Apple’s Rumor Mill: Spinning Out of Control

| Editorial

Apple rumours have become almost beyond parody, an industry in themselves with websites, twitterfeeds and column inches dedicated to digging them up and dishing them out.

This obsession, and it is an obsession, with the latest thing off the production line could be contributing to the difficult times Apple seems to be having. As fans and consumers we demand new, now, instead of giving Apple the time to innovate.

Apple fans love to chase the rumorsApple fans love to chase the rumors

For a while the company has not really and truly come up with something original and distinctive. We have not had another iPod moment for what seems like an eternity, with Apple CEO Tim Cook and company focussing on solidifying and upgrading up the current product line.

It also means there is a huge number of products that One Infinite Loop has rushed out unfinished and seriously undercooked. iPhone's that fail to make calls when you touch them anyone?

More fundamentally, while the MacBooks and iMacs still sell well, they have not seen a real overhaul in years. The days of candy-coloured carry cases seem long gone.

On the software side the problem is even worse. iCloud is horrible, and Maps still lags behind its competitors, while the fundamentals of iOS haven't really been souped up since its inception.

Is there a case where Apple has actually achieved perfection? Is all that is required for Steve Jobs's legacy is that things simply be polished, tweaked and maintained? I don't think so.

As Samsung, HP and others try and do Apple-like products for cheap, it has never been more important for the company to raise its game, because at the moment the exciting noises are coming out of Google and Amazon.

Google is pushing ahead with Glass, a product that has the potential to be revolutionary despite my personal reservations, and along with Amazon is really taking command of cloud computing. Meanwhile syncing between an iPad and laptop is still torturous.

Us consumers and commentators do need to shoulder some blame, though. Our Apple ADD has led to a vicious cycle where we just demand something new every few months in order to keep our attention.

While we can get excited by an iPhone 5S, iPad mini or iOS 6.1.5 and have our need for new temporarily satisfied, it means that consumers don't actually end up with game changing products. Writers may have something new to review for a few days, but the world hardly stops spinning because Apple pushes out a new update.

The truth is by demanding more we are actually getting a lot less, as our lack of patience forces Apple to think short term in order to keep profits ticking over and make customers happy, instead of having the time to develop new era defining products.

Apple is one of the most innovative companies the world has ever known. Even in the post-Jobs era, Apple has one of the most talented leadership teams around. Tim Cook, Jonathan Ives and company have the ability to really shake things up again if we just suppress our Apple ADD and let them to get on with it.

Comments

George

Did somebody hack the TMO CMS?
There’s no better excuse for the quality of this so-called editorial.
I did find a small nugget of truth in it though: the author admits she doesn’t think.

NewRider

I also thought TMO was hacked, WTF. ” iCloud is horrible”, get a grip. Who put you up to this, Balmer?

gkhudyan

This article must be a prank of some kind.  It sounds like an illiterate 17 year old wrote it.  I’m not even getting into what was written because that would be an article in itself.

iCloud is not horrible and it works just fine for me.  It does everything I need it to do and I know that is anecdotal but it does work. 

A company with 100 billion sitting in their checking account must be doing something right.

geoduck

I try not to be a grammar nazi, I really do. I’ll even ignore a lot of oddities and chalk it up to style.  Sometimes though have to say something:
“For a while the company have not really and truly come up with something original and distinctive. ” Should be HAS. ‘The company’ is singular.
“Is there a case that Apple have actually achieved perfection? ” Should be HAS. Once again Apple is singular, it is a corporation, not a bunch of corporations.
“That all that is required is for Steve Jobs’ legacy to simply be polished, tweaked and maintained?” I believe this is not a complete sentence.
There are also a number of run-on sentences.

This is an interesting piece that makes some interesting points which I may or may not agree with. It however needs editing. C-

cb50dc

geoduck—likewise honestly not being a grammar Nazi (and likewise [ahem] ignoring the content of the post): “the company have not…” is justifiable as a collective singular, meaning, e.g., “The people in charge at Apple have not…”

This comes down not to right-or-wrong but juggling standards of style and context. “Authorities” and style guides do vary. For that matter, I’d agree that “Is there a case that Apple have actually achieved perfection?” would fit better with the singular—to which an editor might say, “Look, go with one OR THE OTHER in a given short piece like this, but don’t switch.”

Even that decision remains a matter of style.

One of many good, concise discussions on the topic: http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/collective-nouns.aspx
The section on “American vs. British Usage” may prove especially helpful.

We now return to a discussion of something that may actually matter wink

cb50dc

Since I can’t edit, I’ll add that I drew attention to the “American vs. British Usage” section specifically because the author is based in London.

