back to article Peak Apple: This time it's SERIOUS, Tim

Like a comedy sketch Lord Nelson, Apple CEO Tim Cook held the telescope to his eyepatch this week and told investors he couldn't see any enemy ships. Everything's just fine, he told CNBC's Jim Cramer. "I think Apple is not well understood in some of Wall Street." Or perhaps it's very well understood. Here are a few things Cook …

  1. djstardust Silver badge

    Too late

    People already see Apple for what they are. A greed driven mega corp who treat their customers as a cash cow to keep investors happy.

    They have pretty much watered down their products as much as they can, whilst pricing them at the absolute edge of what's acceptable ..... or so they thought. Port removal in the extreme, out of date components, poor build quality, denial of manufacturing issues. The list goes on.

    It's not going to happen today or tomorrow but Apple are on the slippery slope. Can't say I will miss them at all.

    1. djstardust Silver badge

      Re: Too late

      Oh .... and an apple pencil you can't actually turn off so everytime you go to use it there's no power left in it.

      Jesus wept!

      1. rob 47

        Re: Too late

        How many people upvoting this _actually_ have an Apple Pencil _and_ find it flat each time they go to use it? I've got one, and not noticed this problem. Still, sticking it to the man feels good with a mouse click doesn't it?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Too late

      They have basically lied to their braindead userbase, pretended that by buying Apple, they respect your privacy, don't monetize your (their) data, and are somehow saints compared to the devil (Google).

      You then go and read Apple's privacy policy, and it tells you they a are doing EXACTLY the same as what Google are, but charging a premium price for the privilege. (I also guess advertisers are for more likely to pay more money for a list of Apple owners and their habits, as they are ripe for exploiting).

      1. big_D Silver badge
        Holmes

        Re: Too late

        What happens on your iPhone stays on your iPhone. Well, apart from the iCloud stuff, and iMessenger, oh and the stuff that goes to Google. Oh, and don't forget all those apps you installed also taking their information for themselves.

        1. JimboSmith Silver badge

          Re: Too late - What happens on your iPhone stays on your iPhone.

          I have a work iPhone for emails and it is only used for work stuff. I asked around how to get the equivalent of a no root firewall on the iPhone and no one knew. I asked a genius at the local Apple store who asked why I wanted to have one rather than answer the question. I told him that I wanted to be able to see and restrict what apps were able to send to God knows where. After telling me twice that there was no need to do that on Apple I said was it even possible?

          No it's not you can't get an app for doing that with Apple. So I locked it down as much as I can (via apps using mobile data) as a workaround). Now it may be that the genius was right and I have nothing to worry about but I like to know what apps are contacting the outside world and what address they're contacting.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Too late - What happens on your iPhone stays on your iPhone.

            Apple sell appliances. That has always been the strategy.

            You aren't the target audience in the slightest..

            1. Ledswinger Silver badge

              Re: Too late - What happens on your iPhone stays on your iPhone.

              Apple sell appliances. That has always been the strategy. You aren't the target audience in the slightest..

              No, but they've critically misjudged their target audience. Not the first and won't be the last company to do this. Look at the Dyson washing machine that disappeared on account of being too expensive. Dyson thought that if they'd managed to get customers to pay £400 for a vacuum cleaner, then paying a grand for a washer would be a cinch, when in fact they simply outpriced themselves. At least for Dyson this was a new product line, and could be dropped without harming the vacuum business. For Apple, they've tried the strategy of insurers called "price walking" where each new product/renewal goes up in price, hoping the customer won't notice. But unlike Dyson, they've done this with their main product line, and they simply kept going in the belief that there was no upper limit to what people would pay for a phone.

              Discounting is hugely damaging for any premium brand, but Cook has backed the company into a corner. I've always expected that Cook didn't have what it takes to keep Apple at the forefront of innovation, and its products as clever and desirable as Jobs managed, and I'm hardly alone in that view. This is the problem with the visionary leader - they don't come along very often, and they're nigh on impossible to replace. Tesla and Space X will find this in due course. Facebook, on the other hand, don't have any such problem.

            2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

              Re: Too late - What happens on your iPhone stays on your iPhone.

              Apple sell appliances. That has always been the strategy.

              I don't think that's fair. The Apple //e wasn't an "appliance". It's only their post-1983 products that are aimed at people who just want a magic box of "stuff happens".

              Kids these days.

              1. wayward4now

                Re: Too late - What happens on your iPhone stays on your iPhone.

                "The Apple //e wasn't an "appliance". Yes it was compared to the original Apple ][ and I'm not talking the "Plus". That was the genius of The Woz. The ORIGINAL Apple had a reset key that dumped you straight down into a "mini-assembler" that gave you full access to the innards if the computer system. You were, by golly, REALLY in charge of your machine. The Plus lacked that and merely rebooted when you hit reset. That was Jobs doings, the bastard. So, we copied the original romchip to an eprom and gave them away like popcorn to the impoverished Plus owners, at user group meetings so they could be pirates too. Yar har and twiddle de de.

            3. imaginarynumber

              Re: Too late - What happens on your iPhone stays on your iPhone.

              Oh, so when trying to push their iAd advertising platform, what exactly did Apple mean when it said it knows what apps users own and how and when they use them?

              Apple then went on to brag that they knew more about their customers than anyone else (read:Google) and told advertisers that they could target them by age, gender, location, choice of music and income.

              1. Gritzwally Philbin

                Re: Too late - What happens on your iPhone stays on your iPhone.

                What's amazing to me is that people just don't shut off the Location Services access on their devices - per each application. It's all there in the Settings. The apps I use that have ads in them are only used when I tick the phone into Airplane Mode or just shut off Cellular and WiFi. I never see targeted ads and stick to using the browsers with adblockers instead of the apps themselves. I will NOT install and use the Youtube app, I will NOT use Google Maps, and I haven't EVER visited facebook on the device - let alone install or use their app.

                Everyone acts like it's so damn difficult to limit the apps and access them with the settings in a particular way.. It's not. It's all about the things you choose to set as habits. Want that instant gratification of 'having it on all the time' like a teenager? Pay the price. Users that are concerned about privacy just need to stop acting as if they are helpless. There are tons of ways you can skin that cat. It's the convenience aspect that is the hook. Anyone that thinks they don't pay for it at the cost of their personal data and privacy is a fool.

      2. Charles Calthrop

        Re: Too late

        Their privacy policy page is maby 3k words

        https://www.apple.com/uk/legal/privacy/en-ww/

        that's without following all the links which have more detail.

        Have you really read it all?

        1. jaduncan

          Re: Too late

          3000 words is not a great deal for a legal document.

          1. Charles Calthrop

            Re: Too late

            There were maybe 20 words in my post and you still missed the point of them

            1. Dave 126 Silver badge

              Re: Too late

              > I told him that I wanted to be able to see and restrict what apps were able to send to God knows where.

              Look at Blackberry's suite for iOS, it might do what you want.

              1. JimboSmith Silver badge

                Re: Too late

                Look at Blackberry's suite for iOS, it might do what you want.

                Thanks I will - although ironically was moved from BlackBerry to IOS.

              2. mosw

                Re: iMessage on Andriod

                I think Apple could learn something from Blackberry's failures. Blackberry would be in a better place today if they had made BBM widely available while they still had the market influence.

                Apple should make iMessage available on Android phones. This would not be without risk but it would allow Apple to quickly expand their customer base in services and developing countries. They could still market their "superior" hardware to the faithful.

                I don't have or want an iPhone but both my wife and daughter have them and I would be willing to pay a modest yearly fee for an iMessage app. And with that hook they could try and drag me into using other iCloud services.

                1. 404 Silver badge

                  Re: iMessage on Andriod

                  Hey, I give Blackberry $1 a month for their Hub on Android... I miss my Blackberry(s)....

                2. rob 47

                  Re: iMessage on Andriod

                  "Apple should make iMessage available on Android phones. This would not be without risk but it would allow Apple to quickly expand their customer base in services and developing countries."

                  By charging people in developing countries to use iMessage? Can see them queueing up for that...

      3. EVP

        Re: Too late

        ”You then go and read Apple's privacy policy, and it tells you they a are doing EXACTLY the same as what Google are, but charging a premium price for the privilege”

        Please, point out the sections in Apples privacy policy showing that they are as great evil as, say, google the great satan, when it comes to abusing their users’ personal data. I’m genuinely interested in getting that information, but haven’t been able to find it. Thanks!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Too late

          I'm not doing the work for you. if you want to discover, go read it yourself. It's all in there, but not overly easy to find, but it's all in there. They can monetize you just like Google/Microsoft/Facebook/EveryoneElse does.

          1. Charles Calthrop

            Re: Too late

            I'm not doing the work for you. if you want to discover, go read it yourself. It's all in there, but not overly easy to find, but it's all in there.

            AKA I did a quick cmd f, couldn't find anything, but I still know I am correct

      4. Sizzles

        Re: Too late

        I know how serious Apple are about privacy and I suggest you actually read the policy. They may make expensive products, but this is why they can offer services like iCloud for free and without plundering your personal data to push up their revenues.

