Apple is about to cross into a cycle of decline if we do not see some significant updates across the board. Right now Apple is a company not producing. If you look back at, say 2008, while the company was still under Steve Jobs, it was pretty much regularly and annually updating all Macs, operating systems, peripherals, iPods, even meaningful updates to its iLife/iWork suites as well as the iPhone and its software.
Since then Apple has about quadrupled its work force, but it hasn’t quadrupled product output. If anything, product output seems to have gone down. They’ve killed lots and lots of features across the line. They killed Aperture. There hasn’t been a meaningful or substantial update to iLife or iWork in years, and in fact they’ve reduced its features. iTunes has bloated into a menace that would even make Microsoft blush.
How about the Mac, it’s an embarrassment of inactivity. Apple hasn’t updated its Cinema Display since September of 2011, and hasn’t updated its top of the line Mac Pro since December 2013. Even its ‘most up to date’ iMac is sporting a pathetic maximum-sized 3TB hard drive when you can get 8TB drives for about $200.
Right now, it seems Apple just cannot get anything out the door. They haven’t bothered to update so many of their machines (even with deminimus speed bumped processors), I guess, because either they’re incapable or they don’t care. And that’s a problem. A big one.
And it brings to mind my real fear here. What the heck is Apple doing? It has more people than ever and more resources than ever, yet is producing less than ever. What are all those people doing? Why does it appear that Apple is failing to scale—it’s doing less with more.
This reminds me how after Steve Jobs was kicked out of Apple, CEO John Sculley actually increased revenues at Apple for the first few years. Apple was at the top of the PC game. All until there was no vision or meaningful updates, and then Apple went into decline and neared bankruptcy before Steve came back and saved the company with his NeXT technology vision.
A lot of people say Apple makes most of it’s money on the iPhone, so it doesn't really need to make the Mac (or trucks as Steve Jobs once called them). But all those people are wrong. Along with Steve Jobs, it was the creative professionals and the techno elite who saved Apple. They were convinced that having a clean unix on the desktop was cool, and they bought Macs. Later, they bought iPods that their kids thought were cool and went and spread the halo effect.
They were the shepherds that guided the flock. And those people are leaving Apple in droves right now. Why? Because Macs are so stale and old. They simply are not competitive for power users and creative professionals. Don’t believe me? On the next page I'll explore some reactions from power users—Mac power users—that are out there right now.
Next: Mac Power Users and Creative Pros Turning Elsewhere