Editorial: Will Apple's 1990's "Golden Age" collapse repeat itself?

Posted:
in AAPL Investors edited April 2018
Once, long ago in a previous epoch of technology, Apple Computer, Inc. commissioned a new headquarters in Northern California just as it began losing its position as a leader in personal computing tech in the early 90s. Could history repeat itself in our modern era?


History repeats, always with a twist

As Apple more recently embarked upon its massive modern expansion at Apple Park, pundits crafted a narrative claiming the company was fated to suffer from an 'arrogant construction hubris' and ultimately fail.

There's certainly no sign of that supposed "Curse of the Edifice Complex" today, a few years later as Apple expands even further beyond Apple Park with surrounding buildings--including its monumentally lavish Visitors Center in Cupertino--and the nearby Apple Campus 3.

The future outlook for Apple appears to have always been pretty wrong. The same kind of handwringing over Apple Park didn't occur over thirty years ago when the company was completing its first major campus back in 1993, just prior to a period of actual uncertainty and upheaval that really did result in a sideways period of crisis for Apple, known as the "Beleaguerment."

To better understand some of the reasons why pundit advice and prognostication are so frequently misguided, take a look at the Old Apple during its first major campus project--in the context of what was happening at the company (versus what outsiders imagined was occurring, based on a superficial understanding of the market)--and consider what's different this time around.

Apple's 1990s "Golden Age" campus

Apple's first major campus project in Northern California, known as 1 Infinite Loop, had just finishing completion in 1993 at the tail end of what had been commonly called (at the time) Apple's Golden Age: the pinnacle of its then highly-regarded Macintosh business that was just approaching its ten year anniversary (not unlike today's iPhone).

The Macintosh-centric Apple had pioneered the development of advanced concepts including QuickTime digital video editing, voice synthesis and recognition, ultra-fast desktop computer hardware, new hyperlinked worlds with explorable nodes of virtual reality and the promise of a new generation of mobile Newton personal digital assistants.

Across the 80s, Apple had achieved a pattern of distantly outperforming the collective mainstream of commodity copycat cloners in the industry by seeking to achieve something much greater than just incremental hardware advancement. While almost entirely forgotten after its fall in the mid-90s, Apple was commonly described at the time as having entered a Golden Age, a period of time where everything it delivered was impressive and exciting and desirable.

The new headquarters of 1 Infinite Loop reflected that Golden Age optimism while figuratively planting a nostalgic homage to representations of how it got there in its campus Sculpture Garden: a feature depicting cartoonish, low-resolution Mac icons sprouting from the lawn. The Apple of the early 90s could easily be mistaken for today's Google.


Apple's Sculpture Garden. Source: 512 Pixels

Apple's Golden Age meltdown

Anyone who lived through the 1990s, however, will no doubt recall a different descriptive phrase attached to the company. By the mid to late 90s its was virtually impossible to read anything about "Apple Computer, Inc." without a specific introductory adjective that was, at the same time, wistful, disparaging, infantilizing and dismissive. The company was, and always was, referred to as the beleaguered Apple Computer.

Despite suffering the consequences of both internal issues of its own making and outside problems beyond its control, Apple wasn't so much branded as being incompetent or victimized as it was just Beleaguered, as if it were inherently fated to always be chained to a hopeless dream and unachievable utopia that the company could envision and articulate but not instantiate in a viable, sustainable, commercially significant form.

But Apple's problems weren't really a romantic curse. There were solid, rational reasons why the company began drifting sideways, even if much of the media lacked any understanding of this--or even knew that things were headed in a bad direction at all.

Across the decade of the 1990s, Apple had defined airy visions of the future--from its Knowledge Navigator demonstration to the nearly magical Newton Message Pad; it had defined the outer realms of possibility in computers by developing software powerful enough to anticipate the needs of non-technical artists with its intuitive Mac user interface, and then promised to allow them to author multimedia--including the first non-linear digital video editing OS-level platform for personal computers with QuickTime (a futurist technology that appeared for Macs while commodity PCs were still struggling to play back simple audio).

