Apple wants to be known as a services company, says Gene Munster in farewell note

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  • Reply 21 of 43

    LeeinAZ said:

    They might need a new CEO, someone who knows how to implement web delivered services, because right now they have a supply chain guy, and web services (something Apple has not had the best reputation of getting right) and hardware supply chain are two very different things.

    As others have pointed out, for every service Apple offers, someone else does it better. Siri as a web assistant is downright awful when compared to Google's offering. Their productivity stuff, mail contacts and calendars are not as good as Microsoft and Google's offerings. Their music is not bad, but not any better than Spotify. iCloud storage does nothing that cheaper and better (cross platform) services like Dropbox offer.

    The company is at an inflection point, and if I had to bet, they will go the way of IBM, Dell, and Balmer Microsoft. That is to say, they won't be going out of business any time soon, but their inability to continue to innovate and deliver new products after the unfortunate death of the companies visionary, will lead to a period of malaise.

    If their pro product offerings including the most recent pro laptop tells us anything, the are no longer able to deliver products that get anything greater than a 'meh' from the people that have historically championed the brand.

    I for one, am not in a hurry to subscribe to new Apple services, on the contrary as time goes by, I find I am happier with non-Apple services. I have been using a Mac since 1987 and recently have been finding using Apple products less appealing, due to instability and unnecessary complication of software and questionable design choices in both hardware and software. For me it is not so unappealing that I will be using my Surface or Galaxy 7 Edge as my daily drivers, but I no longer see it is an impossibility.

    Opinion presented as fact. I like their web based productivity suite much better than google docs. and John Gruber of Daringfireball found google's assistant failed the same contextual challenges as Siri and wasn't any better. 
    pscooter63brucemc
  • Reply 22 of 43
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,533member
    apple ][ said:
    Where is the damn Apple streaming TV & Video service?

    I have never bought a single movie or tv series from iTunes and I probably never will. 

    I do on the other hand pay money to Netflix and Amazon for their streaming services every month.

    Where is the Apple streaming service that can compete with and be better than both of those?

    If Apple had a good service, that was better than the others, then I would give money to Apple every month instead of to the others. 




    service != streaming. I believe selling movies and tv and music is still a service. 
    List of Apple's internet-based or -using services.

    roundaboutnow
  • Reply 23 of 43
    knowitall said:
    Services is always the end phase of a company, although you could go even lower than that and end up like Philips, become a company that sells all of its IP, axes all of its research and development and production facilities and let Chinese firms use your name for a 5 or 10 year lease period (because shareholders and advising economists think that this is the way to the biggest - always short term - profit).
    End phase? Like they're doomed? IBM doomed? Microsoft doomed? Google doomed? All services (MS moving there now)
    roundaboutnow
  • Reply 24 of 43
    bobroo said:
    I can see why Tim and Jony's Apple would like to be service-centered. The margins are obviously higher and their liability is obviously less. 

    But in the same breath I would also say a service business does not need a bazillion dollar spaceship to conduct business in. You do not need Apple Stores. You do not need (like Amazon) customer service. You do not need developer conference spectacles. etc. etc.

    So, the new Silicon Valley is going to be on what ever street Craigslist is located?
    Why would Jony, someone who designs physical things for a living, be pushing Apple to become a services company? 
    I think so.

    I perceive Jony has a ever increasing managerial role in the company and much less a clandestine industrial designer. That lengthy 60 Minutes piece a year ago told me a lot about who is really in charge at Apple.

    That being said; products like iTunes, iCloud, App Store, and Apple Pay have really high margins and very limited liability. Apple only is only responsible for the sale not the products themselves.

    So if you had millions of shares vested in Apple, why wouldn't you agree to the switch?  it's easy money.
  • Reply 25 of 43
    crowleycrowley Posts: 5,730member
    Aww, I was hoping he'd sign off with a prediction that the Apple Television would be released next year.
    tallest skiljSnivelyroundaboutnow
  • Reply 26 of 43
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,506member
    This would not be unprecedented....

    IBM, the mainframe company (and before that the typewriter company), has always focused on its service to the customer.   The saying went:  "Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM equipment".   The truth is that IBM equipment was NOT the reason for that truism.  Rather, IBM made sure that the customer's needs were met -- which is service oriented rather than hardware oriented.  

    Does it matter whether the company (whether it is IBM or Apple) deliver that service via hardware or software...

    As Steve Jobs knew:   The IPod was great for what it did and what it represented -- not because it was an innovative chunk of hardware.
    ... Jobs knew that hardware and software were both merely a means to the end.
    Yes, but the end was making the user's life better, which depended on the enjoyment of using the product. And the design of the product was crucial to the joy or even love of using it.

