Annual Refreshes on Products is REALLY KILLING US

  • Avatar

    Posted: 21 October 2011 02:44 PM

    Look, I know everyone thinks they know best, but do they?

    Seriously.

    This ONE TIME A YEAR pace on iPhones and iPads is plain STUPID.

    First of all, everyone “gets the pace” and sales will slow down, or almost stop a few months in advance as those in the know “wait for the upgrades.”

    Secondly, IF for some reason, as we have just seen, you are late, you HAD the wait crowd stopped ANTICIPATING the normal refresh date, and they certainly will NOT buy, until the new product is released, AND you have those who HEAR ABOUT the “missed update” and they too will elect to wait.

    It guarantees a “kill period” on schedule and just doesn’t make sense.

    Secondly, this technology is MOVING LIGHTING FAST, this gives your competition, and there are dozens now, 11 full MONTHS, to run around you, adopt new forms, processors, screens, whatevers….as you sit there, not moving, even IF you have the capacity NOW to tweak the products.

    IF you were a monopoly, that would all makes sense, after all, it is MUCH more profitable to do long runs, and have all your products the same, it is a monopolists dream scenario.

    BUT, that isn’t the case anymore, frankly, apple products have serious competition now either more advanced than they are, OR or have that scenario coming up fast and furious onto them.

    Supply chain isn’t the key to winning in the long run.

    NEW, EXCITING, and LEADING EDGE is.

    And as a six year investor in Apple, with a VERY substantial holdings, I’ve been more and more amazed at how *UNbrilliant* they have gotten over the past two years.

    They seriously need to step UP THE PACE of improvements, fill product gaps, that are giving others room to end run them, and most importantly of ALL, talk to the press more often, and gladhand a little with the investor class.

    And darn it, that 80+ BILLION, just sitting there, ain’t needed, no way, nohow, not for anything that they want to do, could do, may do, or dream about. It is just a lot MORE than any conceivable need other than a massive acquisition, and Apple doesn’t do those.

    Tim has had two PUBLIC EVENTS since becoming CEO, and frankly, BOTH the new phone introduction, AND his first conference call were duds, if not outright flops.

    And remember, I’m NOT a hater, or basher, just a serious investor, wondering if they have a gameplan, to step up the pace, expand the lines, and get serious about the inroads others are making on them.

    Signature

    “Even in the worst of times, someone turns a profit. . ” —#162 Ferengi: Rules of Acquisition

         
  • Posted: 21 October 2011 02:57 PM #1

    You may be right, Tan, but currently I disagree.

    There are things the market leader simply can’t do. And being brilliant isn’t enough on its own if you aren’t the market leader.

    I’m happy to trust that Apple is following a more broadly specified long term plan and closely watching the competition meantime.

    To take a specific, what do you see as the competition’s possible answer to Siri in the next year?

         
  • Posted: 21 October 2011 04:38 PM #2

    sleepygeek - 21 October 2011 05:57 PM

    You may be right, Tan, but currently I disagree.

    There are things the market leader simply can’t do. And being brilliant isn’t enough on its own if you aren’t the market leader.

    I’m happy to trust that Apple is following a more broadly specified long term plan and closely watching the competition meantime.

    To take a specific, what do you see as the competition’s possible answer to Siri in the next year?

    Over the past few years I thought I had been able to discern Apple’s long term strategy.  When iCloud was announced I found that I had been mostly wrong.

    Apple has quietly built a walled garden using innovative, cutting edge technologies that are easy to use on the consumer level.  Apple has enhanced the technology with cutting edge processors, displays, cases, etc, then denied competition availability of those enhancements, thereby denying side by side specification comparisons.  Apple did this by acquiring the equipment to manufacture them.  In doing so, Apple has reduced its suppliers to contract manufacturers.  The equipment can’t be used to supply the competition, and Apple doesn’t pay customary value added pricing.

    In each case that Apple has done this they have denied the competition comparable technologies for two to three years.

    That means that there is no competitor with comparable products, let alone products that surpass Apple’s product.  Period.

    That doesn’t mean that there won’t be consumers that opt for competing products.  Nobody gets 100% market share.  Nor does anybody get 100% profit share.  As a developer and manufacturer of a brand, Apple leads in both market share and profit share, by a substantial amount So I’m having trouble understanding your argument.

    Signature

    You can’t do more, make more, be more, than the next guy, if you think like the next guy. Think different.

         
  • Posted: 21 October 2011 04:53 PM #3

    I don’t get the argument either, especially when the iPad is lumped in.  How exactly are we getting killed on the iPad?

    I think this wish for Apple to act like the rest of its competitors sounds a lot like the clamour to do a NetBook a while back.  Apple is playing a different game than all the money losing competitors, by emphasizing ecosystem and experience.  And they are winning - I don’t see a need to go into a frenzy of keeping up with the Jones’ with release cycles and features.  Especially now with the 3GS to 4S now covering all price points.

