Their latest piece of link-bait is a piece titled “iPod. iPhone. iPad. Why Apple is Done Inventing New Devices.” This mind-numbingly long article (which I won’t even bother linking to) asserts that Apple will stop inventing new devices and focus on finding new ways to make money selling what they already have. For decades. Yeah, you read that right.
What bothers me about the article is not the 15 paragraphs of well-known Apple history that their target readership don’t need a lengthy reminder of, though that’s 50% of the mind-numbing part. No, it’s the idea that Apple has ever “invented” anything at all.
Maybe I have a definition of “invention” that differs from Cult of Morons. It’s this off idea of Apple inventing things that bothers me, and the assertion that Apple will simply sit back for the next decade and try to milk customers for more money using nothing but what they already offer, such as iOS, to do so.
To truly understand what Apple will do in the next decade, you can look back at Apple’s storied history to see that Apple takes existing problems and finds creative, appealing solutions for them that motivate people to buy. Constantly.
Apple didn’t invent the computer, they just put a simple to use computer on the average consumer’s desk. They didn’t invent the computer mouse, they just created an operating system that used it extensively, and that the average person would find easier to use. They were the first computer maker to place CD-drives in a desktop computer, offered the first consumer-level laser printer, and made desktop scanners mainstream, but they certainly didn’t invent them.
The article also implies that the iPod, iPhone and iPad were “new devices” Apple invented. Uh, really? Does the Newton or eMate sound familiar? Palm Pilot? They were around long before the iPad was even a thought. I had a really crappy music player before the iPod was around, and there were certainly plenty of phones, including smart phones, before the iPhone. Apple saw potential solutions for problems using technology already available, but wasn’t being offered in any useful way.
So when you think about those facts, and see how Steve Jobs has taken existing technology and just brought them into the mainstream by innovating how they’re used, comments in the article like “There will be nothing in the coming decade equivalent in newness to the iPod, iPhone and iPad” are just painfully absurd.
“Apple absolutely does not need to keep entering whole new businesses like it did with iPod, iPhone and iPad in order to continue growing and dominating.”
Really? That sounds like something Sony tried, back when they were the king of TVs, Walkmans and audio equipment. They go on to state that they don’t think an Apple-branded TV isn’t something Apple will pursue because they can’t revolutionize the way we use it like they did with the iPod, iPhone and iPad. Again I say, really? Isn’t that exactly what Apple did with those devices, take something already out there and improve it to the point where people feel like they must have it? Is doing the same thing with the television set so outrageous to think about?
“Now that Apple has product lines that offer the best experience for creating and consuming content, both on the desk and on the go, no further product lines need to be added.”
That sounds like something Microsoft would say. I call B.S. The consumer market has clearly shown the last decade or so that they’re always looking for the next cool gadget or service, and have little interest in accepting what they perceive as old technology for very long. You can argue that MS hit a home-run with Windows XP because it has lasted so long, but it’s mostly because Windows users really had no other choice.
I believe Apple will continue to look at “problems” that are out there (real or perceived), and look for a better solution for consumers. That’s what they’ve always done, that’s what made Apple what it is today, and that’s most likely what they’ll continue to try to do.
Photo credits: Steve Jobs by Acaben, Newton by Ralf Pfeifer.