    This is something that IBM never explored deeply for consumers, and certainly Microsoft never did as a primary goal on the software side. Apple has always tried to do the joy of usability in software too.

    In any case, with Jobs and Ive and crew, the primary goal was to start with hardware and software that worked as beautifully as possible given the available technology at the time. The iPod was not an Apple-worthy product until Toshiba came up with that little hard drive, which Apple siezed on as if they were waiting for just that. It made 1000 songs in your pocket possible as the product, which in turn made the first massive investment in services, iTunes, necessary.

    All this is to say that Apple's next phase will also be hardware-driven first. Augmented reality won't be the next (and biggest of all) service until Apple — Ive and crew — have a new way of getting visual data right in front of your eyes, or your car's eyes, whether in glasses or on windshields or in the brain of the vehicle. Thus all their investment in 3D sensing over recent years — can't use all that without beautiful, working hardware for us to interface with.




    edited December 2016 pscooter63StrangeDaysbigpics
  • Reply 27 of 43
    tundraboytundraboy Posts: 1,608member
    "Apple could bring an AR or MR (mixed reality) wearable device to market that ultimately replaces the smartphone in the next five or more years, he says."

    No.  Visual and voice interface with no manual/tactile input component is not compatible with how efficient human cognition works.  Any AR or MR device that is introduced will be peripheral to a smartphone, not a replacement.  Anyone who chucks a smartphone for this mythical wearable AR device will immediately find out how hobbled the computing experience is.  How do you cut and paste for an email or text?  How do you tick off a completed task?  How do you edit a photo or video?  Are you willing to talk on and on for a task that would take one tap if you had a smartphone? For god's sake, how do you take a selfie with a frigging wearable?  How do you share and talk about a picture, or a message, or a website with your friends using a wearable?  Are you willing to talk every time you need to use your mobile computing device?  Or gesture in the air with your hands all the time?

    If you are going to be an analyst, or worse, a venture capitalist covering intimate computing devices, you should first and foremost have an understanding of how the human brain, how human cognition, works.  Otherwise you'll be wasting a lot of your own and other people's money.
    edited December 2016 pscooter63brucemcpalomine
  • Reply 28 of 43
    I always looked forward to reading a relay of Gene's notes on this site. His positive outlook and bold predictions will be missed. They sure got the discussion going.
    edited December 2016
  • Reply 29 of 43
    And then Gene jumped off the building.
    IronheadLeeinAZ
  • Reply 30 of 43
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,506member
    tundraboy said:
    "Apple could bring an AR or MR (mixed reality) wearable device to market that ultimately replaces the smartphone in the next five or more years, he says."

    No.  Visual and voice interface with no manual/tactile input component is not compatible with how efficient human cognition works.  Any AR or MR device that is introduced will be peripheral to a smartphone, not a replacement.  Anyone who chucks a smartphone for this mythical wearable AR device will immediately find out how hobbled the computing experience is.  How do you cut and paste for an email or text?  How do you tick off a completed task?  How do you edit a photo or video?  Are you willing to talk on and on for a task that would take one tap if you had a smartphone? For god's sake, how do you take a selfie with a frigging wearable?  How do you share and talk about a picture, or a message, or a website with your friends using a wearable?  Are you willing to talk every time you need to use your mobile computing device?  Or gesture in the air with your hands all the time?

    If you are going to be an analyst, or worse, a venture capitalist covering intimate computing devices, you should first and foremost have an understanding of how the human brain, how human cognition, works.  Otherwise you'll be wasting a lot of your own and other people's money.
    Yep, he should have said the phone, the pocket computer, will become the platform for wearable AR/MR, maybe even its primary purpose as a platform. Which then will result in his transformation of Apple into (mostly?) a services company. But still the hardware human interface is primary, as you say.
  • Reply 31 of 43
    brucemcbrucemc Posts: 1,499member
    As outlined by many, in the last decade Gene Munster was wrong more than he was right about anything Apple.  Why then is everyone taking his view that "Apple wants to be a services company" seriously?  

    Yes, Tim Cook (or the CFO) did note on a couple of conference calls the growth in Apple's services business.  They clearly want to point out that while some parts of the business are experiencing some slowdown, others are growing very well.  That does not automatically translate into "clearly Apple wants to become a services company".  This is simply a narrative the media/blog-o-sphere have generated from the comments, and it what they superficially think - hey Google and FB are services companies, and they have a higher PE than Apple, so Apple should do that to.

