I’ve been leaving Apple for a while now. I used to be the lead blogger on The Unofficial Apple Weblog, have contributed to multiple Apple-related O’Reilly books in the Hacks series, and was the first person to start a blog about the iPod back when it was first announced (it was called My iPod Blog and enjoyed that spotlight for all of about a week before other better Apple focused blogs dwarfed it).
Several years ago I bought first a Microsoft Surface, then a Surface Book, because I really wanted a touch screen laptop with a pressure sensitive pen with which I could draw in Photoshop and other professional grade software. Apple several years after that change released the iPad Pro, and I bought one, but although it’s a nice sketchpad, it still doesn’t fill that core purpose that drove me to switch to Windows and they still haven’t done it. Sure, that’s a niche need in a niche market, but it’s the type of area where the creativity and “Think Different” of Apple would have served in the past. Mainstream Apple isn’t doing that and their innovation is suffering for it. Yesterday’s event highlighted this for me. Apple’s innovation has shifted from technology to marketing.
Apple Watch? Congratulations on leading in an area that is dying. The battle isn’t against other watches. It’s against needing something that was originally designed to tell time on your wrist. People don’t need that anymore. Our time is highly measured everywhere else. There’s an attempt to make the Watch the form factor for personal biometric and health related wearables. This will work for a while. But eventually, someone will design something that your doctor injects into your body and communicates with your cellphone, and at that point, this whole category is largely dead. Now at least with the new model they are making it a full phone replacement. That’s something that will appeal to some people.
iPhone X? X? Really? X is so over X years ago when we switched from OS 9 to X.
Face unlock? Microsoft laptops and a large number of Android devices have had this feature for years.
A huge glass display that we’ll all have to ugly up with cases to keep it from shattering? Really? Have you learned nothing from the Apple TV remote? Clearly not, since the same shattertastic design is being released with the new 4K Apple TV (which is the only thing announced yesterday that I think I’ll be buying).
A little under 2 months ago, my iPhone 6 Plus finally gave up the ghost. Over time of being in my front pocket continuously, the phone had warped to the curvature of my left thigh and the touch control was starting to not work. I didn’t want to drop $1000 on a new phone and I’d started to get thumb-joint arthritis from typing on it’s big screen, so I wanted to go smaller anyway. I ordered a budget Alcatel phone from Amazon for $100 and it worked pretty well, but the camera was crap. I got rid of it and a few weeks ago grabbed a Sony Xperia X Compact for $350. It has face unlock. It has a great screen. It has battery for well over a day. It has built in fitness tracking without the need for any additional wearables (although you can sync it with that). It is actually water resistant (although it’s not marketed as such in the US). It already has augmented reality apps built into it by Sony (because everyone is already doing AR and has been doing it for years; Apple is playing catch up here). I can play my PS4 remotely via it. It’s pretty badass for only $350. Also ~21MP camera made by Sony, a leader in photographic equipment.
Apple changed the world with iPhone. I have invested a lot in their gear and software over the years. I’ll continue to maintain that investment via my iPads, which are still the best entertainment-focused tablets on the market. I’ll also continue with Apple TV, but that’s only because I’m already locked in to that ecosystem, and it’s the only place I can easily see—on my television—those shows and movies that I’ve already bought.
Everywhere else, Apple is falling behind in my opinion. Sure they have more money and more success than anyone right now. But they’ve hit their peak. Things are on the downturn and my dollars are better spent elsewhere.
Also published on Medium.