Apple promised to usher in the same kind of future-forward upgrades for advanced page layout and printing with QuickDraw GX; for 3D graphics with QuickDraw 3D; for sophisticated search with V-Twin; for advanced OS and User Interface development with Copland and Gershwin; for non-proprietary files with document-based OpenDoc and for tools to create and explore virtual reality worlds with QuickTime VR. As the 90s dragged on Apple's consistent inability to actually deliver upon what it was promising at a price mainstream users would pay set it up for real-world failure

The company also delivered major hardware-based Mac upgrades enabling advanced AudioVisual capabilities using Digital Signal Processors from AT&T and later RISC-based PowerPC chips in its partnership with IBM and Motorola, allowing Apple's computers to digitally ingest, edit and output video from a camcorder and to play or record CD quality audio right out of the box.

However, as the 90s dragged on Apple's consistent inability to actually deliver upon what it was promising at a price mainstream users would pay set it up for real-world failure. At the same time, the Mac maker began running into intense competition from generic DOS PCs.

Apple had been struggling with its own development plans for Copland (intended to be a modern new Mac operating system), was fighting to finish its Newton OS tablet software and had grown increasingly distracted with a series of other moonshots and side projects (including the Mac-based Pippin games console) that various teams engineers were inventing within their personal fiefdoms inside Apple's Advanced Technology Group and other think-tank silos funded by the revenues from the Mac's Golden Age.


Newton and Pippin, harbingers of today's side-project/moonshots


Apple wasn't just fudging things internally. It had also embarked upon three large-scale, ultimately ill-fated joint efforts with Motorola and IBM to design PowerPC chips, to develop a new next-generation cross-platform OS known as Taligent and to build multimedia tools development tools at Kaleida Labs. Across the company's first five years at 1 Infinite Loop, Apple appeared to be caught in the vortex of a swirling drain

It had also launched a separate new mobile chip design for the Newton Message Pad known as ARM, with partners Acorn and VLSI. There was a lot going on outside of the Apple's core Mac business, but none of it was making enough money to sustain itself.

Across the company's first five years at 1 Infinite Loop, Apple appeared to be caught in the vortex of a swirling drain, losing its customers and market share to cheaper commodity PC makers while being forced to frantically delay and ultimately cancel failed initiatives such as QuickDraw GX and OpenDoc after they had wasted the time and resources of its third-party developers.

After a period of constant beleaguerment that seemed to last for a generation (but really only stretched from 1994-1998, shorter than either Microsoft's Windows-Zune mobile meltdown a decade later, or Google's increasingly bleak implosion of hardware attempts from Motorola to Nest to Nexus and Pixel today, two decades later), Apple began to emerge anew under the returned leadership of Steve Jobs, who slashed away failed experiments and underperforming business segments to focus on ones that customers would want and could afford and which could sustain Apple itself.

Could an Apple again lose its Golden Age?

Today's Apple under Tim Cook is wildly different from the Apple of the early 1990s, in part because much of the executive team (including Cook) experienced first hand the results of the lack of curation and focus that nearly doomed Apple in the mid-1990s, as they began working to salvage the company under Jobs in the late 90s. (Jobs recruited Cook to Apple in 1998.)

Other companies, including Microsoft, only watched from afar as the Old Apple began rolling on its side. That allowed Microsoft's executives to blissfully preside over a series of ill considered and poorly planned and managed projects (such as rushing into the Zune music player hardware business and trying to start a music downloads business like Apple's, the KIN initiative (AKA "Pink") in to build a new kind of phone from scratch for the very challenging demographic of "young people," and an ambitious but poorly conceived and delivered Surface RT project to make PCs lighter, thinner and more mobile using ARM chips that couldn't run existing Windows software).

