Ten years ago, Steve Jobs announced a new product called the iPhone. After publicly denying Apple was working on a phone, he demonstrated a device that would help to reshape how we view personal computing. The iPhone doesn’t deserve all the credit. Android played a critical part, and was released around the same time. But the world of computing, mobile or otherwise, has a clear boundary in the year 2007.
I watched the WWDC 2017 Keynote this morning, and it was a combination of “well, that’s not a surprise” and “hmm, now that’s something to consider”. At least I didn’t find myself wondering when it was going to end, although it was clear they were rushing through some parts to have enough time for some of the more expansive elements.
Okay, so after talking about how I wasn’t sure about a new MacBook Pro, I decided to pull the trigger and get one. While the decision was based somewhat on logic, some of it was certainly based on impulse. I won’t pretend it was an entirely rational decision.
Tim Cook has tried to reassure everyone that there will be “great” new desktops from Apple. The big question, of course, is what will those desktops be? Apple has focused more and more on portable computing, and desktops have been largely neglected. The MacBook has become their mainstay in the PC world. So what can we expect? I don’t know, but I am allowed to guess (and I’m allowed to be wrong, too).
Apple is wandering in the wilderness, lost and without direction. If you don’t believe me, just look at any of the product announcements they’ve made in the past few years. The lack of focus and clarity, and the 1970’s variety show feel, are a clear indicator they don’t know what they are or what they want. That former employees are speaking up only reinforces this. They’re even becoming a punchline.
My most recent post discusses the real story behind the disruption of the music business. In it, I assert that the iPod and the iTunes Music Store were instrumental in putting Apple on the path they are on today. Are they really that important? Are the iPod and iTunes really central to Apple’s eventual success?
A common narrative about the music business is that Apple single-handled disrupted it. It was Apple, and in particular Steve Jobs, that used iTunes to “break the back … of music majors” (see JLG’s Monday Note). My problem? It isn’t actually true, at least not in the form the myth has taken. It’s close, but it isn’t the whole picture.