         
  • Posted: 21 October 2011 05:12 PM #4

    Take heart Tan. SJ’s Apple is guided by decade long deep plans. Until the competition do the same, their attacks will be transient, and probably strengthening to Apple. The obvious competitors have too much they won’t let go of. They need to start from desperate circumstances, like Apple’s when SJ returned.

    Apple’s attitude to shallow competitors:

    “Out, out, competitor! You’re but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more: yours is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

         
  • Posted: 21 October 2011 07:07 PM #5

    I get it’s not a major profit driver at first blush, but the refresh on the Mac Pro is RIDICULOUS. Seriously.

         
  • Avatar

    Posted: 21 October 2011 07:33 PM #6

    AudioSculptor - 21 October 2011 10:07 PM

    I get it’s not a major profit driver at first blush, but the refresh on the Mac Pro is RIDICULOUS. Seriously.

    Yes, I gave up.  I had MacPros and G5s before that but I was tired of waiting for the refresh of the MacPro line.  So I bought an iMac 27” and it is AMAZING.  A huge value. 

    I have the quad-core and it’s really fast even rendering movies.  The screen is worth the cost of the whole thing alone.  I consider this the only “bargain” I’ve ever gotten from Apple.

    It cost less and performs well.  It was a big surprise for me. I kept my old MacPro and the two monitors it runs, so, I have lots of screen real estate now.

    Macs never die.  They just get slower…and….slower….and…..s l o w e r (because everything gets faster…..).

         
  • Avatar

    Posted: 22 October 2011 03:09 AM #7

    sleepygeek - 21 October 2011 05:57 PM

    To take a specific, what do you see as the competition’s possible answer to Siri in the next year?

    None frankly.

    BUT, one FEATURE is nice, but isn’t the ballgame. And frankly, the investor classes seem to be COMPLETELY immune to software features, it would seem that only hardware gets us any kudo’s and pops.

    A couple of examples:

    1 - I bought my first MacBook Air, DAY ONE, when they introduced it. That was three years ago. Where is the NATURAL LINE EXTENSION of a 15” model?

    2 - Almost ONE YEAR, go get something painted WHITE? Unimaginable.

    3 - FIVE YEARS NOW, and they are “still in negotiations with” China mobil? I mean, come-on, every other phone co has figured out how to deal with their unique system, can’t really be that hard….

    And a final point, by doing ONE ANNUAL refresh, you need to assure massive quantities of everything for the launch, that means that the newest and best stuff that isn’t quite ready for ubermillions of units, has to wait. With a six month cycle, you could put the newest out sooner, and work with the limited yeilds of the newer subcomponents and just have a rolling two level pricing as they are now doing, the best at the best price, the previous “best” moves down the pricing scale.

    [ Edited: 22 October 2011 03:55 AM by TanToday ]

    Signature

    “Even in the worst of times, someone turns a profit. . ” —#162 Ferengi: Rules of Acquisition

         
  • Avatar

    Posted: 22 October 2011 04:03 AM #8

    This thread is an eclectic one under the umbrella of product refreshment.  Most of the thread is hardware issues.  Apple laptops and iMacs get the rave reviews and the sales, as well as iOS devices.

    But as Tan just pointed out, the software gets little respect.  Siri is a dramatic step forward.  And I am sure theres a lot of under the hood optimization and API (stuff that some developers like) for Lion and iOS 5.

    Ok, tell me something u dont know, u say.

    I contend that Apple is neglectful of the Mac Pros.  The cost benefit of the 27 iMac screen , cpu and graphics thereby is great.  Mac Pro ?  Not obvious.

    The software is similar.  That which gets rave reviews generally deserves it.  ITunes store, App Store, multitouch, Siri ?  Great and evolving further.

    But that which doesnt get good, great, even rave reviews ?  Case by case basis, but the consumer software that sits in my dock is generally not from Apple.

         
  • Avatar

    Posted: 22 October 2011 05:08 AM #9

    Treehouse - 22 October 2011 07:03 AM

    I contend that Apple is neglectful of the Mac Pros.  The cost benefit of the 27 iMac screen , cpu and graphics thereby is great.  Mac Pro ?  Not obvious.

    I think the Mac Pro is on its way to becoming (if it hasn’t already become ) a niche item, which is why Apple isn’t in a hurry to keep them updated with the latest.  You need it if you are producing serious movies, videos or audio of substantial length and need huge storage and huge amounts of RAM.  If you are doing anything else, like 5-minute videos, garage band compositions or heavy Photoshop photos, the iMac will work for less. 

    Apple’s becoming more and more a consumer company.  Things seem to be merging.  The fact that I can do what I need to do as a professional photographer/videographer on an iMac is incredible.  I’ve always needed lots of power. I can do lots on my iMac.  I haven’t tried it with an additional monitor yet, but I will be doing that on Monday.  Hope it works!!