Surface RT
Microsoft's Newton


Beyond those internal failings (including Microsoft's own Copland-like struggles with Vista, Windows 8, Windows Mobile and Windows 10), Microsoft also engaged in dramatically bad partnerships (such as its "two turkeys" phone program with Nokia) and acquisitions (subsequently buying Nokia, as well as aQuantive, for a total of $15 billion--with nothing remaining to show for either one apart from layoffs and losses).

Everyone one of those missteps was worse than Apple's fall in the mid-90s. Microsoft had enjoyed a much more resplendent Golden Age than the Old Apple had, but then lost its key market position and relevance as the world shifted to mobile devices. For Microsoft, there was no return of its founder Bill Gates to put the company back together again.

Following Microsoft, another Golden Age meltdown in tech

Microsoft wasn't the only company to fail to learn anything from Apple's mid 90s brush with death: Google today has been similarly spending similar billions on far-off ideas that are not materializing as real businesses. Like Microsoft, it also spent around $15 billion to acquire two massive businesses, Motorola and Nest, then failed to do anything productive with them as it fired thousands of workers and eventually sold off much of the remaining assets to China at a massive discount.

Google similarly has grandiose ideas about the future of computing (satiated with advertising, of course) but has failed to deliver much more than a copy of Apple's original work. Many of the novel parts of Android rusted over and were replaced with iOS analogs (trackball pointers, keyboards, Wallet, open app markets, broad app permissions, etc). ChromeOS was envisioned as a PC web-based netbook but is now trying to morph into an iPad-like touchscreen tablet.

Even Google's far off future OS strategy is abstractly named after a color (Fuscia), which not so subtly calls to mind the Blue and Pink cards Apple used while trying to lay out some deliverables for its System 7/Copland releases. Google has now been struggling to find any significant customer for ChromeOS nearly nine years after it was outlined as a strategy (2009), which calls to mind Apple's Newton under early 90s CEO John Sculley and Microsoft's Tablet PC initiatives under Gates in the 2000s.

Rather than describing the failure of ChromeOS to find any traction anywhere apart from the very small, very unprofitable K-12 as being a Newton/Tablet PC type failure, today's tech journalists are largely portraying Google's struggling netbook platform as a problem for Apple, even though shipments of Chromebooks have had a minor impact on Apple's U.S. sales in K12 and no real impact at all on iPads among consumers, the enterprise, and in massive new emerging markets including China.

In parallel, Google's self-branded hardware efforts have been a mess despite double-digit billions in acquisitions and investment. Google's Nexus offered low-priced devices that sold in disappointing quantities, much like Apple's own ill-fated attempt at low-end Performa Macs from 1992-1997. Google's subsequent Pixel products offered premium-priced devices that sold in disappointing quantities, much like Apple's Newton and fancy vanity projects like the company's TAM and translucent PowerMac Cube.

Google's Chromebook Pixel
Google's Newton


Google is also today pursuing a dual OS strategy involving two entirely different architectures (JavaVM-based Android and its web-based ChromeOS), not dissimilar to Apple's Mac/Newton rift, or the problems Microsoft slogged through with DOS/Win95 vs NT, and again with the kernel disparity of Windows for PCs and Windows Mobile.

Three samples of failure exposed to varying amounts of criticism


In all three cases (Apple, Microsoft and Google), companies launching a series of wild, unrestrained moonshots while having multiple, competing platforms all vying for attention in the same space (while not actually selling much of anything) turned out to be a really bad strategy with terrible results. But our science experiment subjects here also show the effects of outside stimulus.

The tech media initially cheered all on three because they didn't seem to realize that making news is not the same as making money. Once reporters discovered that a decade of moonshots and wild, unrestrained spending without sustainable sales was actually a big problem, they turned on Apple and reviled it. Relentless criticism of Apple has greatly improved the trajectory of the company

There has been less criticism of Microsoft despite its massive loss of control over the future of technology, but absolutely none of Google (as least so far). A lack of criticism results in a lack of course-changing. Relentless criticism of Apple has greatly improved the trajectory of the company, as demonstrated by its corrections to iCloud, Maps and the App Store in response to media castigation.