    3. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Too late

      Love how all the upvotes suggest this is some revelation. Everyone always knew this, or never will.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        No. Upvotes suggest people like what they read. And possibly agree with it. There is no revelation required to click upvote.

    4. LOL123

      Re: Too late

      To be fair, what they will release is keeping the rest of the market on top. Things come with the good and bad, so yeah no headphone jack. But touch devices, generous data plans, music services, tablets, you have to give it to them. I doubt graphics cores and cpus from competitors would have improved without the threat of the next Apple release. They could have released CPU and GPU with only marginal benchmark improvements. (I do wish other companies would follow them on their device lifespans.)

      PS: I also think this is normal of *all* companies - the customer talks and if they are willing to pay for just the brand, the company should charge for it. Why not? Of the companies out there, given what apple have done for their device lifespan, I think they are actually the least greedy (in a relative sense). I don't think the points about build quality have merit.

      Customers are now walking away so now that the brand has been milked I'd expect the products to start improving.

      I don;t want Apple to go, their halo effect is the key driver for other manufacturers to create replica devices at lower prices - which is what I want to buy..

    5. WonderfulBear

      Re: Too late

      OK, I’ll bite for some balance :-D

      "People already see Apple for what they are. A greed driven mega corp who treat their customers as a cash cow to keep investors happy."

      Who are these other benevolent smartphone makers?

      Not gonna quibble re: price points for the new models, too much for me but they’re not selling you something worse than last year.

      "Out of date components" they spec their own chips so how does that work?

      "Poor build quality" that’s nonsense and the market for 2nd hands tells you this.

      I’m not some Apple fanboy here to defend a greedy mega corp I’m just here to point out that saturation is clearly going to be an industry-wide problem and not specific to Apple. Example: Google’s 2 month old pricey flagship Pixel 3 has had price cut from £739 to £639 + £75 to spend in the Play store.

      "It's not going to happen today or tomorrow but Apple are on the slippery slope. Can't say I will miss them at all."

      Well you should, because even if you don't want to buy their products competition in the marketplace is healthy non? I'd rather not be left with the one mobile OS that's aim is to feed the Google data harvesting ad machine

      1. Tigra 07 Silver badge

        Re: Too late

        "Out of date components" they spec their own chips so how does that work"

        At least in the case of their Macbooks it was shown they were still using defective, badly designed components 5 years after their internal documents showed they were shit. Louis Rossman has spent years documenting the shit they sell at premium prices, and the horrible way they force obsolescence into it.

        Another person (I don't recall the name) created his own headphone jack in an iphone after apple claimed there was no space to do so, and got it working. He's just 1 person, not a multi-billion dollar company. It's greed, pure and simple

        1. jabuzz

          Re: Too late

          The strangeparts youtube channel. Headphone socket in iPhone 7 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=utfbE3_uAMA

        2. EVP

          Re: Too late

          ”shown they were still using defective, badly designed components 5 years after their internal documents showed they were shit. ”

          If you can post a link, please do it. You clearly have been following Mr. Rossmann’s work.

          My experience with Dell, Hp and Lenovo high-price laptops is that their quality is pure shit too. Hp’s laptop (~1600 €, company discounted VAT 0% price) was one steaming pile. Maybe no money can buy good laptops anymore, huh?

          ”multi-billion company. It’s greed, pure and simple.”

          I agree, to an extent. Apple hold keys to the kindom, but are allured by possibility making a quick buck.

          1. Dan 55 Silver badge

            Re: Too late

            If you can post a link, please do it. You clearly have been following Mr. Rossmann’s work.

            Here's the usual "go to" video from Louis Rossman but his channel is a treasure trove of bad Apple design. I you follow it and you'll learn a couple of new things every week.

          2. 404 Silver badge

            Re: Too late

            'Maybe no money can buy good laptops anymore, huh?'

            Go look at the Panasonic Toughbook line.. - CF53 here, runs fine, lasts a long time...

            ;)

        3. EVP

          Re: Too late

          ”shown they were still using defective, badly designed components 5 years after their internal documents showed they were shit. ”

          Interesting. Would you post a link? You have clearly been following Mr. Rossmann’s work.

          My experience with Dell, Hp and Lenovo high-price laptops is that their quality is pure shit too. Hp’s laptop (~1600 €, company discounted VAT 0% price) was one steaming pile. Maybe no money can buy good laptops anymore, huh?

          ”multi-billion company. It’s greed, pure and simple.”

          I agree, to an extent. Apple hold keys to the kindom, but are allured by possibility making a quick buck. Solidity of devices is worth a shitload of money and privacy is the new oil in the long run. They are trying to fsck it up right now, I think.

    6. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Too late

      A greed driven mega corp who treat their customers as a cash cow to keep investors happy.

      I question this about keeping investors happy. With the money they've shipped off shore how does that benefit "investors"?

      1. Steve K Silver badge

        Re: Too late

        Because they are potentially able to pay higher dividends from increased profits and/or the share price improves in response to that increased profit and future streams thereof.

        That is what investors are after.

    7. fidodogbreath Silver badge

      Re: Too late

      A greed driven mega corp who treat their customers as a cash cow to keep investors happy.

      Corporations exist to return value to shareholders. That is a core feature of capitalism.

      You are free to choose not to buy Apple's products; but if your standard for choosing a vendor is that they do not profit from their buyers in order to please their investors...well, let's just say 'good luck with that.'

  2. werdsmith Silver badge

    Can't say I will miss them at all.

    One single dominant phone OS is a bad scenario for the future. Especially if it's Android.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Should have stopped with a single sentence. Monopolies restrict innovation and invite abuse. It would be bad if only Android or IOS or Windows Mobile dominated. At least AOSP means there are some variants of Android out there.

      1. Tigra 07 Silver badge
        Linux

        RE: Charlie Clark

        Until Fuschia replaces Android and Google locks it down...

        Where's the age of Linux?

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: RE: Charlie Clark

          Until Fuschia replaces Android and Google locks it down...

          There's no real indication of that happening (either as a replacement for Android nor in terms of the licence) and Fuchsia is even more liberally licensed, because it means less lawyer time. Where Google does lock stuff down is in the licence for GMS (Play Services, et al.), because it understands that we generally care more about the services than we do about the OS.

          1. Tigra 07 Silver badge

            Re: RE: Charlie Clark

            By "Lock down" i meant Google could screw over all the manufacturers and become the only one creating phones running Fuschia. In that situation Android would suffer from a lack of development and Samsung might even switch to Tizen and eventually lead to Android being abandoned by anyone but hobbyists.

            1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

              Re: RE: Charlie Clark

              By "Lock down" i meant Google could screw over all the manufacturers and become the only one creating phones running Fuschia.

              Sure they could but at this stage how much would that matter? Manufacturers could for years continue to produce Android phones and even set up some kind of joint entity to maintain Android. If Google ever does switch from Android to Fuchsia, and that is a big if, they will have to do a lot of work to get manufacturers to come along. As we've already reached market saturation, it would take a lot longer for any competing OS to gain the kind of market share that Android has achieved.

              No, the bigger risk appears to be in what hoops you have to jump through to be able to use GMS, including, I believe, not making Android devices that compete head-to-head with ChromeOS due to a platform war* within Google.

              * Like the kind that caused Nokia so much trouble. You tend to get them when there's not enough competition in the market.

              1. Tigra 07 Silver badge
                Pint

                Re: RE: Charlie Clark

                "If Google ever does switch from Android to Fuchsia, and that is a big if, they will have to do a lot of work to get manufacturers to come along"

                In my example, Google would continue manufacturing their own devices and not allow anyone else access to Fuchsia. People would have the choice between Google's Android Successor (Fuchsia), Apple's Ios, Samsung's Tizen, or Everyone else's vastly different and out of date Android variants that don't necessarily work well together, or support the latest apps on Google's store (likely leading to more stores being installed on phones all competing (this is already happening), and more malware outbreaks damaging the Android brand name).

                Ultimately in my scenario Google would probably win since they have the money to keep Fuchsia dominant over Tizen and Abandroid.

                1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

                  Re: RE: Charlie Clark

                  In my example, Google would continue manufacturing their own devices

                  Google doesn't make its own devices.

                  The rest of your comments are a collection of "what ifs". Sure, Google can restrict access to its services but in doing so, it runs the risk of reducing its market. I don't have the numbers but I'm fairly confident that Google makes more money from running ads in apps than it does on the commission for paid for apps, which means it wants its services on as many devices as possible.

                  But it does seem to limbering up for a its own unnecessary platform war. Instead of embracing and supporting things like DeX or the Planet Gemini, it seems to be positively discouraging manufacturers from developing sub-notebooks with Android.

                  1. Jaybus

                    Re: RE: Charlie Clark

                    "... it seems to be positively discouraging manufacturers from developing sub-notebooks with Android."