    I have to admit, I was almost embarrassed to actually purchase one.  It has such a long legacy as a consumer product with the first models and their bright “think different” colors.  But, the reality is that they are serious these days.  Even with the latest Canon D1 Mark II cameras producing 80MB files per photo, these iMacs handle them just fine.  Pretty amazing.

         
  • Posted: 22 October 2011 06:29 AM #10

    I think you can have 3 27 inch screens on the iMac 27, and huge fast storage. Both via Thunderbolt I/O.
    So Mac Pro has become an even more niche item. If you want six screens, or special hardware cards, or 64GB or more of RAM.

         
  • Avatar

    Posted: 22 October 2011 10:48 AM #11

    AudioSculptor - 21 October 2011 10:07 PM

    I get it’s not a major profit driver at first blush, but the refresh on the Mac Pro is RIDICULOUS. Seriously.

    No MP update until Intel delivers new processors.

    cheers to the longs
        JohnG

    [ Edited: 23 October 2011 11:20 AM by johnG ]      
  • Posted: 22 October 2011 12:16 PM #12

    TanToday - 22 October 2011 06:09 AM
    sleepygeek - 21 October 2011 05:57 PM

    To take a specific, what do you see as the competition’s possible answer to Siri in the next year?

    None frankly.

    BUT, one FEATURE is nice, but isn’t the ballgame. And frankly, the investor classes seem to be COMPLETELY immune to software features, it would seem that only hardware gets us any kudo’s and pops.

    A couple of examples:

    1 - I bought my first MacBook Air, DAY ONE, when they introduced it. That was three years ago. Where is the NATURAL LINE EXTENSION of a 15” model?

    2 - Almost ONE YEAR, go get something painted WHITE? Unimaginable.

     

    1.  A 15” MBA is coming soon.  The lack of any leaks suggest a spring release rather than this Nov.  I’ve bought my last MacBook Pro in its current weight class.  Reasons for possible delay?  Apple may have fretted consumers weren’t quite ready to go optical drive-less.  They needn’t have worried.

    2.  Hindsight suggests that Apple used the much-delayed white iPhone to refresh the extended product cycle of iPhone 4.

    The pace of innovation does seem to have moderated:  I’m both surprised and a bit disappointed the iPod Nano wasn’t enabled with bluetooth earphones and some voice control functionality.  Dick Tracy is sporting gray hairs.

    On the good news front, Steve’s bio includes enticing hints of an Apple HDTV project. Reportedly, SJ also vested Jony Ive with more power than his V-P title suggests.  This is great news for shareholders.

    Doing lots of traveling and more to come.  Next up: An exotic place for rest and rejuvenation.

         
  • Posted: 22 October 2011 09:13 PM #13

    In marketing, Apple is building relationships, not selling gadgets. Apple’s “slow” gadget release rate makes customers comfortable with their buying decisions. If Apple doesn’t lose customers, Apple cannot lose market share.

    Siri’s voice interaction is the holy grail of man machine interface. It’s more important than the transition from command line to GUI pioneered by Apple 27 years ago. Right now, of course, it looks like a gimmick, just as Mac originally did to the established PC business.

    Apple wants to make more customer relationships, not more gadget sales. Those relationships are the enabler of deep innovation. Chasing specs and gadget sales volume would destroy Apple.

         
  • Posted: 23 October 2011 01:18 AM #14

    sleepygeek - 23 October 2011 12:13 AM

    In marketing, Apple is building relationships, not selling gadgets. Apple’s “slow” gadget release rate makes customers comfortable with their buying decisions. If Apple doesn’t lose customers, Apple cannot lose market share.

    Siri’s voice interaction is the holy grail of man machine interface. It’s more important than the transition from command line to GUI pioneered by Apple 27 years ago. Right now, of course, it looks like a gimmick, just as Mac originally did to the established PC business.

    Apple wants to make more customer relationships, not more gadget sales. Those relationships are the enabler of deep innovation. Chasing specs and gadget sales volume would destroy Apple.

    Brief but dead on.  I particularly agree with the comfort of the buying decisions.  The android crowd has what…, about a week to enjoy the novelty of owning the latest and greatest?

    Signature

    I don’t mind being wrong…,I just hate being wrong so FAST!

         
  • Avatar

    Posted: 23 October 2011 09:15 AM #15

    Nothwithstanding all of the good ideas, I really don’t see where a twice a year pace for improvements, rather than a once a year one, would do ANY harm, and can envision a MUCH more advantageous pace, and thus minimizing “feature obsolescence” as a tool for rivals to exploit.

    Signature

    “Even in the worst of times, someone turns a profit. . ” —#162 Ferengi: Rules of Acquisition