Tepid assurances by the media that Microsoft could reassume its monopoly control over mobile devices and take back tablets by simply copying elements of Apple's strategy cooed the company to sleep. Today Microsoft has zero phone business and its tablet and PC sales are a low-profit busywork distraction that--like Mac sales under the Beleaguerment or Google's Pixels--haven't grown across many years of trying.

Apple's non-golden age

Today, Apple is focused on fewer products that sell in massive quantities at sustainable profits. The company's software updates have (and deliver upon) achievable, short-term goals, rather than charting out future, far away dreams or trying to deliver grandiose notions such as a voice-first ambient computing future or an advertising-based social surveillance network that people may not even want once they see what it really means.

Apple's modern developer APIs are generally stable enough to rely upon, rather than being promises that don't ever fully materialize and are then thrown out once the focus changes. Yet Apple isn't praised as sitting on a Golden Age today. It's generally ridiculed by the media for not pursuing ambitiously entertaining public stories and moonshot ideas.

Apple Carrousel du Louvre
Apple today is defined by solid products customers can buy, not grandiouse vaporware the media can write about


Rather than declaring Apple's wildly successful recent history as a Golden Age, pundits have been giving their lethal applause to Microsoft (for delivering half of its "the cloud and devices" promises while its once dominate computing platforms stagnate or die off entirely) and Google (for its fun moonshots to nowhere--including blood sugar monitoring contacts that don't actually exist, its Andy Rubin robot initiatives that have very little real commercial value, its stabs at social networking that nobody cared about and its radical efforts to shift society and industry--from Wallet to Glass to Project ARA to Tango--an unbroken series of expensive projects that never went anywhere).

Across the 2000s and early 2010s, Apple far exceeded the accomplishments of its previous Golden Age of the late 80s and early 90s--and did so while severely operationally constrained in its corporate office space. The new Millennium Apple, under Jobs, focused on a flexible, new eye-catching material he made more valuable than gold as he and his hand-selected team turned Apple around, as the next segment will examine.
mac_dog
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 108
    silvergold84silvergold84 Posts: 53unconfirmed, member
    Look that iPhone X is been the best seller in the last quarter . Now counterpoint say it is grow up about 32% in China . Samsung mobile and other android brand , mobile section, still loosing profits and sells. They report it. No one of technology forum say it. Look at huawei,asus ecc: they try to copy the notch wothout have 3d sensor . They would copy a failure product ? Come on .. Who have iPhone X love it . This rumor is the same of last February . It’s been done to make speculation on stock market. Deserve a complain. Apple is the most innovative brand , totally green like the vision of Steve , and the products of Apple appear like Steve would be here to drive the brand.
    quadra 610StrangeDays2old4funhcrefugeegregg thurmancornchipracerhomie3redgeminipamagman1979jony0
  • Reply 2 of 108
    tmaytmay Posts: 3,463member
    The World's economy is due for a correction. When that happens, Apple will be in an enviable position to not only survive, but to maintain its pace of development and innovation, and likely pick up some more small companies for their IP and talent. Rainy days and all that. The downside is that Amazon will likely cross the line to the first trillion dollar valuation before Apple, but such is the world of investing. As for the negative supply chain noise, it appears to be driven by more than just the maturation of the Smart Phone market, over Apple's so called whiff of the iPhone X; https://www.ped30.com/2018/04/28/apple-no-need-panic-says-mark-hibben/ Edit; Formatting seems to have failed
    edited April 2018 StrangeDayspotatoleeksoupcornchipairmanchairmanjbdragonjony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 108
    Colin O’ScopyColin O’Scopy Posts: 2unconfirmed, member
    IL1 was not built by or for Apple; nor were they the first tenant. 
    edited April 2018 cornchip
  • Reply 4 of 108
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 1,808member
    Today's Apple is lot different. Knowing pain of past missteps, load of cash on hand, lot more talents and product portfolio making money and growing, Apple will be OK. May not grow as fast after Steve Job returned to Apple. Now a days, new product category decisions are harder because larger competitors are everywhere across the globe. Long as Apple stay innovative with consumers in mind and not become arrogant than Apple will be fine. Stock will go up or down with rumors or some quarters of not enough growth according to wall street, but in long term all will work out.
    hammeroftruth
  • Reply 5 of 108
    firelockfirelock Posts: 125member
    Great article. Having run an imaging and design studio for a major ad agency during the mid-90s, I’ll add that another factor in Apple’s near collapse was its inability to deliver on building a major update to its OS. The biggest issue with the legacy Mac operating system was its lack of dynamic memory management. Raise your hand if you remember having to get info on an app and manually adjust its memory allocation. As a pro it was certainly frustrating to have to be constantly adjusting memory allocation on Photoshop and Quark, and closing one app to free up enough memory to run another. Apps would just crash and sometimes corrupt files because they ran out of memory. But as pros, most (some?) of us at least understood the problem and how to deal with it, but consumers were completely at a loss. I don’t know how many friends and family I had phone calls with trying to explain to them how to manage the memory on their Macs. Worse yet they would run off and take their Mac to get “repaired” because their apps were constantly crashing. What they needed to do was increase the memory allocation for the apps, but the shops would instead sell them more RAM which not only cost them hundreds of dollars, but it wouldn’t solve the problem. The problem was so bad that I stopped recommending Macs to non-professionals in my circle.

