the next inflection point. Not Apple’s fault, really.

    But upping your revenues by increasing prices wo new value is a bit like stretching a rubberband. You’ll keep your customers. Until they leave and never come back.

    Trouble is, APPL’s valuation is circa $100/ human being. That’s, roughly, profits expected pp, for everyone. Rich people, dirt poor 3rd worlders, 45 yr olds, 3 yr olds. Apple haters. Doubt they’ll get that selling the product lines they do, to their customer bases. How to move the needle?

    They have phenomenal brand appeal, but they need to sell new things or new customers.

    - cars. Well executed that’s a whole new ball park to chew up $100/pp.

    - enterprises. Macos is almost a Linux. And Windows is bound to have upset more than a few.

    - the 80-90% of people still running Windows PCs despite Win 10. Can’t do that w $3k laptops.

    - product X.

    - dividends???

    I aint no marketing expert so certainly messing up. But they’ve reached peak capitalization unless they switch gears. $2k phones aint gonna do it. Nor will price wars with Android phones. None of the above options are risk free. Or necessarily even clever.

    Bottom line: at this level of cap, I see them very much prisoners of their own success. And a bit of an indictment of capitalism’s expectations, much as I usually defend that system.

  31. Winkypop Silver badge

    Yeah, bastards!

    Bring back the iPod Classic.

    And get off my lawn!

  32. AK565

    "It just works."

    This was the largest single factor in my buying an 8Plus. Half my income is from freelance work. I do not have time to futz with a phone. Everything has to "just work". When I bring up a PDF form for a client to sign it must come up IMMEDIATELY and without any questions being asked of me. It must save the form with the signature without asking me anything because 99% of the time the situation does not allow me to address any questions from my phone.

    I have this with my iPhone. No amount of time and energy spent got an Android to do this. "It just works" is why most of my colleagues have iPhones. If Apple loses this characteristic it'll lose its chief advantage over android, at least among my colleagues.

  33. dave 93

    The price you pay for performance and privacy

    Apple products are more expensive to produce than rivals due to the additional cost of OS development, allowing optimal performance from Apple hardware, and long, up-to-date device life.

    The only mobile alternative is Google's Android, and Apple make a point of not using your behavioural data to sell you things, and not providing back-doors to Law enforcement.

  34. Hazmoid

    Hmm, I will admit that I have been anti Apple for many years, since I had to support a number of stuck up graphic designers who insisted they needed Macs, even when we showed them a Windows machine that did the same work for half the price. I will admit that the Apple gear was nice from the point of view of the software and hardware working together nicely. However I have a friend who is an Apple Fanboi, and is happy to have the latest versions of their hardware. Even he feels that the new hardware is out of the range of most people and because Apple insist that their RRP is the only price for which their hardware can be sold, they are rarely if ever discounted. This means that the whole point of "It just works" is lost on those that could most benefit from this, i.e. everyone's technophobic uncle or Grandma Mae.

    I personally have an Android phone and avoid even the Applefied version of that OS (I will not buy Oppo phones for that reason).

  35. 0laf Silver badge

    For most it's about the price

    I went from Windows to Apple not liking Android at that time. The iPhone was the cheapest model but still expensive however I enjoyed it's reletive easy of connectivity and my partner has the same phone so transfering photos and messages to her was very easy and all within the same ecosystem. I don't like the UI however.

    Fast forward 2yr and I'm getting annoyed with the small screen on my SE. New Apple phones have come out and for me the prices on the larger devices are just too much in comparison with the competition. I'm not tied to the ecosystem since most of my cloud services are carried over from Windows and my other machines are mostly MS based. Looking around I give up and get an Android. I still dislike Android as an OS but I never really liked iOS either. The phone specification I got was 50% the price of the cheapest new Apple but exceeds the performance of everything including ther flagship.

    It doesn't conenct as well with my car and sharing files with my partner is harder but thats about the only drawbacks.

    My partner is very tied into Apple with Macbooks and phones. She's considering moving to the same supplier as me because she is so impressed with the camera on my new phone and the prices of the new iPhones are so high. I think she'll stay with Apple but is likely to get an iPhone 8 rather than a new one to avoid the prices. If Apple cut prices it might change but that seems unlikely.

    I think realistically Apple have just pushed things too far with pricing and people are considering switching now when they wouldn't have before. Just having that thought is a problem for Apple since now people will start to compare specs etc and not just look for the next shiny apple.

  36. NeilPost

    Agree with Jobs

    I agree with Steve Jobs comment again.

    What is needed to get back to market share growth is an iPhone SE/2 (remembering the Mac SE/2 from history too :-) )based on iPhone 8 innards at £400 with 64Gb entry level. Headphone socket optional on the shit-list.

  37. Greywolf40

    iPhones are catch-up devices

    Apple has relied on its mystique to keep its prices high. This applies to its other products as well. Jobs' design philosopphy was simple: make the product easy to use, and make it appeal to the users' desire for elegance. He understood the cool factor. In the early days of personal devices, those two principles made Apple superior to its competitors. Eg, I bought a Powerbook G4 because it had plug'n'play internet capability, which mattered in the days of internet cafes. The Windows-based machines caught up within a year or so, which is why I didn't stay with Apple. The cool factor doesn't work with me.

    Ditto for Android vs iPhone. iPhone cameras began to lag behind Samsung etc. My daughter bought a new iPhone this year _only_ because her old iPhone had a poorer camera than my Samsung G5. Both phones were of the same vintage. The latest Samsung phones are being sold as "cameras with other stuff", which is IMO an indicator of where personal devices are going.

    Apple could leapfrog, but I doubt that it will. In any case, the Apple mystique is fading. As consumers become more comfortable with the technology, they rely less on style and more on substance. Apple can longer claim that its elegance is an index of technical superiority.

  38. Youngone Silver badge

    I disagree

    It isn't clear if a beancounter can deliver that.

    Yes, it is clear. No, he can't.

    Beancounters never can. It's one of the first questions I ask about the background of the boss at any interview I go to. If the answer is "Finance" or similar, I decline the job.

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