Have the good days gone?

Have the good days gone?
30 Oct 16

Some would say I'm an Apple fan boy as I have a few Apple products (an iPhone 7+, MacBook Pro retina 13", iPad Pro 9" and an Apple TV) and that makes me an Apple apologist: but I'd say I'm not, here's why.

I'm not old enough to have been through the bad old days where Apple stumbled from one expensive computer after another but I do remember the days when the Mac was in single digit market share.

Apple's second coming on the return of Steve Jobs was something to see and experience. Here was a firm close to extinction, trying to sell far too many devices which were hard to tell apart and even for then, far too expensive for the many.

Steve jobs' story is a now history but no less impressive, but since his death things have changed and not all for the good. Problem product launches, software that should never have been released were all things that we so called fan boys though only Microsoft could do but, as we all have experienced, Apple has had its share of clangers too.

Where Apple led, now they follow. Yes, Apple hasn't always been the first to launch into a product market but they normally would have exceeded all our expectations when they did: look at the iPhone's sales figures and popularity on that one.

When Steve Jobs died, all the doom mungers predicted Apple's death too... but Apple rose above that and continued to be successful. Profit margins and sales figures soared above all predictions making all the doom mungers shrink back into the dark from where they came from but... not to be gone forever.

A few years ago, something changed at Apple. We began to see things slip, software was being released causing users to become incandescent with rage as their precious items were bricked. Some of the problems were not all of Apple's making. Graphic chips, motherboards and other faulty parts caused Apple problems years after the devices launch but due to the way Apple dealt with these issues, didn't put Apple in a good light and left a bad taste in the users mouths with class action law suits being filed against them. Even some, left and went over to the 'dark side'.

Then, another problem reared its head. Although Apple were leaders in industrial design due to the visionary leadership of Jony Ive we began to see a change creep in. Changes to products, such as the iMac and MacBook computers, and the iPhone too, began to become same old same old with only the displays, internals or things improved, or removed much to the anger of many outside of Apple. As before, Apple proved that we could do without these things but that didn't stop all of this disapproval from outside.

But here's where I show that I'm indeed not a 'fan boy'. Although I defended Apple on the changes made to the latest iPhone, I'm not saying they were right to have removed the jack pin either. We've seen with the latest MacBook Pro's that they are willing to make changes that again will infuriate many but force us to move on to new possibilities, but again, I think they've gone too far.

We now have the loss of the MagSafe plug replaced by the new USB-C type connectors. How many Apple laptops will now become very expensive frisbees I have to ask. Also the loss of the SD card reader which photographers rely on to transfer images to edit on their MacBooks, how many will jump ship because of that, dongles anyone?

Products that were the life blood of Apple, and some the saviour of Apple too haven't seen an update in some years. Take the Mac Pro for an example, long forgotten: 'can't innovative, my ass!' Someone muttered.

I can't help but feel Apple needs something to change for the better as the bad things of the past slowly return. Products that compete against others in the range and at different prices could be argued as a way to let those who can't afford the latest and greatest Mac or MacBook buy into the dream but it could also be argued that we've been here before: remember John Sculley anyone.

And now we are seeing the prices rise dramatically with the latest MacBook Pro reaching ever skyward with the possibility that most that would have bought a MacBook Pro priced out. Who can afford the £3.500 - 4,000 ($3-4,000) to buy one - Mac Pro anyone?

This time, we can't blame Brexit for the price increases on Apple products as in the USA, and everywhere else, has suffered large increases on the price of items sold by Apple.

We've seen a similar problem with Microsoft where, when Balmer took charge, they were constantly shooting themselves in the foot but now, with Satya Nadella at the helm things are on the up with Windows 10, Surface family of laptops and the newly announced Surface Studio. We may have seen something like these before but at least Microsoft is now innovating. So does Apple need a change at the helm? Should Tim Cook step aside? Who could replace him? Hairforce One maybe?

Over the years, I have tried things different. I've had a Nexus 7" tablet and a Samsung mobile phone, I've even had a Microsoft computer way back in the day but I've been finding myself look with envy at some of the stuff Microsoft and their brethren's produce. The Windows phone actually looked good even though I never bought into that world.

And so to sum up. Apple really does need to step up and deliver what they said they would. For the last two years, Tim Cook has said Apple has great things coming but so far none, at least in my eyes, have arrived yet. Although we need new iMacs, Mac mini's, iPads, iPhones, Mac Pro's etc, we also need software that works, adds more functionality and, most importantly, the 'next great thing!'

You may not agree with all the above, you might agree with some of the above, but I think we can all agree that Apple does need to step up their game and get there mojo back even if that means a new figurehead at the helm.

Live long and prosper Apple.


James Ormiston


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