    Apple had promised year after year to come out with a modern OS that could manage memory dynamically, but they failed to do so year after year and instead just kept issuing minor updates that made small improvements to the user interface (Mac OS 8 & 9). I was very close to switching my entire studio over to PCs over this one issue when the return of Jobs and the promise of OS X convinced me to stick it out. Obviously this paid off and I’m glad because OS X and now iOS are light years ahead of the competition.
    edited April 2018 StrangeDaysradarthekatmuthuk_vanalingammwhitehammeroftruthhcrefugeecornchiplostkiwiairmanchairmankudu
  • Reply 6 of 108
    firelock said:
    Great article. Having run an imaging and design studio for a major ad agency during the mid-90s, I’ll add that another factor in Apple’s near collapse was its inability to deliver on building a major update to its OS. The biggest issue with the legacy Mac operating system was its lack of dynamic memory management. Raise your hand if you remember having to get info on an app and manually adjust its memory allocation. As a pro it was certainly frustrating to have to be constantly adjusting memory allocation on Photoshop and Quark, and closing one app to free up enough memory to run another. Apps would just crash and sometimes corrupt files because they ran out of memory. But as pros, most (some?) of us at least understood the problem and how to deal with it, but consumers were completely at a loss. I don’t know how many friends and family I had phone calls with trying to explain to them how to manage the memory on their Macs. Worse yet they would run off and take their Mac to get “repaired” because their apps were constantly crashing. What they needed to do was increase the memory allocation for the apps, but the shops would instead sell them more RAM which not only cost them hundreds of dollars, but it wouldn’t solve the problem. The problem was so bad that I stopped recommending Macs to non-professionals in my circle.

