Apple’s big Autumn event was the usual mixture of self congratulation and discussion of its latest tech releases in terms that might make the credulous think that the very gods had descended from the heavens to bestow their holy magic to mere mortals. But to anyone with half a brain and more than a superficial knowledge of tech, the main thing that was apparent was that Apple is no longer a company of innovation but one of imitation, just releasing its own spin on existing products, safe in the knowledge that millions will buy them and think they are somehow at the bleeding edge of technology. Let’s take a walk through the Garden of Betrayal shall we.
The iPhone 6s and 6s Plus
This one was utterly expected at least. It’s an S year so that always means last years phone rehashed with a bit of a spec boost. Surprising nobody, Apple stuck to the plan.
Apple WatchOS 2
Another tiny spec bump and a few different colour options for watches and bands. Whoop.
The Microsoft Surface The iPad Pro
As Steve Jobs is famously known to have said (quoting Picasso) ““Good artists copy. Great artists steal.” Well the great artists at Apple have (almost) run out of things to copy from Android, so have now decided to pinch from Microsoft. The theft is so blatant I really don’t need to say anymore. Just see this cartoon from 2012
The New Apple TV
Not so much an outright steal (from Android TV) this time, more of an awareness that consoles are more and more becoming the central media hub in the living room, so they had better bump up their little hobby product into something that can play games. The rumours were they had bigger plans but were stymied by the networks refusal to play ball.
So there you have it, nothing new, original or groundbreaking. You might say (if you were charitable) that maybe this was just a quiet year and Apple will have bigger and better things next year, but they wont, it’ll be the Iphone 7, Apple Watch 2, iPad Pro 2 and so on. Maybe they’ll find a new market to launch into, but only after someone else has already done so.
Apple’s problem – It’s all about the money
The reason for this malaise is quite simple. Apple doesn’t have anyone to compete with. While the smartphone and tablet market was young Apple and Android fought tooth and nail for customers, but after several years of this the market has settled down. Both sides have their advocates, but most people simply buy the same phone/tablet as they had last time because it’s what they are used to or because they’ve bought so much content on one platform that the cost to buy it all again on the other is a disincentive to switch and with the 2 platforms looking so similar these days, why even bother.
Because Apple have always been a company of high profit margins they know that they can do really well off of these locked in souls and they have no doubt that each year a sufficient portion of new adopters will replace those that die. In that situation, why take risks, why spend money on expensive R&D when you know that the money will keep rolling in even if you release the same thing as last year.
As one of my friends pointed out when we were discussing the sad procession of rehashed rubbish the only thing Apple has to fear is a small boy sitting in the front row who will stand up and point out the emperor has no clothes, but since Apple never lets anyone into these shows who might say stuff they don’t like, that isn’t going to happen.