As the reign of CEO Tim Cook moves along into the 21st century we see Apple opening up a bit more; becoming more public. For example, Tim Cook is everywhere. And so are a few of the company’s high ranking executives who now give interviews, drop in on Podcasts, pen open letters on serious issues. Apple even handles support questions via Twitter now.
These changes haven’t taken place all at once but they’re a welcome relief from the Apple of yesteryear, back when all we heard from anyone at Apple came during a developer conference or a keynote or a new product presentation. Apple circa 2016 is not afraid to venture into complex, complicated issues, voice an opinion, and even talk to critics and customers.
That’s all well and good but if you could ask Apple’s executives a few questions, what would you ask? Here are some of what I would put on my list?
Mac Pro – What’s up with the Mac Pro? It’s both powerful and cool looking and all, but graphic cards and CPUs are anemic when compared to comparable Windows PC devices. What’s the plan for the Mac Pro?
Displays – I have an iMac with Retina 5k display on my office desktop. I would like a matching 5k display to add to it. Where is it? The Apple Thunderbolt display is ancient screen technology by today’s standards; overpriced and underpowered. How difficult is it to make an affordable display that matches the iMac?
You can see where this is going, right?
As much as I would love to see some extra Apple love for the Mac, it’s OK for the company to extend some attention to other items in the product line. Have you seen the iPad line?
iPad Models – As of now, there are basically five different iPad models. iPad Pro, iPad Air 2 (about 18 months old; awaiting a refresh), the aging iPad Air, iPad mini 4, and a very aged iPad mini 2. Is it possible that the iPad’s falling sales have something to do with Apple not adding power features to the iPad? Why does Apple insist on selling devices that are nearly three years old? What’s wrong with feature parity? I mean, the cameras in these devices are positively anemic, front and back.
iPhone Models – The iPhone line suffers– for the moment– with the same strategy as the iPad line. There are this year’s models, the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, last year’s models, the 6 and 6 Plus, and the model from a few years ago, iPhone 5s. Word on the streets is that Apple intends to upgrade the technology beyond the iPhone 5s and change the name of the 4-inch phone to iPhone SE. I’m all for that, but I have a few questions. First, why are those silicone iPhone covers so expensive? Seriously? $35 for 35-cents worth of silicone?
Cameras – The most popular camera in the world is iPhone. And outside of the cell phone itself, it may be the single most important feature, or at least tied with built-in encryption. Granted, the iPhone 6s Plus camera is great but have you seen photos from Samsung’s latest, the Galaxy S7? Yes, we’re leapfrogging here but iPhone’s camera could use more love to keep up with Korean conglomerate’s latest.
Watch – More questions, but no answers. Yes, I love Watch and use it nearly every day; work, play, exercise, sleep. As with many Watch owners, I have a growing collection of bands to match the event, setting, or mood. So, Apple, why is Watch so slow? As in slooooow. I’m serious. “Hey Siri…” is a plaintiff wail as if Siri is locked away in iCloud somewhere instead of being present on the Watch itself. “Hey Siri…” on my iPhone gets a quick answer. When I get an answer on my Watch it’s usually after a few tries.
Money – Apple, what are you thinking? Yes, you have more cash on hand than many developed nations, even after adding and subtracting the debt you’ve taken on to avoid paying repatriation taxes. There are two things I do not understand. #1 – why the stock buybacks? That hasn’t helped to prop up the stock and that’s pretty much the case with every cash rich company that tries to manipulate the market by reducing outstanding shares. #2 – why the dividends? It’s not like investors haven’t made money on AAPL the past 10 years.
Both #1 and #2 tell me three things. First, Apple’s executives have no idea how to spend tens of billions of dollars in excess profits to create new product lines. Second, financial creativity does not exist in Cupertino. I can only imagine what Steve Jobs would have told activist shareholders who wanted a dividend and a stock buyback. Finally, Apple is not organized or structured to handle new product lines. Think about it. The last new product was the iPad which was released in 2010, almost six years ago. No, Watch is not a new product line. It’s an accessory. Apple TV v4 is merely an incremental upgrade of a product that started life in 2007, nearly nine years ago.
Oh, and where is Siri on the Mac? Where is Touch ID on the Mac?