    Apple had promised year after year to come out with a modern OS that could manage memory dynamically, but they failed to do so year after year and instead just kept issuing minor updates that made small improvements to the user interface (Mac OS 8 & 9). I was very close to switching my entire studio over to PCs over this one issue when the return of Jobs and the promise of OS X convinced me to stick it out. Obviously this paid off and I’m glad because OS X and now iOS are light years ahead of the competition.
    Yes - and iOS employed not just NeXT/MacOS X's modern memory management but added new mobile-ready conservative memory use and liberal recycling of unused memory, something that Android is rather bad at, with a kernel coming from Linux PCs. So that's another example of Google facing an Old Apple problem. Users are left wondering how to diddle with utilities to kill apps in order to get things to run, and Android devices demand far more RAM to work well at all.  
    Folioradarthekatericthehalfbeehcrefugeepropodfirelockcornchipredgeminipapscooter63magman1979
  • Reply 7 of 108
    IL1 was not built by or for Apple; nor were they the first tenant. 
    Do you know what year Apple moved into the Four-Phase complex? Its HQ was only about half the size of today's Infinite Loop.  
    Colin O’Scopycornchipmagman1979jony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 108
    Apple today is much more a traditional ‘corporate’ than it was then — or perhaps ever. You know, systems, processes, admin, chain of command, etc. Sadly, in that world, hings become more traditional and incremental, boring even, making radical innovation difficult. Add to it the fact that sheer size becomes its own enemy for making seismic shifts (unless the company splits up). 

    Will it become like the company that was on the brink of financial distress in the 1990s? Zero chance. Will it it again be the company that changed the world with products like the iPod and iPhone, at least enough to move the needle? I am deeply skeptical. 

    It’ll amble along, much like Microsoft did, just fine. It’ll go sideways, i.e., hold on to its amazing legacy of the past two decades, which is quite an achievement in and of itself given its sheer scale today. The main thing it has going for it right now, imho, is that there is no one else on the horizon that can take on its hardware + its ecosystem. That gives it a lot of breathing room, at least for a little while. 
    muthuk_vanalingamhammeroftruthboogerman2000lostkiwijony0
  • Reply 9 of 108
    And the current Apple leadership without any attention to detail, knowledge of good UX, or stable code is going to run Apple right back into the ground. And I say this as an avid FanGirl since switching in 2007. I loathe iOS to the point I've considered if the grass really is greener, and Mac's and macOS is stagnant except for juvenile crap and emojis and a half baked bastardisation with iOS.

    I miss Steve every day I have to use my crappy iPhone / iPad / MacBook Pro / iMac.
    aknabibaconstang
  • Reply 10 of 108
    macplusplusmacplusplus Posts: 1,555member
    firelock said:
    Great article. Having run an imaging and design studio for a major ad agency during the mid-90s, I’ll add that another factor in Apple’s near collapse was its inability to deliver on building a major update to its OS. The biggest issue with the legacy Mac operating system was its lack of dynamic memory management. Raise your hand if you remember having to get info on an app and manually adjust its memory allocation. As a pro it was certainly frustrating to have to be constantly adjusting memory allocation on Photoshop and Quark, and closing one app to free up enough memory to run another. Apps would just crash and sometimes corrupt files because they ran out of memory. But as pros, most (some?) of us at least understood the problem and how to deal with it, but consumers were completely at a loss. I don’t know how many friends and family I had phone calls with trying to explain to them how to manage the memory on their Macs. Worse yet they would run off and take their Mac to get “repaired” because their apps were constantly crashing. What they needed to do was increase the memory allocation for the apps, but the shops would instead sell them more RAM which not only cost them hundreds of dollars, but it wouldn’t solve the problem. The problem was so bad that I stopped recommending Macs to non-professionals in my circle.

    Apple had promised year after year to come out with a modern OS that could manage memory dynamically, but they failed to do so year after year and instead just kept issuing minor updates that made small improvements to the user interface (Mac OS 8 & 9). I was very close to switching my entire studio over to PCs over this one issue when the return of Jobs and the promise of OS X convinced me to stick it out. Obviously this paid off and I’m glad because OS X and now iOS are light years ahead of the competition.
    Actually Mac OS Classic had a very good memory management within the limits of its capabilities. It was just not a true operating system.
    netrox
  • Reply 11 of 108
    steven n.steven n. Posts: 1,102member
    Good read overall but I admit to seeing some issues within Apple in a loss of focus and the ability to deliver. From the late delivery on the airPods (great product and I love them but no debating the late delivery), Apple's AirPower, the modular Mac Pro's shift from 2018 to 2019 and many more recent examples.

