SAME litany as Funny iPhone Party-Poopers, but this time with my glowing comments. Couldn’t resist!
Mike Elgan in Macworld (October 2006):
“Why Microsoft’s Zune scares Apple to the core”
“Microsoft is hatching a consumer media ‘perfect storm’.”
“The Zune is social and viral”
“Zune is actually pretty cool”
“Apple is scared. And for good reason.”
“The iPod rules — for now. But Microsoft can’t be dismissed as just another wannabe. And nobody knows that better than Apple.”
So — we should take everything you say from now on with a huge grain of salt? Good to know, Mike.
Ed Colligan of Palm (November 2006):
“We’ve learned and struggled for a few years here figuring out how to make a decent phone. PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They’re not going to just walk in.”
Hey Ed. Just because Apple doesn’t announce their new products way in advance, like most other tech companies, doesn’t mean they just started working on it a month or two before the announcement.
Five-year update: Palm officially dead.
Michael Kanellos of CNET (December 2006):
“Apple is slated to come out with a new phone. Reports say that it will have a slide-out keyboard, 4GB or 8GB of storage, and work on CDMA or GSM cellular networks. It will start at $249 before subscription rebates. And it will largely fail.”
“Sales for the phone will skyrocket initially. However, things will calm down, and the Apple phone will take its place on the shelves with the random video cameras, cell phones, wireless routers and other would-be hits.”
“[T]he iPod looks like it may turn out to be a non-repeatable experience. Look at the historical record. When the iPod emerged in late 2001, it solved some major problems with MP3 players. ... Unfortunately for Apple, problems like that don’t exist in the handset business. Cell phones aren’t clunky, inadequate devices. Instead, they are pretty good. Really good.”
“[W]hen consumers get to that counter at CompUSA, they will debate buying the Apple phone, and even hold it up for a look. But when they whip out the credit card, they’ll probably opt for a Motorola.”
I don’t know about yours, but in my city, CompUSA shut down completely (pre-recession), and the very next thing to go into that spot was the “Bodies” exhibit. The iPhone and Apple are still going strong.
Bill Ray of The Register (December 2006):
“[T]he Apple phone will fail, and fail badly”
“Mobile phones are not complex to use because of bad interface design, they are complex to use because they are complex devices with a myriad of features.”
“As customers start to realise that the competition offers better functionality at a lower price, by negotiating a better subsidy, sales [of the Apple phone] will stagnate. After a year a new version will be launched, but it will lack the innovation of the first and quickly vanish.
The only question remaining is if, when the iPod phone fails, it will take the iPod with it.”
And non-Apple companies are just magically able to create better features and negotiate better subsidies than Apple? (Apparently not.)
Rob Enderle of the Enderle Group (January 2007):
“I’m not convinced that Apple’s going to benefit from this particular trend, primarily because there are other vendors that are better positioned to address what the iPhone represents.”
“It’s clearly going to start a wave towards a new technology — as I say, I’m not convinced that Apple’s going to be able to ride this wave.”
Translation: I sure hope history repeats itself, and everything Apple creates is successfully knocked-off by uncreative companies, leaving Apple choking on their dust. I hate Apple.
Philip Solis in ABIresearch (January 2007):
“[T]he Apple iPhone is not a smartphone.”
Depending on exactly how you interpret Solis’s definition of smartphone, there may not have been any smartphones in existence when he wrote that article. And maybe still none today.
Jack Gold on Computerworld (January 2007):
“Will anyone answer when Apple iPhones home?”
“Can it succeed? Frankly, and contrary to the reactions of Apple fans and the stock market, I am pretty skeptical.”
“Why am I not impressed?”
“[W]ho is the target for this device?”
“[T]he device runs the Mac OS. This is a major constraint, since few third-party application vendors ... run on the Mac.”
“So, will the iPhone succeed? At some level, yes, given the cachet that the Apple brand carries and the company’s base of loyal fans.”
What if, Jack, what if... Apple’s base of loyal fans were to grow? What if it were to grow a lot?
David Sobotta formerly of Apple, as reported by Charles Arthur in The Guardian (January 2007):
“The iPhone is without a doubt the most elegant of gadgets, but I get the feeling the reflection you see in the shiny surface might well be the high water mark for Apple.”
“At one time Apple produced the computer for the rest of us. ... My guess is that in spite of the iPhone and the other i-products, history will still look on Bill Gates more favorably than Steve Jobs.”
John C. Dvorak on CNBC (January 2007):
“To me, I’m looking at this thing [the iPhone], and I think it’s kinda trending against what people are really liking in phones nowadays, which are those little keypads — I mean, the Blackjack from Samsung, the BlackBerry obviously kinda pushes this thing, the Palm ... some of these stocks went down on the Apple announcement, thinking that Apple can do no wrong. But I think Apple can do wrong, and I think this is it.”
I hope you didn’t invest in those stocks, John.
Randall Stross in The New York Times (January 2007):
“Want an iPhone? Beware the iHandcuffs”
“[L]ike its slimmer iPod siblings, the iPhone’s music-playing function will be limited by factory-installed ‘crippleware.’ ... Apple officially calls its own standard ‘FairPlay,’ but fair it is not.”
“Even if you are ready to pledge a lifetime commitment to the iPod as your only brand of portable music player or to the iPhone as your only cellphone once it is released, you may find that FairPlay copy protection will, sooner or later, cause you grief. You are always going to have to buy Apple stuff. Forever and ever.”
“Unlike Apple, Microsoft has been willing to license its copy-protection software to third-party hardware vendors.”
“Apple pretends that the decision to use copy protection is out of its hands.”
Apple “pretends” that the music labels actually own the music. Right?
Matthew Lynn of Bloomberg (January 2007):
“Apple iPhone Will Fail in a Late, Defensive Move”
“Apple will sell a few to its fans, but the iPhone won’t make a long-term mark on the industry.”
“To its many fans, Apple is more of a religious cult than a company. An iToaster that downloads music while toasting bread would probably get the same kind of worldwide attention.
Don’t let that fool you into thinking that it matters. The big competitors in the mobile-phone industry such as Nokia Oyj and Motorola Inc. won’t be whispering nervously into their clamshells over a new threat to their business.
The iPhone is nothing more than a luxury bauble that will appeal to a few gadget freaks.”
Yes, if by “few” you mean “tens of millions” and by “gadget freaks” you mean “average consumers.”
Oh, and Matthew, here’s a question for you: Out of all tech companies today, which one is the most dedicated to the idea that computing devices should be targeted mainly towards people who aren’t gadget freaks?
Pssst. It’s Apple. Don’t tell.
Update: Nokia’s stock value having dropped $77 billion since the iPhone went to market, they just gave their CEO the boot, and hired a Microsoft manager to replace him.
Update: Nokia laying off 7,000 people.
Update: Now another 3,500.
Update: Motorola Mobility was bought out by Google — you don’t get bought out when you’re doing well, FYI.
Rob Enderle of the Enderle Group (January 2007):
“[T]he iPod came to market as a unique product line that remained largely differentiated through most of its life. Thanks to the Prada phone the iPhone isn’t even unique now and because of the power of the carriers, most of which aren’t Cingular, has a massive uphill battle that the iPod didn’t enjoy.”
Translation: I sure hope the iPod has reached the end of its life. And I sure hope that a few years from now, the Prada phone is all the rage. I hate Apple.
Richard Sprague of Microsoft (January 2007):
“I can’t believe the hype being given to iPhone.”
“I just have to wonder who will want one of these things (other than the religious faithful).”
“So please mark this post and come back in two years to see the results of my prediction: I predict they will not sell anywhere near the 10M Jobs predicts for 2008.”
“[E]ven the most diehard Mac fans who buy one of these will secretly carry two phones. One to prove how loyal and ‘cool’ they are, and the other to actually make and receive calls.”
It was 13 million in calendar ’08. Or 17 million if you count from when the iPhone was first available in mid-’07. (Or 30 million if you include the iPod touch.) And did any significant number of those 17 million people keep using their old phone? No. No, they didn’t.
Rob Enderle of the Enderle Group (January 2007):
“This will be a difficult year for Apple, and the iPhone could be more of a drag on earnings than a help.”
“Apple is clearly not going away — but this year, compared to last, will be really nasty for the company.”
’07 was a great year for Apple, and the iPhone was a big part of that. But I should give him credit for being right about one thing: Apple clearly isn’t “going away.”
Tero Kuittinen in The Street (January 2007):
“Apple’s Dangerous Contempt”
“[A] week after the grand announcement, it is striking how limited the device seems at a second glance. The iPhone’s willful disregard of the global handset market will come back to haunt Apple.”
“Many highly successful people and companies stumble when they try to relive past glories in a radically different environment. ... Last week, Steve Jobs seemed to attempt to recapture [the iPod’s] glory days during his unveiling of the Apple phone.”
“There’s a certain type of Northern Californian tech expert who has never seen a successful high-end consumer technology product that failed to hit it big in America, and he can’t grasp that the rest of the world is a very different market. This affliction seems to plague Apple executives.”
“Apple can undoubtedly sell a few million of its new phones in the U.S. market in a flash, but it will have tough sledding outside its domestic market.”
“Apple announced the new phone in January 2007 yet won’t start selling it in Asia until 2008. That is a rookie mistake, one among several that Apple has committed. The $20 billion added to Apple’s market cap by giddy U.S. investors will evaporate once the global competition starts.”
Did somebody say “rookie?”
Jim Balsillie of RIM (February 2007):
“[Apple and the iPhone is] kind of one more entrant into an already very busy space with lots of choice for consumers ... But in terms of a sort of a sea-change for BlackBerry, I would think that’s overstating it.”
Damn that hurricane; full speed ahead.
David Haskin in ComputerWorld (February 2007):
“Hey, Apple: Remember the Newton before releasing iPhone”
“What does Apple’s iPhone have in common with the failed Apple Newton of more than a decade ago? Nothing. Yet.”
“[T]he company may well be making some of the same mistakes now as it made in 1993 when it introduced Newton.”
“Apple seems to be repeating the cycle again with iPhone, developing what is undoubtedly an advanced product with a remarkable interface and overcharging for it.”
“Apple faces significant competition, something it didn’t face in 1993 when it launched Newton. And you can bet that competition from the likes of Samsung and LG will both be good (although probably not as good as iPhone) and most assuredly cheaper.”
“It’s also becoming clear that Apple may be suffering from excessive hubris.”
“I’m more convinced than ever that, after an initial frenzy of publicity and sales to early adopters, iPhone sales will be unspectacular.”
Four-year update: What does the iPhone have in common with the failed Newton? Not much, apparently.
John C. Dvorak on MarketWatch (March 2007):
“Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone”
“It’s the loyalists who keep promoting this device as if it is going to be anything other than another phone in a crowded market.”
“These phones go in and out of style so fast that unless Apple has half a dozen variants in the pipeline, its phone, even if immediately successful, will be passé within 3 months.
There is no likelihood that Apple can be successful in a business this competitive.”
“Even Microsoft itself has troubles with its attempts to get into a small sub segment of the handset business with its operating system.
What Apple risks here is its reputation as a hot company that can do no wrong. If it’s smart it will call the iPhone a ‘reference design’ and pass it to some suckers to build with someone else’s marketing budget. Then it can wash its hands of any marketplace failures.
It should do that immediately before it’s too late. Samsung Electronics Ltd. might be a candidate. Otherwise I’d advise you to cover your eyes. You’re not going to like what you’ll see.”
A crowded room is hard to get into. A “crowded market” is just an expression that doesn’t mean anything, except that there are a lot of different models out there. And just because most of those models go out of style in three months, does that mean Apple’s had to? And what’s this BS about “even Microsoft?”
I guess in Dvorak’s imaginary, link-bait world, Microsoft is just naturally the strongest, Apple is naturally the weakest, and everybody else is in the middle. Well, with a view like that, it’s pretty much guaranteed that you’ll think Apple should sell off the iPhone as a “reference design.” BTW, has Apple ever announced a new product, then sold it off as a reference design? Is that something Apple even does?
