Originally published November 23rd, 2016
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.
[Update: Apple announced on December 13th that AirPods will ship on December 21st. That means the company will have shipped 14 new products during 2016 instead of 13. Which is still a shockingly small number of products, and doesn’t change the fact that to the outside world, Apple accomplished very little in 2016. I modified this article to reflect the fact that AirPods shipped.]
Products Released by Apple in 2015 and 2016
|Apple Products 2015||Apple Products 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 14 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—will be shipped in the waning days of the year, on December 21st. 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 mind year.
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 picture 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 14 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.