    Also, there is a dip in quality in recent years of the delivered software but I think this is a result of major restricting happening within the software architecture as Apple moves more to Swift and away from Objective-C.

    I question the loss of the Apple Cinema Displays and their wireless routers. Both were top of class and, in the case of the LG 5K, their third party replacements.... Not so good IMO.
    hammeroftruthwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 108
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 6,843member
    Apple today is much more a traditional ‘corporate’ than it was then — or perhaps ever. You know, systems, processes, admin, chain of command, etc. Sadly, in that world, hings become more traditional and incremental, boring even, making radical innovation difficult. Add to it the fact that sheer size becomes its own enemy for making seismic shifts (unless the company splits up). 
    Actually, iterative product development (incremental) is how Apple rolls, and long has been. Gruber wrote an entire column about in back in 2010:

    https://www.macworld.com/article/1151235/macs/apple-rolls.html
    edited April 2018 watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 108
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 3,318member
    "By the mid to late 90s its was virtually impossible to read anything about "Apple Computer, Inc." without a specific introductory adjective that was, at the same time, wistful, disparaging, infantilizing and dismissive"

    It would be true to state that all of your editorials are actually exactly that, but of Google, Microsoft and Samsung.

    This one runs ok for a few paragraphs before descending into madness and poking unnecessarily the same three companies.

    So much so that, as usual, I just gave up.

    It comes over as just another bitter critique of the same three companies and anyone who writes anything negative about Apple.

    Apple's so called 'Golden Age' will end. That is a given and shouldn't suprise anyone. Should they worry? Why? With the hoarded cash, they can bleed billions for years and still have plenty leftover. For shareholders, the consequences may be different (if they initially bought into Apple at higher prices) but there is no real reason to worry today.

    Things will turn at some point, we just don't know when.

    Have we hit 'peak iPhone'? If we can answer that one with a 'yes' (largely flat unit sales), obviously that element of the golden age would be drawing to a close (in the current business model at least - there is still some wiggle room if the model changes). Obviously we hit peak iPod years back. Peak iPad? Probably not. Peak Apple Watch? Not yet. Peak Mac? Possibly. Peak services? Still plenty of leg room there.

    It's not like they are facing the same issues as Kodak (industry change) or Sony (too many fingers in too many jars).

    This, in the purely comsumer space. If we throw in political/protectionist elements (the government space), the risk of major impact is real in the short term. Allowing Huawei unrestricted access to the US handset market would be a major threat to Apple. Seeing the iPhone restricted in China would send Apple into panic mode. A negative view of how the EU sees the workings of 'closed' commercial platforms could also have an impact.

    You can be sure that both subjects were discussed by Trump and Cook during their recent private meeting.







    muthuk_vanalingamfeudalist
  • Reply 14 of 108
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 6,843member

    And the current Apple leadership without any attention to detail, knowledge of good UX, or stable code is going to run Apple right back into the ground. And I say this as an avid FanGirl since switching in 2007. I loathe iOS to the point I've considered if the grass really is greener, and Mac's and macOS is stagnant except for juvenile crap and emojis and a half baked bastardisation with iOS.

    I miss Steve every day I have to use my crappy iPhone / iPad / MacBook Pro / iMac.
    Nonsense. Todays macs and idevices are the finest versions I’ve ever used, as an avid fan going back to the 1980s and ‘90s. Hilarious you claim they’re stagnant when it’s Apple who pioneers things that get copied by the knockoffs — macbook designs, iOS 64-bit, actually good biometrics, the notch, etc..

