Why Apple Has NOT Changed! - Tech Tips - Tech can be complex; we make it easy

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Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Why Apple Has NOT Changed!

If you’re someone who pays close attention to the latest tech news, you’ve probably heard sentiments similar to this one by JonRettinger: “For most of Apple’s history, they’ve kind’ve been run much like my six-year-old toddler lives his life. They don’t listen to anybody, and they kind’vedo what they want. And that’s led to huge successes, iPhones,iPads, Apple Watches, a few failures along the way. And they’ve kind’ve been run like the old Henry Ford quote, ‘If I asked people what they wanted, they’d ask for a faster horse.' It’s kind’ve been that Steve Jobs mantra of the consumers don’t know what they want until we show them what they want. You could look at Apple’s recent history and I think say there’s been some big misses.



You can look at the 2013 trash can Mac Proas a gigantic swing and a miss. They keyboards in Apple’s most popular PC the MacBook Pros have not been performing up to standards. And the MacBook line which once made sense as their thin and light competitor. Once the MacBook Air got updated made zero sense at all. But it seems like we’re at a really big paradigm shift for the company. Apple is finally starting to listen to consumers. And that kind’ve begged the question, ‘Is this the new Apple?’” Now if you want to watch that entire video there’s a link in the description, but the clip I just showed summarizes Jon’s point pretty well.

 

He goes on to cite three examples that demonstrate how Apple has changed and is now listening to their customers. First, the simplification of Apple’s notebook lineup. Second, the iPad receiving its own dedicated operating system, and third, the 2019 Mac Pro being modular and upgradable, compared to the 2013 cylindrical Mac Pro. Now before I dismantle each of these points,I want to preface this by saying I have nothing against Jon Rettinger, so please don’t gives him any disrespect. He just happened to make a very concise video that effectively illustrated these sentiments that I’ve heard repeated by many other journalist sand tech pundits. Now this is Greg with Apple Explained, andif you want to help decide which topics I cover, make sure you’re subscribed and these voting polls will show up in your mobile activity feed.

 

So getting back to Jon’s video, there’san implied misconception that needs to be addressed. And that is the assumption that Apple is a monolithic entity only capable of one stream of thought. Either they’re listing to customers and doing everything they want, or they’re not listening at all and simply doing their own thing. It’s important to remind everyone that Apple is run by thousands of different people who’re capable of having original ideas while also considering customers needs. And if you’re familiar with how Apple operates,you’ll understand that having original ideas that address consumer needs has been their core philosophy since they were founded in 1976. Now you could make the valid point that Apple abandoned that mission from 1985 to 1997 when Jobs was absent. But that isn’t what people like Jon Rettingerare suggesting.

 

He’s saying that in the last six years,Apple’s values have fundamentally changed from ignoring customers wishes to embracing them. So let me go through each point one by one and add some perspective. When it comes to the MacBook lineup argument,you have to consider Apple’s entire history beyond the last six years. Because this isn’t the first time Apple has discontinued the MacBook in order to make their notebook offering more simple and straightforward. Back in 2009 Apple had perhaps the most confusing notebook lineup in their modern history. There were two different versions of the MacBook. One with a white plastic design, and another with an aluminum design. Then there was the MacBook Air, and the 15and 17” MacBook Pros. Now Apple quickly recognized the redundancy and discontinued the aluminum MacBook and rebranded it as a 13” MacBook Pro. It took them about eight months to make this change.

 

Now let’s consider the most recent changein Apple’s notebook lineup. Around October 2018 the redesigned MacBookAir was introduced and as Jon correctly pointed out, it essentially made the MacBook obsolete. So about eight months later at the beginning of *JULY* Apple discontinued the MacBook. Which happened in virtually the same length of time as it had in 2009. So it’s more sensible to assume that Applewas conducting business as usual, rather than changing their ways and finally listening to customers. Now let’s discuss the second point about the iPad finally getting its own dedicated operating system. Jon mentioned that many customers had been begging Apple for more powerful software on the iPad in order to match its incredible hardware, and that’s definitely true. But it’s important to note that the way Apple approached the iPad didn’t fundamentally change with the introduction of iPadOS. Apple has always planned on the iPad replacing computers, which is why they keep insisting that we’re in the midst of the post-PC era.

 

And it’s also why they’ve given the iPadspecial functionality not available to other iOS devices. Because although Apple calls it iPadOS, it’s still iOS, just with more exclusive capabilities to take advantage of the iPads powerful processor and large display. A trend that has been ongoing since 2017 withiOS 11, where, for the first time, the iPad received exclusive features like split-screen view and drag and drop. So this approach to the iPad is nothing new,and the term iPadOS is more of a marketing move than a representation of Apple changing their values. Third, let’s talk about the new Mac Pro,which Jon cited as a prime example of Apple finally listing to their customers. And I actually think he was right about this,but framed his point completely wrong.

