Jason Sadler HeadsetsDotCom  is disappointed Apple doesn’t knock his socks off anymore:

Unfortunately, this has been the state of Apple for the past few years. Yes, the iPad was a great new product, and reaches an entirely different market. But I can live without it. The iPhone 3/4/4s/5 are faster and brighter, but haven’t changed my life. The latest line of Macbook laptops (Pro and Air) show pixels better and are physically lighter and thinner. But they aren’t groundbreaking. I jumped on the Apple train because they created devices that I simply couldn’t live without. This hasn’t happened for awhile, and unfortunately, doesn’t look like it’s going to.

I really don’t understand posts like this. Tech pundits galore have lost their shit complaining that Apple isn’t innovating or is playing catch up because the company isn’t blowing their socks off. Why has everyone collectively gotten drunk on cognitive dissonance of the digital variety?

Even Samsung, after catching up to Apple doesn’t innovate, it iterates and spit shines gobble gook with fancy names. From the S1 to S2 to S3 all simply beget faster processors, bigger screens, etc. etc.… Rinse repeat. Samsung is even copying other people’s vacuum cleaners for crying out loud, because there’s only so much one can do to re-imagine a vacuum cleaner. Everyone’s idea of “innovation” in the smartphone business is simply a different way to arrange existing technologies.

Google’s Motorola chickened out of actually making a decision on their next phone and instead “innovated” letting you get your phone as a build to order Moto X. Yay!

What’s happening right now is that the industry has pushed up against what  previously only existed in sci-fi imagination and Star Trek, waiting for technology (processor size, heat, touch sensitivity, wireless connectivity, software, etc.) all to catch up to that imagination.

Steve jobs dared to take a leap and catch up to our collective imagination in 2007 by essentially making Star Trek’s Tricorder a reality (albeit a very derivative first attempt). 5 years later every one has figured out the magic and can pretty much copy/paste themselves an iPhone clone. 5 years later, Steve Ballmer is regretting laughing at the iPhone and his company has and is doing everything to try to stay relevant because they were caught coasting.

About the only person daring to bring sic-fi imagination to reality is Elon Musk – the real-world Iron Man/Tony Stark. He is obsessive in seeking to make today better than it was yesterday, by daring to make yesterday’s imagination and movie magic into today’s reality.

The innovation in the iPhone is no longer the iPhone itself, it is what you can do with it, not what Apple can do to it. Apple’s iPhone and iOS ecosystem is a platform for the imagination. It is not the be all, end all of what innovation should be. Apple doesn’t invent all the technologies in the iPhone. We know that. It assembles the best technologies out there into one form-fitting package around a business model centered on maximum profitability. That’s why it is the most profitable device maker in the world.

I think we collectively got spoiled with the iPod –> iPhone –> iPad innovation cycle that we forgot the amount of years each iteration lasted before the next big thing. If you think about it critically, the iPhone was a natural, logical evolution from the iPod. And the iPad fit somewhere in between those two devices (losing out to the iPhone in go-to-market sequence because apt decision making by Steve Jobs).

So for everyone clamoring that Apple doesn’t innovate any more. Tell me which company actually is doing something in the smartphone arena thats vastly different from assembling variations of processors, glass, camera and battery technology. They are all falling over each other to build it slightly different in the hopes it’ll be better. Heck, even Microsoft and Google threw in the towel and bought Nokia and Motorola respectively in effort to copy a little of Apple’s ownership of the entire stack – seamless packaging of the software and hardware.

No one knows what Apple is or isn’t working on. They may very well never blow our socks off and they may very well do so. No one knows. But that’s not the point. The point is, if we want to constantly be wowed, perhaps we should contribute to thinking and stretching what’s possible. Inventing what’s next isn’t the sole dominion of one company, it is the collective effort of human ingenuity, pushing, pulling, inspiring, borrowing, remixing our collective intelligence until something goes… in the words of the immortal Steve Jobs, “Boom!”

I think it is safe to say that the next wow isn’t going to come from the smartphone industry, it is going to come from a completely different market segment we haven’t remixed yet. Maybe it’ll be Apple that does it, maybe it won’t. Can we all please calm down and just wait?

Oh, and Jason. You want Airplay everywhere? Where were you when they introduced this? It is heading in the direction you want.

via Apple iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s Thoughts | The World of Jason HeadsetsDotCom.

