iWatch? Apple Television? No. This Is The Product Apple Needs Next

CEO Tim Cook and his executive team continue to say 2014 will be a great year for new products from Apple. Maybe so. After all, who doesn’t want to see Apple disrupt yet another industry with a product category that puts to shame lame efforts from competitors.

Samsung has been copying Apple at the atomic level for a few years and the latest Galaxy tablets are so advanced they’re slightly thinner, slightly lighter, slightly faster than Apple’s iPad mini and iPad Air from last year.

That’s not disruptive innovation, folks?

Neither is bolting on a bucket of features that make Android OS a pain to use. Neither is a Microsoft notebook that can also be a gigantic tablet.

Disruptive innovation from Apple may come in the form of wearable technology devices, or some cool new way Apple re-invents television, or, thanks to the executive team from Beats, saves the music industry. Again. Those are all well and good and somewhat expected, but here’s the product combo Apple needs to save the tech industry.

Privacy and security.

It might be easier to publish a list of all the companies that have not been hacked in the past year. AT&T announced a breach yesterday, but it occurred in April. In fact, it seems as if every week we read of a bank, a retail store chain, an online store, or a government agency that gets hacked; customer data stolen, credit card numbers obtained, social security numbers ripped off, and user IDs and passwords taken.

Apple works diligently to differentiate Mac, iPhone, and iPad from the likes of Google, Samsung, Microsoft, Amazon, and a growing plethora of also-ran tech companies. Beyond usability and durability, Apple’s customers need privacy and security.

That should be a hallmark of Apple’s product focus. Differentiate OS X and iOS by making both platforms ultra secure and private.

Doesn’t Apple do that already? After all, the Mac, iPhone, and iPad are far more secure and in less danger than Windows PCs or Android-based smartphones, right? Yes, but that’s not something Apple brags about, partly because security and privacy are often fleeting, and Apple doesn’t want to paint a target on the backs of their customers.

What needs to be secured and protected on Apple’s products?

It’s a laundry list that ranges from device access, to email and data encryption, to cloud storage and security, to biometric-based security access. Indeed, Apple seems to be moving slowly in the direction of greater privacy and enhanced security, and the company stands above other PC, smartphone, and tablet makers, but if ever there was an industry segment ripe for disruption, this is it.

Privacy and security are major issues with customers, and could be a massive differentiator for Apple. The problem may be that complete security and privacy just isn’t possible, technologically speaking, of course (quite often the user is the weakest link). As any PC, smartphone, or tablet user if their data is valuable and should be kept private and secure and the answer will be yes.

Privacy and security. That should be rallying cry from Apple’s customers.

Only Apple

John Gruber on how Apple is being shaped and how it performs under CEO Tim Cook. This is the best analysis and insight you’re likely to find on Apple these days:

Recall again that in 2007 Apple was forced to admit publicly that they had to pull engineering, design, and QA resources from the Mac in order to ship the iPhone. This year, new products are coming and but iOS and Mac development not only did not halt or slow, it sped up. In recent years, the company grew from being bad at walking and chewing gum to being OK at it, and most of us thought, “Finally”. But that wasn’t the end of the progression. Apple has proceeded from being OK at walking and chewing gum to being good at it. Thus the collective reaction to last week’s keynote: “Whoa.”

Whoa, indeed.

How The NSA Listens To Your iPhone’s Mic When Off

Is it really ‘off?’ Or, just ‘playing dead?’ Thanks to Edward Snowden this really is an issue. Noemi Tasarra-Twigg with details on how the NSSA pulls of such a stunt:

Edward Snowden made everyone with an iPhone panic when he claimed that the NSA can still listen to your iPhone’s mic even when the device is turned off. While the guy has made lots of claims which have proved to be true, it seems impossible for the NSA to be able to do this, right?

What do the experts say?

They say that it is indeed possible for the NSA to listen to an iPhone’s mic even when the phone is off.

How is that possible?

Software could make the phone look like it’s shutting down but actually entering a low-power mode that leaves key communication chips on.

So, it’s not really off, right?

As to the app that can do such a thing, how does it get installed on an iPhone?