Steve Ballmer of Microsoft (April 2007):
“There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance.”
Before the end of iPhone’s first full calendar year on the market, it was outselling all Windows Mobile devices combined.
Todd Sullivan in Seeking Alpha (May 2007):
“The iPhone: Apple’s First Flop”
“The introduction of the iPhone will be the first miscue for the company and send its shares, priced for perfection tumbling.”
With flops like that, who needs successes?
Geoff Long of CommsDay (June 2007):
“In a week or two the fuss will fade and people will start to realise an important point: it’s just a phone, and not a particularly ‘smart’ one at that.”
“Anyway, that’s my prediction and I felt like getting it in early — I don’t want to be seen jumping on bandwagons after everyone else suddenly realises that the iPhone is a flop.”
Not to worry, Geoff. No one will be accusing you of jumping on the bandwagon.
Seth Porges in TechCrunch (June 2007):
“We Predict the iPhone Will Bomb”
“I can tell you with near-certainty one thing: the product was almost certainly rushed to market before Apple’s engineers would have liked.”
“[W]hen the iPhone comes, Digg will likely be full of horror stories from the poor saps who camped out at their local AT&T store, only to find their purchase was buggier than a camp cabin.”
“Here’s hoping my dire predictions come to naught.”
Here’s hoping you really hoped such a thing.
Dan Gillmor of Arizona State University (June 2007):
“The iPhone is a Beta Product”
“I’d advise anyone considering one of these devices in the U.S. to wait for the next version. The initial product doesn’t come close to living up to the hype.”
Translation: I sure hope most everybody follows my advice, because if they do, there won’t be a next version.
Al Ries of Ries & Ries (June 2007):
“When Apple introduces its iPhone this month, will it pass the acid test?
In my opinion, no.
Prediction No. 1: The iPhone will be a major disappointment.
The hype has been enormous. Apple says its iPhone is ‘literally five years ahead of any other mobile phone.’ A stock-market analyst says, ‘The iPhone has the potential to be even bigger than the iPod.’
I think not.”
Think again. Think different.
Laura Ries of Ries & Ries (June 2007):
“The hype and intense media, consumer and Wall Street excitement comes from the impression that the iPhone will become another iPod ... Nothing could be further from the truth. If the iPod is the biggest success of the 21st century then iPhone is likely to be the biggest flop of the 21st century.”
“[A]ll convergence devices are doomed by compromise.
In order to produce an all-in-one device, the device has to make compromises: battery life is short, the device is difficult to use, it is too large and it is too expensive.
The iPhone will likely have problems with all these things.”
Apple has had some duds over the years leading up to the iPhone, that’s for sure. But do any of them even come close to “biggest flop of the century?” Put it in that perspective, and you suddenly realize that these Ries people desperately want the iPhone to fail. Jobs announces what looks like a potentially big winner, scheduled to hit the market in six months, and all the Apple-haters can’t resist pulling out all the stops in their attempts to create a self-fulfilling prophecy of failure. It’s a lot like the way an impending presidential election draws out unexpected, political, nakedly desperate diatribes from people you thought were above that.
Brett Arends of TheStreet.com (June 2007):
“But beyond all the iHype and iMania, let’s get one thing clear. The iPhone isn’t the future. It isn’t a revolutionary mobile device ushering in a new era.”
Let’s get one thing clear — iHate Apple.
Ken Dulaney of Gartner (June 2007):
“We’re telling IT executives to not support it because Apple has no intentions of supporting [iPhone use in] the enterprise.”
It’s not just that Dulaney was 180° wrong on this, but even more importantly: What reason, if any, did he have to think he was right?
Clayton Christensen of Harvard Business School (June 2007):
“[T]he prediction of [my disruption] theory would be that Apple won’t succeed with the iPhone. They’ve launched an innovation that the existing players in the industry are heavily motivated to beat: It’s not [truly] disruptive. History speaks pretty loudly on that, that the probability of success is going to be limited.”
If I knew how to predict the success of companies, would I (a) invest accordingly and become a billionaire in five or ten years, or (b) make a modest living by teaching about it at a university and writing niche-market books on the subject? Hmmm. Let me think about that for a minute.
David Platt in Suckbusters! (June 2007):
“Apple iPhone Debut to Flop, Product to Crash in Flames”
“Apple iPhone is going to be a bigger marketing flop than Ishtar and Waterworld ...”
“iPhone is going to fail because its design is fundamentally flawed.”
“[The iPhone] is going to crash in flames. Sell your Apple stock now, while the hype’s still hot. You heard it here first.”
“As I expound in great detail in my book Why Software Sucks ... your user is not you. The iPhone’s designers have forgotten this fundamental law of the universe. The market will severely punish them for doing so.”
Why your prediction sucks, David: Apple’s customer is not you.
Brett Arends of TheStreet.com (July 2007):
“Hey — did you hear about the $17,670 iPhone?
No, it’s not a gold-plated version designed for Paris Hilton.
It’s the one everybody’s buying. The one in your local Apple store.”
“... the $2,720 [for an iPhone plus a two-year service plan] could have been invested tax free [if not already maxing-out your 401K]. Earning a pretty reasonable 5.5% after inflation over the next 35 years [starting at age 30], it would have grown to ... $17,670.
You read that right.”
Translation: I’ve given up on trying to stop any even moderately smart people from getting an iPhone, and am now just trying to discourage the dumb ones from getting one too. And I don’t care what this tactic does to my reputation — trying to stop Apple is, by far, the most important thing I’ll ever do.
Karl Denninger (July 2007):
“Apple got roached in the premarket this morning. It[’]s about damn time. The cause? A CIBC report out which alleges that iPhone demand, after the initial Jim Jones KoolAid Rush, has fallen off precipitously. ... It[’]s about damn time; Apple is just about the definitition [sic] of an overvalued stock.”
No KoolAid on your lips, huh Karl?
Near-five-year update: Apple’s stock now about six times what Karl called the “definitition of an overvalued stock.”
Scott Moritz of TheStreet.com (July 2007):
“Apple’s iPhone missed a 1 million unit sales target and rivals are rejoicing.”
Everything I’ve heard about this “target” indicates that it existed only in the mind of Moritz. Apple only made about 250,000 iPhones in preparation for that weekend.
But if “1 million unit” opening-weekend sales numbers are important, then good news: Apple’s newest iPhone, the 3GS, did sell over a million units on its opening weekend. That should make Moritz quite happy. Right?
Ashok Kumar of Capital Group (July 2007):
“In the Harry Potter books, a squib is the offspring of a witch and wizard that lacks the ability to produce magic. In the technology world, the iPhone is a product from Apple teamed with the wireless network of AT&T that lacks the ability to produce magical business growth.”
Hey, did you see Lindsay Lohan as Hermione on SNL? Nice.
Paul Thurrott, winsupersite.com (September 2007):
“And though this is a Windows-centric Web site, the iPhone is important to us all because it will impact the Windows-using world (i.e. ‘the world’) in two ways. Windows users are the mainstream and majority market for this device; we are the ones who use the iPhone. And as with the original Mac, it’s highly likely that the computing innovations seen first in the iPhone will popularize themselves further as Microsoft and other companies adapt them to their own products. Whatever happens, we’ll be able to trace a major form of computing in the future back to the iPhone just as we can now trace the modern PC back in time to the Mac.”
“I wrote this review for you, the fence sitter. The normal person. The guy who’s seen the constant iPhone ads on TV and in subway stations and has wondered if this thing, this expensive hunk of plastic, will actually solve some problems. The guy who, quite frankly, shouldn’t be wasting his hard earned cash on an expensive toy that, ultimately, doesn’t really solve any problems at all. The iPhone is awesome. There’s just one problem: You don’t need it.”
Translation: I really, really hope history repeats itself, and everything Apple creates is successfully knocked-off by uncreative companies, leaving Apple choking on their dust. I despise Apple.
Say — has Thurrott ever said of any of Microsoft’s myriad technology announcements, “There’s just one problem, you don’t need it?” I haven’t researched that question, so I guess I just don’t know the answer.
Brian Jepson on BIF Speak (October 2007):
“[Harvard’s Clayton] Christensen said his money is on Nokia to build a platform that disrupts the personal computer. ... I completely agree with Christensen ...”
“[M]y money’s on Nokia, too, for pretty much the same reasons Christensen has.”
Those Harvard guys are hardly ever wrong when it comes to economics and business. Better bet on Nokia.
Alistair Croll in GIGAOM (November 2007):
“Not only will Internet handsets be everywhere, they’ll be open.”
“Apple has launched a ‘features’ phone rather than an Internet client platform. The iPhone’s menu is reminiscent of the old Compuserve dashboard ...”
“Nokia is building a platform that can run arbitrary software. It’ll be messy, and will go through several iterations. But in the end, we know how this story plays out: iPhone is Compuserve; Nokia is the Internet.”
I had no idea Compuserve was vastly more successful than the internet. Thanks, Alistair, for that valuable piece of information.
Mike Lazaridis of RIM (November 2007):
“Try typing a web key on a touch screen on an iPhone, that’s a real challenge. You cannot see what you type.”
“The iPhone has severe limitations when it comes to effortless typing. Of course you have more screen space, with more artistic interactions, but that’s not enough. We’ve seen this before when Palm tried virtual keyboards. When they launched the Treo they licensed our keyboard.”
“It is like building high end cars. The top manufacturers make their present models a little better every year, but when they change it too much, that’s when they have a problem.”
Yeah, I can see teeny plastic pushbutton keys when my finger is on top of them. Right. And FYI, there’s no such thing as “effortless typing” on anything you can currently carry in your pocket — RIM products well-included.
And about that car analogy: Apple didn’t make a phone prior to the iPhone. And now that they do, yeah, they’re changing it a little every six to twelve months. So maybe you’re right about that. (Not that it helps you at all.)
Jim Balsillie of RIM (November 2007):
“Apple has come forward with a unique strategy — they have carriers propose to be their partner, they completely reversed the relationship to have full product management and full control over the pricing — but in the end we believe users want choice.”
Where by “choice” I don’t mean choosing Apple.
Fred Wilson, of Union Square Ventures (November 2007):
“Fear and Loathing Is Not A Great Brand Image”
“I have a brand new iPhone sitting right next to me on my desk that I can’t figure out how to unlock and jailbreak now that it comes pre-loaded with 1.1.2 firmware. So it just sits there on my desk making me hate Apple more every day”
Gotta give this guy credit for really saying what he’s thinking. That’s not a common characteristic of Apple’s critics these days.
Mitchell Ashley of NetworkWorld.com (January 2008):
“iPhone will fail to dominate as so many other Apple products have failed to in the past. The iPhone is certain to fade into history as another cool Apple innovation, that others soon rushed competitive, like-products to market, blowing away any significant lead Apple might have.”
“Microsoft’s put a lot of thought into how to make the mobile phone interface more intuitive and easier to use, even more so than Apple’s iPhone.”
“Apple’s inability to gain any significant market share means the options for software products are much more limited and hardware is much more expensive.”
“Apple iPhone. Enjoy the limelight because it won’t last long.”
Translation: I pray to fucking God history repeats itself, and everything Apple creates is successfully knocked-off by uncreative companies, leaving Apple choking on their dust. If Apple succeeds it will be my worst nightmare.
Update: It’s now the three-year anniversary of your comments, Mitchell — and WP7 is finally on the market! And, uh, it’s not doing so well. FYI.
GearLive (February 2008):
“Flash on iPhone is just around the corner”
“[W]e’ve just got word from a reliable source that Flash support is on its way to the iPhone, and it should be coming very, very soon.”
“Flash on the iPhone is coming, just take our word for it, okay?”
No. Not okay.
Roger L. Kay on Bloomberg Businessweek (March 2008):
“Apple’s Icarus Effect
Pride goes before destruction ...”
“Just as those living in shiny houses of self-righteous glass often end up surrounded by shards of their former sanctimony, so Apple Inc. now finds itself the increasingly appealing target of software hackers.”