                    That could just be the KISS principle. A one-OS-for-everything approach has not worked out so well for others, witness Windows 8. Keeping the focus on phones prevents the bloat that is sure to come when more powerful devices with more memory and storage, not to mention many additional i/o devices, are thrown into the mix. It is the same reason we have Android in the first place, rather than mainline Linux. A phone has no need for magnetic tapes, fibre channel NICs, RAID controllers, etc.

                    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

                      Re: RE: Charlie Clark

                      That could just be the KISS principle.

                      It could, but it isn't: it's about forcing manufacturers to use ChromeOS for larger devices. ChromeOS, that's the browser OS with no local storage but that can also run Android apps.

            2. jaduncan

              Re: RE: Charlie Clark

              Or Samsung could (and in that situation, should) just take AOSP and make things based on that.

        2. Smoking Man

          Re: RE: Charlie Clark

          The age of Linux starts when it overtakes Windows as dominant OS on desktops.

      2. JimmyPage Silver badge
        Stop

        RE: Monopolies restrict innovation and invite abuse

        You'd think.

        This very website ran a fascinating fact-laden article by an economist arguing the opposite: that monopolies promote innovation on the basis that if an incumbent monopoly becomes moribund, it will no longer be top dog tech-wise.

        The decline of Microsoft suggests there might be something in that. After all, going back 15 years, they had a de facto monopoly on desktops. Nowadays ... well not a desktop in this house runs MS.

        See also the naive attempt by China to strangle the "rare-earth" metal market. All it did was encourage new deposits to be found, and made already known ones worth mining (again, in some cases).

        1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

          Re: "if an incumbent monopoly becomes moribund, it will no longer be top dog"

          And what does that matter if the competition bought the farm ? If you are a monopoly today, you have billions in your coffers. Microsoft has been moribund for years and doesn't care - anything interesting shows up on the horizon and Microsoft just throws a few billion at it and borgifies it.

          Competition ? What a quaint notion.

          1. Richard 12 Silver badge

            Re: "if an incumbent monopoly becomes moribund, it will no longer be top dog"

            Apple have been doing the same for years.

            In fact, I'm having trouble thinking of an actual Apple innovation at all in the last five years, if not longer. Everything is a buy-in.

            Ok, other than removing all the connectors, which was clearly a cost-cutting exercise despite not needing to cut costs.

        2. doublelayer

          Re: RE: Monopolies restrict innovation and invite abuse

          "The decline of Microsoft suggests there might be something in that [theory that monopolies are more innovative]. After all, going back 15 years, they had a de facto monopoly on desktops."

          Wholeheartedly disagree. Fifteen years ago, Windows ran on most desktops, but Apple still made a bunch of them, and desktop Linux was a thing that existed though it fell down a lot. You also had various small OS projects that had some users. Nowadays, Windows still runs on a lot of desktops, though it's gone down some. And the others are ... Mac OS, Linux, and random things with small user counts. Microsoft had some concerning things going on, but they had not obtained a position of true monopoly, and they have lost some of that market share over the years.

          Consider how it would have been if Apple had a monopoly, a true one, at that time. Would they have, for example, switched from PowerPC to Intel processors? Probably not. They did that because the processors were slower per watt than intel ones, making computers power hungry. That meant that people who wanted laptops would not want the Apple-made ones, and Apple had an opportunity to fix that. Eventually, Apple might have made the switch when a new challenger had been making a few inroads, but they would have no reason if their machines were accepted due to a lack of choice.

          If a company has a monopoly, it must fear that a challenger will arrive at some point and take their business, and to avoid that it must either innovate or place roadblocks in front of competition. Even if we assume that it always does the former, it has less reason to innovate than does a company that has an active competitor. Its products don't have to be the best for the various customer groups, they only have to be the ones that are available and generally better than the options that can be found easily.

  3. #define INFINITY -1 Bronze badge

    "and failed to honour the cynical tradition of built-in obsolescence"

    I remain cynical about that seeing as my iPhone 4S will not be receiving an upgrade--though the hardware was built to last 20 years.

    1. chivo243 Silver badge

      Re: "and failed to honour the cynical tradition of built-in obsolescence"

      my iPhone 5 will get an upgrade, sadly it's only the battery...

    2. LDS Silver badge

      Re: "and failed to honour the cynical tradition of built-in obsolescence"

      Actually, Apple tried, but was caught and had to offer lower-priced battery changes - and I would call any device with non-user replaceable batteries something with built-in obsolescence (even more so if you can't add storage...)

    3. JDX Gold badge

      Re: "and failed to honour the cynical tradition of built-in obsolescence"

      How many iterations behind is the 4S... 2011. The 5 was 2012. That's really quite old.

      1. macjules Silver badge

        Re: "and failed to honour the cynical tradition of built-in obsolescence"

        Tell that to Apple. They are still selling computers that pretty much have the same specification as those manufactured in 2012 - same Retina screen, i7 processors SSD etc.

        1. Alan Watson

          Re: "and failed to honour the cynical tradition of built-in obsolescence"

          Er, the fact that the processor is called "i7" doesn't mean that it's the same processor as in 2012. That's just intel's branding - it's like saying that an Android phone is using the same processor as in 2012 because they are both called "Snapdragon". The part number is the bit that matters.

          Actually the screens aren't the same either: having the same resolution doesn't mean that other properties haven't changed.

          If you want to criticise Apple the correct target is their ridiculous costs for RAM and storage upgrades, which have remained constant for several years. But don't make a fool of yourself by suggesting that they are using the same processors as they were 6 years ago.

    4. DougS Silver badge

      Re: "and failed to honour the cynical tradition of built-in obsolescence"

      The iPhone 5S, first sold in 2013, still gets updates. How many Android phones that age get updates? Zero is the answer you are looking for. Heck, the list of Android phones half that old still getting updates is pretty small.

      I think they wanted to get to the point where all their supported phones were 64 bit, which they reached when they dropped the 5/5C over a year ago. I would not be surprised if the 5S gets yet another year, since Apple is trying to focus more on installed base than selling people new phones every year or two. I mean, sure, they'd love to keep selling everyone a new phone every year but there just aren't any improvements ANYONE is making to phones that justify that upgrade rate anymore. So they have started to switch their focus to increasing the number of people using iPhones to grow their services revenue.

      And it has been working - their installed base has grown at double digit rates, even during the past three years when unit sales of iPhones have fallen since their peak in 2015.

    5. paulf Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: "and failed to honour the cynical tradition of built-in obsolescence"

      I love my old iPhone 4S. It's like that IBM Model M keyboard, you could beat someone to death with it then use it to write blog their obituary. Mine has had several drops and is still in good condition (YMMV). That was very much the high water mark though, iPhone build quality went down after that as evidenced by Bendgate

      1. #define INFINITY -1 Bronze badge

        Re: "and failed to honour the cynical tradition of built-in obsolescence"

        A tip of the hat to you, sir!

        But iOS 9 just made it too tedious to use.

  4. msknight Silver badge

    Great... super... smashing....

    A few discussions here have been around the fact that phones live in our pockets, hips, desks, and get damaged. Not only cost of phone to replace, and cost of insurance, but also inconvenience. A few people are starting to carry multiple devices now... or internet services that don't require a single device to access the music/pictures/etc. - ie. as we move to a service economy, then tying down those web services to a device, could be considered a bad move.

  5. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge

    Call it whatever Cook wants. "Rebate", "Discount", etc. There is no way (price) but up. To say that the next model will be, say, $300 cheaper would mean Apple has admitted that the "benchmark" prices have hit consumer's "price pain point".

    `tis true that instead of updating/upgrading the phone from two years to three/four, it will hit the sales target.

    One way of forcing the acceleration of the upgrade cycle is to be brutal: iPhone 6, 7 and 8, for instance, won't be supported in iOS 13.X.X (and later).

    Tim, instead of going to all these TV and radio talk shows explaining why iPhone sales unit are going down, why don't you go back to where you came from and talk listen to your engineers. Challenge them to come up with something new.

    What Apple needs is a visionary. (Tim, you're no visionary and you're no sales person.) The current lineup of iPhones don't really have anything "significant" to raise an eyebrow (or two). Sure, new CPU, more memory, bigger batter ... What else?

    Let me try: How about 3D/Hologram?

    Where's me coat?

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge
      Coat

      What else? A fucking magical notch.

    2. DougS Silver badge

      Long support life is part of Apple's value

      It leads to higher resale value than any Android phones, and greater customer satisfaction amongst those who choose not to upgrade.

      Sure Apple would love to sell everyone new phones, but cutting a bunch of older phones off from updates would cause their resale/trade in value to tank, which makes new phones effectively more expensive.