    BTW, it’s almost as as if you actually believe Apple is wasting time inventing emoji rather than is simply implementing a character set defined by a cross-industry committee. Strange. 
    radarthekatmwhiteMacProManyMacsAgohcrefugeepropodmejsricredgeminipapscooter63magman1979
  • Reply 15 of 108
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 6,843member
    avon b7 said:
    This, in the purely comsumer space. If we throw in political/protectionist elements (the government space), the risk of major impact is real in the short term. Allowing Huawei unrestricted access to the US handset market would be a major threat to Apple. 
    Nah. Americans won’t be enamored with a knockoff brand they can’t even pronounce. That brand just won’t flourish here. Doing KFC-branded iphone-ripoffs just won’t cut it...




    edited April 2018 ericthehalfbeeredgeminipawatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 108
    And the current Apple leadership without any attention to detail, knowledge of good UX, or stable code is going to run Apple right back into the ground. And I say this as an avid FanGirl since switching in 2007. I loathe iOS to the point I've considered if the grass really is greener, and Mac's and macOS is stagnant except for juvenile crap and emojis and a half baked bastardisation with iOS.

    I miss Steve every day I have to use my crappy iPhone / iPad / MacBook Pro / iMac.
    If the Apple kit is so bad why keep using it?

    I'm always amazed by people talking about the software being stale etc. Either it works or it does not. If what you have allows you to do your job or whatever then great. As we know, the grass is not always greener on the other side.
    Having been around computers since 1972 (days of punched cards) and been part of an OS development team I don't think that either iOS or MacOS is stale. They do what I want them to and don't really get in the way that much (As opposed to Windows 10). 

    As for the future... I think that a lot of people are paid an awful lot of money to do nothing but spread negativity about certain companies. If some of the major investors in Apple actually start to believe this [redacted] they could oust the current management and then it is game on for the dogs of war out there to pick up all sorts of bits of Apple on the cheap.  IMHO, Apple needs to stay focussed and keep their current user base happy as well as looking at the future. It is a fine line but the company has more than enough money to do both. Keep us happy and we will be along for the ride.
    mwhiteredgeminipamagman1979watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 108
    FolioFolio Posts: 487member

    Compelling and well done piece. Among other things, made me think I still have my first laptop a dark grey Macbook of 1990s with a heavy NiCad battery. Probably should toss…

    If you look at top US companies by market value of course it’s quite different each decade. Yet several huge companies in US and Europe have lineage you can trace over centuries. There are unique things about this era, but I don’t wish to intrude on DED’s installment. With Xerox Parc type R&D labs gone in favor of disciplined research and stronger industry-university ties eagerly await the next to see how vulnerable Apple is toward disruption.

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 108
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 2,973moderator
    In short, what Steve Jobs fixed remains fixed.  Apple today is a platform building monster with a lot of integration across its various platforms.  Iteration is the name of that game, and Apple is the best at it.
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  • Reply 19 of 108
    FolioFolio Posts: 487member

    avon b7 said:
    ... Allowing Huawei unrestricted access to the US handset market would be a major threat to Apple. Seeing the iPhone restricted in China would send Apple into panic mode. A negative view of how the EU sees the workings of 'closed' commercial platforms could also have an impact.

    You can be sure that both subjects were discussed by Trump and Cook during their recent private meeting.







    Bingo...It's always amusing to see how you can wend Huawei into a thread! Could make a drinking game with you and google Gatorguy. Nevertheless generally do appreciate reading both of you guys, though like everyone I guess some days are better than others.
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  • Reply 20 of 108
    rob53rob53 Posts: 1,988member
    There's nothing wrong with Apple but everything wrong with this country. Yes, I said it but that's where the problem lies. There's false information about everything that makes every product someone wants to look bad, look bad. Market manipulation, shorting of stocks, making up information about sales, everything is being done to make money without actually earning it. The only people who know how well Apple is doing are people within Apple, nobody else no matter how smart they think they are. I don't care what happened years ago, Apple wasn't being run the way it is now. Apple will survive but AAPL might not. When AAPL is being hammered, especially by the media and stock market, Apple must be doing something right because the market has always hated Apple, especially because they're from the left coast.
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