“As hackers pillaged Microsoft’s Windows operating system, Apple stressed that its computer platform was relatively virus-free ...”
“Apple, welcome to Microsoft’s world!”
“Everyone makes mistakes. But society loves to repay hubris with derisive laughter.”
“Apple is becoming a victim of its own success, and the irony is just too great to miss. Anyone with a mild sense of history is keeping track.”
Yes, let’s keep track, shall we? Hold my hand, Roger — we can do this together. Let’s see: It’s been just over three years since you wrote this hatchet job. Apple’s products? Incredibly successful, much more so than when you wrote this. Apple’s malware problem? Still virtually non-existent. See? That wasn’t so hard.
Mike Lazaridis of RIM (April 2008):
“I couldn’t type on it and I still can’t type on it, and a lot of my friends can’t type on it. It’s hard to type on a piece of glass.”
The right way to replicate the quality text-entry experience of a desktop or laptop computer on a handheld device is to shrink the keyboard until it fits on the handheld. Just like the way to replicate the quality UI experience of a desktop or laptop computer on a handheld device is to shrink the desktop UI until it fits on the handheld.
Al Sacco in CrackBerry.com (April 2008):
“Top 10 Reasons Why the iPhone Is NO BlackBerry”
“I don’t know about you, but I’m sick and tired of hearing about the Apple iPhone. iPhone-this and iPhone-that. I can’t even walk down the street or ride the train without seeing an iPhone in the hands of some bubbly college girl or Apple fanboy. ... Enough is enough.”
“Note: A few, but not all, of these reasons may be addressed when the next generation iPhone is released in the coming months. Still, Apple’s no RIM, the iPhone’s no BlackBerry, and that’s not going to change anytime soon.”
Four-year update: Quite right, Al. The iPhone’s no BlackBerry, and Apple’s no RIM. Thank goodness.
Mike Lazaridis of RIM (May 2008):
“We have to be realistic about the history of [touch-screen] technology. We have to remember that this is not new — this has been done, this has been tried before.”
[reporter: The most exciting mobile trend is...]
“Full Qwerty keyboards. I’m sorry, it really is. I’m not making this up.”
Prior to the iPhone, I heard people rave about their BlackBerry. But they never, ever said they were excited about the “full Qwerty keyboard,” or anything even remotely like that.
Manjit Singh of Chiquita Brands International (June 2008):
“I have nothing against iPhone. It’s great. But we’re a BlackBerry shop, and I don’t think iPhone brings anything new to the table. It has a great user experience, but that’s all.”
Dismissing a great user experience is one of the best recipes for success. Something tells me that the best and brightest in IT won’t be found at Chiquita.
Gary Krakow of MSNBC (June 2008):
“Steve Jobs has to bite the bullet. He’s either gotta get BlackBerry on there, or Windows Mobile on there. It’s the entire answer.”
[reporter: Why isn’t he doing that?]
“Because I think he’d rather create a system that might be able to tap into these two different systems, but he’d rather do it himself, he’d rather find a way — or he’d rather get a lot of people going to an Apple system. I don’t think that’s gonna happen, I think BlackBerry is very entrenched. I think Microsoft also has a lot of people who are very, very happy with the Microsoft mobile e-mail system. Both have their plusses and minuses. Uh, not many minuses for either one. Apple doesn’t have it, and for Apple to tap into that they’re gonna have to bite the bullet and they’re going to have to make some sort of agreement. And you know what agreement means. They have to pay for the rights. And I don’t think they really wanna pay for the rights to either one or both of those systems.”
Apple has a long history of buying the rights to use their chief competitors’ software systems — don’t they? Apple’s just a hardware manufacturer, not unlike Dell — aren’t they?
Paul Thurrott, winsupersite.com (June 2008, just after the WWDC keynote):
“So. Did Apple introduce anything surprising today? No, unless you count the price drop, which I previously noted was a requirement if Apple was serious about selling 10 million units this year. Apparently, they are quite serious. Long story short: I rescheduled the gym for this today? Geesh.”
Say — has Thurrott ever come away from a Microsoft keynote full of vacuous vapor, and said, “I rescheduled the gym for this today? Geesh.” I haven’t researched that question, so I guess I just don’t know the answer.
Anita Hamilton of Time (July 2008):
“On July 11, Apple will launch its hotly anticipated iPhone App Store — and it’ll be anything but a bargain.”
Actually, the prices were so low that Apple tried to persuade many vendors to raise their prices. (Not very successfully, BTW.)
Free Software Foundation, article by “johns” (July 2008):
“A snake oil salesman not satisfied with his business of pushing proprietary software and Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) technology into your home, Jobs has set his sights on getting DRM and proprietary software into your pocket as well.”
“Apple, through its marketing and visual design techniques, is manufacturing an illusion that merely buying an Apple makes you part of an alternative community. But the technology they use is explicitly chosen to divide people into separate digital cells, and to position Apple as sole warden. When your business depends on people paying for the privilege of being locked up, the prison better look and feel luxurious, and the bars better not be too visible. Wait, locked up? Prison? It’s a phone. Aren’t we being a little extreme? Unfortunately, we are not.”
Not long after this Free Software Foundation vomit, Apple was finally successful at convincing the music labels to let them drop DRM from most songs.
FSF, I think, has learned the same lesson as Greenpeace: You get a lot more press by bashing the most exciting player on the field — even if they’re the farthest from the offense on which you’re bashing them.
Update: Greenpeace is at it again.
Tom Yager of InfoWorld (July 2008):
“Apple’s iPhone contracts leave developers speechless
Apple’s free iPhone SDK may be the most hazardous download on the Internet”
“This isn’t Apple-bashing. This is serious business.”
“[T]he iPhone developer programs are the antithesis of the developer-friendly Apple Developer Connection”
I would like to think that Yager had such a high opinion of ADC before he used it here to slam the iPhone SDK. But it’s very hard to think that, when the same guy is calling the SDK “the most hazardous download on the Internet.” I downloaded it and used it myself, and nothing bad happened at all. I’m sure many thousands of iPhone app authors would say the same thing.
Rick Merritt of EE Times (July 2008):
“Scroll ahead to say 2012. Apple will be struggling to roll out a broad product portfolio that matches the wealth of Android and Windows Mobile systems on the market. Once again they will lack the breadth of the backing of the open alternative, in this case Google’s Android.
More importantly, this market too will mature. Eventually, Apple will be fighting the Google hoards by rolling out a cool new feature here and there, but they will have nothing as compelling as the lower prices and greater diversity of the Android platform.
In short, the iPhone will help Apple rocket from nowhere to the top ten in cellphone makers in a couple short years. But five years out, Apple could be sidelined to a top 20 spot supported only by the remaining faithful few.
Steve Jobs is known for many things, but being teachable is not one of them.”
I’m not sure what Jobs could have learned from Merritt on this subject, but Apple should be very, very thankful he didn’t.
“Gadget Lab” of Wired (August 2008):
“Nokia E71 is a legit iPhone killer — we’re serious this time”
That was the first and last time I heard anything about the Nokia E71.
Dan Lyons of Newsweek (September 2008):
“I hate to say it but Apple may end up reliving its nightmare experience in the personal computer market — that is, arriving ahead of everyone else (in 1984) with a device that was really cool and really well built and really showed what the platform could do, but then keeping everything closed and thereby ending up a niche player.”
Translation: I either haven’t read, or chose to ignore, John Gruber’s “Why 2004 Won’t Be Like 1984.”
Eric Knorr on InfoWorld (September 2008):
“Why Android will crush the iPhone
The iPhone was a nice preview of next-gen mobile. But Android is the real thing, and will make iPhone and BlackBerry yesterday’s news”
“There will be many, many Android devices and carriers and pricing options. You see, Android is an open platform.”
“[T]o use the [iPhone] SDK, you need an Intel-based Mac and membership in the Apple Developer Connection. This is an exclusive club.”
Just hitting the second anniversary of your predictions, Eric. Let’s see: iPhone is doing better than ever and hasn’t been crushed by anything. It’s certainly not “yesterday’s news.” All Macs made for at least the last two years are Intel-based. You can download the iPhone SDK and start developing on the iPhone simulator for $0. And then pay $99 if you come up with a really good app and want to put it on the App Store.
But Android is still about to crush the iPhone! So I guess you were on-the-money with that one. Uh... right?
Paul Boutin of ValleyWag (September 2008):
“Paul Betlem from Adobe balked at saying the [Adobe Flash] app was sure to be built into Apple’s Safari browser that ships with the phone, but it seems a certainty.”
Coming up on a year later, and still no Adobe Flash for the iPhone in sight. No apparent need for it, either. My honest opinion of Flash on the desktop? Lots of annoying, unwanted, animated ads, and once in a very blue moon, something that’s mildly interesting to actually run. Oh wait, that was a Java applet.
And guess what, all you Flash ad creators: When Apple finally supports animation in HTML 5 standards (not Flash), you’re not going to load the iPhone websurfing experience with your crazy crap. Apple’s reinventing the whole thing, done right this time. Probably, they’ll display your animated ads as static images that don’t animate until the user taps them. That’s the way it should have been on the desktop all along.
Update 2010.04.30 — Jobs makes it perfectly clear: Flash isn’t going to be any part of the iPhone/iPad end-user or developer experience.
Steve Ballmer of Microsoft (September 2008):
“[Apple and RIM] are probably restricted, in some sense, to a certain maximum. ... If you want to reach more people than that, you sort-of have to separate the hardware and the software issue.”
Because consumers won’t flock to great hardware running great software from the same company. It’s too creepy. Consumers would much rather shell out good money for the crap Microsoft has been serving up in the mobile arena for more than a decade.
Shane Wall of Intel (October 2008):
“Any sort of application that requires any horse power at all and the iPhone struggles.”
“If you want to run full internet, you’re going to have to run an Intel-based architecture.”
What, exactly, is “full internet?” Flash, perhaps? And hey, look at that iPhone 3GS struggling to keep up with Atom handhelds.
Three-and-a-half-year update: The first Atom phone is just now being released.
Rob Enderle of the Enderle Group (October 2008):
“I’m not sure, under the current economic conditions, that [carrying an iPhone]’s a great statement to make. You may not want to flash it.”
Translation: I don’t know if it’s possible at this point to create a self-fulfilling prophecy of iPhone failure, but I’ll be damned if I’m not going to keep trying!
Robbie Bach of Microsoft (October 2008):
“Does AT&T like having iPhone on its network? Sure. But they want to have balance in that ecosystem, where there’s three or four big partners. That’s why we’re so attractive to them — because we work with Samsung, Sony-Ericsson, LG, HTC, Motorola. Don’t get me wrong, the iPhone is a cool device. But it’s not about choice.”
Where by “choice” I really, really don’t mean choosing Apple.
Rob Enderle of the Enderle Group (October 2008):
“And the really cool thing [about Windows 7] is you actually get Multi-Touch, so it’s not just one finger, it is, presto-chango, two fingers — this one doesn’t seem to want to work. And you can expand — there we go.”
[reporter: And what does that remind you of?]
“It reminds me of a little phone by a company that’s named after a fruit.”
“It is very similar to what Apple does on phones but not PCs.”
Translation: Multi-touch trackpads don’t count. Because I say they don’t.
Update: Windows 7 has been on the market for well over a year. No multitouch in sight.
Lucas Conley of the Boston Globe (October 2008):
“No doubt this will incite the ire of the iCult, but once you’re done flooding the forums and flaming the messenger, let’s all just take a deep breath.”
“The [Apple] brand’s true appeal comes from the fact that consumers are hooked on the hype.”
“But in an age when no-name companies make phones of equal quality at a fraction of the price of an iPhone, how long can Apple keep sales and its cool factor up? Only as long as it can sustain the hype. And with the Google phone on the horizon, it’s going to take a lot of hype.”
Take a deep breath, Lucas.
Rick Rashid of Microsoft (October 2008):
“If you use a Macintosh or an iPhone, which honestly I would not recommend, you would be using code that I wrote more than 25 years ago.”