    Apple's actions would indicate they are doubling-down on innovation-led products.  Focusing on a subset of the product line for (what they believe) are big changes.  A huge change to the MBP.  Clearly huge iOS / iPhone focus.  Focus on the emerging wearables sector.  Very innovative / leading design & features in the AirPods.  Rumours have an iPad event in the spring.  Some may say they are abandoning older (less well selling) lines - which may be true, we don't know as there are no statements - but at same time clearly focusing on products.

    Apple's type of services grow with the installed base (which is growing quite well if you read some of the research), and to do that they need strong product line.  One leads the other.  Pointing out "on an analyst call" that services are a growing area of revenue does not change their product focus.  

    Personally, I would like Apple to focus as much on "ecosystem & services" (not product agnostic services though) as they do on product.  They clearly do not.  My concern is that Apple is getting too laser focused, and starting to say "no" even more now than in the past, despite having grown much larger in size.

    SpamSandwich
  • Reply 32 of 43
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 1,954member
    Companies that sell services have a tendency to forget that they're in the business of selling services and get caught up in the belief that they're in the business of selling contracts... Look at most every ISP left in the USA...
    SpamSandwich
  • Reply 33 of 43
    I know that a lot of folks here liked to dump on Munster. But I've always thought that he was one of the more sober, thoughtful, positive analysts for Apple, always standing up for the company to the stupidly-informed CNBCs of the world.

    I will miss his insights as an Apple analyst. (I'll take him over that other "well-connected" guy any day).
    SpamSandwich
  • Reply 34 of 43

    SOT:

    My granddaughter wants to learn Swift programming, so I spent several hours updating her MacBook Air with Sierra, Xcode 8, etc.  I hadn't used a MacBook since my Alu 17" so it was an interesting experience -- especially relearning how to use the track pad.

    I have a 12.9 inch iPad Pro with the Apple KB/Case and I couldn't help comparing it to the MBA. 

    1. The MBA has a larger screen, but the iPad has higher resolution
    2. The MBA weighs twice as much
    3. The MBA has more RAM
    4. The MBA has 512 GB max storage the iPad 256
    5. The cost of a 256 GB MBA is a wash with a 256 GB iPad with Apple KB/Case
    6. No GPS/Cell radios on the MBA, Optional on the iPad on the iPad
    7. MBA weighs twice as much as the iPad
    8. MBA runs macOS, iPad runs iOS

    8) is the differentiator for this exercise.  To really develop in Xcode Swift, you need capabilities that are accessible in macOS but either not accessible or not present in iOS...

    Yea, access to the file system, background processes, access to external devices, some missing OS and Swift capabilities...  Sure, the iPad's Swift Playgrounds (written in Swift) approximates Xcode to some extent -- but not for heavy development -- OK for incidental code maintenance and changes. I don't think a touch screen lends itself to heavy development.  

    Some would add 9) to the above list -- iPad lacks a mouse/trackpad (cursor)...

    Or does it?  With the Apple KB/Case, you can touch the screen to place a cursor and then use the arrow keys to move the cursor, e.g. extend a selection.

    If you don't have an external kb, you can touch the screen to place the cursor and bring up the iPad's on-screen kb.

    Now, it gets interesting!  If you 2-finger touch the on-screen kb, it turns into a trackpad -- and you can move the curser until you release your fingers.


    So, iPad iOS has rudimentary capability for a trackpad/cursor.  What if Apple were to offer a KB/Case with a trackpad?

    The items (in bold) above could be addressed by extending iOS for Pro iPad use without sacrificing any iOS capabilities for normal users.  A more robust iPad Pro with A10X, options for more RAM, larger SSD...

    I'd be willing to bet developers and other Pro users would eat this up!   I know IBM and its IT customers would.



    edited December 2016 Soliroundaboutnow
  • Reply 35 of 43
    Yea, access to the file system, background processes, access to external devices, some missing OS and Swift capabilities...
    But if you’re only going to use it for coding, wouldn’t an Xcode app with an internal library (like how Pages operates) be all you need to do it?
  • Reply 36 of 43

    SOT:

    My granddaughter wants to learn Swift programming, so I spent several hours updating her MacBook Air with Sierra, Xcode 8, etc.  I hadn't used a MacBook since my Alu 17" so it was an interesting experience -- especially relearning how to use the track pad.

    I have a 12.9 inch iPad Pro with the Apple KB/Case and I couldn't help comparing it to the MBA. 