10 Mysterious Features of Earth

Interesting list from Alan Boyle. My favorites:

Mount Baldy Sinkholes – “The dune may cover trees, which rot away to create the holes. The dune was once mined to use the sand in glass making, so the phenomenon may be caused by humans.”

The Permian Extinction – “The most intense extinction in Earth’s history was the End-Permian mass extinction. An estimated 93–97 percent of species on the planet were wiped out. The cause of the extinction is one of the biggest debates in paleontology.”

Messinian Salinity Crisis – “Around six million years ago, the Mediterranean Sea turned into a desert. It stayed that way for around 630,000 years, an era now known as the Messinian Salinity Crisis. Scientists agree that it was almost certainly because the sea became blocked from the Atlantic. The mystery is why, and there’s no shortage of theories.”

Verizon’s New York Wireless Mystery – “Remember when Verizon lambasted AT&T for crummy cell phone service in New York? Who’s laughing now? It’s a mystery why Verizon service is so poor in Manhattan.

Alright, that last one came from me.

About Those Photos Of iPhone 6

Color me skeptical but there are enough Photoshop wizards in the world to doctor or create photos of almost anything you can imagine. The latest round of photos purporting to be of Apple’s upcoming iPhone 6 are a perfect example.

As the comic XKCD pointed out some time ago in the Settled strip, the percentage of people carrying cameras everywhere they go has implications.

XKCD - Settled

Billions of people have smartphones, and most of them, particularly in the U.S. and other developed nations, have very good cameras (for photos and movies). Where’s visual proof of flying saucers? Lake monsters? Ghosts? Bigfoot? And the iPhone 6?

Ben Thompson tweeted a bunch of very bad photos which claim to be the elusive iPhone 6.

Maybe so. But why are the photos so crummy? Seriously.

Ben Thompson Tweet

I’m guessing that industrial espionage is just not what it used to be. Every photo purporting to be of Apple’s newest iPhone borders on photos of Bigfoot. My grandmother, who lives in an old home in Scotland and doesn’t own a mobile phone, could take better photos with an iPod touch.

There’s little doubt that Apple goes to great lengths to prevent such leaks, so why can’t industrial spies carry around a newer smartphone with a decent camera? The photos supposedly of the iPhone 6 are blurry, out of focus, and poorly framed. Why?

How long does it take to whip out last year’s iPhone model and take a few decent closeup photos? Or a movie? Geez, on the iPhone you don’t even have to enter a password to take a photo.

Whether the photos are real or fake, it doesn’t take much to figure out how the iPhone 6, in all models, is going to look. Think iPod touch (rounded edges) meets iPad mini (rounded edges). With so many billions of smartphones already in the world, one has to wonder why photos of unreleased products are so crummy.

Maybe there’s something else that explains why there are few decent photos of flying saucers, lake monsters, ghosts, bigfoot, or iPhone 6. Humans, when under stress, or in fear of being eaten, killed, probed, or abducted, just can’t take a good photograph.

12 Hidden Tricks Advertisers Use to Sell You Stuff

Liz Stinson pulls a few of the more blatant tricks from Marc Andrews’ book Hidden Persuasion; tricks advertisers use to get you to buy, whether you want to or not.

Heineken is playing a visual trick on you every time you go to the beer aisle. Next time you’re standing there mulling over Budweiser or the Dutch brew, just take a moment to look at the latter’s logo. You might not notice it at first, but in comparison to the other letters, the three “e”s in Heineken are slanted slightly backwards, their bottoms curved, grinning up at you with a toothless smile. “There’s nothing human about a typeface, but this slightly turned “e” gives the feeling of smiling,” says Marc Andrews, a creative director and psychologist from Amsterdam. “And this gives you a totally different relationship to the brand.”

Marc Andrews:

People think that their decisions and choices are most of the time made consciously and rational, relating to their wishes, interests and motivations. Fact is, that most of our decisions in daily life are made on an unconscious level, which means we are quite vulnerable to persuasion attempts which effect our unconsciousness.

How many similar tricks does Apple employ to get us to like the company, trust the company, and buy more toys from the company?

