Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Has Apple lost the script?

Here is a contrarian view to Apple's recent announcements. These views are my own, and in no way endorsed by Apple.

I think Apple is losing its way. Here are my reasons why:

  1. Mac OS is stagnant, and now even Apple knows this to be a fact. There is no way they would drop the upgrade price to $29 if they felt that they were delivering value to the customer via this upgrade. All prior upgrades to the OS have been at $129. Unless Apple comes out with 10.7 within a year, both consumers and the Enterprise will not lap this new OS up.

  2. iPhone S/W 3.0 could only be an awesome release if it overhauled a crappy OS into a whiz-bang darling. The iPhone OS is slowly becoming a victim of its own success/feature-richness. It’s hard to wow an audience once they are used to the spectacular.

  3. Barring minor tweaks, the iPhone design is now almost 2 years old. In light of what the competition has slated for release in the coming year, the form-factor is beginning to show its gray hair. I touched a Palm Pre today, and I let out a quiet yelp of excitement like I did the first time I held my iPhone or the new Zune HD. No such wow-factor associated with the iPhone 3G’S’.

  4. Apple, in its infinite arrogance (and I dare say, ignorance), is not revealing any plans for a Netbook. Call me whatever you want, but the tiny Toshiba tablet I got many years ago is still my favorite machine to browse the web on while traveling. The thing is maybe 3 pounds, runs Windows XP, and let’s me do email, blog, twitter and youtube. What is Apple doing with the PA Semiconductor acquisition if they haven’t been put to work on an iPhone CPU or a Netbook CPU? NetBooks are the way of the future because our expectations from the compute power they provide are almost minimal. Also, with Cloud Computing gaining mainstream traction, my Netbook can become my gateway to my compute resources in the cloud. All cloud computing infrastructure builders are hard at work on creating expressive management interfaces for resources in the cloud. I don’t see why Office 2012 can’t be hosted in the cloud and accessed via a super thin shim/client/browser-plugin; the heavy lifting needed to render objects, etc is done in the cloud while the client does the task of rendering the items for the user.
Video features are big for the current generation of phone adopters and youtube junkies. Did you ever think unlimited texting would become du jour? I didn’t either. With this being said, let’s think about a 1st time iPhone buyer. The baseline is the iPhone 3G that will retail for $99. Is a slight CPU bump - which can’t be considered a feature since all of us know Moore’s Law – a compass, and a new yet ancient 3MP camera with video support enough of a reason to fork out a $100 more for the 3GS? In this economy, I’d be hard pressed to believe the answer to that question is YES. I’d like to see the sales figures for the entry-level 8GB iPhone 3G vs the 16GB model before that belief becomes fact, but I don’t have access to that granular sales data. As hunches go though, the entire world has been wrong with predicting sales of Apple products (and/or the demise of the company for that matter). If cost was the only driver for tech adoption, Apple’s laptops would never be adopted over their PC counterparts, and the top of the line Mac Book Pros would have to be discontinued because of cannibalization by the cheaper Mac Books.

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