      If anything they should try to extend the day where they obsolete older models as long as possible, and begin promoting that as an advantage to iPhones over Android. They could offer AppleCare for longer time periods, with a reduced rate over time to enable people who want to keep them longer to do so and pay for their battery replacements as they wear out every couple years (since all phones use the same battery chemistry they all start to lose capacity after ~500 charge/discharge cycles)

      It is also valuable to Apple for the people who still want to replace phones more quickly. Those people aren't throwing away their perfectly good phones, they are being traded in to Apple or sold to a third party. Either way they are refurbished and resold as a lower price entry point into the Apple ecosystem. Most iPhones used in India were not purchased new, because their new prices are too high for most Indians (especially given their high tariffs for phones not manufactured in India) There are more people walking around with iPhones than you'd think with their 1% market share, which counts only new phones sold inside India, not secondhand sales or phones purchased elsewhere and brought into the country by travelers.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Long support life is part of Apple's value

        They could offer AppleCare for longer time periods

        I'm sure they'd love to do that, then it will be a straight Apple tax.

    3. tcmonkey

      "iPhone 6, 7 and 8, for instance, won't be supported in iOS 13.X.X (and later)."

      [Citation Needed]

      1. Joe W

        You realise it was a suggestion of what to possibly do?

        1. tcmonkey

          No, this was not at all obvious. The poster was talking about what Apple has already done, and then leads directly into this statement. It was never quantified as being a suggestion, even the phrase "for instance" could have been read (as I did) as an example of Apple's current behaviour.

  6. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge

    Market "too emotional?"

    Of course the bloody market is emotional! People buy luxury products based on their emotional "wants". They need some sort of perceived advantage in a product over other offerings to convince themselves that "want" is a "need" and therefore a worthy expenditure.

    If you don't offer enough differentiation between your higher priced products and your competitions' products you make it harder for people to bridge that gap.

    I want an adult beverage...

    1. overunder

      Re: Market "too emotional?"

      Speaking of emotion, it must be REALLY bad at Apple right now.

      "Apple's most important contribution to mankind has been in health."

      Desperate PR or DESPERATE PR?

    2. Mike Moyle Silver badge

      Re: Market "too emotional?"

      I took that "Market is too emotional" comment to be referring to the STOCK market, where everyone seems to be hyperthyroid on quick returns and anything more than five quarters out is considered "long-term planning".

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Market "too emotional?"

        I took that "Market is too emotional" comment to be referring to the STOCK market

        Indeed. The object for which the term irrational exuberance was coined. Depending on how their feeling, traders will tell you there looking at the "fundamentals" or "prospects for growth".

        At least two Swedish Riksbank Economic Prizes (known incorrectly as Nobel Prizes for Economics) have been awarded demonstrating that, at any one time, only a part of the market knows what it's doing, but over time it tends to get it right. And that was before the computers got involved in the trading…

      2. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge

        Re: Market "too emotional?"

        @Mike,

        "I took that "Market is too emotional" comment to be referring to the STOCK market"

        Absolutely agree that was the OP intent. But as an investor I need to look at the fundamental business model of a firm. If I perceive that their business model requires a stronger emotional purchase decision than their products warrant, I'm concerned about the investment. And that makes me a lot less likely to invest. So, turtles all the way down.

  7. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

    "I do think, looking back, in the future, you will answer that question, Apple's most important contribution to mankind has been in health."

    They're going to cure cancer?

    1. DJV Silver badge

      Nah, they'd probably try to patent it instead!

      1. big_D Silver badge
        Pint

        Invoice for a new keyboard inbound.

      2. Tigra 07 Silver badge
        Pint

        RE: DJV

        Then they'll try to sue diseases for infringing parts of their patents?

        1. AndrueC Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: RE: DJV

          "We can't cure you because you're dying the wrong way."

          1. LDS Silver badge

            Re: RE: DJV

            "We can't cure you because you lived the wrong way - and we can show you the data you did..."

    2. Kristian Walsh Silver badge

      Why health is Apple's target...

      You know that picture of Scrooge McDuck diving into a swimming-pool filled with gold coins? That's the US Healthcare market. Everyone's on the make, knowing that the insurers will pick up the cost (and pass it on, plus margin, to the consumer). Spend a week in a US hospital, come away with a five to six figure bill. Spending is out of control, with hospitals splurging on tech to try woo patients, who aren't paying the full costs anyway.

      In a way, it's like the mobile phone business a decade ago: lots of customers, presented with a situation where it looked like they were not paying the actual cost for something, so plumping for the most outrageously expensive option every time.

      Sure, there's no real opportunity outside the USA, but with the big wads of cash up for grabs, who cares about the rest of the world..

      Apple wants to get itself into health, because it's one of the few last places where there's a huge customer base and price does not matter. That's the kind of market Apple needs. And I suppose if health doesn't pan out, they could start making baby clothes...

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Why health is Apple's target...

        Everyone's on the make, knowing that the insurers will pick up the cost (and pass it on, plus margin, to the consumer).

        If you look at some of the bankruptcies, you'd know that it's a bit more complicated than that. It's certainly an inefficient market (which healthcare generally is) – you can't really shop around except for cosmetic surgery – and outcomes are very expensive when compared with other countries. And there's the whole un- and underinsured section…

        Just like everywhere else, money is generally lost on everyday and chronic complaints (vaccines, old age, etc.) and made in spectacular niche areas such as blood cancers where individual treatments can cost more then $ 100,000 per year. A bit like the phone business!

        Pity the poor drug companies that are forced to spend so much money on advertising and lobbying research and development.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Why health is Apple's target...

          Now that's a bit harsh. Drug companies have to take a gamble every time they make a new drug, with a pretty low chance of success (doesn't work, hits a legal snarl, you get beat to the patent, etc.). If your line of work required you to bet a sizeable chunk of the farm every time...

          1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

            Re: Why health is Apple's target...

            Drug companies have to take a gamble every time they make a new drug

            Not always. Lots of them have discovered techniques for extending patents by tinkering with molecules. But, in general, the current system has created perverse incentives that favour very expensive niche products over cheaper but broader solutions. This has particularly affected areas like vaccination and antibiotics.

            But in the US the FDA restrictions combine with the ability to advertise prescription medicines to drive up prices. The lobbying, the incentives to doctors and advertising are the main reasons why prescription medication is so expensive there.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Why health is Apple's target...

              No, what it really is is that the drug manufacturers perverted Congress into preventing the country from negotiating with drug companies more aggressively. They're very hard about it because it's the only country left that hasn't already codified the practices, so they're desperate to preserve their cash cow.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Durability?

    In my experience Apple hadware isn't any more durable than their competitors (unless you're comparing £1000 iPhones with £100 Androids). If anything it's the reverse. However it's undeniable that Apple support their hardware and offer software updates for far longer than android manufacturers. Maybe that's where the durability myth comes from?

    1. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Durability?

      But the problem is, if you have to replace your 200€ Android phone every 2 years, instead of your 1100€ iPhone XS 64GB every 4 years, the Android still works out a lot cheaper.

      1. Palladium

        Re: Durability?

        At least in Singapore a USD250 phone from either Huawei or Oppo a 2 year warranty is standard while iPhones only get 1 year even if you got most uber-expensive 512GB XS Max.

        On the OS update side you can rage about Android updates all you like but older versions like 7.0 is already so good that most people simply don't care anymore and iOS updates aren't exactly flawless either (cough iOS 11 cough).

        1. big_D Silver badge

          Re: Durability?

          Feature updates aren't that important and are a "nice to have". What is important is the monthly security updates from Google.

          My Hauweis aren't too bad, but they are generally 2 months behind - i.e. Hauwei get them and by the time they've tailored, tested and released the next one from Google is already available.

          That said, my Sony TV is still on the security patch from August 2018, not so good.

          1. Mr Benny

            Re: Durability?

            Heres an idea - dont connect your tv to the net. You see that odd looking thing on a pole? Its called an antenna. Plug it into your tv, youll be amazed.

            1. big_D Silver badge

              Re: Durability?

              It is connected to a satellite dish for freeview TV, but Amazon Prime, Netflix and the libraries for the different stations aren't available over satellite or terrestrial...

              1. Mr Benny

                Re: Durability?

                Use a dongle.

                1. veti Silver badge

                  Re: Durability?

                  Not the point.

                  Assuming you want internet TV services: then no matter how the signal gets to the TV, there has to be some bit of electronics in your home that's receiving and processing the data. It may be (what we used to call) a set-top box, or a laptop, or some specialised bit of gear. Increasingly nowadays, it's most often built into the TV itself.

                  But wherever it sits, whatever it is, it needs to be connected to the 'net, and that means it needs protection.

        2. Davidcrockett

          Re: Durability?

          Yeah this. If you ask most people what version of Android they're on they'll just give you a blank look. As long as security and app compatibility is up to snuff it's not really an issue for most users.

          1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

            Re: Durability?

            But if you ask "most people" whether their security and app compatibility is up to snuff, they'll just give you a blank look. I'm not sure that your argument takes us forwards.

      2. Spazturtle Silver badge

        Re: Durability?

        But you can sell your iPhone for $600 when you are done with it, Apple are clearly factoring this into the price now.

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: Durability?

          But you can sell your iPhone for $600 when you are done with it, Apple are clearly factoring this into the price now.

          I don't expect it to happen soon but it would be interesting to see if those much vaunted resell prices started to fall. The rebate programme will provide a floor to prices but we may see lower than expected values for the 2018 models.