A Microserf wouldn’t recommend a Mac or an iPhone? Really? Hey, Rick, are you even allowed to use an iPhone? Bill Gates’s kids aren’t.
Don Reisinger on CNET (November 2008):
“Apple is scared. And it should be.”
“[L]et’s face it: the number of shortcomings in the iPhone 3G far outweigh those found in the [BlackBerry] Storm.
Although [Apple] will never admit it ... you can bet that company executives are running scared Friday. Even though Apple created this category and revolutionized the market, RIM just one-upped the founders, and Apple knows that.”
“The iPhone was cool, up until yesterday.”
The Storm was the all-that iPhone killer up until yesterday. Now it’s the Pre. Not sure what it will be tomorrow...
Update: Now it’s the Storm 2. I mean, the MyTouch. No, the Hero. No, it’s the DROID. Oops, it’s the Nexus One...
Update: The Pre 2? Oh, it’s the DROID Incredible. I mean, the EVO. The Kin One or Kin Two? No, the DROID X. Or is it the HTC Desire? The Legend? The Dream? The JPhone? The a S or Y? Maybe the Omnia II? Perhaps the Storm3? The Nokia N800 or N810? The Captivate? The Vibrant? The Torch? The DROID 2 or Eris? The Wave? The Epic? The Fascinate? The BackFlip? The Aria? The HTC G2? The Restore? The N8? The Bada? The Cetus? The Femme? The Desire HD? The Schubert? The Scorpion? The Mondrian? The Lightning? The DROID Pro? The Optimus 7Q? The Surround? The Pure? The Focus? The HD7? The Quantum? The Mozart? The Trophy? The HTC Pro? The Venue or Venue Pro? The Omnia 7? The Nexus Two? The M8? The Cliq? The Cliq XT? The Devour A555 or i1? The Charm 1? The Continuum? The Nexus S? The M9? The Kin ONEm or TWOm? The Gravity T? The E7? The Satio? The Xperia X1 or X7? The Olympus? The Vortex? The Zeal? The Octane? The Intensity II? The Barrage? The Fathom? The Escapade? The Ozone? The Imagio? The Crux? The Convoy? The Atrix? The Dakota? The Moment? The Pre3? The Galaxy S II or i9000? The Omnia HD? The Idou? The Rumor or Rumor Reflex? The ThunderBolt? The Envy? The Torch 2? The M9II? The Dell Aero or Streak 5? The Highlight? The Bold Touch? The Meizu m1 or m2 or m2 note or MX or MX2? The Indulge? The Mesmerize? The Showcase? The Gem? The Transform? The Intercept? The Ally? The MyTouch 3G Slide? The Acclaim? The HTC Incredible 2 or the DROID Incredible 2? The Bold 9900 or 9930? The Echo? The Veer? The Infuse? The DROID Charge or 3? The Sensation? The Nokia N9 or N950 or N96? The Sea Ray? The DROID X2 or Bionic? The Touch 9860 Monza or Monaca? The Photon or Photon Q? The Torch 9810, 9850, or 9860? The Galaxy R? The Colt? The EVO 4G? The Garminfone? The Xperia Play or Mini Pro? The Commando? The Grid4? The Nokia X7? The Curve 9350, 9360, or 9370? The Galaxy Ace S5830 or Plus? The Leo? The DROID Prime? The Nexus Prime? The Nokia 600? The Wave 3, M, or Y? The Radar? The Titan? The Galaxy Note N7000? The Colt? The Rhyme? The Amaze? The DROID RAZR? The Asha 201? The Lumia 710 or 800C? The Optimus 3D or LTE? The Behold t919 or II? The Stratosphere? The Raider (a.k.a. Vivid)? The Rezound? The Thrill? The Inspire A9192? The London? The Bold 9790? The Breakout? The Pocket? The Link or Link II? The Pursuit or Pursuit II? The Ease? The Laser? The Caper? The Reveal? The Jest or Jest 2? The Hotshot? The DROID 4? The EVO 3D or Shift or Design 4G? The Opus One? The Nitro HD? The Curve 9380? The Edge? The Nokia Ace? The Titan II? The Xperia Ion? The Lumia 610 or 620 or 900? The INNVO8? The London? The Burst? The Galaxy Beam or S III? The HTC One X or S or X+? The ViewPhone 4S? The Xperia S or Z or ZR? The Honor? The Liquid or Liquid E? The Galaxy S Blaze? The Skyrocket? The Desire S or C? The Incredible S? The Sensation XL or XE or 4G? The Gleam+? The DROID RAZR MAXX? The Viper? The Intel K800? The Xolo X900? The Optimus LTE 2? The Hydro? The Cloud? The Galaxy Nexus or S4? The Nokia 808 Pureview 808? The Atrix HD MB886? The Optimus G or G Pro or L9 or F3 or F7? The Asteroid? The ATIV S or S Neo or Odyssey? The Lumia 510 or 820 or 822 or 920 or 928? The DROID RAZR HD or MAXX HD or M? The HTC One V or One VX or One Mini or One Max? The Galaxy Note II or 3? The HTC 8X or 8S? The RAZR i? The Galaxy S3 Mini or Rush or Victory? The S Advance? The DROID DNA? The BlackBerry 10 L or A10? The Discover? The Ascend D2 or P2 or P6 or Mate2? The Xperia ZL or Z1 or Transfer? The Butterfly S? The DROID RAZR R3 or Ultra or Mini? The Galaxy Fonblet or Grand or S4 or S4 Zoom or Mega 6.3 or S4 Mini or NX or Round? The BlackBerry Q10 or Z10? The Nexus 4 or 5? The Nokia Asha (13 different models)? The Xperia J or TL or Z Ultra? The First? The Asha 210? The Lumia 521 or 925 or 1020 or 1520? The BlackBerry Q5 or Z30 or Z3? The Moto X or G? The Stratosphere II? The Brave? The LG G2 or G Pro 2 or Uni8? The DROID 5? The BlackBerry 9720? The Lumia 929 Icon or 525 or 630 or 930? The REGZA T-01D? The Xiaomi Mi3? The Oppo N1? The PadFone Infinity or X? The Ara? The Xperia Z1S or Z1 Compact or Z4? The Optimus F3Q? The Blackphone or Blackphone 2? The Desire 310 or 610 or Eye? The Galaxy K or K Zoom or Ace Style or Ace 4? The HTC M7 or M8 Ace? The Ativ SE? The Lumia 2520 or 635 or 530 or 1520? The Ascend P7? The Moto E? The HTC One 2 Mini or One M9? The Unite? The Samsung A3, A5, or A7? The Fusion 2? The LG G3 or G4? The Galaxy S5 or S5 Prime or S5 Active or S5 Mini or Star 2 or Core II or Young 2 or Alpha or S6? The ZTE Open? The Samsung Z? The Experia T3 or Z4? The Fire? The Passport? The Nokia X or X1 or X2? The OnePlus One or 2 or 3? The Mi 4 or Note or 4i or 5? The Splash? The Vibe Z? The Aquos Crystal? The Galaxy Note Edge or 5? The Sonim XP7? The Honor 6 or 7? The Lumia 535 or 638 or 1330 or 640 or 640XL? The Leap? The YotaPhone or YotaPhone 2? The LeTV X900? The Huawei P8? The DuraForce? The ZenFone or ZenFone 2? The Iron Man? The Galaxy J5 or J7 or S6 Edge+? The Desire 520 or 526 or 626 or 626s? The Venice? The Obi Worldphone SF1 or SJ1.5? The Xperia Z5 or Z5 Premium or M4 Aqua? The Meizu MX3 or MX4 or MX5 or MX4 Ubuntu? The HTC One A9 Aero? The Moto X Pure Edition? The Nexus 5X or 6P? The Lumia 930/Icon or 550 or 950 or 950 XL? The Pepsi P1? The Xperia Z4v or X Performance or X Premium? The LG V10 or V20? The DROID MAXX 2? The PRIV? The Redmi 3 or Note 3? The Galaxy On or A9 or S7? The One Plus X? The DROID Turbo 2? The LG G5? The Turing? The VAIO Biz? The Klif? The Blade V7 or V7 Lite? The Note 6 Weibo? The LG Stylus 2? The Elfie S8? The Huawei P9 or P9 Plus? The Mate 8 or 9? The Meizu Pro 5 or 6? The Letv 1 Pro? The Xiaomi Note Pro or Phone 4 or Mi Max? The HTC 10 Lifestyle? The HP Elite X3? The Le Pro 3? The Moto Z or Z Force? The Samsung C5 or C7? The Fairphone 2? The PHAB2 Pro? The Galaxy Note 7? The Moto G4 or G4 Plus? The ZenFone 3 Deluxe or Pegasus 3? The Blu R1 HD? The Liquid Jade Primo? The Honor Note 8 or Honor 5 or Honor 8 Pro? The DTEK 50? The Pixel or Pixel XL? The Nova or Nova Plus? The Mi 5s or Mi 5s Plus? The Nokia 6? The Moto G5 or G5 Play, or C, or C Plus? The Galaxy S8 or S8+? The KeyOne? The Huawei P10? The Touch Diamond? The Snap? The Axon 7? The Pixel 2? The Galaxy Note 8? The Mi 6? The Idol 4S? The OneTouch Fierce XL? The SoftBank 503LV? The Trinity NuAns NEO? The MouseComputer MADOSMA Q601?
Dan Lyons of Newsweek (January 2009):
“[T]he Pre represents only a first shot. Rubinstein and his engineers are already preparing a family of devices that will run on the Palm Web OS. Could it be that Apple has staked out an early lead with a breakthrough product only to be passed by others? It’s happened before.”
Translation: I still haven’t read Gruber’s “Why 2004 Won’t Be Like 1984.”
Ed Colligan of Palm (January 2009):
“Why would we [sell the Pre for less than the iPhone] when we have a significantly better product?”
Why should you sell the Pre for less than the iPhone when you’d be losing money on every unit you sold?
Priya Ganapati in Wired (January 2009):
“The Palm Pre has it all, making the iPhone look almost like — dare we say it — a version 1.0 device.”
Translation: The Pre isn’t actually available yet, but when it becomes available in June, I’m sure Apple won’t have a new iPhone, right? Apple announces all their products in detail at least a year in advance, like most other tech companies — right?
John Cox in NetworkWorld (January 2009):
“From what I can see, [Pre’s cloud integration is] a step ahead of the iPhone, which has more narrowly focused this kind of integration around a proprietary, Apple-based service infrastructure.”
“Apple’s corporate ethos is ‘we’re cool and you’re not, use the product and bask in the coolness.’ Palm has the opportunity to crystallize a new corporate ethos more suited to the Web’s democratic openness ...”
Yeah, Apple screens app submissions to prove how “cool” they are. Because the only bad thing about the Windows malware situation is how “uncool” you look when dealing with it.
Bill Snyder in InfoWorld (January 2009):
“iPhone apps: Fool’s gold for developers?
Selling mobile apps on Apple’s iPhone App Store may seem like a surefire recipe for success. It isn’t.”
“You need a critical mass of users — but you can’t get there if the iPhone is your only platform.”
“Limitations in the iPhone make great apps harder to deliver
What’s important to understand is that the iPhone application environment is very difficult ...”
Spend at least half your development time writing Android and Pre versions of your iPhone apps — now there’s a recipe for success! And I’m sure it won’t be difficult at all.
Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures (February 2009):
“Does Apple Have A Blind Spot About Flash?”
“[I]t’s very exciting to me that Flash is making a big move over the next year onto smartphones. ... The mobile web needs to be just like the web for innovation to flourish and capital to flow.”
“Apple is making a mistake by snubbing Adobe’s desire to get Flash on the iPhone.”
“I don’t think the iTunes/iPod strategy has much life left in it. Things like Pandora, MySpace Music, music blogging, and other forms of streaming music will eventually chip away at that franchise.”
Eventually. Hey, I love Pandora on my iPhone! But I’ve never heard of MySpace Music; what’s that?
Three-year update: Flash is dead.