  1. You bring up some great points, and I wholeheartedly agree with you about smartphone companies. When Apple released the iPad there was NOTHING like it. When Apple released the iPhone there was NOTHING like it. When Apple released the iPad there was NOTHING like it. When Apple released the Macbook Air there was NOTHING like it. That’s what I expect from Apple when they make product announcements. I don’t expect them to just keep revolutionizing the smartphone, I expect them to move into other markets.

    For years Apple has been toying with creating their own line of TVs. With the digital rights game in the palm of their hands (Apple TV contracts and iTunes) they could create a TV that would bring so much content into one device. This device could sync up with all your other devices, could be your phone (FaceTime), could replace awful cable companies, and I’m sure do tons of things I haven’t thought of that the geniuses at Apple can think of.

    This gist of my argument is that I expect more from Apple because they’re the best and brightest. When they schlep out some colored version of the iPhone and a chip upgrade, it’s embarrassing in their amazing portfolio of products. I also agree that we, as the crowd, can create our own innovations and join Elon Musk if we all banded together – but that takes tons of time, leadership, and organization. For now, we have Apple, and I want what I’ve come to expect from them… Greatness and innovation.

    • I think this is the kind cognitive dissonance I am talking about. Yes Apple creates or refines new markets. But what you are forgetting is how long it has typically taken between new products and markets. The Apple 1 was introduced in 78/79. The revolutionary combo of software GUI and PC that was the Macintosh was introduced in ’84. That was 5 years of just fumbling around and iterating the original. The iMac wasn’t introduced until around 1998, a whopping 14 years later. What happened in between? Apple iterating different ways to sell you the same damn boring gray box with chips inside.

      Yeah Apple did create the products you are talking about when there was “nothing like it” in the market, but keep in mind it doesn’t do this every day, nor can it. I think the gist of your argument is that you expect too much from Apple. Just like they dared to bring what previously only existed in imagination, your imagination has run amok and you can’t square with the logic of why it hasn’t introduced some products yet. Apple is a publicly held company and must produce profits, which is why they prefer profits over market share. An Apple TV doesn’t sit well with this model. You will only ever update your TV every 5-10 years, unlike a Mac 3-4 or a phone every 2. So whatever it is they are creating around the TV set, it won’t be a TV because the economics don’t make sense.

      Steve Jobs famously said they are as proud of the products they release as they are of the products they killed in the lab for one reason or another.

      So back to blowing your socks off with new category entries, just relax and wait. It may seem like it is a long time since they did something to wow you, but it actually isn’t. In the last 5 years since the iPhone, Apple introduced the iPad, Macbook Air, and iPad, Apple TV, and the upcoming reformed Mac Pro. All of these products refined what already existed. The iPad blew away anything Microsoft had tried to do in the tablet space, the new Mac Pro reformed what a computer could look like it, just like the iMac did in ’98. In your words, there was nothing like it in the market.

      So perhaps the thing to do is couch your expectations in a little bit of reality and just wait it out.

  2. Quick note: Your mention of Airplay was probably meant to say AirDrop. And that’s exactly what I was referencing. You can AirDrop from computer to computer right now (if you’re on Mountain Lion OS) and you can AirDrop from iOS 7 iPhone to iOS 7 iPhone, but you can’t cross platform which doesn’t make sense at all to me. The iPad is no where in the mix here either.

    • If I can play soothsayer here and peek into the future. I think what Apple is doing with Airplay is piece-milling it until such a point iOS and Mac OS eventually merge. You have to remember that iOS and Mac OS have vastly different file systems. This is why syncing was done through iTunes as a controlled environment and probably is the reasoning to the way that iCloud syncs devices wirelessly. Airdrop and Airplay on the Mac and iOS device functionality will merge soon, but not sooner than when we will have one OS to rule all the devices.

      Remember that the traditional PC market is being eaten by the device app. Mac sales themselves, having run roughshod over over PC vendors are also being squeezed by growth of the iPad.

      I see a few tale-tell signs of this convergence coming on:

      1. The 128GB iPad
      2. The 64-bit iOS7
      3. OS X Mavericks
      4. Mac App store
      5. Mac OS Maps on the Mac

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