Anyone remember the golden days of Apple? Where every Apple event was eagerly awaited? Where every product release was head and shoulders above the competition? Where Steve Jobs swagged out on stage in his trademark black turtleneck and signature undercover genius Harry Potter glasses?
In years since Steve Jobs’ passing, Apple CEO Tim Cook has been a disappointment. By saying that, I mean no professional or personal slight against him. I mean c’mon, nobody (maybe with the exception of Bill Gates) has had the impact or genius fortitude that Jobs had within the tech industry. None the less, Cook’s accomplishments pale vastly in comparison to Jobs’.
| Source: 60 Minutes Screenshot
Apple’s recent releases have lacked creativity and innovation, and more tragically, they have lacked Jobs’ signature simplicity and intuitiveness. To illustrate this point-of-view let’s start by lookin at one of Apple’s recent “products” that lacked all of the signature Jobs-era genius: Apple Music.
Apple Music AKA the limp-dick Spotify
Before I dive into the second debacle, let me say that I know Apple is a business, and a public business. This means, among other things, that pretty much all of Apple’s decisions are made with the intent to make as much money as possible for their shareholders.
This is precisely the type of ideology that would make Jobs roll over in his grave. He understood something that Cook clearly does not, which is that when you disregard all other factors and focus on putting out the most cutting-edge, innovative, and mind-bending products the money is sure to follow. Cook’s decisions are clearly not in line with that. This shines clear as day through Apple Music, their Spotify wanna-be product.
I’m a little old school when it comes to music, I like the idea of curating my library and owning it in its whole. Services like Spotify and Music create the illusion that you are curating and owning your library, but really you’re just leasing it. I mention this because I want to cite that I am not the norm. Music lovers everywhere are embracing the subscription model. I know that some of you will agree with this next point (music ownership preference) and some will likely not (music lessee preference).
Seeing as I like to own my own music I really don’t care to be sold a music streaming service. Apple gives no fucks about user preference when it comes to this . Instead, they shove Apple Music sales offers down my throat in three our of the five tabs in the Music app.
So you might be thinking that I’m being nit picky. I mean who cares if Apple’s Music app has gone down the drain in terms of quality in pretty much every conceivable way? The really sad part is that Apple’s digression is displayed prominently in some of the products that made them as popular as they are today.
A key example of this is the iPod shuffle. They haven’t innovated this product in years. I really don’t understand why. This product could be hands-down the best workout media player on the market but they have left it to third-party innovators to perfect the product. Apple’s iPod shuffle at face value looks like the ideal fitness pal, but after a few sweaty sessions the iPod begins to fail as a result of sweat, water, humidity, etc. seeping through to the internal electronics and shorting out the circuit board and/or battery.
I personally went through about 6 iPod shuffles before I said “enough” and found a third-party that took the product to the next level by injecting it with silicon, effectively making it water and sweat proof. Why does Apple stand idly by while other guys get in on the greenbacks? Apple has the financial clout of a middle-eastern oil sheikh, why don’t they just buy these innovators or get their secret sauce (copyrights and/or patents).
Another example of Apple’s lack of innovation is the iMac, you know, just the product that originally put them on the map. I’ll admit the exterior aesthetic of the computer is beautiful and still up to the design standards of what I would expect of Jobs-era Apple. Then you look under the hood at what components are being used and their is an utter disparity of power-house components packed into the ultra-thin body. This is the equivalent of a Ferrari exterior paired with the innards of a lawn-mover. Ok… maybe that was a bit extreme… maybe more like the innards of a Honda Civic. Still, the reality is that consumers pay a premium for the brushed aluminum body and the gloss black apple on the front, meanwhile Apple sneaks off with absurd profit margins by packing underwhelming components into the pretty exterior. To display this disparity in component quality I’ve compared the “newest” (launched in 2015) iMac to a PC packed with similar quality, the price difference is jaw dropping.
Now I understand that each platform has a different audience of loyalists that are partial to one platform or the other no matter what anyone (including me) says. However, it is pretty hard to ignore the value imbalance between the two given the specs provided above, PC pretty clearly wins the specs battle (I’d welcome you to debate this in the comments if you disagree). One could even point out that the iMac is a stand alone where you get all the external hardware (mouse, keyboard, and display/monitor) along with the still decent internal componentry. Still, I could go out and buy a quality set of external hardware for the PC tower and still be under the base ask for the iMac. The tower even comes with a pretty decent mouse and keyboard set-up already bundled in as seen in the screenshots above. My point is that aside from the objectively beautiful design of the iMac, which PC has difficulty holding a candle to, PC wins just about every other category that would be important to an unbiased prospective buyer, especially on bottom line value-to-cost ratio. This is an utter disappointment for Apple.
My final point, the reason I wrote this post, is not because I’m trying to bash Apple or their products but rather to hold them accountable. This is the company that has had arguably the biggest impact on a worldwide scale in my lifetime. I grew up watching this company grow into the juggernaut it is today. My first computer was this old-school apple I can’t even remember the model, but it was still in the floppy-disk era. I wrote this because I care about this company, it’s a comparable feeling that you’d have if a friend was letting them self go.
Ten years ago I never would have questioned the genius or innovation of the company, but since Jobs’ passing I’ve seen the company lose the ambition to be the true innovator they once were. This is the company that created the fucking iPHONE! They basically brought the world into the digital era. Companies like Google and Amazon wouldn’t be half the companies they are without the path that Apple forged for them. I’m not asking for a new Steve Jobs, this would be asking too much. For fuck sake Apple, remember who you are, find your roots, and quit putting out the trash you’ve brought to market over the last five years. Strap on your high-waist jeans, black turtle-neck, and harry-potter spectacles and go Steve Jobs on their asses Apple. If no one else is going to let you hear the music, don’t worry, I will.