FTR—in our publications, I *am* the grammar and typography Nazi wink, insisting on distinguishing between hyphens, en- and em-dashes, quibbling over the Harvard comma, reducing passive voice, and so forth.

Steve

To defend the author somewhat, not everyone is happy with iCloud.

Many developers who have to use the iCloud sync services are completely frustrated. BareBones s/w have not been able to get their iCloud syncing working with YoJimbo. You can read more on their website, Ars Technica or others.

“Frustrated with iCloud, Apple’s developer community speaks up en masse
Some are turning away from iCloud altogether after bad user experiences.”

In general, I agree with the article.

Lee Dronick

In my opinion iCloud is not horrible. Could it be better? Yes, but for the most part I find that it works fine. Same with Maps. It was late coming out the gate, but it certainly has the potential to win the race. Anyway, I am certain that Apple is working on improving Maps, iCloud, Siri, and other apps, and services. True though I am sure that Google, and others, are working on their stuff.

Next subject, English. As I am getting older I find that I am becoming quite the stickler for “proper” use. Text speak can really get my goat, but I unders how it came about to be.  Also formatting, layout, good use of typeface, and such. It can be hard to do in online comments and some websites such as Facebook make it difficult, but you should at least use paragraph breaks. At least here we can use italic, bold, and some other BB Code. All that being said, I am far from perfect though it is an aspiration.

mrmwebmax

+

Grammar aside, I have to question the central thesis of the piece:

The truth is by demanding more we are actually getting a lot less, as our lack of patience forces Apple to think short term in order to keep profits ticking over and customers happy, instead of having the time to develop new era defining products…. Apple is one of the most innovative companies the world has ever known, and even in the post-Jobs era has one of the most talented leadership teams around. Cook, Ives and company have the ability to really shake things up again, if we just suppress our Apple ADD and let them to get on with it.

Is there any evidence that Apple’s product development road map is shaped by the tech press and eager consumers looking for the next big thing out of Cupertino? Is there any evidence that “era-defining products” are not being developed because the rumor mill has Apple only looking at the short term? The author offers no such evidence, and instead paints Apple—a company of thousands—as a singular school kid caving to peer pressure.

FlipFriddle

The “have” and “has” thing is definitely a British/American English difference. I’ve gotten used to it listening to many years of English Premier League Football broadcasts. Like “Manchester City have sacked the manager.” smile

Rob

‘Us consumers and commentators do need to shoulder some blame, though.’

?? We, I think.

davidneale

A “freelance journalist and consultant” really should know the difference between the possessive and plural forms: “iPhone’s that fail to make calls when you touch them anyone?” my foot. That’s neither American nor British usage; it’s simply incorrect.

Marco

I hope I am not mistaken. To me this looks like something made on purpose, in order to expose how many people are ready to accept whatever is written about Apple, without bothering to check the facts. No iPod moments? Was that before of after the iPhone moment, or the MacBook Air moment, or the iPad moment?
It is a proof of concept of what many editorials look like. It is meant to sharpen our wits. If you look at it this way, it is even funny.

Marco

I forgot to add: the author is a dead actress.

Aftermac

I’m kind of shocked to see an article like this posted here. TMO writers tend to put considerable effort into ripping drivel like this to shreds.

April fools was a month-and-a-half ago… what gives??

ctopher

I agree with the headline, but after that it’s a rambling piece with little offer. It feels like Business Insider link-bait.

The headline (usually not the author’s choice) indicates that the rumor mill itself is the problem. Instead, the editorial implies that Apple is out of control, letting the rumor mill influence them.

It also means there is a huge number of products that One Infinite Loop has rushed out unfinished and seriously undercooked. iPhone’s that fail to make calls when you touch them anyone?

I’m not sure what the author is talking about here. I’ve never heard of an iPhone that fails to make calls, but if there is, then that and the 3 other products mentioned (iCloud, Maps and iOS) do not add up to a huge number.

Also, this is using the definition of “product” rather loosely as iPhones, iCloud, Maps and iOS are all part of a single product.

It’s OK to opine that iCloud is jacked up or that Maps is incorrect, but put it in context. Tell me how and why Dropbox is better, or that the latest fundamental change in the new Android release makes iOS look like DOS, whatever. The editorial needs statements that support its thesis.

Points awarded for the Google glass detail, but I’m at a loss when it comes to Amazon and their “really taking command of cloud computing.” A relevant product would better help bolster the notion that “the exciting noises are coming out of Google and Amazon.”

Personally, I’m not excited by Amazon EC2 and I have no reason to go out and buy one. (see what I did there?)