Whole Foods Bans Half Of Walmart’s Groceries

This shouldn’t surprise anyone. Walmart has become the nation’s grocer, but much of what is sold in the behemoth’s aisles wouldn’t see light in Whole Foods. Isaac Pino:

Whole Foods bans roughly 54% of Wal-Mart’s fare due to the presence, in its words, of “unacceptable ingredients for foods.” These 78 banned ingredients include everything from recognizable sweeteners like high-fructose corn syrup to the tongue-tying dimethylpolysiloxane.

Good rule. If you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it.

Whatever Happened To Apple Maps?

Yours truly writing for Mac360 on the ongoing problems with Apple’s Maps apps?

The guy in charge of Maps is the same guy in charge of iTunes, iTunes Radio, Apple TV and other products that are struggling to remain relevant– Eddy Cue. Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine, the newly minted executives from Beats Electronics won’t be able to do much to get Maps back on track. That’s Cue’s job. And it’s Tim Cook’s job to make it happen. If Eddy Cue leaves Apple any time soon then we’ll have a clear indication of ongoing executive level problems in Cupertino.

Maps is hard work, but problems need to be fixed.

Apple And Economics: From Apps To Competitors

My father hails from Scotland and knows how to put the pinch on a penny. What I learned from him about money management probably wouldn’t make me a successful business executive, but I wouldn’t go broke from trying.

When looking at the landscape that surrounds Apple I see two areas where money is an issue. But not for Apple.

First, there’s Apple’s competitors. Across the board, from PC manufacturers to smartphone and tablet makers, the number of companies that make a heft profit can be counted on a single hand (with a few fingers left over).

For example, Samsung makes a profit, though not as much as Apple. Microsoft makes a profit from Windows and Office but little else. Who’s left? Google is highly profitable with traditional search engine advertising, but has yet to figure out how to diversify the business model in the post-PC era of mobile devices.

Every other device maker struggles for relevancy, feeding off the bottom end of the price spectrum where margins are lower than low. Nokia and Motorola were sold for scraps. HTC may build the best smartphones that no one buys.

How long can a company continue to lose money fighting against Apple’s profit machine?

Second, there’s the app business. Apple’s platforms may provide plenty of customers and revenue for some app developers, but not all. Many new apps are freemium– free to try, but added functionality comes with a price.

Other apps have a price, collect many users, but the app they bought originally becomes orphanware as the app developer abandons the app and ongoing upgrades in favor of a 2.0 version– all new. With a new price. No upgrade.

Let me use GoodReader as an example. It’s a great iPhone and iPad app to read various files– from PDFs to Word to audio and many other formats. But you paid separately for the iPhone and iPad versions.

The latest version adds more features, costs more, but it’s also universal. A few dollars more but the app now runs on both iPhone and iPad. There’s no upgrade option from the old version to the new version. What you bought may work now, but may not in a few more versions of iOS. For that you’ll need the new version.

Developers need to make money, and Apple’s iOS platform and stores– for iPhone and iPad– does that better than Google Play and Android. These days, when I buy a new app, I check the Updated date. If it hasn’t been updated in the past year or so I usually move on an look for something else.

Infrequent updates tell me that an app may have become abandonware or orphanware. App development is business economics. Developers need to have enough revenue coming in to cover their costs, and upgrades from the current customer base can make that happen. Unfortunately, Apple doesn’t provide an easy way for customers to upgrade to a new version of app– a paid upgrade– without buying the whole shebang all over again.

As a certified Apple watcher, I wonder how much longer competitors can go on losing money competing against Apple’s bread and butter– Mac, iPhone, and iPad. And, I wonder how long before Apple realizes that paid upgrades are still part of the application business.

Apple’s Direct Assault Against Google and Android

Insightful look from Gene Steinberg on how Apple has marginalized Google’s search engine prowess on OS X Yosemite and iOS 8.

Now when it comes to Google, it’s also telling that Safari searches will also rely on Spotlight for results, and that, again, means Bing. Adding DuckDuckGo, a search engine that promises not to track you, as another option under OS X, must further dilute Google’s prospects. Sure, if Google remains the default when OS X Yosemite is released, and previous defaults settings would likely be retained, that will still give the world’s number one search engine the upper hand, but in an environment where there’s more to lose.