Steve Ballmer of Microsoft (February 2009):
“[A]ll the consumer market mojo is with Apple and to a lesser extent BlackBerry. And yet, the real market momentum with operators and the real market momentum with device manufacturers seems to primarily be with Windows Mobile and Android.”
Ballmer’s had many years to become accustomed to thinking that the “market” is Microsoft selling its products to operators and device manufacturers. And the consumers? Well they just have to take whatever the operators and device manufacturers give them, all preloaded with Microsoft stuff. They’re not part of the real market.
“June 29, 2009, is the two-year anniversary of the first shipment of the iPhone. Not one of those people [whose 2-year service contracts expire] will still be using an iPhone a month later.”
“I’m on a 10-year plan, here. They are going to run out of gas way before we are.”
“The Pre going to be a million times — well, not a million times — several times faster than the iPhone.”
“The Pre is going to run rings around [Apple] on the Web.”
Hey, didn’t Palm have to issue an official disclaimer saying, in effect, “This guy doesn’t represent us?”
Update 2010.03.19 — Ten years, huh? It’s right about one year, and two market analysts just gave Palm a target price of $0.
Update 2010.04.12 — Palm apparently up for sale.
Ray Maguire of Sony (March 2009):
“The iPhone has the advantage of being a single device and is growing a reasonable installed base, but it doesn’t have the production power that a PSP has. As a specific games machine, the PSP is always going to win out.”
“We’re in a great position to take on the interest in these snacking games and produce them at better quality, lower prices, with lower cost of development”
How much did Apple have to pay Steve Demeter to write Trism for the iPhone? Oh yeah, nothing. Good luck developing for less than nothing, Sony.
Scott Moritz of TheStreet.com (March 2009):
“Apple Apps Show Lacks Shine
Apple’s iPhone 3.0 software developers conference kicked off with a few ho-hum application introductions.
The show, at Apple’s campus in Cupertino, Calif., concluded without a flashy one-more-thing, giving Apple’s stock nothing solid to build on.”
“Observers wanting more information about a rumored tablet device went home disappointed.”
iPhone 3.0 has been very ho-hum and disappointing. Very.
Anssi Vankoji of Nokia (April 2009):
“We [at Nokia] don’t think the world is so simple that you just make one device for everybody. We know more about the consumers in the world than any other consumer goods company in the world because we have so many customers. We know they have different tastes and uses and so you have to offer a whole line.”
“I don’t think the world will unite on one platform. There are several that will succeed. Our platform, Symbian, is an open platform and will make a major impact in the industry.”
Here’s a question for you, Vankoji: How many consumers even know, much less care, what the true difference is between an “open” platform and a “closed” one? Consumers care whether a platform sucks or rocks. Good luck with that Symbian thing. Did you just think it was going to last forever? (It felt like forever; I know that.)
Trip Chowdhry of Global Equities Research (May, 2009):
“Investors should not think the upcoming version of iPhone 3 is going to be as successful as iPhone 2.0 because it will have solid competition from Palm Pre, developed by ex-Apple designer Jon Rubinstein.”
“Palm Pre has a superior operating system than iPhone. It runs on a better network — Sprint CDMA — versus iPhone which runs on GSM.”
(See sucks-vs-rocks comment immediately above.)
Rob Enderle of the Enderle Analyst Group (June, 2009):
“The question is whether they will use [WWDC ’09] for product launches. It appears the answer is no since they are signaling that not only will Jobs not be there, neither will the new phones.”
I don’t suppose Enderle has revealed his sources for the information that there would be no new phones at WWDC? I think this guy’s strategy is to keep predicting bad things for Apple, and if/when one of them actually comes true, say, “See! See, I told you Apple sucks!” Whatever plan Enderle had for being a respectable success in this life, he apparently gave up on it completely a long time ago.
Cory Bohon of The Unofficial Mac Weblog (June, 2009):
“As a result, if you turn on the push notification service [on an original iPhone], you may be unable to receive voice calls.
Some iPhone owners might consider this a slap in the face from Apple ...
Push notifications could also end up being a flop for other iPhone users too. Due to the structure of the service, push notifications can get lost in transit, and pushes to the same app (possibly all pushes) kick older ones out of the push queue.”
Catching up to the present here, so I can’t slam these bozos with 20/20 hindsight. So let’s just say this: Stick around, check back in six or twelve or eighteen months, and see if these scary-sounding problems described by Bohon have derailed the iPhone success story.
Update: It’s been six months, and not only is the iPhone doing better than ever, but I haven’t heard any stories at all about problems with the notification system.
Jon Stokes in Ars Technica (June, 2009):
“[I]f you’re like me and you felt that the iPhone, even in its post-MobileMe incarnation, never quite made sense as an Internet- and cloud-centric messaging device, then the Pre may be the answer to your prayers.”
If you’re praying to fucking God that Apple doesn’t win, then anything, even a hey-we-can-sort-of-do-that-too wannabe iPhone like the Pre seems like the answer to your prayers.
Independent analyst Joe Wilcox (June 2009):
“What has Apple done truly innovative in [Jobs’s 6-month] absence? Not much”
“iPhone 3GS: More of the same, only better. It looks the same as iPhone 3G, and features like video and MMS are catchup. There’s no flash (for camera).
iPhone 3.0 OS: More of the same, only better. Sure, developers can now charge customers from within apps, but they’ve still got no Flash (from Adobe).”
“I don’t mean this ‘more of the same, only better’ list to be a criticism of the management team struggling along without [Jobs].”
“‘More of the same, only better,’ while good enough for most other companies, isn’t Apple. ... [T]hat dazzling ‘one more thing’ is missing. Apple needs it.”
With struggling like that, who needs succeeding?
David Coursey of PCWorld (August 2009):
“As Apple Rots, iPhone Users Revolt”
“Users are turning against the iPhone.”
“[Y]ou might find a more attractive option in a few months, especially if the iPhone’s downhill slide continues.”
“Do I really need to keep making the case that having Apple as the only vendor of iPhone apps is bad for customers? ... Apple doesn’t care about its customers.”
“Developers would flee the App Store given a chance. They should have that option.”
“The Apple monopolies must go.”
“iPhone developers should, right now, start supporting other platforms because it is in their best interest to do so. It appears likely that Android and Palm’s WebOS will support better applications than iPhone...”
“If Apple were wise it would offer an API that allows any smartphone to work with iTunes.”
“Maybe by the holidays ... Apple and AT&T will have been forced to change their customer-hostile ways.”
Thank goodness Coursey is here to inform 82% of iPhone users that they detest their phone and its maker — otherwise they wouldn’t even know.
Update: The holidays are about over, and Apple wasn’t forced to change anything. iPhone’s doing better than ever!
Update: Now it’s been a year. I’m sure we’ll see this big wave of users turning against the iPhone, like, any minute now. But how did Coursey know it was going to happen a full year in advance? That guy must really have his finger on the tech pulse.
Jason Calacanis of Mahalo.com (August 2009):
“Years and years after Microsoft’s antitrust headlines, Apple is now the anti-competitive monster that Jobs rallied us against in the infamous 1984 commercial.”
“Steve Jobs is on the cusp of devolving from the visionary radical we all love to a sad, old hypocrite and control freak — a sellout of epic proportions.”
“I know many folks in the industry are saddened to see our LSD-taking, radical free-thinking and fight the power hero, turning to the Dark Side.”
“Of all the companies in the United States that could possibly be considered for anti-trust action, Apple is the lead candidate.”
“[W]hat Apple is doing is 100x worse than what Microsoft did.”
“Apple will face a user revolt in the coming years based upon Microsoft, Google and other yet-to-be-formed companies, undercutting their core markets with cheap, stable and open devices.”
“Think for a moment about what your reaction would be if Microsoft made the Zune the only MP3 player compatible with Windows. There would be 4chan riots, denial of service attacks and Digg’s front page would be plastered with pundit editorials claiming Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer were Borg.
Why, then, does Steve Jobs get a pass?”
Um...because Apple never invited third-party developers to interact with the iTunes-to-iPod communications protocol, whereas Microsoft did invite third-party developers to interact with the Windows API and file system? Dude, just because you’d really like a company to do something doesn’t mean they’re violating the law if they don’t.
Jon Fortt, Senior Writer For CNNMoney.com (August 2009):
“Innovation and expression on Apple’s iPhone platform are beginning to suffer, even as Apple insists that its restrictions are for our own good.”
Did you say “innovation and expression” or “anything that massively fucks with Apple’s control of its own product and its end-users’ overall experience?” Sorry — I wasn’t listening.
Steve Ballmer of Microsoft (September 2009):
“PCs are not niche devices. Part of the reason I think they’re non-niche devices is: multiple people manufacture them, they all interoperate, they work together, etc. ... Phones are not niche.
The categories where I think a single player can control a large percentage of the volume are the smaller categories. ... But when you get to these categories that are 300 million, 500 million, a billion, a billion-five a year, the truth of the matter is you’re going to want multiple points of manufacture ... So I think you can have an Apple in the phone business, or a RIM, and they can do very well, but when 1.3 billion phones a year are all smart, the software that’s gonna be most popular in those phones is gonna be software that’s sold by somebody who doesn’t make their own phones.”
Because iPhones can’t be manufactured at a rate of hundreds of millions per year. They just can’t. Something about the OS being created by the same company, just, just — gums up the manufacturing process.
Ben Galbraith, formerly of Mozilla, now with Palm (September 2009):
“[M]y enthusiasm for this amazing new world [of pocket-sized computing devices] is tempered by some unfortunate decisions made by some of the players in this space. It seems that some view this revolution as a chance to seize power in downright Orwellian ways by constraining what we as developers can say, dictating what kinds of apps we can create, controlling how we distribute our apps, and placing all kinds of limits on what can do to our computing devices.
And so as my good friend and long-time collaborator Dion so eloquently explains over at his blog, he and I have taken an opportunity to work at Palm ...”
Nothing Orwellian going on at Palm. “Kafka-esque,” yes. But not Orwellian.
Marguerite Reardon of CNET (October 2009):
“Is the iPhone hurting AT&T’s brand?”
Yes, if by “hurting” you mean “exposing their inadequacy.”
Chris Foresman of ars technica (October 2009):
“Flash 10.1 coming to just about every platform but iPhone”
“With Apple appearing to be the sole remaining holdout in the mobile space, it seems that it may be more and more difficult for Apple to ignore Flash ...”
What’s difficult about ignoring Flash? Anyone who’s surfed the web over the last ten years has learned to ignore it every day. Oh, and Chris, try brushing up on the difference between companies and consumers.
Michael Arrington of TechCrunch (October 2009):
“Apple can’t win the fight [against Google’s Android] over the long term, but they sure are willing to say and do anything in the short term to stop the advance of Google.”
Anything? Even disallow Google from hijacking the whole iPhone UI? Say it isn’t so!
Ken Dulaney of Gartner (October 2009):
[Dulaney apparently predicts that Android will overtake iPhone in a few years — mainly because of the number of companies that are preparing to make Android phones — but is very careful not to provide a juicy quote that can be used in a page like this one.]
That’s right, you just keep desperately lobbing predictions of failure at Apple from behind two layers of reporting, and obtusely enough to prevent anyone from easily quoting what you said. And you stay there.
Robbie Bach of Microsoft (October 2009):
“The fascination with the absolute number [of apps in the iPhone App Store] is really nothing but a fascination.”
“Sure there are 85,000 apps in Apple App Store, how many of them are useful? If you do the math on which apps get used, there’s a relatively small number apps.”
Relative to what?
Steve Ballmer of Microsoft (October 2009):
“Let’s face it, the Internet was designed for the PC. The Internet is not designed for the iPhone. That’s why they’ve got 75,000 applications — they’re all trying to make the Internet look decent on the iPhone.”
Yeaah. That’s why.
Joe Wilcox on Betanews (October 2009):
“iPhone cannot win the smartphone wars”
“Apple’s iPhone will lose the mobile device wars.”
