This List Proves Apple Hasn’t Accomplished Much in 2016

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I don’t think many people were thinking 2016 has been a great year for Apple, but…well, look at this list. It’s everything Apple released in 2015 and 2016. Adam Christianson compiled the list for us using data from MacTracker, and seeing it hit me like a ton of bricks.

Apple in 2016

Products Released by Apple in 2015 and 2016

Apple Products 2015 Apple Products 2016
  • iOS 9 – September 2015
  • iPhone 6s – September 2015
  • iPhone 6s Plus – September 2015
  • iPad Pro (12.9-inch) – November 2015
  • iPad mini 4 – September 2015
  • Smart Keyboard – September 2015
  • Apple Pencil – November 2015
  • iOS 10 – September 2016
  • iPhone 7 – September 2016
  • iPhone 7 Plus – September 2016
  • iPad Pro (9.7-inch) – March 2016
  • iPhone SE – March 2016
  • AirPods – TBD
OS X/macOS
  • OS X El Capitan – September 2015
  • iMac (5K, 27-inch Mid 2015) – May 2015
  • iMac (5K, 27-inch Late 2015) – October 2015
  • iMac (4K, 21.5-inch Late 2015) – October 2015
  • MacBook (Retina, Early 2015) – April 2015
  • MacBook Air (Early 2015) – March 2015
  • MacBook Pro (15-inch, Mid-2015) – May 2015
  • MacBook Pro (13-inch, Early 2015) – March 2015
  • Magic Trackpad 2 – October 2015
  • Magic Mouse 2 – October 2015
  • Magic Keyboard – October 2015
  • macOS Sierra – September 2016
  • MacBook (Retina, Early 2016) – April 2016
  • MacBook Pro (15-inch Touch Bar, Late 2016) – October 2016
  • MacBook Pro (13-inch Touch Bar, Late 2016) – October 2016
  • MacBook Pro (13-inch, Late 2016) – October 2016
  • watchOS 2 – September 2015
  • Apple Watch – (announced September 2014, but shipped March 2015)
  • watchOS 3 – September 2016
  • Apple Watch Series 1 and Series 2 – September 2016
  • tvOS 9 – September 2015
  • Apple TV (4th gen) – October 2015
  • Siri Remote – October 2015
  • tvOS 10 – September 2016

Listen, there’s just no way around this: that list is depressing. Apple has all of the resources. More resources than any company on the planet. More resources than many governments. And that’s the best Apple can do?

Apple essentially released 13 products in 2016. One iPad (iPad Air (9.7-inch); two Macs (MacBook and the MacBook Pros announced in October); the usual iPhones; the usual OS releases. And one more product—AirPods—that have been delayed indeterminately. That’s it*.

Plus, Apple exited the display business in 2016 and appears poised to exist the router market.

Is the problem the comparison to 2015? No. 2015 saw the Apple Watch ship and the company introduced iPhone SE and iPad Pro (12.9-inch). On the other hand, Mac Mini, iPad Air, and Mac Pro (lol) weren’t revved. 23 new or iterated products is a solid year for Apple, but it’s not like it’s a banner, OMG, blow your ming year.

Big Picture

Unlike many Apple doubters and haters these days, I love Tim Cook. He’s most likely the only person who could have taken over from Steve Jobs, who, I like to point out, selected Mr. Cook as his successor.

I also believe Apple has big bicture stuff in the works. Apple Car and something in the field of augmented reality are just two major new areas where we know Apple is investing heavily. There are absolutely other projects at some stage of development within Apple that we don’t yet know about.

But Apple has got to figure out how to focus on new products while still iterating its existing lines. Why? Because 13 new products in a year for the world’s most valuable company is depressing.

Worse, it’s boring. Apple has given us very little to talk about this year except for all of the things it isn’t doing. For a company whose value is predicated in no small part on the enormous amounts of free press it gets, boring is bad.

*Some folks might be inclined to include Designed by Apple in California, Apple’s new coffee table book, as a new product. While I like this book, it’s not appropriate for this list in my opinion.

6 Comments Add a comment

  1. John Kheit

    This list is a brutal indictment of Apple’s failure to scale and produce product. Ultimately, this falls at the feet of Tim Cook. For a guy that’s good at operations, this indictment is double damning. A company with more and more resources producing less and less than ever. If real artists ship, then the artistry has left Apple.

  2. … Steve Jobs, who, I like to point out, selected Mr. Cook as his successor.

    And Balmer was Gates choice as his successor. The founder is not necessarily a good judge of who would be the best to replace him.

    Don’t hold your breath about the AppleCar. It’s been scaled back and is being reevaluated.

    Yes this list is pathetic. There is still part of me that’s hoping it’s because they will blow us away next year…or maybe 2018…

  3. My question is, does Apple (or any company) have to introduce new products every year in order to be considered successful? Maybe, just maybe, Apple is spending some time behind the scenes to develop something new, or take existing products to new levels. I’m not sure that the creative process as expressed through product innovation is necessarily on an annual cycle. Although it seems we’ve come to expect just that.
    I dunno. Maybe Apple is doomed. Out of ideas. Finally reached their apex, and now entering decline.
    Or maybe some of our expectations are unrealistic.
    In the meantime, I’m hanging on to my somewhat meager AAPL holdings (if only!) and continuing to enjoy the products I have – a 2010 iMac (recently given new life with an SSD from OWC), a 2014 MacBook Pro, an iPad Air 2, and a first generation Watch – all of which are a pleasure to use.
    As for Tim Cook, he seems like a fine fellow. I have no idea what Steve Jobs would be doing now if he was still alive.

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