In passing, I wonder why Apple doesn’t just buy DuckDuckGo, though that might cause a political problem with Microsoft. But the price has to be real cheap.

By reducing Google’s impact on Apple devices, does Apple truly need a search engine? I say no.

Yes, iPhone vs. Android Is Exactly… Like Mac vs. Windows

Friend and Mac360 colleague Bambi Brannan on how iPhone vs. Android has turned out very much like Mac vs. Windows:

The hundred billion or so in profits Microsoft has gathered this century have been wasted in efforts to diversify the company away from cash cows Windows and Office. What success has Microsoft had?

Absolutely zero.

Google, too, has made tens of billions in profits this century, and invested a large chunk of that to diversify the company away from the cash cow of desktop search engine advertising. What success has Google had?

Absolutely zero.

Apple laughs all the way to the bank.

Why iTunes Radio Sucks

Take this with a grain of salt because no sources are named, but Aylin Zafar thinks this is why Apple’s iTunes Radio hasn’t put a dent in Spotify or Pandora. Quotes from an ex-Apple employee:

  • Pandora is an awesome radio that blows iTunes Radio out of the water. Seriously, iTunes Radio sucks and it sucks because of Apple’s arrogance
  • The management in particular were pretty much tone-deaf in what Spotify was and that’s why they’re panicking now. They didn’t understand how Spotify worked, which is why they thought iTunes Radio would be a Spotify killer
  • They’re having trouble capturing the younger generation… The Apple coolness is kind of fading away

Sour grapes? Or, reflective of reality? Either way, look for Jimmy Iovine to change that.

11 Reasons Why You Need To Wash Your Jeans

Ronna Benjamin:

Last week, Chip Bergh, the CEO of Levi Strauss & Company, caused quite a stir. In response to a question about how often we should wash our jeans, he admitted that he hadn’t washed the jeans he was wearing in a year. Really, a whole year.

As it turns out, two weeks or year is about the same level of ew (bad).

A 2011 study conducted by the University of Alberta compared bacteria levels on a pair of jeans not washed for over a year with a pair washed after almost two weeks of wear, and found that they were practically identical.

Benjamin came up with nearly a dozen reasons why jeans should be washed more frequently. My two favorites.

  • Gotta go, gotta go, gotta go… but we don’t always make it on time. Unless your favorite perfume is eau d’pee, those jeans need to see the washing machine.
  • Many of us women measure our weight gain by the feel of our jeans. If we never wash them, we never get a reality check. Unwashed jeans for a year may inadvertently result in millions of women gaining weight.

Been there. Done that.

A Clever Way To Encrypt Files On A Mac

Let me start this with a simple question. Do you use Apple’s built-in FileVault encryption tool? It’s the one in System Preferences > Security & Privacy, in the FileVault tab. I do not. Why?

Apple says:

FileVault secures the data on your disk by encrypting its contents automatically.

That part sounds good, and FileVault uses what is known as full disk XTS-AES 128-bit encryption (tech speak for very tough encryption). FileVault encrypts the Mac’s entire disk. Apps and files are decrypted on the fly and it happens so fast you’re not likely to see any difference.

OS X FileVault

FileVault 2 is tough, free, and built in to OS X Mavericks. All you need is your system password and a safe place to put the Recovery Key. You know, just in case.

So, why don’t I use FileVault? First, I don’t have files that are all that valuable or that are not backed up elsewhere or that I worry about if someone else gets them. Second, Apple says it best:

WARNING: You will need your login password or a recovery key to access your data. A recovery key is automatically generated as part of this setup. If you forget both your password and recovery key, the data will be lost.

That whole ‘data will be lost‘ part bothers me. However, I do have some files which I want to encrypt and store. For that I found a free friend already living on my Mac. It’s the Disk Utility app in the Applications > Utilities folder.

Instead of encrypting the whole disk drive as FileVault does, Disk Utility, something of a Swiss Army Knife tool for Mac disks, can create, convert, backup, compress and encrypt disk images. Think of a disk image as a magical folder where Disk Utility is the wizard.

Disk Utility

Disk images can be created to store whatever files and folders of files you have, all locked up nice and tidy with compression, encryption, and a password. Setup disk images in whatever size you want (they can be resized as needed).

