Is The iPhone Killing Apple?

Photo by Tyler Lastovich on Unsplash

iPhone, the sucker

The iPhone sucked all the attention and much of Apple’s resources. It happened gradually, with each iteration of the device. Every year, as Apple wanted to push the envelope, more resources were needed and poured into the iPhone line up. As the ecosystem was building up, Apple started to forget about the iPod because we went all in with the iPhone. But then, they started to forget about the Mac too. And the pro users. And the photography enthusiasts. Or the podcasters. Great product like the iPad is still suffering from an operating system that holds it back. iOS 12 didn’t help in this matter. And now with the upcoming iOS 13 release and macOS with Marzipan, the problem will be even more acute. Under this apparent marching revolution, things are actually stagnating on many fronts.

Feeding the beast

Over the years, Apple created an ecosystem of more than a billion active users. They need to feed it with new stuff, like a living animal. More yes for every no than it used to be. As the hardware is maturing, and people keep their products longer, to keep the revenues stream, Apple now turns to create and selling services. These, in turn, suck even more attention, more resources from all over the places at Apple. Here is a troubling quote from a source at Apple as reported by John Gruber in a recent blog post:

Android fast evolution

There is an interesting comparison to be made with Android, specifically the Android + Pixel smartphone combo. They were the underdog a few years ago. But Google kept iterating each year just like Apple but probably faster than Apple did with iOS. And it shows in places like we didn’t think would become Google’s forte, smartphone photography. They merged their assistant stuff into the operating system leaving Siri far behind. They created a unified visual language and gave it a name: “material design”. There is no such thing on iOS. What we’ve got is a fracture: what came before iOS 7 and what came after . From a design company like Apple, this is hard to explain. What is the current visual language of iOS called again?


Apple’s attention is diluted with so many things. They need to make all the pieces work together. Each product evolves at a slower pace because a lot of energy goes into making sure they work with others and with each service. A simple example of this is the Continuity feature on macOS and iOS 5. As they add more services, more device types, it sucks even more resources to keep this feature working. So they forget about things they used to care before. The pro market is a glaring example. They are evangelists in a sense. They are very vocal. Yet, they are left in the cold, left behind. So they start to look somewhere else for things like building a better Macintosh. Yes, Apple kind of woke up in the last two years but the damage has been made. But they put themselves back in the underdog territory alone.

What to expect in the future?

Is the future still bright for Apple? I think so. Large numbers law is in full swing after all. But, really, am I confident in Apple’s ability to recenter its efforts on making insanely great products? It depends. The iPhone is done. The iPad is waiting for a great iOS version. The Apple Watch is not yet done. Pro users are fed up of waiting. This year seems to be the last year where Apple will right the wrong when it comes to its Mac line and the pro market. We’ll see what’s in store in the near future.

Long time blogger about #apple #photography #privacy, #climatechange and some more.

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