OK, I’m rambling too, but you get what you pay for. Let me attempt to justify my critique by citing the obvious; game changing products are rare and are almost never identified as such when they are released. For example, the tech press lambasted the Newton, the iPod and iPhone when they were announced. Google Glass could be a game changer or it could be a Segway (that is, popular with Mall cops).

Christian

Now, could anybody clarify what is so bad about iCloud? I hear people saying that everywhere, but nobody can explain why it is so bad. It does what it says. It syncs my devices without getting in the way. And it works just fine for me.

John Dingler, artist

The author bring a breath of fresh air to TMO from Great Britain so they use British English. The style must go with bad teeth. The article are thin. *S*

KurtG

Now that was a seriously random and disturbed rant.  Has to be the worst I have seen on TMO - and I have been reading and enjoying articles here forever.  Hope she recovers from whatever ails her soon!

CudaBoy

  Wow. The drones are defensive today, ey?? You know it’s bad when the clones start picking on questionable grammar.
  How’s this for a rumor: Tesla has turned a profit for first time, shipped 4,900 Model S’s from March to now, and is rumored to have hot swap batteries coming for the S. Rumors are hot about an acquisition v. independence in the future. After all Elon Musk is going to space all the time now so maybe he could use the money for his new time travel machine.
Apple came up as a possible contender to buy Tesla. I think Jobs would’ve been intrigued. I think Jobs would be so over the Pods and Pads and Phones by now, and he’d see the writing on the wall vis a vis Android, Samsung et al and he’d be on to the next Big Thing.  Apple Motors anyone????

webjprgm

The only thing I see worth responding to is the mention of Google Glass.

Im my opinion, glasses-style wearable augmented reality computing, which has been an idea about the future for the past decade or so, is still not quite ready.  We’re just at the point were working prototypes can be built but we have not solved all the interface issues, let alone social issues, and we don’t quite have all the technology ready to make this truly great.

Google is trying to jump the gun on Apple by putting out a prototype. They do that all the time by putting out “beta” software and seeing what ideas stick. It’s part of their business model and it has worked for them. They get many Guinea pigs and get to either refine the product or cancel bad ideas.  Since they put it out before Apple then it would make Apple look like the copycat this time (contrary to the iOS vs. Android situation) when Apple has to inevitably make their own version. I would not expect Apple to release, or even announce of course, a similar product until they had one that really is ready.

What Google Glass and similar products need to really be ready:
- Better resolution, continue to evolve smaller and lighter components
- Clip on to prescription and sun glasses, or be small enough to put in contact lenses.
- Run off a local, wearable CPU not by direct dependence on an unreliable cloud.
- Integrate wirelessly with peripherals and screens. (This is possible now but hasn’t been built. Bluetooth keyboards are kinda like this, but require pairing with each device rather than just being picked up by whatever device is around. Screens don’t do this yet.)
- Ideally some form of gesture interface, perhaps typing and tapping on virtual surfaces in the air or by typing/tapping on physical surfaces with virtual content on them.
- Further improvements to voice interfaces

CudaBoy

<<Google is trying to jump the gun on Apple by putting out a prototype. They do that all the time by putting out “beta” software and seeing what ideas stick. It’s part of their business model and it has worked for them. >>
  What try? They beat Apple period. And don’t confuse hardware with software. They beat Apple to market with small tablets as well. And Samsung served Shut-Up juice to any Apple smart TVs they might have been thinking about.
What was the Newton? What was the Mac Portable? Seems like they went up flagpoles as well to no avail. A new iPhone that isn’t new every 9 months smacks of either a.) playing catch-up or b.) fixing a Beta, which is it??
Regarding Google software experiments - at least they show imagination, something Apple sorely lacks and do you want me to list the failed Apple software hijinks????  There’s not enough bandwidth here.
You kind of have guilt for knowing the Glass is hip. lol. And I agree with your “predictions” of what will probably evolve with it.  I think ocular control of a mouse should have come first. If I could move a mouse by just moving my eyeball (like Jet pilots can do when getting radar lock) and blink to select etc. that would be hip. But then, a simple mind control interface would be better. lol

MuppetGate

>>  What try? They beat Apple period. And don’t confuse hardware with software. They beat Apple to market with small tablets as well. And Samsung served Shut-Up juice to any Apple smart TVs they might have been thinking about. <<

You are right: Google, Microsoft, Amazon…everybody beats Apple to the market.

The music player.
The music store.
The smartphone.
The tablet.

Apple wasn’t first to market with any of these, because first to market is not what Apple does (so I have no idea you or the author of this editorial seem to think it’s important).

What Apple does is last to market. They watch the competition, note the mistakes, enter the market, clean up the profits, move on to the next big thing.

Harvey

Who is “Jonathan Ives”?

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