Add a Name to the disk image. Select a Size. Choose a file format. Select from the encryption options. And, that’s about it; you’re ready to go. What I do with sensitive files that I don’t want someone else to have is to put them on a disk image, encrypt it, add a password, and store it as a backup on my Mac (or, server or Dropbox). The whole process is simple once you’ve done it a few times. It’s totally free, very Mac-like, as safe as you’re likely to get, and built in to each Mac.

Plus, there’s not the ever present danger in FileVault of losing a password and recovery key and being locked out of your Mac forever.

SMS Text Messages To The Mac

Apple is bringing SMS text messages to the Mac. iMessage (Messages) works fine between Apple’s devices but neither Mac nor iPad can handle text messages to a phone number the way an iPhone can. OS X Yosemite on a Mac changes that.

Apple:

With OS X Yosemite and an iPhone running iOS 8, you can send and receive SMS and MMS text messages right from your Mac. So when friends text you — regardless of what phone they have — you can respond from whichever device is closest. All the messages that appear on your iPhone now appear on your Mac, too. You can also initiate a text message conversation on your Mac by clicking a phone number in Safari, Contacts, or Calendar.

Which means you still have to have an iPhone to send SMS text messages (non-iMessage) from a Mac.

Jim Dalrymple:

Most of the folks I interact with work with iMessages, but when I run into someone who doesn’t my workflow grinds to a halt. I have to pull my phone out of my pocket, type a response, perhaps wait for their response, all while switching between my phone and Mac.

What about iPad users?

Apple: Hardware? Software? Or, Ecosystem?

Eric Jackson argues that Apple is neither a hardware or a software company. It’s an ecosystem company.

Apple has been able to maintain consistent profitability in an industry where almost everyone else is unprofitable. I think it’s more to do with the Apple ecosystem than anything else.

As time goes on, Apple continues to give more and more benefits to its users who choose to buy Apple accessories with their core iPhone (and, yes, your Mac has now become an accessory to your iPhone).

All of which is true, but customers buy into the ecosystem by purchasing hardware. The software is included in the ecosystem, which, itself is so seamless and useful that nothing else is comparable, therefore, the competitive edge, a barrier difficult for competitors to overcome.

The Leveraged Buyout

Dell did it, so why not Apple? There are reasons it makes sense, and many plausible reasons why not. Who else could dream this up other than the contributors to Seeking Alpha?

Carl Icahn has been aggressively lobbying Apple to take on more debt. It was through this process that we realized that the debt capacity for Apple and the significant cash reserves could make a leveraged management buyout, in partnership with a syndicate of financial sponsors, possible.

Market cap is $550-billion. Cash on hand is $150-billion. Who wants to manage a company that’s already got $400-billion in debt and no cash?

What Do A Few Hundred Mac Users Know About This Utility Than I Know?

Around the office I’m known as something of a Mac app hound. My Mac is loaded with more apps, tools, and utilities than anyone else except the folks in IT. Every Mac user has a list of favorite apps, including all important third party (which I loosely define as non-Apple, non-Adobe, non-Microsoft apps) apps which varies greatly between users.

For example, I use Menubar Arranger to keep my Mac’s Menubar clean, tidy, and organized. No one else in the office uses it. My Mac has HiddenMe installed to hide all the Desktop icons with a click (good for doing screen capture videos without the clutter). No one else I know uses that one, either.

On the other end of the scale there are a number of Mac apps which I don’t use and can’t really understand why they exist at all, let alone get raving reviews. One such app is DaisyDisk, a utility which helps you to recover disk space by finding and removing files you don’t need.

As of this writing DaisyDisk’s latest version has nearly 200 five star reviews. All the one, two, and three star reviews could be counted on one hand with a finger left over. That means Mac users like DaisyDisk. My question is, “Why?”

DaisyDisk scans your Mac’s storage devices and lists them in a professional looking dark charcoal app window so you can see the total amount of storage used on each.

DaisyDisk

Another click gets you this interesting wheel graphic which depicts the files on each device (hence the daisy in DaisyDisk). It’s colorful eye candy, yes, but not all that helpful if you’re trying to see which exactly files are taking up the most space, and which can safely be removed (which seems to me to be important).