        2. D@v3

          Re: sell for $600

          Can you? If so, I've got a 6s that I'd like to sell you.

          Best price I've been able to find is around £200, which while not bad for a 4 generation old phone, doesn't reduce the cost of a non-essential update enough, which is why I've still got it.

  9. Spudley

    A comparison from an entirely different industry may be helpful here.

    When Coca Cola reached peak coke, they didn't keep trying to get us to drink even more of the stuff. Well, they did, but that wasn't what allowed the company to keep growing. They diversified.

    Coca Cola as a product isn't going to get any bigger; it's basically saturated the market. But Coca Cola the company has acquired or created dozens of other brands, some of them not even remotely related to soft drinks. Doing that has kept the company growing, and kept the shareholders happy.

    The core soft drinks business carries on of course because it's a cash cow, but shareholders want growth as well as dividends, so that's what the company has to give them.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You know stats for Coca-Cola revenue are publicly available, right?

      Coca-Cola revenue for the quarter ending September 30, 2018 was $8.245B, a 9.18% decline year-over-year.

      Coca-Cola revenue for the twelve months ending September 30, 2018 was $32.310B, a 13.39% decline year-over-year.

      Coca-Cola annual revenue for 2017 was $35.41B, a 15.41% decline from 2016.

      Coca-Cola annual revenue for 2016 was $41.863B, a 5.49% decline from 2015.

      Coca-Cola annual revenue for 2015 was $44.294B, a 3.7% decline from 2014.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        >You know stats for Coca-Cola revenue are publicly available, right?

        When you can buy 2L of lemonade at Aldi for 17p you can see why.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          .... landfill lemonade!

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            >... landfill lemonade!

            As opposed to very expensive landfill Coke ?

            1. Tigra 07 Silver badge

              Used to hear (years ago mind you) that in parts of Africa Coca Cola was more common than drinkable water. I've no idea if that's true, but it would speak volumes about their distribution network.

              1. BigSLitleP

                It's true. My wife visited Kenya years ago and it was much easier to get hold of bottled coke than it was to get clean water and the coke was cheaper as well.

                1. Tigra 07 Silver badge

                  RE: BigSLitleP

                  Also speaks volumes about the scale of corruption in that case then. Cheaper to ship an artificial product in a plastic bottle, than build a pipe to funnel water.

                  1. BigSLitleP

                    Re: RE: BigSLitleP

                    *Glass bottle, but yes

                  2. Steve Gill

                    Re: RE: BigSLitleP

                    It's not a corruption thing, it's just that CocaCola inc had the money to invest in soft drink distribution whereas the nations couldn't afford the water distribution infrastructure

                    1. Kristian Walsh Silver badge

                      Re: RE: BigSLitleP

                      Exactly. And Coca-Cola has provided its logistics network in the past to aid agencies to distribute medicines and supplies to remote parts of Africa.

                      Also, note how in disaster operations in the USA, the large breweries and soft-drink makers shift to canning fresh water instead?

                      But some people can't see that corporations are neither a good nor an evil to society, I guess...

                  3. veti Silver badge

                    Re: RE: BigSLitleP

                    A pipe is subject to leakage, corrosion, unauthorised (unpaid) tapping, and needs ongoing maintenance even if none of these things happen.

                    A bottle is easy to secure, practically immune to all kinds of degradation except drinking, and requires no maintenance.

                    It's not (necessarily) a corruption problem. Bottles are just easier.

                  4. VikiAi
                    Flame

                    Re: RE: BigSLitleP

                    It also doesn't help when drink manufacturers get first dibs on the local water supplies and take most of it, causing the water shortages in the first place.

                    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

                      Re: RE: BigSLitleP

                      Well, when the guerillas control the only well, what else can you do?

      2. big_D Silver badge

        They seemed to lose the plot, when they diversified. I remember the Coca Cola water was first introduced and their slogan was taken direct from the USA, but it didn't work, because the word used to market the product meant male reproductive material in English...

        And Smarwater won an award in Germany for false advertising this year, with the CC marketing bod claiming that it was up to consumers to decide if they wanted to be taken in by CC's marketing...

        1. The Oncoming Scorn
          Paris Hilton

          Peckham Spring

          Ahhhh the Dasani incident.

          https://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/03/19/cokes_spunky_water_pulled/

          1. defiler Silver badge

            Re: Peckham Spring

            I personally like the bit where they claimed:

            "It's just that Dasani is as pure as water can get - there are different levels of purity."

            I'm pretty confident that drinking demineralised water is extraordinarily bad for you...

        2. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

          Re: Male reproductive,....

          @big_D

          You'll have to narrow that down for me, because us Brits have many and various names for our reproductive organs and emissions ; -)

          I remember 'Dasani' being a brand, and a quick check of Wikipedia shows a brand of 'Aquabona' and boner might qualify.

      3. Palladium

        Soft drinks taste awful, unhealthy and it's expensive versus clean tap water. I shudder at the thought at how anyone could habitually drink that all day.

        1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

          Since we are genetically predisposed to like sugar and since soft drinks are full of the stuff, you are not justified in saying that soft drinks taste awful. They do not because if they did, nobody would be buying them, so that is not the case. Castor oil tastes awful and that's the truth because nobody drinks that without a prescription - or their mother spoon-feeding them the stuff.

          As far as being unhealthy, smoking is unhealthy as well and that has never stopped anyone from smoking. It's the doctor telling you you're going to die that (sometimes) stops people from going on with their vice. So that argument carries no weight.

          And as far as being expensive is concerned, you only need to go to airports or most likely any country fair, market or public event to find that you can get a Coke for less than a bottle of pure water (although that is changing slowly).

          You have the right to your opinion, but that does not make your opinion fact.

      4. the Jim bloke Bronze badge

        As someone who considers Coca-Cola / Amatil one of the great evils of the world, those declines give me a fragment of a trace of hope for the future of humanity.

    2. LDS Silver badge
      Devil

      A comparison from an entirely different industry may be helpful here.

      Last time Apple got advises from a soft-drinks executive it didn't go very well....

      1. Kristian Walsh Silver badge

        Re: A comparison from an entirely different industry may be helpful here.

        I upvoted that, but in truth Sculley saved the company. Getting rid of Steve Jobs and his insistance on commercially-suicidal practices (custom Apple-logo rubber feet for under the case?) was the masterstroke.

        Unfortunately, like most reformers, he then stayed too long, and allowed a proliferation of wild blue-sky fantasies (Pink/Taligent, anyone?) to squander Apple's cash and its technological leadership - this was the late 1980s, when Apple genuinely was a cutting-edge technology company.

    3. katrinab Silver badge

      Pepsico is almost twice as big as coca cola in terms of revenue. Their flagship product is smaller, but their other products more than make up for it.

      1. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

        Oooh, Pepsi.

        Yeah, they own 'Walker's Crisps' (I can see the emissions from the largest crisp factory in Europe from my office window) amongst other brands. Smart move, who doesn't like a fizzy drink and a salty snack.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      And this is one of the things Apple is constantly getting wrong. It only concentrates on one product/market - i.e. mobile - pushes the price up on that as much as it can and then forgets about its other products, such as the Mac. Their 'Pro' line of products isn't a patch on what it once was, and while they used to have server products (arguably not the best by any means), they did complete the picture for a lot of customers. Now they have no server offering, no credible workstation offering and their 'workstation' class laptops while being priced as such offer nowhere near the performance or flexibility of the competition. These aren't consumer products, by any stretch but the people who buy them do tend to influence friends and family, etc and if these people move to an Android phone because they can't see the point in having anything Apple any more then the masses start to look at the alternatives too.

      I know this isn't the full reason Apple's sales are in decline, but it's one of the factors. Apple seem to forget their core product is the Mac and they have very much neglected/abused it in the search for a super-thin design.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "and failed to honour the cynical tradition of built-in obsolescence. "

    That's one of the most endearing features of the Reg, they don't mind pulling your leg - no matter if it makes them look really simple.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      I wonder if it's that or one of the grim realities of capitalism: that there's no business like repeat business, meaning if you "do the right thing," you shoot yourself in the foot physically because everyone just sticks to their one-and-dones and don't have to come back to you. At least Apple could still draw revenue from its online markets which have increasing subscription (read: repeat) elements.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Give up Tim

    and close Apple down. You will make an awful lot of people very happy.

    OTOH, carry on and ignore all the comments from a site like this?

    Oh my, what a choice he has to make. Does he even know this place exists?

    I think he'll carry on regardless. With all that cash in the bank, they could carry on for 3-5 years not selling a thing before the money ran out.

    Where's the fun in that. 3-5 years for the i-Titanic to sink? Far too slowly.

    What they need is real competition. Sadly the phone market is full of half baked devices. If all the best bits of them were to come together then the days of the iPhone would be numbered.

    Where's the Popcorn? This could get interesting.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Love him or hate him, Steve Jobs was Apple and the day he died so did the company. All I see is a legacy company with no vision that is just run by accountants with the sole intention of seeing how much cash they can screw out of you.