    1) The MBA has a larger screen, but the iPad has higher resolution
    2) The MBA weighs twice as much
    3) The MBA has more RAM
    4) The MBA has 512 GB max storage the iPad 256
    5) The cost of a 256 GB MBA is a wash with a 256 GB iPad with Apple KB/Case
    6) No GPS/Cell radios on the MBA, Optional on the iPad on the iPad
    7) MBA weighs twice as much as the iPad
    8) MBA runs macOS, iPad runs iOS

    8) is the differentiator for this exercise.  To really develop in Xcode Swift, you need capabilities that are accessible in macOS but either not accessible or not present in iOS...

    Yea, access to the file system, background processes, access to external devices, some missing OS and Swift capabilities...  Sure, the iPad's Swift Playgrounds (written in Swift) approximates Xcode to some extent -- but not for heavy development -- OK for incidental code maintenance and changes. I don't think a touch screen lends itself to heavy development.  

    Some would add 9) to the above list -- iPad lacks a mouse/trackpad (cursor)...

    Or does it?  With the Apple KB/Case, you can touch the screen to place a cursor and then use the arrow keys to move the cursor, e.g. extend a selection.

    If you don't have an external kb, you can touch the screen to place the cursor and bring up the iPad's on-screen kb.

    Now, it gets interesting!  If you 2-finger touch the on-screen kb, it turns into a trackpad -- and you can move the curser until you release your fingers.


    So, iPad iOS has rudimentary capability for a trackpad/cursor.  What if Apple were to offer a KB/Case with a trackpad?

    The items (in bold) above could be addressed by extending iOS for Pro iPad use without sacrificing any iOS capabilities for normal users.  A more robust iPad Pro with A10X, options for more RAM, larger SSD...

    I'd be willing to bet developers and other Pro users would eat this up!   I know IBM and its IT customers would.



    MBA so nice, you had to weigh it twice! (# 2 and # 7 the same p

    The ATV-4 has a trackpad in the remote, so not so far-fetched for iPad...
    edited December 2016
  • Reply 37 of 43
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,766member
    Yea, access to the file system, background processes, access to external devices, some missing OS and Swift capabilities...
    But if you’re only going to use it for coding, wouldn’t an Xcode app with an internal library (like how Pages operates) be all you need to do it?
    Software development requires version control. Until you can use Git and SVN on iOS, which would normally require access to the file system, iPad is a non-starter for any serious professional software development. In order to bring Xcode to iOS, they would need to completely redesign how iOS works. What is the point? Just get a Mac.
  • Reply 38 of 43
    volcan said:
    Software development requires version control. Until you can use Git and SVN on iOS…
    But why couldn’t that be done? Think about something along the lines of Versions, in OS X already, where the Save command has been changed to “create a version” that you can go back and peruse. You can’t imagine an iOS Pages-style layout of your files where you’d touch just one and be able to see all the past versions of it?
  • Reply 39 of 43
    volcan said:
    Software development requires version control. Until you can use Git and SVN on iOS…
    But why couldn’t that be done? Think about something along the lines of Versions, in OS X already, where the Save command has been changed to “create a version” that you can go back and peruse. You can’t imagine an iOS Pages-style layout of your files where you’d touch just one and be able to see all the past versions of it?
    It could be done ala Pages -- in fact, iPad Playgrounds has a similar internal file structure and can share in/out with other iPads or Xcode on a Mac.

    But, I agree with @volcan, ;Software development requires version control. Until you can use Git and SVN on iOS…

    Likely, that would require opening the kimono [iOS File System] to some extent and the ability to run System [CLI] scripts, additional background capability and ability to run a Process...  It's been a while, but I think you can do most of that with a JailBroken iOS device -- so the capability is there, just not exposed to the user.

    Until something better comes along...

    That something better could be the Apple/IBM Swift Package Manager.  It could be enhanced to run on iOS and perform the needed capabilities under the covers.

    https://swift.org/package-manager/#example-usage

    Ha!  I am trying to access github repos with a browser and it won't accept connections... maybe later!

    edited December 2016
  • Reply 40 of 43
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,766member
    volcan said:
    Software development requires version control. Until you can use Git and SVN on iOS…
    But why couldn’t that be done? Think about something along the lines of Versions, in OS X already, where the Save command has been changed to “create a version” that you can go back and peruse. You can’t imagine an iOS Pages-style layout of your files where you’d touch just one and be able to see all the past versions of it?
    Oh it could be done, but it wouldn't be Xcode, because that is not how Xcode works. Besides you really need access to the file system for all your resources. Also, having the ability to create compiled executables on iOS is the last thing Apple wants. Hiding all that was the principle reason they created iOS in the way they did - for maximum security.
    edited December 2016 tallest skil
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