Apple is Doomed. No It Isn’t. Services Are Hot Stuff

Apple Park

Without further ado, let’s jump right into the week’s Apple news debris.

The Week’s Apple News Debris

• With the COVID-19 virus taking its toll—and around for awhile—surely Apple is finally, assuredly doomed. Who will be able to afford its products? That’s the subject explored by Ben Lovejoy at m9to5Mac. “The ‘Apple is doomed’ messages are booming, but are entirely wrong.

After discussing the issues and possible, challenging scenarios, author Lovejoy concludes:

So no, Apple isn’t doomed. Its business may contract in certain areas. The challenges of re-opening retail stores may limit sales opportunities for a time. It may well sell fewer flagship iPhones this year and next.

But the company now has a broad range of products at a wide range of price-points. It has new product categories coming down the line. It has huge cash reserves to see it through any choppy waters.

Apple Park
Survival of the fittest.

In just two months, Apple has shown great business savvy, creativity and nimbleness. This thoughtful read helps us focus on what Apple is doing to adapt, innovate, and serve us.

• In that vein, I should note that Apple’s services have come along at just the right time. Jason Snell takes us through the numbers with a series of beautiful graphs. “Apple Q2 2020 results: $58B revenue, but no guidance.” Check out the 9th graphic for services.

• Here’s more good speculation on the Apple Watch 6 major features. Eventually the Apple Watch will have blood sugar monitoring. Combined with pulse measurement, ECG, SPO2 and sleep monitoring, it will truly be the killer wearable.

Last week, I discussed HBO Max. Now, we’ve learned that “HBO Max Will Be Free for Hulu’s Current HBO Customers.

• Peacock isn’t yet on Apple TV, despite this lurid headline. “How To Download and Sign Up For Peacock on Apple TV.” But it will be, so read up on this semi-click-bait, semi-useful article and hold your nose.

• Cybersecurity is a hot topic in education. Those skilled in it are just about guaranteed a job. So get your kids, being schooled at home, onboard. “This new cybersecurity school will teach kids to crack codes from home“. The subtitle tells it better. “Online initiative looks to inspire a new generation of cybersecurity talent to bring out their ‘digital Sherlock Holmes’ while schools remain closed.”

Image of iPad Pro 2020 with Magic Keyboard

• Finally, this review of the Apple Magic Keyboard “changes the iPad all over again.” Ian Fuchs writes:

Now, with the Magic Keyboard, Apple offers a new option for the iPad Pro. The new case lets you effortlessly jump between keyboard and tablet mode whenever you want. Or you can forget about the touchscreen entirely, turning the iPad into more of a laptop than ever before.

A little birdie told me that this evolution is not a planned effort destined to deprecate the Mac. Rather, it’s simply a response to what iPad oners have pleaded for. Finally.

Particle Debris is generally a mix of John Martellaro’s observations and opinions about a standout event or article(s) 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.

2 thoughts on “Apple is Doomed. No It Isn’t. Services Are Hot Stuff

  • John:

    Ben Lovejoy’s comments reflect any number of discussions that we have had at TMO, including a plethora of those that you have initiated on your weekly PD column, and elsewhere. I specifically recall, at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, Charlotte posting a dire prediction from market analysts that Apple would miss their targets, with the implicit threat of impending doom, which earned a sarcastic response from yours truly. No one should be surprised that Apple, despite having an off Q2, had a resurgent Q3, which was essentially a delayed response to a successful product rollout (inertia affects markets as well as physical bodies at rest or in motion).

    This is a principle directly ported from natural selection; the more adaptable and generalised an organism is, the more it can successfully respond to dramatic changes in its environment and the emergence of new ecosystems. The more highly specialised organisms are the ones at highest risk, especially if the one thing upon which they depend goes away. Apple have a broad and expanding platform of products and services that address what today are essential goods and services in the early 21st Century, and nearly each of which is competitive if not first in its class. This means that Apple have deep roots in our core global culture, and will no more go away than will that culture itself, and if anything, will continue to co-adapt as that culture co-adapts in a continuing symbiosis of productivity and creativity.

    Market analysts, God love them, do their best with stereotyped and dated models based on 20th Century theories of supply and demand and resultant consumer behaviour, however little of that has been successfully applied to the brave new world of 21st Century technology, and next to none of it has successfully predicted global responses to Apple’s business model. Analysts would be better served by admitting that Apple and the tech sector are taking them to school, re-writing the texts (as we are doing today in science and medicine) and adopting an admittedly agnostic approach, rather than an oft-wrong prognostic one.

    Regarding the Apple Watch Series 6, persistent and increasingly affirmative rumours have been making the rounds on both pulse oxymetry and sleep tracking being featured in the upcoming release. It is probably safe to say that the only reason why these would not appear in the upcoming release would be due to technical limitations, making them either unreliable or somehow compromising core functionality. Physics is fun, until it hobbles your tech progress. In the long run, such failure and delay has the effect of making our tech better and more resilient, and deepens our understanding of physics and nature along the way, but in the immediate present, it can be a gut punch.

    There is a practical imperative for the pulse ox in the upcoming AW6. One of the features of Covid-19 severe infection is hypoxaemia (low blood oxygen concentration), during which blood oxygen concentration drops well below its normal ≥95% (sea level), and reads more like high altitude blood oxygen concentration. This puts substantial strain on cardiovascular and respiratory system compensatory mechanisms, resulting in increased work of the heart and lungs, which as blood oxygen concentration continues to drop, are increasingly less effective adaptations and ultimately non-sustainable. An early warning system in the form of a wrist-ready pulse oxymeter that can provide regular (courtesy of Siri reminders) and reliable (ie consistent) readings will be a potential game changer in saving lives and proactively getting people to timely and appropriate therapy, with timeliness being essential to saving lives, not simply for those at high risk, like asthmatics, but for the increasing numbers of younger, seemingly healthy people, who did not realise that they were hypoxic, and who wind up in the ICU.

    What these two articles point to are the twin real truths that innovation and the bringing to market of new products, even during financial hard times, is essential to our capacity to effectively respond to extant real world threats on the one hand, and on the other, that any company, like Apple, that can develop these essential tools and products will weather that storm better than those companies that cannot. Global catastrophes, like pandemics, are the crucibles of natural selection in both the natural world, and any system in which survival is meted out by competition, like the tech sector, with the fittest, most efficient response carrying the day.


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