    It's only going to get worse and there will be no third coming of Jobs to turn it around.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      I agree largely with you in sentiment but not quite in the details. Apple's numbers are still fantastic, they're just not growing any more. They still have some fantastic people in the company but leadership does seem to be flagging. But, given the resources they have, they're still have plenty of opportunities.

      Compare this a bit with Microsoft over the last twenty years: fumbled lots of chances, made some terribles bets (AQuantive, Nokia, etc.) but they also got some things right: Azure, supporting other OS systems.

  13. alain williams Silver badge

    So where is the new market ?

    Saturation is where sales are, by & large, for replacements.

    * Personal Computers: Apple was there at the start 40 years ago, that is at saturation

    * Servers. Apple got out of that market

    * Laptops (ie portable PCs), that is at saturation

    * Portable music players, subsumed by smart 'phones

    * Smart 'phones, that is at saturation

    * Tablets (cross between laptop & smart 'phone), that is getting to saturation

    * iTunes Store, still healthy

    * Watches, still growing but not a must have

    Apple is playing with TVs, cars, ... but there is nothing that is an obvious new cash cow.

    1. Wade Burchette

      Re: So where is the new market ?

      "* Portable music players, subsumed by smart 'phones"

      Speak for yourself. I would love to have the iPod return. My current iPod is kept in my car so that when I start it up, my playlist picks up where it left off. The iPhone may be able to do what the iPod does, but it is not an iPod replacement. And never will be. The iPod had one purpose, which makes it ideal for leaving it connected to your car's stereo. With an iPhone, you have to reconnect it; with an iPod you can leave it connected.

      1. david bates

        Re: So where is the new market ?

        My Androids connect as soon as I get into the car, then connect to my bluetooth headphones when I leave the car.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So where is the new market ?

        "With an iPhone, you have to reconnect it; with an iPod you can leave it connected."

        Not in my car. If I get out half way through a track go into the supermarket the track automatically resumes the moment I turn on the ignition. All the time with my iPhone in my shirt pocket.

        I would suggest that it's your car that has the issue.

      3. RFC822

        Re: So where is the new market ?

        I used to use an iPod in my cars - my only ever Apple purchase.

        These days I just use a 128Gb USB memory stick. Most modern cars will have no problem dealing with one (may need to format as FAT32) and the in-car controls are probably much better at accessing your music than turning that silly circle. I normally leave mine on "random play" anyway.

        1. The Oncoming Scorn
          Coat

          Re: So where is the new market ?

          I hope you don't mean the steering wheel when you say "Silly Circle".

        2. Aspie73

          Re: So where is the new market ?

          How quaint, having to do something physical. I just speak to Android Auto and it will play a selection of tunes from a bank of about 30 million cloud based tracks.

      4. the Jim bloke Bronze badge

        Re: So where is the new market ?

        With the rising size of smart phones, I have decided I require a smaller form factor that I can effectively waterproof and use for water activities.. a "beach phone".

        Not something I want to leave unattended in a bag on the beach to be nicked, so able to withstand immersion in salt water to a depth of up to 5 meters, and to 1.5 meters for up to an hour, while being small enough to carry comfortably - and securely - in a velcro'd pocket.

        Naked IP68 phones arent adequate - plus being large and expensive, so my interim solution is a zombie Nokia 520 windows phone in a sealed bag. With an SD card full of tunes and a set of bluetooth earbuds it gets me to and from the beach without having to look to the real world for stimulation, and is cheap enough that loss or leakage isnt a drama.

        As a zombie, it is no longer any use for phone calls, so I am still looking for alternatives, (plus the windows phone music app is prettyvery crap)

        An Ipod might be a solution - as long as it requires no relationship with itunes or apple cables...

      5. MrAverage
        Trollface

        Re: So where is the new market ?

        So I guess I'll be the one then...

        WHAT!!?!??! You're still using static music files stored locally on a storage device?!?

        Well, I suppose Spotify has only been around for a decade... :P

        1. Ken Hagan Gold badge
          Trollface

          Re: So where is the new market ?

          "You're still using static music files stored locally on a storage device?!?"

          Well, that storage device is more portable than the radio mast that brings me Spotify coverage.

          And more secure.

          And cheaper to run.

          And non-revocable by some DRM-infatuated music exec.

          1. doublelayer

            Re: So where is the new market ?

            It's not our job to find a new market for apple. If there is or isn't a perfect new market for Apple to enter, it does not change the fact that they have focused too much on their iPhone line and neglected other products and other opportunities. The brilliance of Apple at one point was that they could find a place that seemed like it didn't need a ton of innovation and they could innovate anyway. Whether the result was pleasing to everyone was not the point; whether you like or dislike iPhones, smartphones, or mobile phones, you can't deny that Apple's creation of the iPhone caused a lot of innovation in the market, both from them and their competitors. However, let's look at where Apple is and where they could go.

            Where they are:

            They have a few lines of products. Most are somewhat stagnant.

            Desktops:

            iMac: This is still a normal machine, and suits those who need a lot of computing power (from a standard home user to their pro model with xeons) and wants that attached to a big screen. They have innovated here with higher resolution screens and the pro model with high specs.

            Mac Mini: They have updated it with more modern components, but the concept is still the same and the cost has gone up. The components are more expensive, but it isn't the low-cost Apple box it once was.

            Mac Pro: The internals are from 2013. I honestly don't know why they're still making them.

            Macbook Pro: Their innovation was dropping all the ports for USB C and taking the function keys off for a little strip of touchscreen. I haven't heard anyone all that excited about that.

            Macbook air: They dropped the ports off this one too and took the price up a bit. The screen is now higher resolution. I don't think taking a screen they already used and putting it in the air case counts as innovation.

            Macbook Retina: The thin, light, and underpowered one. It has been exactly the same since introduction.

            iPod Touch: They still sell these with a chip (underclocked) from a phone they stopped selling a long time ago. I don't know why they're making this either.

            iPad: Now available in five sizes. Those sizes are small (not updated with modern specs), normal, normal with the capability to use a pencil, large but still smaller than a laptop, and very large but still smaller than a laptop. However, the last major change was the pencil, which doesn't seem to be a major seller.

            Apple TV: Maybe the software is changing. I don't own one. It doesn't seem the hardware is, though.

            Apple Watch: Wait a minute. How many different versions of this have they made? Four? Well, I don't really know what the innovations are there but I certainly haven't heard about them.

            These are all their real products other than the iPhone. Most of them are either outdated or just odd. In other cases, the computers have the modern processors in them but otherwise are the same as the old ones. Taking away the old ports isn't innovation.

            Where they can go:

            They already are looking at TVs. They could probably do quite a lot. I think that, if Apple built a TV, they could at least get it working with fewer remote control devices, which seem to have multiplied in the past decade. They could also get a streaming service running should they be so inclined. Both of those leave room for Apple to innovate if they wanted.

            Apple has a home speaker thing. I didn't mention it above because it's ludicrously expensive and doesn't do very much. However, they could expand into the home automation market much more than they have already. Plenty of home devices could be designed differently.

            There are many other markets for them, too. They could become more technical and start building services for developers, for example trying their hand at the cloud services market. They could embrace their artistic users, fix the high-end image, video, and audio programs they've been breaking and make machines for designers of many types (for example, a large screen with their pencil and touch capability but also running a full mac OS and creative software rather than the mobile versions that pretend utility. They could expand their music technology and start producing hardware for those who write music. They could try a watch with fewer capabilities and longer battery life, starting a real competition for the fitness tracker market. They could make a bluetooth headset that 1. doesn't have the various problems seen with bluetooth and 2. doesn't consist of two tiny units that each cost $80 and each fit easily through a street grate.

            Diversification without consideration is useless. In fact, it's harmful. But this is Apple. Their business has been finding things that need a new design, and making that new design. Continuing to make the same style of computer with weirder software and an increasing number of flat touchscreens without doing anything else will eventually leave them stuck if they don't find something else to complement them.

  14. N2 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Telescope?

    No, he needs a mirror.

    That's where the enemy is, driven by greed, lock in and poor decisions.

    Stop shitting on your 'creative professionals' and dedicated followers, the groups that kept Apple alive when times were slim, very slim, so slim they relied on Microsoft.

    And yes, I will never forgive Apple for dropping Aperture, the shitty plant pot MacPro 6.1 thing with no Pci-e and so called MacBook Pro you can't change a hard drive or battery.

    Utter bastards, I'm not sure if I hate them more than Microsoft.

    1. robert_swift

      Re: Telescope?

      Greedy bastards indeed... Aperture. macOS Server. Airports.

      None of these things can cost a tremendous amount, in real terms, to maintain - and yet provided genuinely integrated capabilities that had been engineered to jive well... Aperture and macOS Server could have been dropped into the public domain and turned feral, who knows, maybe the community would have ignored 'em, but at least someone would have had the chance.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not quite

    Peak Apple is one thing, but what’s far more important are the incorrect allusions made early in the piece. Nelson did not wear an eyepatch and when he held his telescope to his bad eye, it was to ignore signals from other ships rather than ignoring enemy ships. The latter would simply be foolhardy.