“iPhone is to Android — and somewhat Symbian OS — handsets as Macintosh was to the DOS/Windows PC in the 1980s and 1990s. ... [B]y the mid 1990s, Windows PCs pushed down Mac market share. The iPhone is poised to track similarly. Gartner predicts that Android OS shipments will exceed iPhone OS by 2012 (see chart). I’m a believer.”
“[T]he number of applications is no surefire measure of iPhone’s or any other platform’s success.”
“Apple’s App Store/iPhone/iPod touch platform is narrower and shallower [than Windows or Google], despite the depth of applications, because the ecosystem depends on a closed, end-to-end technology platform. Apple controls everything.”
“[I]n the 1980s and 1990s ... Chairman Bill Gates took the brilliant approach of licensing to third parties.”
“Parallels between the past and present foreshadow iPhone’s future.”
“To reiterate: In the 2000s, like the 1980s, Apple successfully launched industry-changing platforms ... Like Macintosh, iPhone’s end-to-end licensing model is poised to limit the supporting ecosystem’s growth. Meanwhile, Google, Microsoft and Nokia license their mobile operating systems to third parties.”
“iPhone Against the World”
“Another ‘everyone else against Apple battle’ is coming, with Android looking to be the better OS around which an ecosystem grows and thrives.”
Joe, if you keep beating that licensing-the-OS-always-wins horse, it just might come back to life. So don’t stop beating it.
Erick Shonfeld of TechCrunch (October 2009):
“Google Should Make Apple Beg For Maps Navigation”
“Google is putting Apple on notice that it is no longer reserving its best apps for the iPhone.”
“Apple is in a terrible position here because the future of mobile apps are Web apps, and Google excels at making those.”
“The sad thing is that Apple has been here before — with Microsoft.”
Notice how quickly the iPhone naysayers switched from championing Microsoft to championing Google? This was just an anti-Apple thing all along.
And notice how this litany has changed over the years since the iPhone was first announced? It started as light-hearted, condescending that’ll-never-work’s and I-don’t-think-so’s. Now that Apple’s product is handily winning, it’s turned into vicious anger and naked hopes that Apple will be stopped.
That’s what it was all along.
Flora Graham of CNET UK (November 2009):
“The iPhone is the worst phone in the world
That’s right, we said it — and we’re not taking it back. The iPhone may be the greatest handheld surfing device ever to rock the mobile Web ... But as an actual call-making phone, it’s rubbish ...”
“Call quality on the iPhone is pathetic ...”
“The microphone is similarly craptastic ...”
“[T]he iPhone was the first to really flaunt its slim body while you watched the [battery] bars drop almost in front of your eyes.”
“The iPhone sucks — so what?
If the iPhone is inaudible, unconnected, on fire and out of battery, why is the thing so popular?”
Let’s rephrase the question: If the iPhone wasn’t so popular, would you be spewing this bullshit all over it? Answer: No.
David Samberg of Verizon (November 2009):
“Long lines forming outside [for a smartphone launch] are flashy. But it’s not really the goal. What we really want to see is this: a steady stream of people coming today [for the Droid launch] and for the next few weeks buying new phones.”
The goal is to have really long lines at launch, then phenomenal, growing sales after launch! “Droid Does!” Yeah!!
Chris Messina of Citizen Agency (November 2009):
“[W]hat is the App Store except a cleaved out and sanitized portion of the web? In fact, people accustomed to the freedom and ‘flow’ of the web go into anaphylactic shock when they realize that they must submit to the slings and arrows of the outrageous fortune of Steve Jobs when they want their iPhone app to show up in the Apple app store.”
“Thanks a lot, Steve.”
Hey Chris. Don’t forget to thank Steve for giving us Mobile Safari, which totally blew away all pre-existing mobile browsers. And while you’re thanking him for that, take some time out to read this.
Ray Ozzie of Microsoft (November 2009):
“Yes, iPhone has a lot of momentum, unquestionably. But I think the phenomenon we’re in right now is the app phone. And if you look at the depth of apps that are on these phones, they’re not very deep. It’s not like Office or AutoCAD, where there are just thousands of man years that have gone into developing these apps. They’re relatively thin apps that are companions to some service.
All programs in the future will be written in a way that there is no single point of failure. There’s no one server that can die and take down the service.
And I think if you look at anyone who’s building an app phone — whether it’s Palm, Google with Android, RIM — ultimately, all the apps that people want will be on all the phones. They’re relatively straight porting efforts. I think people are imagining some kind of a barrier to entry, at least from an app perspective that I don’t believe is there.
The biggest barrier to entry is: is it a phone that people want to use? And is it a phone that carriers want to sell and people have to measure us based on what we produce. But I don’t believe that there’s an app barrier.”
Steve Ballmer of Microsoft (November 2009):
“I think we’re on the right strategy, which is to focus on the software that goes into phones, as opposed to building phones.”
Translation: Our ventures into hardware are licensed branding (keyboards, joysticks), bombs (Zune), vapor (Surface), and loss-leader money pits (Xbox) that lead nowhere. We’re not a hardware company. Selling software to hardware companies is the only strong success we’ve ever had.
Anssi Vanjoki of Nokia (November 2009):
“The development of mobile phones will be similar [to] PCs. [W]ith the Mac, Apple has attracted much attention at first, but they have still remained a niche manufacturer. That will be in mobile phones as well.”
If Microsoft beat Apple in the ’90s, you can beat Apple today. Got it, Anssi.
Rob Enderle of the Enderle Group (December 2009):
“Apple has recently done more with the tablet format with the iPod Touch and iPhone then any other vendor but the jury is still largely out on this format with challenging devices from RIM, Palm, and Google often showcasing that keyboards are necessary.”
Necessary to do what — flop?
Jay Sullivan of Mozilla (December 2009):
“You have to create an iPhone app, an Android app, a Windows Mobile app...”
“As developers get more frustrated with quality assurance, the amount of handsets they have to buy, whether their security updates will get past the iPhone approval process... I think they’ll move to the web.”
“In the interim period, apps will be very successful. Over time, the web will win because it always does.”
You want the world of web-apps? Take it, it’s yours! It always was.
Jonathan Rosenberg of Google (December 2009):
“At Google we believe that open systems win. They lead to more innovation, value, and freedom of choice for consumers, and a vibrant, profitable, and competitive ecosystem for businesses.”
“Complacency is the hallmark of any closed system. If you don’t have to work that hard to keep your customers, you won’t.
Open systems are just the opposite. They are competitive and far more dynamic. In an open system, a competitive advantage doesn’t derive from locking in customers, but rather from understanding the fast-moving system better than anyone else and using that knowledge to generate better, more innovative products.”
“Open systems have the potential to spawn industries. They harness the intellect of the general population and spur businesses to compete, innovate, and win based on the merits of their products...”
“[O]pen systems allow innovation at all levels — from the operating system to the application layer — not just at the top. This means that one company doesn’t have to depend on another’s benevolence to ship a product.”
“[P]lacing your bets on open requires the optimism, will, and means to think long term. Fortunately, at Google we have all three of these.”
“[W]e can take on big challenges that require large investments and lack an obvious, near-term pay-off.”
“Open will win.”
Android’s not doing so well, huh?
Update: OK, it’s eight months later, and I have to admit — it looks like Android has outsold iPhone over the first six months of 2010. Right after several fairly decent Android phones appeared. During the iPhone’s weakest two quarters of the year (Q1 and Q2). In the USA, where the iPhone has been tied to a single carrier. Counting anything that runs Android, no matter how junky. Counting buy-one-get-one-free Android phones. Not counting the iPod touch or iPad.
Anybody wanna compare the total of worldwide, third-party, iOS software sales to that of Android, for the first half of 2010?
Update: Just heard that the HTC G2 — relatively popular among phones that run the “open” Android OS — has a built-in anti-hacking chip that detects OS modifications and responds by automatically restoring the phone to a factory-fresh state.
John Strand of Strand Consult (December 2009):
“How will psychologists describe the iPhone syndrome in the future?”
“When we examine the iPhone users’ arguments defending the iPhone, it reminds us of the famous Stockholm Syndrome — a term that was invented by psychologists after a hostage drama in Stockholm. Here hostages reacted to the psychological pressure they were experiencing, by defending the people that had held them hostage for 6 days.”
FYI: Having Stockholm for Apple’s phone is a hell of lot easier, more enjoyable, and less embarrassing than having it for any of those non-Apple phones.
Henry Blodget of Business Insider (January 2010):
“Hey, Apple, Wake Up — It’s Happening Again”
“A decade [after its 1980s successes] Apple was on its deathbed, a victim of a major strategic mistake that turned it into an also-ran.
What was that mistake?
The insistence on selling fully integrated hardware and software devices, instead of focusing on low-cost, widely distributed software.”
“Once again, Apple has seized the early lead, launching a revolutionary product that is taking the world by storm. ... In its short life, Google’s Android operating system has captivated developers and stolen mindshare from Apple...”
“The ‘Droid’ and Google Phone are getting rave reviews...”
“Apple, meanwhile, is coming under increasing scrutiny for being a domineering control freak hell-bent on secretly undermining its competitors...”
“[T]he movie is starting the same way. And so far, at least, Apple is showing no signs of doing anything differently.”
Blodget and Wilcox should get together and have a horse-beating party.
Jon Rubinstein of Palm (January 2010):
“I think we’ve done really well this past year”
“We don’t pay that much attention to Apple”
“I really don’t [worry about the iPhone]”
“I don’t have an iPhone. I’ve never even used one.”
“We don’t think what Apple did [making us stop having the Pre tell other USB devices that it’s an iPod from Apple] is good for their customers. But Apple’s going to do what Apple’s going to do.”
“I think we have a very large potential developer pool for the [Palm webOS].”
Pre’s not doing so well, huh?
IDC’s 2009-2013 Mobile OS Analysis (January 2010):
[predicts that Android will overtake iPhone in about three years]
Wanna see the details of this prediction? Just $4,500.00.
Dan Frommer in Business Insider (February 2010):
“Palm Disaster Shows That Apple Is Screwed Without Steve Jobs”
“Palm is basically Apple, Jr. And if a bunch of Apple geniuses can’t kick butt on their own at Palm, how are they going to kick butt without Steve at Apple?”
It’s really good news for Apple when its doomsayers have to reach this far to keep their story alive.
Dan, do you think that if Jobs had left Apple soon after the iPhone took off, he would have been able to kick Apple’s ass with something wildly better than the iPhone? Yeah, neither do I.
Two-year update: Jobs is now gone; so at long last we can see how “screwed” Apple is without him — right, Dan? Not-so-screwed in the last quarterly results, it would seem, but I’m sure they’ll be really screwed, really soon.
Don Tennant of ITBusinessEdge (February 2010):
“Why I Regret Buying an iPhone
I have an iPhone, but if I had it to do over again, I would never have bought one.”
“[A]t the time I bought it, I wasn’t fully aware of Apple’s blatant, unapologetic contempt for its employees, its suppliers, the media and its customers. Now that I’ve been educated, I’m sorry I ever bought one of Steve Jobs’ products.”
Don, if I were you, I wouldn’t stay with a company as horrible as that for five minutes. I would swallow the early termination fee and buy a Palm Pre today.
Oh, wait. No. If I were you, I would continue to use an iPhone while stridently encouraging everyone else not to use one, in the vain hope that Apple will fall out of favor and go away to die, and then I will switch to whatever non-Apple phone everyone else is switching to. That’s what I would do. If I were you.
Peter Ha in Time (March 2010):
“[I]t’s a brand-new decade, and Microsoft is about to leapfrog Apple — and every other player in the cell-phone world — with the launch of Windows Phone 7 (WP7).”
“What sets Microsoft apart? For starters, every WP7 device, regardless of manufacturer, will have a dedicated search button that gives you one-click access to Bing ...”
“[A]fter spending some time with several core members of the Windows phone team, I walked away wondering if these vibrant people worked for the same company that gave us Vista.”
“[E]very other company, including Apple, will be racing to catch up with it [WP7].”