DaisyDisk Wheel

Finding and deleting larger files you may not need is still a manual process fraught with more than a little danger. Maybe it’s all psychological in nature, where there’s a certain pleasure that comes with deleting files with a click, then watching as the free space indicator grows.

Yet, half a dozen Mac users in the office where I work have DaisyDisk and they each say the same thing. “It’s good. I use it.” So be it. A few hundred Mac users know something about DaisyDisk that I can’t fathom as easily. At least, not at that price.

For me, back in 2008 I wrote about free tools which find and display as list files on a Mac. The one I liked the most back then is what I still use today. It’s OmniDiskSweeper. It’s free. As with most utilities that find and list the files on your Mac’s storage devices, OmniDiskSweeper makes it easy to delete the ones you don’t want to keep, but it’s still a manual process.

My not being able to figure out the advantages of DaisyDisk saved me $10.

The Google Self-driving Car Scam

Google gets a lot of press mileage from their so-called ‘Self-driving car.’ It’s not. The car is a concept, not a reality. Take the Google car out of Mountain View, CA and drop it into Brooklyn, and it’s a product not ready for prime time. For now, it’s a trick.

Alexis C. Madgrigal:

The key to Google’s success has been that these cars aren’t forced to process an entire scene from scratch. Instead, their teams travel and map each road that the car will travel. And these are not any old maps. They are not even the rich, road-logic-filled maps of consumer-grade Google Maps.

They’re probably best thought of as ultra-precise digitizations of the physical world, all the way down to tiny details like the position and height of every single curb. A normal digital map would show a road intersection; these maps would have a precision measured in inches.

How is this different than a ride at Disneyland?

Apple works on products people can use, then ships products people can buy and use. Google uses innovation as a smokescreen; a distraction which makes the company look wonderful, but hides what the company really does– siphon personal data from users to sell for profits.

Did Apple Cause The Death Of Complicated Software?

Remember Microsoft Office? There once was a day when PC customers stood in line to buy the latest version of Windows or the newest version of Office. Back in the day progress was measured by the number of new features added to Word, Excel, or PowerPoint. Apple wasn’t much different, with customers standing in line to buy the newest version of OS X. That is, until the iPhone and iOS came along, and Mac App Store opened.

Bag it and tag it. Those few years may go down in history as the time when complicated software, also known as bloatware, began to die.

Did Apple cause the death of complicated software?

Yes. Except that complex, powerful, and often complicated apps are not exactly dead. They’ve just moved upscale. Or, upstream. Or, somewhere in the cloud.

Apple still has Final Cut Pro X and Logic Pro X, both powerful beasts not for the faint of heart. As to Adobe’s suite of creative apps, they’ve not left the Mac or Windows PC, but you won’t stand in line to get the latest. All you need is a credit card and an internet connection.

Even Microsoft’s cash cow Office suite of Excel, Word, and PowerPoint et al, remain downloadable to the Mac, but are heading to the cloud with Microsoft 365. There are simpler versions for iPhone and iPad, too.

Some might thank Google for taking complexity out of major software; everything Google doesn’t sell is kindly referred to as spartan; less kindly referred to as anemic, yet the company has many millions of users for cloud-based apps in the growing number of Chromebooks.

Yes, I’m convinced Apple is responsible for the death of bloated, complex, complicated applications with feature sets that far exceed the usability of mere mortal men. It was Apple that ushered in the era of usable apps with the iPhone and iOS; apps that didn’t try to be all things to everyone, but maintained focus on the task at hand.

Apparently we humans are complex creatures because the iTunes App Store (and Google Play) have over one million apps from which to choose simplicity. Likewise, we expect many of our Mac and Windows apps to function like those on iPhone, iPad, and even on Android and Windows smartphones and tablets.

Apple created the golden age of apps, and that means complicated, feature laden bloatware is no longer welcome.

$3-Billion For Mediocre Headphones

This merely tells you how low Business Insider will go to create a meaningless but catchy headline instead of doing some insightful analysis. Lisa Eadicicco on Apple’s purchase of Beats Electronics (make of headphones, audio gear, music subscription service, etc.).