    1. Steve Button

      Re: Not quite

      You are kind of taking the joke literally, and really missing the point.

      1. BigSLitleP

        Re: Not quite

        Maybe he should take off his eyepatch?

      2. David 132 Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Not quite

        Per Blackadder, Nelson’s actual signal was:

        “England knows Lady Hamilton is a virgin. Poke my eye out and cut off my arm if I’m wrong.”

  16. chivo243 Silver badge
    Devil

    Captain Cook?

    Maybe if he talked like a Pirate? Acting like one isn't cutting it...

    1. Jemma Silver badge

      Re: Captain Cook?

      Oh.. I don't know about that... I can so see a pink frilly shirt and spray on jeans..

      "I wanna sing and dance

      I wanna sing and dance

      I wanna be a pirate

      In the Pirates of Penzance"

      If I remember rightly that's out of the "gay pirate song" - pretty much dead on I'd say.

      I've been looking forward to the day when Apple end up working out of a Luton lock up.. Soon, my precious (£100 Android), soon.

  17. MMR

    The current iPhone lineup is wrong

    They never should've ditched the SE.

    1. Paul Ellis

      Re: The current iPhone lineup is wrong

      Have an upvote. I can afford a top-end iPhone XS. I don't want one because I'd be frightened of dropping it; I don't want to become mugger-bait; and because it won't comfortably fit in my trouser pocket. I want something SE-sized, or perhaps, at an absolute stretch, iPhone 7 sized, but even that's bigger than I'd like and I see no reason to shell out today's money for 2-year-old tech.

      So Apple is unlikely to get any more of my money until they make another phone of the size I want.

      I saw a while back someone commenting here that, essentially, computers and phones were *done*, several years ago. Correct. Few people need the peripheral gewgaws and tiny, incremental improvements since then, and most of us dislike the current emphasis on corporate lock-in.

      What do we really want? Actually, something that magically gets bigger when we use it, if we want it to, so that we can see big screens and use big buttons, and then equally magically shrinks again when we trouser it. *That* would be an upgrade worth having. So come on, materials scientists: I'll have that before my flying car, please.

  18. juice Bronze badge

    Still don't agree that

    "partly because it has done the right thing and failed to honour the cynical tradition of built-in obsolescence"

    Eh? As per the thread where this idea was originally proposed, Apple products are essentially sealed black boxes that can only be replaced (or can only be repaired by Apple).

    Which to my mind is a perfect continuation of the "cynical tradition of built-in obsolescence".

    For instance, they were recently caught out by the revelation that older iPhones were automatically downclocking their CPUs to offset diminishing battery capacities.

    This naturally caused outrage among the owners of iPhones, who were horrified to discover that their luxury item was underperforming. Apple's response: offer a short-term low-cost battery-replacement programme (which ended in December), and then went back to BAU once the storm had died down.

    Apple may occasionally do "the right thing", but only where it aligns with their business model of producing - and marketing - high-end luxury products.

  19. confused and dazed

    Health ?

    Health seems like a big bet to me. Perhaps it's just me, (and sometimes I worry that it is), but why would anyone want Apple, (or anyone else for that matter) have access to their personal data ? I don't want my blood pressure or pulse rate to be "monetized" thank-you very much

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Health ?

      He meant "One Apple a day keeps the doctor away".

      If you buy a new iPhone every day, Cook will be satisfied.

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Hubris

      "I do think, looking back, in the future, you will answer that question, Apple's most important contribution to mankind has been in health."

      Health has been the next big thing for years and yet the revenues have failed to materialise. Lots of companies have bet big on gadgets and personal data revolutionising health. And they've failed. It's very much a service industry and that's where we'll see the changes and also what drives the changes. This is why Amazon is getting into the prescription business and Google in the health record management one. All the consumer gadgets on earth will be worth shit if they don't get regulatory approval.

      So, my prediction is that Apple's most important contribution to mankind will never be considered to be health. They should hope to be remembered for the way they have managed to combine design, hardware and software in their products. Whether you liked them or owned them, there's no denying that the Macs, the I-Phones and I-Pads were market-defining products.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Recession ???

    "Firstly, Apple is less diversified, and more heavily exposed to a market that some would argue is now "in recession"."

    There is no recession, only a financial bubble that is just popping out ! Apple still was "in market" when it was no more than 2X the price of other gear with crap OS vs. IOS/MacOS. There was, back then, some valid reasons to spend that much. Not any longer, now ... And not because people no longer buy phones/laptops, they all do as before.

    Now being more 3X or 4X, they're in a kind of speculative bubble, or so they think, with no longer any link to the market. The point is: the market is not dumb and people from China or India really can't afford that gear anymore, and even many of us in the west are not stupid enough to burn so much cash in their widgets when there is no differentiation anymore with the other products. Sure, I know a couple of people that will happily fork out 3kE just to brag about their latest and greatest, but those are a tiny minority of show offs, even vs. all people, myself included, who can afford it.

    Apple really need to lower price DRAMATICALLY if they want to sell the current gen, and more than that, INNOVATE with the next lines.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Recession ???

      "INNOVATE with the next lines."

      Why? If the product does what the user needs what are the results of innovations? Quite possibly a product that does it worse. Or a product that's actively anti-user by continually spying, something that seems to be most of what innovation means these days.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Recession ???

        "Why? If the product does what the user needs what are the results of innovations?"

        Because it doesn't, at least not at this price point, anymore.

        1. doublelayer

          Re: Recession ???

          I want innovations. My phone is fine, and does the things I do with it perfectly well. For that reason, I do not need another, and the phones out there don't do anything new, so that doesn't tempt me either. If someone did come out with a phone that had new features, that might indeed tempt me into buying it. Some new features are useful. Phones with network connections were useful. Phones with touchscreens were useful. A phone with the capability to have a full sized keyboard with moving keys or a clever simulation thereof that still fits in my pocket would be useful. That's why they should innovate. It would cause people to drop their older devices and buy new ones much faster if the new phones did something useful that the old ones did not, rather than being a different size and having a camera with more pixels.

          1. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: Recession ???

            Point is, there's only so many things on a people's wish list. Most are either fulfilled or constrained by physics (I mean, a full-size full-travel keyboard still able to fit in your back pocket without folding like crazy?)

  21. Charles Calthrop

    easiest thing to do is probably turn on obsolecence again

    Aside from lengthening the product cycle, I can see two engineering fixes:

    1) Make phones exciting again. Make week long battery. Make as huge gains as (say) between the 3 and 4 and make world class industrial design.

    however, that sounds quite hard so:

    2) Make obsolecence great again!

    If my 3 year phone works so well I can't see the point of an upgrade, well, they can change that quite easily.

    Hope they don't go for step 2. would be a lot easier though, no?

  22. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "But the [stock] market also attempts to price in long-term risks"

    It seems to fail at pricing in something that's more of a certainty than a reality: that the product market will mature. It's all very well setting a stock price at $SILLY P/E in the early stages because it anticipates what future earnings are anticipated. As the market approaches maturity maintaining that is just foolishness as the future earnings will stabilise at a lower level.

    There's nothing wrong with a product settling down to be a steady earner. There's a lot wrong with thinking that it won't and everything wrong with failing to accept that it has.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They do themselves no favours

    Just today I was tasked with getting the boss a cheap(!) iPad mini. I checked the latest version (4), and then naturally started looking for iPad mini 3's.

    The result: I couldn't find any! Only 2's and 4's available.

    The iPad mini 3's wiki article said it all:

    "The iPad Mini 2 was regarded as a better buy, being $100 USD cheaper and featuring the same screen and internals."

    It's when they keep pulling this, you hope they crash and burn.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One possible solution, iPhone as a service. Guarantee the phones for 6 years with free battery (should they be needed) and software upgrades, plough R&D into making software, put lots of sensors and wearable items for health into the mix over time and charge a monthly fee. Refresh the phones every 3 years with a discount for subscribers but make the service non-transferable making second hand iPhones obsolete. Yes it's evil but I think it's something Apple would go for.

    1. veti Silver badge

      Sounds like a plan that would work better for Google than for Apple.

      If I were Apple, I'd be trying to form a strategic alliance with another oddball consumer electronics company that insists on going its own way: Nintendo.

  25. 2Blockchainz

    Is Woz available?

    ...call me naive, but I think he would care about building great products, using solid engineering principles, and creating utility for society.

    1. David 132 Silver badge

      Re: Is Woz available?

      Well, yes and no. I have a lot of respect for Woz, but he's an engineer, not a salesman. Jobs was a PT Barnum, yes, but he knew what would sell (at this point the probably-apocryphal story comes to mind about Henry Ford saying "If I'd asked my customers what they wanted, I'd have ended up breeding a faster horse".)

      A company like Apple needs a leader who's part businessman ("what will make money?"), part engineer ("what is possible?"), and part showman ("what will people desire?"). Woz isn't that mix, and Cook certainly isn't.