Update: One-year anniversary of your article, Peter. And I’m sure millions and millions of people must be snapping up those WP7 phones to get access to that dedicated Bing button. Of course, we don’t know exactly how many millions of people, because Microsoft won’t tell us. They’re just being modest. I’m sure.
Two-year update: Windows Phone 7 was a huge flop. Nokia’s trying to revive it right about now; we’ll see how that goes.
Peter Wayner of InfoWorld (March 2010):
“Android’s openness, flexibility, and Java foundation make it the best choice for many developers and the businesses that depend on them”
“Can Google Android phones compete with the Apple iPhone? ... The good news is that the platform is not only competitive but is often a better choice than the iPhone...”
“The differences become apparent if you want to do more than make a few phone calls and iFart around. ... While iPhone developers have found that one path to success is playing to our baser instincts (until Apple shuts them down), a number of Android applications are offering practical solutions that unlock the power of a phone that’s really a Unix machine you can slip into your pocket.
GScript, for instance, is an Android app that lets you write your own shell scripts and fire them off with a tap. Another useful app, Remote DB, lets you turn any SQL query into a button that searches the database remotely, then displays the results.”
So the next time I need to run shell scripts or SQL queries on my phone, I’ll be sure to trade in my iPhone for a Droid or Nexus One. I won’t search the iPhone App Store’s 140,000+ apps to see if there’s app for what I really want to do. Or search the web to see if there’s a free web app that does it. I won’t ask my employer’s IT department if it’s OK to run entered-on-the-fly SQL from the far, far front-end (answer: FUCK NO). And I won’t ask myself why any phone user should even have to know or care about “shell scripts.”
I’ll just meekly accept the fact that computing devices are mysterious, frustrating, programmer-guru-oriented things, and must always be so.
Sebastian Anthony of DownloadSquad (March 2010):
“Microsoft set to destroy Apple in every games market”
“Apple, with its locked-down, isolated sandbox is in trouble. Do game developers have any reason to continue working on games for the iPhone or iPad now that Microsoft is offering so much more?”
“Can Apple really see themselves competing, with a minuscule desktop market share and 25% of the smartphone sector? Steve Jobs has announced Apple’s intent to move into mobile gaming, but can you really see developers siding with the iPhone when Windows Phone 7 is just around the corner?”
“Interoperability and cross-platform applications are really cool. You hear that, Apple?”
“Finally, like the gouging rusty handle of a spoon that seals the deal, is the crusty monstrosity of Apple’s iTunes App Store; dog-slow approvals and draconian rules on what constitutes acceptable content.”
“I think the iPhone has just lost any chance of its continued existence as a gaming platform.”
Typical game programmer: I want to write games that rock, and have a large number of people each pay a little to play them.
Typical game player: I want to play games that rock, and pay only a little for the privilege.
Typical tech pundit: Cross-platform interoperability is a really cool technical concept that gives me a warm fuzzy. Computing devices are supposed to be about giving technie nerds warm fuzzies. I sure hope the company that understands that fact will soon blow away the company that doesn’t. Oh, and by the way, I haven’t written a successful game, and never will.
Update: It’s been a year since your above comments, Sebastian. Let’s see: Apple isn’t “in trouble,” and it certainly hasn’t “lost any chance of its continued existence as a gaming platform.” WP7 finally came out just a few months ago, and Microsoft won’t reveal end-user sales figures. (Word on the street: it’s tanking badly.)
But wait! Microsoft has just agreed to pay Nokia billion$ to adopt WP7. Maybe when they see Nokia on board with WP7, all those game developers will finally jump ship to WP7. (Nokia’s irresistably attractive to game developers; Nokia’s always had a huge presence in gaming.) It’s been a long year in coming, but Apple’s defeat at the hands of WP7 is finally about to expire — I mean, transpire.
Mitch Kapor as quoted in The New York Times (March 2010):
“[Mobile phone developers favor the iPhone for now, but] they are all racing ahead to develop for Android too. [Apple’s] tight control helps in the beginning, but tends to choke things in the long term.”
Let’s see: Apple’s tight control didn’t help the 1980s Mac to achieve big-market-share success in its beginning or ever. And Microsoft’s wide-open, licensed-to-any-company plan didn’t help PlaysForSure (now dead) or Windows Mobile (now maybe a dozen years old and just about as dead). So you’re basing this “tends to” statement on what, exactly?
Fred von Lohmann of Electronic Frontier Foundation (March 2010):
“If Apple wants to be a real leader, it should be fostering innovation and competition, rather than acting as a jealous and arbitrary feudal lord.”
Where by “real leader” Fred doesn’t mean “market leader.” And by “innovation and competition” he doesn’t mean “continuing to create innovative and competitive products like the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.” And by “jealous and arbitrary” he means “protective of its developers’ ability to sell their software without being ravaged by casual piracy, and of its customers’ confidence in the safety and stability of third-party app offerings.”
Tim Bray of Google (March 2010):
“The iPhone vision of the mobile Internet’s future omits controversy, sex, and freedom, but includes strict limits on who can know what and who can say what. It’s a sterile Disney-fied walled garden surrounded by sharp-toothed lawyers. The people who create the apps serve at the landlord’s pleasure and fear his anger.”
I read Bray’s raving on...my iPhone.
Reggie Fils-Aime of Nintendo (April 2010):
“Clearly it doesn’t look like [Apple’s] platform is a viable profit platform for game development because so many of the games are free versus paid downloads. If our games represent a range between snacks of entertainment and full meals depending on the type of game, [Apple’s] aren’t even a mouthful, in terms of the gaming experience you get.”
DS isn’t doing so well, huh?
Lee Brimelow of Adobe (April 2010):
“What they [Apple] are saying is that they won’t allow applications onto their marketplace solely because of what language was originally used to create them. This is a frightening move that has no rational defense other than wanting tyrannical control over developers and more importantly, wanting to use developers as pawns in their crusade against Adobe.”
“I am positive that there are a large number of Apple employees that strongly disagree with this latest move. Any real developer would not in good conscience be able to support this.”
“Personally I will not be giving Apple another cent of my money until there is a leadership change over there.”
“[T]his is equivalent to me walking into Macy’s to buy a new wallet and the salesperson spits in my face.”
“Go screw yourself Apple.”
Lee, here’s a fun experiment for you to try. Make some mediocre wallets, take them to your local Macy’s, walk right in and try to sell them to their customers from their countertops. When they call security and have you removed, loudly proclaim that they spit in your face, and that they should go screw themselves.
Repeat this game several times at other classy department stores, and see how many times you have to do it before you’re running your own successful department store chain.
Don’t give up!
John Battelle of Web 2.0 Summit (April 2010):
“Once upon a time, back before you [Apple] got real popular, you used to take part in the public square.”
“But over the past few years, things seem to have changed. You pulled out of MacWorld and began hosting your own strictly scripted events.”
“Despite the gorgeous products and services you’ve created, we worry that you’re headed down a road that may lead to your own demise.”
Hint: “Strictly scripted” means “not run by John Battelle and Tim O’Reilly,” and “demise” means “absence from Web 2.0 Summit.”
Two-year update: What’s a “Web 2.0 Summit?” I think I’ve forgotten.
Neil McAllister of PCWorld (April 2010):
“Apple Locks iPhone Developers in Its Walled Garden”
“[iPhone d]evelopers can’t use [Flash] not for any technical reasons, but because Steve Jobs and his lawyers say they may not — period.”
“This unprecedented move has iPhone developers in an uproar, and the situation is only likely to get uglier. Rumor has it that Adobe plans to file a lawsuit against Apple in the next few weeks, alleging anticompetitive practices. But the real question is, given such a hostile environment, why on earth would developers stick with Apple’s platform?”
“The iPhone App Store is notorious for rejecting apps out of hand ...”
“[T]he new SDK license takes Apple’s heavy-handedness to a new level.”
“This is a particularly Orwellian twist ... Apple wants to be sure developers haven’t committed the thoughtcrime of using unsanctioned tools.”
“Fortunately, getting screwed and being led like cattle aren’t the only options for smartphone developers ... A growing number of developers are waking up to the idea that Apple may not have their best interests at heart.”
It’s hard not to notice that the policies and practices that are doing the most to help Apple (and its third-party developers) to be successful are the ones that its critics just happen to hate the most.
Tomi T. Ahonen in Communities Dominate Brands (April 2010):
“iPhone in Memoriam ...”
“[The iPhone’s] time of ascendancy has come to an end. The decline of the iPhone has started.”
“You read it right. I am writing the first history of the once-iconic iPhone ... [T]hat will become clear long before the year 2010 is gone ... And mark my words, the numbers are now very clear, Apple’s market share peak among smartphones, and among all handsets, on an annual basis, is being witnessed now. Yes its true, Apple cannot grow market share into 2011.”
“I am dead serious. I am now convinced that we have enough data to determine for a fact that Apple will not only see a dramatic decline in quarter-on-quarter sales in units of the iPhone this January-March quarter (which is the predictable pattern and no surprise) but that we will also see a decline in iPhone market share against at least HTC and Blackberry ...”
“I have a history of knowing Apple and its market when it relates to mobile ...”
Can’t wait to see how you spin these predictions into your “history” a year or two from now.
Update: Less than two years since your prediction, Tomi. And last quarter, the iPhone alone generated more revenue than all of Microsoft.
“The death of the iPhone is being foretold ...”
“The iconic Apple iPhone will either not exist or occupy a very small niche satisfying the needs of committed Mac fans around five years from now, predicts Kaspersky.
The founder of Kaspersky Lab says that of the five main mobile platforms currently in existence, the only two guaranteed to last beyond the next five years are Android and Symbian.”
What, no direct quotes? Perhaps Kaspersky subscribes to the Ken Dulaney school of long-term embarrassment avoidance.
Five-year update: The iPhone sold 74.5 million units in its latest quarter. Wow — that’s a lot of “committed Mac fans.”
Andy Rubin of Google (April 2010):
“It’s a numbers game. When you have multiple OEM’s building multiple products in multiple product categories, it’s just a matter of time. I don’t know when it [Android outselling Apple/RIM] might be, but I’m confident it will happen.”
Hmmm...is that how Windows Mobile did so well over the past decade?
Yes, Andy, it’s a numbers game. As in number of phones in users hands. And number of apps. But not number of manufacturers — the consumer couldn’t care less. The iPhone has only ever had a single manufacturer, so why didn’t that squelch it from the start?
Tristan Louis in Business Insider (May 2010):
“Apple Is The New China”
“[A] Disneyworld version of computing is OK for most people. Most people love the magic kingdom but, for a portion of the population, Disneyworld is a place you visit, not one you live in.”
“For people who have lived in the mostly free-for-all environment of the computing industry (and its cousin, the anything-goes world of the Internet), the idea of a Disneyified world is as close as you will get to their concept of hell. And those people tend to be the ones that develop applications.”
Like...300,000+ applications? For the iPhone? All approved for sale on the App Store? Including at least a half-dozen zombie games? Say — I don’t remember the “Shotgun the Flesh-Eating Zombie” ride at Disneyworld. Guess I haven’t been there in a while.
Daniel Lyons of Newsweek (May 2010):
“Goodbye, Apple. I’m ditching my iPhone. Seriously, I’m gone. I don’t even care if Apple does manage to get off the awful AT&T network and strike a deal with Verizon.”
“The new version of Android — version 2.2, a.k.a. Froyo — blows the doors off the iPhone OS. It’s faster, for one thing. It also will support Flash, something Apple refuses to do, mostly out of spite.”
“Froyo also will let you buy songs over the air and download them directly to your phone.”
“[M]aybe [Apple’s] a market leader with no real competition and just got lazy.”
“Apple now is chasing Google.”
“Now [Android’s] blowing past Apple in terms of the technology it’s delivering.”
“Yes, Apple still has a larger installed base. ... I was shocked because it’s a familiar line, one that I’ve heard countless times in my 20-plus years covering technology. But I’ve only ever heard it from companies that are doomed and in total denial about it.
We’ve seen this movie before. In the 1980s, Apple jumped out to an early lead in personal computers, but then got selfish. Steve Jobs, a notorious control freak, just could not play well with others.”
