I ended my last post with the request that we “hold off awarding that Flying Fickle Finger of Fate to Apple just yet.” But after a one day 9% drop in their stock price should we? And if we do, Warren Buffet might want to present that award to them since he lost $4 billion on AAPL last week.
It all started with the “Letter from Tim Cook to Investors” where Apple “revised their guidance” for Q1 2019. To summarize, the biggest issue is a major sales decline in China, not any kind of collapse of their massive worldwide customer base. Yet short term investors acted like Chicken Little and dealt a punishing blow to Apple’s stock price.
However despite many sensationalistic headlines, serious tech journalists have been a little more circumspect. Kara Swisher wrote a NY Times Opinion piece, “Is This the End of the Age of Apple?” She rightly points out that smartphones have simply gotten “good enough” for most of us. (I wrote about that in my last post as well.) Another excellent source, The Verge, wrote in their “Tech Report Card” on Apple that 2018 was more of a year of foundation building than innovation. iOS 12 not only fixed quite a few issues in iOS 11, but also made older devices faster and more stable. That is a rare accomplishment in the tech industry where most efforts are focused on features that drive revenue. Combined with Apple $29 battery replacement program, many potential customers for Apple’s new phones have found themselves with a completely usable 3+ year old device! Supporting this idea was today’s NY Times article, “Apple’s Biggest Problem? My Mom” which highlights the fact that “Face ID, introduced in the iPhone X in 2017, is one of the few advances that can’t be added to an iPhone that’s several years old.”
Finally, as always, Reddit was nice enough to deliver the combined voices of the masses in the form of the post, “Here’s What Apple Isn’t.”
Somewhere in those 1,200 comments a theme became clear, that people still feel compelled to say something despite being 757th comment in a thread… But seriously, that Apple is sticking to their strategy despite what seems like a growing mob with pitchforks and torches. Of all people Steven Sinofsky, previously the head of Microsoft Windows Division, said it best at the end of his 25 part tweet, “What does all this mean? Apple may or may not have a “pricing” or “price point” or “structural” / secular challenge.”
So is innovation doomed? Should the patent office be closed because “Everything that can be invented has been invented?” (Which turns out to be a good historical example of fake news BTW.) Of course not, but my next post will begin to explore some of the psychological aspects of a world where, “Everything is too complicated.” An article worth reading just for its fascinating and humorous list!