      There's an SMBC web-comic from a few years ago that for me, kind of summarizes what an Apple led by Woz would be like: http://www.smbc-comics.com/comic/2012-05-01

  26. IGnatius T Foobar !
    FAIL

    Apple FAIL

    Apple doesn't sell phones or services. Apple sells an "image" or even a "feeling". It's a high end brand. If you buy a $2000 Gucci bag it isn't going to hold your belongings any better than a $25 bag from Wal-Mart. But you get to feel good about yourself because you have the "best" in terms of image. iPhones and iPads and iComputers have the same image.

    The reason we hit Peak Apple is, as everyone has been correctly pointing out, because Tim Cook does not have the Barnum-like talent of Steve Jobs. He doesn't have the ability to fascinate people with "one more thing". He's not even a half-decent technologist. Yawn.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Apple FAIL

      Well, that and everyone who's got the bling has the bling. Even the fabled Atari 2600 hit market saturation eventually.

    2. David 132 Silver badge

      Re: Apple FAIL

      However, iPhones/Macs are not - whatever Tim Cook thinks - Veblen goods.

  27. localgeek

    Nonplussed

    If I may be a bit pedantic here (and I'm not waiting for permission), I'm a bit nonplussed about the writer's use of "nonplussed" in this article. He writes: "If you're nonplussed about having to upgrade your trusty iPhone after two years, you may as well wait three." Why anyone should be surprised or confused about the upgrade process is beyond me.

    More here: https://www.punctuationmatters.com/nonplussed-definition/

    1. David 132 Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Nonplussed

      Pedantic on the internet? Without permission???

      How dare you, sir. That is against all precedent. I am telling the IETF, the FCC and also the UN on you.

  28. RobThBay

    What happened to their iCar?

    Wasn't their self driving car supposed be the next big thing?

  29. Shadow Systems Silver badge

    I got to troll an Apple salesman...

    I was walking through my local shopping mall to get a specific item when I was accosted by an Apple salesman trying to convince me to "lose that crappy phone-" (meaning my feature phone) "-and buy a new Iphone instead!" He blathered on & on about how the Iphone was so awesome, so much better, & the next best thing to the Pope. But then he made a critical mistake when he asked "What can your phone do that the Iphone can't?"

    I smiled & plugged in my wired headphones, swapped the SD card from the then-current one with audio books on it to another card with MP3s on it, & swapped out the battery for a fully charged one. "All that & it only cost me $40 unlocked! Pretty good for a supposedly dumb phone, huh? Certainly a smarter purchase than your $1,000+ pseudo smart one that can't do any of those things."

    I couldn't see the look on his face (damn my nonfunctional eyes!) but I heard people around me LAUGHING at the effective wedgie I'd just delivered.

  30. bloodnok

    iphone se

    agree with the notion that  is pricing itself out of the markets it's been pursuing and also their boneheaded move of discontinuing the iphone se. something else they're missing is there's a large number of iphone users who really don't want a phablet but would pay a premium for a phone with the guts of the xs (excess) phone in a form factor the size of the lamented se.

    an xs mini, perchance, capt cook?

  31. A phone for Engineers BY Engineers

    Rebirthed Nokia suits me 100%; bloat-free Android, minimal marketing budget, 9 will have a 5 Zeiss lensed camera and for me, with my "old" Nokia 8 it is already goodbye fruity farm, ciao!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "will have a 5 Zeiss lensed camera"

      That's alike Apple-branding... I bet the lens is "designed by Zeiss" and made in China. If it was a real Zeiss lens "made in Germany", it would cost alone more than your phone <G>

  32. YARR

    As the PC market has matured, the entry level hardware spec has essentially stagnated while high end models continue to improve. The same could happen in the smartphone market, so that entry level phones good enough for light use remain about the spec of an SE. Apple need to think carefully how to set the entry level spec so as not to deter buyers from higher end phones. e.g. Make them look less appealing.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Expensive tech I just don't need

    In this day and age of rapid privacy decay, I'm actively withdrawing from certain technologies.

    No way I'm spending a small fortune being trussed and tracked as a consumer.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Expensive tech I just don't need

      Then what happens when (not if) it becomes the bare essential just to participate in society? Do you just cry out, "Stop the world! I wanna get off!"?

  34. StuntMisanthrope Bronze badge

    The worst financial performance in the history of time.

    Let's be honest, it's not been the best of times recently has it. I'd also say that there's more up and down, than than a yo-yo competition.

    The last time I looked, they have more cash in the bank, than a small country, there will be another magic lamp, there always is. The merchants of doom are usually borrowing with other peoples money and that didn't end well the last time.

    FWIW having a specialist chip in the game, as per some competitors, might well make the difference when it comes to recognition. #sameaswealwaysdo

    N.B. I'm no economist, but a bit more than a century ago there were a series of panics culminating in a big industrialist bail-out. Since the comfort blanket is now in place, the only difference I can see is the run on securities instead.

  35. Tim Almond

    Phones are Done

    I don't really understand the sales of expensive phones.

    I have a Moto G5. Cost me £150. Does maps, music, Netflix, the sort of games I want on a mobile, bus and train times, subcard, web surfing. The camera isn't great, but for posting something disposable on Facebook it does the job. I wouldn't use it for photographing the hanging gardens of Babylon or herds of wildebeest sweeping majestically across the Serengeti but I wouldn't use an iPhone for that either. I'd use a M43 or DSLR camera.

    I also just find phones too disposable to spend much. Easy to break the screen, easy for the internals to fail. Operating systems that don't have particularly long lives. I'd rather spend money on things that generally last, like a standalone camera or laptop.

  36. Sil

    The days of the Apple Tax are numbered

    Apple earns tens of billions with its services and content sales/rent, but the days of the 30 % Apple tax are numbered, as they are for Google Play or Steam.

    Netflix refusing to contribute to this 99,99% margin profit business is just the beginning.

    So Apple really needs a new product line medium term.

    Watches and AirPods are selling like hotcakes, but it's still a small business compared to the iPhone.

  37. Toilet Duk

    I ditched Apple and got me a Redmi Note 4 from Banggood for £125 and it's just fine.

  38. jaffy2

    Ordered and returned XS Max

    I ordered the new XS Max for my annual Apple upgradefest back in September. It arrived. It was massive and not worth the extra payment every month so back it went. Until Apple do something revolutionary for the iPhone, this is probably as good as it gets with a slightly faster CPU/better camera each year. Ridiculously battery life is reduced on the XS compared to the X - how did anyone sign off on that?

  39. CJ Hinke

    Convergence

    As a Mac user since 1984 buying most iterations, most of them are still running.

    I refuse to read email the size of a postage stamp so I made my hand-me-down iPhone 'stupid' by disconnecting it. It's, ahem, a phone.

    Rather than forcing the rest of us to smaller & lighter, proprietary non-upgradeable, to iOS (very limited compared to MacOS), I'd prefer convergence. I'd be the first to buy a 12.9 inch iPad if it could double as a phone.

    Apple needs to start considering what its dedicated users want from their devices instead of pushing us meat puppets into its mould.

  40. The Onymous Coward

    Still using my iPhone SE and 2010 MacBook Air with cash ready and waiting to replace them when Apple again make products I actually want to buy.

  41. martinusher Silver badge

    They're collateral damage in Trump's trade war

    Apple's appeal in China is to the 'bling' market -- if you've got disposable income and want to show it then one way is to own Apple products. Unfortunately the US has decided to start a trade war with China, a war that also includes a wholesale assault on a local company, Huawei, that has done nothing wrong except be a formidable competitor. Its not surprising that Chinese consumers are turning away from Apple products and especially dangerous for Apple because the competition not only makes products that are as good as Apple's but are at least half the price -- once the Apple habit is broken there's no need for their products or their ecosystem. A large part of Apple's market just evaporates.

    This is just a small example of the problems we're unleashing on ourselves as a country by the crass behavior of our government. Sanctions are a useful tool but if they're applied too liberally and too often then they lose their effectiveness because countries develop mechanisms to counter them. We have enjoyed a global stranglehold on the world's economy for years now, a position that gave us a huge amount of leverage over other countries and allowed us the luxury of running huge trade and current account deficits. A sort of global financial Apple, as it were -- lucrative, habit forming, difficult to get rid of but if the world ever finds a reason and a way to go outside our hegemony we are going to be so screwed. (We'll have to start WW3 to bring everyone into line -- oh, you think I'lm joking?)

  42. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge
    Joke

    Did you hear? The new iPhone will have THREE (not two but THREE) cameras.

    Let me guess, the basic version will probably cost US$1800 (128 Gb), US$1950 (256 Gb) and US$2150 for the 512 Gb. Mid-level version up will be US$2000

    (128 Gb), US$2150 (256 Gb) and $2400 (512 Gb).

    And then the premium version. Same size as the iPhone XS Max but starting at US$2100 (128 Gb), US$2250 (256 Gb) and US$2500 (512 Gb).

    Of course, if you trade an iPhone X in, you'll get a $100 iTunes gift card!

    Hoot!

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