So Apple, just where are all the new products? Apple’s rate of new product launches has never been brilliant, but as the market place accelerates generally, they need to step up as well, not slow down further. I know that Apple have a reputation for perfecting products to a simply silly degree before every single release, but I kinda get the feeling lately that the ball is being dropped a little harder than there is any real excuse for. Product refreshes, which should be a really simple matter, are just taking way way to long and new products are far far to slow out of the gate. Someone at Apple needs to kick a little bit of ass and get things moving again.
Lets look at a few choice examples…
First, Haswell. WTF is taking so long with a routine chip update. Switching the whole Mac lineup to Haswell should have been a doodle and should have happened the minute Apple had access to the new chips. It certainly didn’t take them long to swap over the MacBook Air. I can understand a bit of a delay with the MacBook Pro as the custom graphics switching solution that Apple uses might take some time to get right (and that is a weak excuse at best, Haswell preview chips would have been in Apple’s hand for a long time pre-release), but for the rest of the Mac lineup, its a fairly simple matter of just swapping out the old chips for new ones.
Second, the MacPro. The ball got properly dropped with the MacPro several years ago and the product has been left to languish, unloved (for no real reason) for a very very long time. But now, even when Apple has a new MacPro, they are just sitting on it. Just release the damn thing already! We know its finished, you can go on Apple’s website and dissect the thing in minute detail. There is no excuse for a company with over $100B in the bank to taking six months to get its supply chain sorted. If you need more capacity buy a few more factories.
Third, the Cinema Display. It has been almost a year since Apple update the iMac to a new super skinny design, yet the Cinema Display, which is just a 27” iMac with the computer taken out, still sits there, without an update for nearly two years now. In that time the market for screens has moved a really long way and the Cinema Display has gone from being a reasonable product at a slightly premium price to being a sub-par product at an insane price. It doesn’t even come with a MagSafe 2 connector to fit the current line of Apple laptops, you have to use an adapter to make it work. Again, this just looks like laziness on the part of Apple. Just take the guts out of a 27” iMac, price it at around the $400/$500 mark and your done. It would certanly be better than the crap effort that is currently up for sale.
Fourthly, lets talk iPhone and iPad updates. This is especially bad with the iPhone. In reality, we only get a new iPhone from Apple once every two years (the ‘S’ models don’t really count). IMO that is way too slow. My preference would be for a ‘truly new’ model every 12 months with the traditional ‘S’ update at the six month mark. This would quickly alleviate some of the cyclical silliness where huge swaths of the market wait around for the next iPhone update. It would also make it far harder for Apple’s competitors to keep up with them. Apple have the resources to fund product refreshes at a breakneck pace. They should be using those resources.
Finally, what about new stuff? There has been rumours of an Apple TV for almost forever now. Where is my 17” Retinal MacBook Pro? What about Retina iMacs? Can we have a functional server line back please? There have been rumours about an iWatch for 18 odd months now, where is that? THe iPod line (with the exception of the iTouch) have been untouched for over 2 years, surely there is something cool Apple could do with the classic? Fitness trackers are pretty huge at the moment, why isn’t there an iStep? Steve often said he would love to make a car, and iCar would be pretty awesome wouldn’t it? (and by gods that industry could use a shake up!)
Apple have over $100B in the bank and should be investing that money into improving their (IMO) rather woeful record on new product releases and product refreshes of late. If their problem is a lack of resources I am petty certain the $100B can solve it for them. Burning the money on some crazy new product categories would be a whole lot better use for the money than giving it back to whiny shareholders.
I think this page at Mac Rumors really hammers home the point. Only two products are currently flagged as recently updated. In fact, in the last 200 days, a company with over $100B in the bank and over 60,000 employees has only managed to update the CPUs in one line of laptops and release a slightly modified iPod Touch. That is all. A city worth of people and a literal mountain of cash and they managed to do almost nothing with it.
Sure, there is probably tons of stuff going on behind the scenes, but it doesn’t matter cause no one can buy theoretical development products unless you release them. Steve Jobs always had a way of finding the right words and Apple could do with a bit of his wisdom right now.
“Real artists ship”