Predicting a rotten Apple

Business Insider writes

“Apple is set to release iPhone 6, its latest update to the iPhone juggernaut, in the fall. While iPhone 6 sales are expected to be huge for various reasons, there is a broader question facing Apple: Is it boxed in as a brand and a platform that merely serves the richest 15% of the world, while everyone else uses Android?”

Madness. Nobody questions the sense in marketing a premium product to the same people who buy BMW’s , Mercedes & Audi but that’s a smaller % of the near $90Bn unit global car market than the iPhone is of the global phone market.  Nothing wrong with marketing to the richest 15% in the world, in a purely commercial sense anyway.

They continue with;

“To put it in its bluntest terms, what is the point of launching the new Candy Crush Saga on a platform that hardly anyone — in a global sense — uses?”

Yep, it all boils down to candy crush. Or perhaps it doesn’t and the previous implication is ludicrous. Perhaps there are other business and lifestyle oriented apps that are even more deserving of your time than Candy Crush. No disrespect to the game and I admit it’s addictive but does anyone serious believe that developers would stop producing apps for the iPhone even if it’s just 15% of the market. Also consider compatibility with OSX and Apple iPad devices. Are developers really going to kick the App Store into touch? Can’t see it. The article is ad-bait i.e. a controversial opinion which is highly subjective or speculative that will attract visitors to the site.

So what’s the conclusion?

But the history of computing has one iron-cast lesson for us all: Devices get cheaper over time, and better over time. The high-priced seller usually loses. This is why nobody uses $8.8 million Cray computers anymore.

Except they still spend millions of dollars on supercomputers. The market for supercomputing didn’t die with Cray.  Cray missed the boat on massively parallel supercomputers and the push towards supercomputers built from large numbers of commodity hardware. This evolution happened quickly but it was a performance / $ argument for a range of applications that Cray lost out on.

However, it’s entirely possible Cray could have turned things around. We don’t know as its brilliant founder died in 1996 and the Starfire Sparc-based supercomputers became the SUN Enterprise 10000 range of machines. These were fodder for so many dotComs and a huge success for SUN Microsystems. IMHO the article makes the typical mistake of dead-ending the history of a product or invention prematurely and coming up with a fatuous grand narrative.

The authors’s bet is that Apple will fall behind on features+performance+quality / $. If this happens then Apple deserve to lose the market but we’re not there yet.