 

Yes, the 2013 Mac Pro was a mistake on a number of levels. But that doesn’t necessarily mean Apple was ignoring their pro customers while creating it. I actually think it was the opposite. When you consider every Mac Pro Apple hadmade, all of them were modular except for the 2013 model. I think Apple genuinely believed they could make a dream desktop computer that served pro customers even better with a new approach. The new unified thermal core would’ve made operation quieter with less fans, expansion via thunderbolt 2 would’ve made upgrades simpler, and making the product a fraction of the size would mean a much cleaner desktop and easier transport. But things played out differently than Apple expected. The 2013 Mac Pro was designed to accommodate a two-GPU architecture that Apple thought the market would move toward.

 

With more computational tasks being done onthe GPU rather than the CPU. But that market shift never happened, and it put the Mac Pro in a very tight corner since it’s thermal system wasn’t designed to handle a CPU-centric architecture. Apple recognized their mistake, and released a traditional modular Mac Pro just this year. So while it’s true that Apple was extremely receptive to their pro customers needs when creating the 2019 Mac Pro, it simply isn’ttrue that Apple has been ignoring their customers for the last six years. And that brings me to a really important point I want to make about Jon’s video. The three examples he mentioned were clearly cherry-picked in order to prove his point. Because there are several other examples thatwould’ve contradicted his theory. In 2014 Apple released the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus with larger displays than ever before, which customers had wanted for years. They also featured near-field communication chips which was a big deal since some people thought Apple might use their own proprietary technology. Also backed by popular demand was QI wireless charging in the iPhone X along with its OLED display.

 

And that isn’t even considering all of the software features Apple implemented after years of public outcry. Things like third party keyboards in iOS 8and opening up Siri to third party developers in iOS 10. Now at the end of the video Jon brings up Jonathan Ive leaving Apple and raises the question that if Apple is now listening to their customers, does that mean they can no longer create innovative and revolutionary products? And this is a great example of the conclusionspeople jump to when analyzing Apple through such a narrow and distorted lens. The company’s ability to create original and revolutionary products isn’t due to them ignoring customers. Steve Jobs never said he ignored customers. He said customers typically don’t know what they want until they see it. Could Apple’ve created the iPhone if theydidn’t clearly understand their customers needs? I think not.

 

In fact, the companies that didn’t understandwhat customers wanted were the first to fail. Blackberry thought customers wanted a plastic keyboard on their smartphones. But Apple understood that users were simply tolerating the keyboard until something better came along. Steve Balmer from Microsoft thought customers would rather pay $100 for a Motorola Q, as opposed to spending $500 for the iPhone. He actually said, “The Motorola Q is a very capable machine. It’ll do music, it’ll do internet, it’lldo email, it’ll do instant messaging. So I kinda look at that and I say ‘well,I like our strategy.’” Which is perhaps the clearest example of a company not listening to their customers. Microsoft went on to enter the smartphone market late, two years after Google and three years after the iPhone, and only lasted seven years before giving up due to lack of popularity among customers. So when it comes to creating innovative new products, you cannot be successful unless you know exactly what your customers want and need.

 

And Apple has demonstrated this understanding time and time again. The iPod succeeded where other MP3 players failed, the iPad succeeded where other tablets failed, and the Apple Watch succeeded where other smartwatches failed. It’s because Apple understands the most important thing to the everyday user is their experience with a product. It didn’t matter than the Motorola Q was capable of music, internet, email, and instant messaging, when most customers couldn’t even figure out how to load music to their phone, navigate to their favorite websites,or compose a new email. All customers had to do was experience the delight of using an iPhone and they wanted it immediately. And no other company has delivered as many of those delightful experiences with technology as Apple.

 

It’s why they have such a dedicated userbase and it’s why they were able to charge $500 for the first iPhone when other smartphones were a fraction of the cost. So while Apple may make mistakes from time to time, that doesn’t mean they’ve abandoned their customers. And when they do something you like, that also doesn’t mean they’ve adopted a new philosophy. Apple is a complex company made up of thousands  of talented people who work together to make the best decisions possible. And when it comes to Jonathan Ive leaving Apple, I will make a dedicated video on the subject, but I’m not worried. He’ll still be working with Apple and heisn’t the only talented designer they have. Alright guys thanks for watching and I’llsee you next time.