Why Apple Has Become Boring
WWDC 2009 has just ended and I truly believe that Apple has missed a huge market niche. Their eagerly awaited presentation is the single most effective sleeping aid available anywhere. Apple cures insomnia!
The only real question at this group love-in was whether Steve Jobs had pulled a Kim Jong-Il / Fidel Castro and had to all intents and purposes died while his own private Politburo tried to keep the illusion going that he was alive. I was half expecting a Photoshopped photo of Steve holding up today's San Jose Mercury News just to prove that he was alive.
As it turned out, Mr. Jobs must have expired sometime last year and joined Jong-Il and Castro in never never land, as if he was willing to let his company take a walloping hit in its stock value by not even being able to show up for his annual whizbang event, then he certainly isn't working around the clock on the NeXT insanely great Apple superthingy.
The Jobs era is over. Get over it. Life will go on... for everyone except Steve himself that is...
So what do we have left at WWDC 2009? A bunch of underlings underwhelming with Apple's underachievement.
Like I said, who needs Ambien when you have Apple? Even the times when Apple pulled a markedly unethical stat out of its core weren't enough to keep spectators from dozing off!
One of the primary leger de main moments had to be when they showed that OS X had tripled its installed base. But Mac shipments have barely budged from previous reporting periods... so what happened? They are rolling into the OS X installed base the iPhone sales, since it runs OS X! Yeah, and since I have a Y chromosome I should be rolled into the Stud Hunk section right between Vin Diesel and David Beckham.
But for all the great new news on OS X (the real version anyway) we turn it over to Inspector Clouseau... er... Bertrand Serlet. Guess what? Snow Leopard is faster, better, more magnificent, more stupendous, more everything except different. A whole whack of micro improvements all of which don't add up to a hill of French beans and will increase the installed base of OS X running on real computers by about 3... not percent, but units.
The news on the MacBook front was a snoozefest par excellence. Chopped down the price a bit, threw out a Express card slot in favor of an SD card one, give them FireWire 800 (the answer to a question nobody asked), and make a 256 GB SSD available (an option probably only Steve Jobs himself can afford right now).
So where is the Killer Apple Netbook that sells for $299 and blows away the competition to a gulag in Siberia? Keep on dreamin' Applenauts. The biggest headline on MacBooks this time around was that there really wasn't anything new at all.
Oh, did we forget to mention? Apple isn't a computer company anymore. It's now a cross between Nokia and RIM. All they care about right now is to appeal to the yuppie multitudes who just have to find the closest tapas bar on a grazing evening and play games on the world's most expensive GameBoy.
That's why everyone on the planet has to stand up and give Apple a standing ovulation for the iPhone 3GS which does everything twice as fast, so that you can waste the same amount of time checking for more tapas bars and dodging more obstacles on your digital skateboard.
"But now I can edit videos with my thumb!" Great. It will give your thumb something to do when you're not sucking on it.
Apple has entered the Twilight Of Its Relevance Zone. The new Remote Wipe capability should be implemented on its Jobs-less boardroom with the expectation that most of them will be Job-less soon.
Dang it all to hell, Apple! You and I grew up together, from the first 128K Macs to the time when the juggernaut named Windows 95 effectively eliminated your Xerox PARC raison d'etre, and now 14 years later you have completely turned your back on personal computing for silly little oh so trendy and close to totally useless pocket boxes that set your users back over a hundred bucks a month just on usage fees?
This isn't a desktop laser printer where you can sell it for $39 and then stiff your clients for upwards of $100 for a lousy little toner cartridge. What kind of market is Apple going after anyway... oh yeah... the market that no longer exists.
Talk about not having a clue about the market you're in. Apple is essentially asking the majority of its customers to ask: "Let's see... shall we pay the heating bill or the iPhone access?"
Apple, don't think for a minute that the stock markets are going to ignore the fact that Steve Jong-Il was too Jong-Ill to show up and that your exciting new products suck more than an Electrolux running on triple phase electricity.
For the past decade or so there was one single element you had which passed for excitement and true innovation and it always wore a black mock-turtleneck, jeans and sneakers. Now that it seems to have gone to that big silicon playground in the sky... Apple: You're Boring!