Apple Is A Healthy Company. But, Someday, it Could Fail

3 minute read
| Particle Debris
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

Amazon, like any company could fail someday. CEO Jeff Bezos has even predicted it. ” ‘I predict one day Amazon will fail. Amazon will go bankrupt’: Jeff Bezos makes surprise admission about Amazon’s life span.

“Amazon is not too big to fail … In fact, I predict one day Amazon will fail,” Bezos reportedly said when addressing a question about Sears recently going bankrupt. “Amazon will go bankrupt. If you look at large companies, their lifespans tend to be 30-plus years, not a hundred-plus years.

Apple Park

Who will be the tenant in year 2118?

IBM has been around for 107 years. Apple has been around for 42 years. None of us likes to think about the total business failure of Apple. (It came close in 1996. That’s no exemption from a second bust.) But it’s possible. The problem is forecasting the forces that might cause failure, and we don’t know what they’ll be. Speculation seems pointless. But one thing to watch is how tech companies change and embrace new technologies. Those companies that refuse to change, like Sears, usually fail. Apple is doing well in this regard, relentlessly leaving the past behind.

If I had to guess, however, it would have something to do with robots. Just a hunch. There, social forces, technology and Apple’s values could dramatically collide in the future.

In that light, The Guardian does a decent job this week exploring Apple’s current struggles. “Does Apple’s sales slump mean the firm has finally peaked?” (Note the dreadful invocation of Betteridge’s law in the headline.) The problems cited are not company-ending struggles. But today’s market forces can be fickle, and monitoring them, even as Apple adapts, is always instructive.

More Debris

• Two reviews of the new Mac mini caught my attention this week.

Rear of 2018 Mac mini.

Note the 2 USB-A ports. w00t!. Image credit: Apple.

The first reviewer isn’t happy with the graphics performance. “Cons: Limited graphics performance (and no meaningful way to improve it).” The second agrees and also agrees that customization options get pricey real fast.” But there are pros. Both agree that the external ports are plentiful and well chosen. Read both to get a great overview.

• Another thing we don’t like to think about is AI replacing humans in some jobs. Those job that require encyclopedic knowledge are candidates. “This AI outperformed 20 corporate lawyers at legal work.” Of course, trial attorneys will still depend on the human touch, human connections, shrewd tactics, etc. in the courtroom. That is, if the human art of trial prosecution and defense survives. As a fun, instructive aside, see the Star Trek (TOS) episode “Court Martial.

C++ code

C and C++ code requires special security alertness.

• All computer languages are complete. They can handle any algorithm known to humans thanks to their design. But the specific design and syntax can sometimes lead a developer into bad coding habits. Some languages, like Haskell, are designed to avoid certain security lapses based on the developer’s style. And some are not, and the developer has to be very alert. See: “The Internet Has a Huge C/C++ Problem and Developers Don’t Want to Deal With It.”

2017 imacs

Where are the Coffee Lake iMacs?

• On October 30, Apple announced a new Mac mini and new MacBook Air. But no new iMacs. Why not? Here’s an exploration that tries to make sense of that omission. “Why Apple Didn’t Upgrade the iMac Last Month?” One thing the author doesn’t delve into is T2 security chip integration. Apple had much longer to work on the Mac mini and MacBook Air. So the iMac could just be be the johnny-come-lately Mac.

• When you buy an iPhone or iPad, Apple doesn’t offer choice of CPU (type and clock speed) and RAM—as you get when purchasing a Mac. Jason Snell opines, based on the new MacBook Air, that this might be the future for, at least, portable Macs. “Why the MacBook Air might spell the end of configurable Macs.” I disagree: Mac users are a different breed. So I think the new MBA is not a presage of the future, rather, something that was expedient and could change in time. But Jason’s article is something to ponder.

• Finally, if you have a 4th generation Apple TV/4K, the YouTube TV app is available to you. Here’s a very good, comprehensive guide over at Digital Trends on everything YouTube TV has to offer. “What is YouTube TV? Here’s everything you need to know.” This app is very much on my own radar.

[Note: Particle Debris will not be published on 22 November.]


Particle Debris is a generally a mix of John Martellaro’s observations and opinions about a standout event or article of the week followed by a discussion of articles that didn’t make the TMO headlines, the technical news debris. The column is published most every Friday except for holiday weeks.

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wab95
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wab95

John: Just a quick comment. The Apple community is facing a crisis, not so much of identify but of split mind in the face of change. On the one hand, there is the call for Apple to behave according to convention and emphasise their conventional product line of Macs, money being no limitation. On the other, there is the call for Apple to be adaptive and be the first to develop the next big thing; and when they do not, we decry their lack of vision, daring and direction, and lambast their unwillingness to invent beyond their current staple. Which… Read more »

Lee Dronick
Member
Lee Dronick

“Just a quick comment.”

😀

wab95
Member
wab95

Guilty as charged, Lee.

In my defence, at least I didn’t say it would be a short comment; just quickly written.

Cheers.

Lee Dronick
Member
Lee Dronick

😀

gGrant
Member
gGrant

Where to start? Bezos is covering himself pretty well. Buying a newspaper to gain political influence. AWS not only services most of the internet & corporate cloud needs, but a lot of CIA and other security services computing as well. Nice little -in- there, too. Mac Mini was never a graphics machine, it was a CPU workhorse (not thoroughbred). Practical, but not very taxing job as computers go (servers, compiling code). THAT’S WHY an entry level computer was popular in CERTAIN applications with Pros (including developers, that’s light weight too, by comparison). Pretend Mini’s a Pro machine (never was, just… Read more »

brilor
Member
brilor

The rumour community swallowed the controlled leaks, built expectations, and the reviewers want Apple’s attention, so they just parrot the PR

Might be tad cynical but Apple is all about marketing, so such an observation might have at least some accuracy to it.

Member
Jasons Stuff

Headline is a healthy company now, but everyday it could fail.

brilor
Member
brilor

““Why Apple Didn’t Upgrade the iMac Last Month?” This article simply concludes Xeon chip availability is the answer. It doesn’t address Apple’s need to distinguish iMac Pros from the iMacs because, for example, upgrading the iMac without upgrading the iMac Pro at the same time could shift buyers ( and, of course, lose buyers ) to one or the other. My personal opinion ( that doesn’t even rise to the label of “anecdotal” ) is Apple was forced to make a Pro machine due the 2013 Mac Pro’s languishing and the iMac Pro was able to leverage much of the… Read more »

CudaBoy
Member
CudaBoy

Interesting. This is the first sign of ‘covering your ass’ here admitting that Apple is not the Roman Empire or IS or whatever – and the TIMING of this rare take is pretty obvious as we watch MILLIONS abandon Facebook for what now is proven BAD things like literally destroying the fabric of society by breeding people that are addicted to the dopamine rush of a ‘like’ or a ‘watch’ to the detriment of EMPATHY.. Apple knows it makes it’s bread and butter using the same psychological tactics to sell the devices that are literally ruining this world so of… Read more »

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shameermulji

“I wonder if Apple will ever get back into the computer business?”

Given the success of the iPhone, iPad, Mac, Watch, Apple never got out of the computer business. If anything, it expanded their computer business via computers that are smaller and more personal.

gGrant
Member
gGrant

Apple is indeed in the computer business, just not the Mac business. Mac’s are stuck back in the 1900s and even Microsoft has touch/stylus computers, but not Apple.

Lee Dronick
Member
Lee Dronick

Apple is in the business of making money.