I've been down on Apple a lot over the last year. What gives?
Oh god. An opinion piece. Also one that mentions Apple. Yaaaay. Can I just say iSheep before anyone else? First etc.
Anyway, I recently blogged about some of Apple's products and strategy getting them off my Christmas card list. You can see it here:
If you've an interest in anything tech or Apple you can't fail to have noticed the downward pushing of income estimates this quarter. For example:
Apple blames China for sales forecast cut
Just how bad is it for Apple?
When I did my mini-rant I was focusing on the product platform and services, which in some respects led me to reflect on the pricing of some of their stuff. I wasn't considering Apple's company performance. It would appear though that it's not just I that's becoming a bit disillusioned.
The thing is, that disillusionment, some people think it's obvious and has been around for a long time. It may have been - but it's really hard to ascertain from the noise of Apple-haters isn't it? Just go read some of the uneducated bleurgh comments on those two articles for example.
I'm a technology fan, and I'm fortunate enough that for the most part I get to be able to choose the technology products and vendors that I like to use. Now, of course price is part of that, however as most of it is company money the real 'cost' of the product is less important to me than the quality of platform I'm actually using.
For a long, long time - circa 2010 from the look of my purchase history - my compute platform of choice has been MacOS stuff. I use it primarily as like the stability of the platform, it's ability to virtualise pretty much anything I throw at it, and the quality of the hardware. Primarily of course it's how well all these things work together that 'sells' the platform to me. Add in some great service I've had over the years and, well, the technology fan in me finds it hard to find a preferable platform. As a quick side-note - I find mobile phones utterly dull and have very little interest in them. I have an iPhone simply for the reason that it fits well with everything else I use.
In terms of product life-cycle, my 'power' stuff that I use in my day to day job gets replaced every 2-3 years. My mobile one - I.e. Laptops/phones - usually with each new generation. The main driver behind that generational update on my laptops by the way is a financial one - the resale value of Apple laptops is awesome, and it generally means I getter resale value re-selling something that's still under warranty and relatively current. It makes the vector upgrade price a lot smaller than you'd imagine.
For the first time in a long, long time I'm seriously looking at other platforms and products. I've a couple of iMac Pro units which, bar the support issues, have been probably the best compute platforms I've ever owned. They've still got a good couple of years in them to be fair, however given the current Apple range and it's overall offering, I can't see me refreshing them.
I've a Mac Pro by the way. Overheats if it gets a bit stressed, and shuts down. Can't innovate, my ass.
Things do get a bit interesting at this point by the way. Looking at other platforms. I kept hearing about how great, fast and all round super the Microsoft Surface Book 2 was. So I bought one. It's nice, but from a performance perspective it's a complete toy next to any of my MacBook Pro units. Don't believe me? Just look at the benchmarks, or at some of the comedy performance comparisons.
I'm sure there are some excellent platforms out there, I'm just struggling to find them. A Dell XPS perhaps…? Looks pretty good on paper doesn't it? Perhaps I'll check one of them out.
I suspect Apple's current rough patch - and I'm feeling that rough patch, to be clear - makes us forget exactly how good their kit is. Even in this rough-patch I'm struggling to find a decent comparison piece of kit. I will say though their current range and pricing has got me looking far more in earnest than I did previously anyway.
How would Apple get out of this pit? I've no idea financially, as I've said my focus is on product and platform really. How would they get me believing again? Well, stop taking the piss on stuff like the i9 MacBook Pro issue for example. Making it possible for me to get the support on my iMac Pro units that I thought was available. Not doing cynical upgrade cycles by only enabling functionality in software that previous hardware was more than capable of supporting.
Get back to thinking product and experience is their number 1 priority. Everything else will just follow with that. Right now it obviously isn't their number 1, it's money and share-price.