Apple is likely more interested in Beats’ recently launched streaming service, which has received generally positive reviews since it was unveiled earlier this year. Still, the Beats brand is more widely known for its headphones—which have received sub-par ratings when compared to its competitors

BI just couldn’t get that into the headline, huh?

The Truth About Earthworms

Linda Lombardi:

Did you know that there’s more than one species of earthworm? The species fall into three groups that live in different parts of the soil and have different feeding habits. Here’s another fact that might surprise you more: Chances are, that earthworm you dig up in your garden is actually an invasive species.

It’s official. I now know more about earthworms than I ever thought I would know.

The Race To Beat Apple

Friend and Mac360 colleague Barbara Marie Brannan with some insight on how the competition stacks up in the race to beat Apple to the next great thing.

Since Jobs returned in mid-1997 to run Apple the company has lunged forward with disruptive innovations that leave competitors scrambling to catch up. This is a race that cannot end because Apple’s very life depends upon always leading the pack with new disruptions.

Apple’s life depends on not winning the race, or finishing the race, but always leading the race.

What Does Apple Have To Do To Get Respect?

As a technology company with tens of billions in riches and hundreds of millions of satisfied customers, Apple has become the Rodney Dangerfield of gadget makers. Successful, but with little respect.

I haven’t spoken to my wife in years. I didn’t want to interrupt her.

Every day there’s a new headline from a Wall Street analyst, technology researcher, or a member of the technorati elite which says Apple is failing, Apple is doomed, Apple has lost its ability to innovate, or Apple has another new problem which presages impending demise.

What’s missing from most the these negative perspectives are numbers. Cold, hard facts. At least, facts different than marketshare, a game Apple seldom engages.

I get no respect. The way my luck is running, if I was a politician I would be honest.

Let me take a moment to counter the criticism by pointing out that Apple has a number of Fortune 500 businesses all wrapped up under the Apple brand and AAPL stock. As an example, Nash-Finch is #500 on the Fortune 500 with revenue just under $5-billion but no profits.

Name an Apple product line with less than $5-billion in revenue. Mac. iPhone. iPad. Apple Stores. iTunes. App Store. Is it any wonder that Apple’s annual revenue run rate is pushing $200-billion and profits are pushing $40-billion?

How do those numbers not gain Apple some much deserved respect?

I’m taking Viagra and drinking prune juice – I don’t know if I’m coming or going.

The problem is an age old issue with Apple. In the early years of personal computers, Apple was the brash upstart, filled to the brim with youthful exuberance and hubris, not to be take seriously by real businesses, or those who used real computers. Through the years Apple did everything differently, and often prospered despite itself.

Putting Unix underpinnings into OS X didn’t get Apple respect from corporate America, yet the Mac prospers today while traditional PC sales slump. Apple’s retail stores and iPod were laughed at until both became a success, yet even today Apple’s stores need to be saved.

The iPhone was scorned as overpriced and underpowered by everyone except the great masses of customers who continue to make it the most well known, desired, and popular smartphone on the planet.

I had plenty of pimples as a kid. One day I fell asleep in the library. When I woke up, a blind man was reading my face.

When it comes to Apple as a company and Apple products, everyone with a soap box to stand on has an opinion, and it’s usually critical rather than praiseworthy. Yet, despite the lack of public respect by the elite of Wall Street or the link bait headline makers of the blogosphere, Apple remains pretty much Apple.

The company’s juggernaut financial machine shows few signs of deterioration, and CEO Tim Cook has assembled a new heady cast of seasoned executives primed for something, but no one is telling and no one knows for sure what the new product pipeline holds.

If Apple falters, disrespect grows. If the company succeeds, respect doesn’t grow in kind. What does Apple have to do to get respect?

My psychiatrist told me I was crazy and I said I want a second opinion. He said okay, you’re ugly too.

Maybe Apple parallels the Boston Red Sox, who lifted the Curse of the Bambino by beating the Yankees in 2004, advancing to the World Series and sweeping the St. Louis Cardinals in four games. It was the year of Boston and the Red Sox. The curse was lifted and Boston repeated a series title in 2007 and 2013.

It’s time for Apple’s curse of no respect to be lifted.