“Jobs tries to dress up his selfishness as a kind of altruism. He says it’s all about creating a beautiful experience, that while he may be selling you an intentionally crippled device, he’s doing it for your own good. Well, bull. The truth is, this is about Apple wringing every last dime out of its ecosystem and leaving nothing on the table for anyone else.”
“As sick as I am of my iPhone’s dropped calls, I’m even more sick of Apple treating us all like a bunch of idiots, stonewalling and bullying and feeding us ridiculous explanations for the shortcomings of its products — expecting us to believe, basically, that its flaws are not flaws, but strengths.
Steve Jobs has created his own precious little walled garden. He’s looking more and more like Howard Hughes, holed up in his penthouse, making sure he doesn’t come in contact with any germs.
Now Google is saying, hey, nice garden, have fun sitting in it. By yourself.”
Number of companies? Again? Really? Has that worked at all in, like, the past eight years?
Update: It’s been a year since you posted this, Dan. And Froyo massively kicked Apple’s ass! I mean, no. It didn’t. At all. It got replaced by something called Honeycomb. Which also isn’t kicking Apple’s ass. And is also being replaced. With something called Ice Cream Sandwich. Feel free to predict that Ice Cream Sandwich will blow Apple away.
Brandt Dainow on iMediaConnection (May 2010):
“It seems inevitable that within 5-10 years the iPhone will hold around 5 percent of the smartphone market at best”
“Steve Job’s strategy for iPhone and iPad will inevitably lead Apple into becoming at best a marginal niche player, at worst an ex-business.”
“If [an] app works on Android, it makes no difference who built the hardware, the app will work on all Android phones.”
“Apple’s desire to control its marketplace has made it a poor choice for developers, even when it offers a large market.”
“[Jobs’s] iPhone strategy seems to have forgotten this painful lesson [of the mid-’90s Mac].”
“I first became involved with computers in the late 1970s. ... Steve Jobs continued to think in terms of the world he grew up in, a pre-PC world — each computer manufacturer producing its own operating system and strongly controlling developer access. Apple still continues to think this way, but the success of MS-DOS and Windows have shown that it is not sustainable.”
Boy, this line just never gets old, does it?
Brandt, why do you have to dig so far into the past to make your case with the story of MS-DOS, Windows, and the ’80s Macintosh? Why not cite the destruction of iPod by PlaysForSure? Oh yeah, because it didn’t happen. Or the humiliation of iPod by Zune? Oh, that didn’t happen either. Or the domination of smartphones by Windows Mobile, and the utter failure of iPhone to get a foothold when it entered that market about ten years after Microsoft? Hmm: that, too, did not occur. But this time, this time, it will. It’s got to. The 25-year-old story of Apple vs. MS-DOS/Windows proves it.
It seems to me, Brandt, that you insist on thinking in terms of the world you grew up in, a pre-iPhone, pre-iPad world in which users could freely copy any app from one device to another with no regard for the long-term effect on app development. The tremendous success of Apple’s App Store has shown that that world you grew up in is no longer sustainable.
Matt Warman of Telegraph.co.uk (June 2010):
“[The iPhone] is a triumph of marketing over functionality. And it’s so ubiquitous it’s not even cool any more.”
“[W]hatever is announced at the forthcoming launch, there’s no point buying the iPhone 4G”
“It’s anti-technology ... When will [Apple] learn that it’s customers — supply and demand — that should dictate feature availability?”
“The iPhone, the phone that promised to put the web into everybody’s pockets, can’t even show you most of it, because it can’t handle Flash graphics.”
“If Apple announces multitasking next it will be an improvement — but there’ll be no apology for the way it’s treated customers in the past, and no guarantee it won’t behave similarly shoddily in the future.”
“Its battery life is terrible”
“Developing apps for it is costing you money: The special version of the BBC iPlayer, of Natwest Phone Banking, of Eon’s meter reader — developing all of these came out of money that could have been channelled away from a self-important minority and towards more generally useful ideas.”
“It comes with offensively bad headphones”
“It’s not very well designed”
“Those iPod docks are holding back better technologies: As every hotel increasingly thinks it should provide iPod docks, the momentum behind this technology is only growing. But if it wasn’t for the iPod and iPhone’s ubiquity, there’d be more wifi radios, more new technologies and a range of different options, competing and driving innovation.”
Quit beating around the bush, Matt. Do you like the iPhone or not? Make up your mind.
Neil McAllister in InfoWorld (June 2010):
“Often puzzling, always frustrating, the list of reasons why developers are denied access to Apple’s iPhone App Store grows ever longer”
“[T]he App Store’s requirements seem as vague and capricious as ever.”
“[I]f your app ... doesn’t look the way a good iPhone app should, expect a curt rejection note. Whatever your ideas about UI design, no matter how much research you’ve put into them, you’re wrong.”
“For [some developers], Apple’s strict control over everything about their apps — including their functionality, resource consumption, UI design, content, sales model, and time to market — is simply too much to bear. For those developers, listening to the tales of woe from iPhone developers as they keep coming in, the grass on the other side of the fence must look greener every day.”
Neil, how many of your apps have been rejected by Apple? Let me guess: all of them. And how many of your apps have been approved by Apple? Let me guess: all of them.
ABI Research, as quoted in Electronista (June 2010):
“Research shows mobile app stores near height
Mobile app stores could peak in as little as two years, ABI Research warned today. It expects the download rate to peak by 2012 or 2013 and to slowly decline from then onwards. Downloads could still be popular with 1.2 billion apps downloaded in 2015, but the decline would be quick enough that companies may not want to depend heavily on apps in the long term.”
Hey, isn’t ABI Research the same company that said, six months before the iPhone went on sale, “the Apple iPhone is not a smartphone?” Nah, couldn’t be the same company.
Dennis Kneale on the Daily Beast (June 2010):
“Google Trounces the iPhone”
“Apple’s legions of devotees should brace their hipster selves for an inevitable fall from grace.”
“One year from now, the iPhone will lose its perch as the world’s most important mobile platform, toppled by Android, the ‘open,’ all-comers-welcome design from Apple’s avowed enemy, Google.”
“[T]he Droid X ... does some cool things iPhone can’t, such as shooting high-def video ...”
“At Apple, control is paramount, the rules are rigid and the design comes down to the sole purview of one man: an omnipotent control freak born in a Teutonic black turtleneck. No wonder they call the iPhone ‘proprietary.’ Google, its founders, and its CEO, Eric Schmidt, stand for the cause of open design. Thousands of developers from hundreds of shops and dozens of device makers are free to tinker with Android all they want.”
“In less than a year, Android has lured over two dozen makers to join its loosey-goosey confederacy, and now they make 50 rival handsets. Apple goes it alone and makes, basically, one model. Android’s inexorable advance is only a matter of time.”
“[Apple’s] obsession with proprietary control all but killed Apple’s Macintosh computer line in the 1990s as hundreds of companies coalesced around the rise of ‘Wintel’ ... Apple now is in danger of seeing that scenario repeated in the rise of the Androids. The company could fare just fine with its own slice of the market, sequestered from the broader and more open market for Android devices. But no longer would the entire mobile world hang on Apple’s every move, because it just won’t matter anymore.”
While we’re comparing the 1990s PC to the 2010 mobile phone: Most people use whatever phone their employer purchases in bulk and tells them they’re going to be using — don’t they? And if they do happen to have a phone of their own, they make absolutely sure to buy one with the same OS as their employer’s phone. Don’t they?
Update: “One year from now,” eh? Brace yourself, Dennis — it’s been a year.
Liu Chuanzhi, founder and CEO of Lenovo (July 2010):
“We are lucky that Steve Jobs has such a bad temper and doesn’t care about China. If Apple were to spend the same effort on the Chinese consumer as we do, we would be in trouble.”
Say — didn’t Lenovo post a quarterly net loss about this time last year?
Two-year update: Apple’s doing very, very well in China.
Kevin Turner of Microsoft (July 2010):
It looks like the iPhone 4 might be [Apple’s] Vista, and I’m okay with that. We’re back in the game [at Microsoft], and this game is not over.
Back in what game? The hyping-future-products game? Not to worry, Kevin — you guys’ve had that game all sewn up for quite a while now. No chance Apple’s gonna beat you there.
Just make sure that when Windows Phone 7 hits the market, it sells more than a measly 1.7 million units on its opening weekend, like the obviously failing iPhone 4.
Update: WP7 has been out a couple days, and it reportedly sold 40,000 units. That’s about 2% of 1.7 million. But wait — I hear Dell is forcing WP7 phones on 25,000 workers, and Microsoft is doing the same to about 89,000 employees. That pushes the total to 154,000 — 9% of 1.7 million! Watch out, Apple.
Update: We’re at the one-year mark — was the iPhone 4 Apple’s “Vista?” Yes, if Vista sold about as fast as Microsoft could manufacture it. Funny...I don’t remember that.
Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie of RIM (July 2010):
“Apple’s attempt to draw RIM into Apple’s self-made [iPhone 4 antenna] debacle is unacceptable. Apple’s claims about RIM products appear to be deliberate attempts to distort the public’s understanding of an antenna design issue and to deflect attention from Apple’s difficult situation.”
Difficult situation...like selling three million phones in three weeks? I think Apple’s difficult situation right now is that their enormous Chinese manufacturer can’t make the iPhone 4 as fast as Apple can sell it. Maybe someday RIM will be in a difficult situation like that.
One-year update: RIM’s in a difficult situation, all right. A situation they would trade in a heartbeat for an incorrect-number-of-signal-bars problem.
Update: RIM’s stock price has fallen over 80% in about the last three years.
Update: RIM’s market cap now less than their assets.
Update: RIM’s co-CEOs are finally gone. They’ve been replaced by a... blathering idiot?
Update: RIM apparently imploding.
Jeff Bertolucci in PC World (July 2010):
“Apple Must Kill The iPhone 4 — The Sooner The Better”
“Image is everything. And that’s why Apple must terminate the iPhone 4 as quickly as possible.”
“The iPhone 4 is now tainted in the consumer’s eyes. It’s no longer a triumph of form and function, but rather a crippled device ...”
“We could debate the merits of the iPhone 4’s antenna design all day, but that’s beside the point. Perception is reality here, and the public now views Apple’s latest offering as The Phone That Drops Calls.”
“[T]he iPhone 4 has lost its cachet. It’s no longer the coolest gadget in town.”
“Yikes. It’s enough to force a mass migration to Motorola’s new and very popular Droid X.”
I’ll keep an eye out for that mass migration.
Update: Over six months now, Jeff. Apple didn’t kill the iPhone 4. No mass migration of iPhone 4 users to the Droid X (or any other phone, for that matter). Sorry!
Dan Lyons of Newsweek (July 2010):
“I wonder if panic has started to set in at Apple yet. If not, it should.”
“Earlier this week Consumer Reports declared it could not recommend the phone ...”
“This is classic Apple behavior. ... Jobs just reinforced the image of Apple as a company that is in deep denial and unable to admit a mistake ...”
“Apple would like to believe that it can just sweep the problem under the rug. But I’m not so sure.”
“Apple’s rivals will have a field day with this.”
I haven’t read Consumer Reports since, uh, the late ’70s? But from what I’ve heard second-hand, they didn’t recommend any phone, but rated iPhone 4 higher than any other phone. Hmmm, how can we summarize that information, so as to best inform our readers?
Methinks Newsweek writers are having a field day with this — at least, as long as they can.
Update: Newsweek.com to shut down in one week.
Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures as reported by Liz Gannes on Bloomberg Businessweek (July 2010):
“Wilson said the biggest worry for his portfolio companies, which include Foursquare and Twitter, is not actually Facebook, as many would assume. It’s Apple. Apple is ‘evil,’ Wilson said. Why? ‘They believe they know what is best for you and me. And I think that is evil.’”
All those non-Apple companies don’t think they know what’s best? So what are they doing, just shoveling out random garbage for the sake of having something in the market? Say... maybe some of them are. But at least they’re not “evil” like Apple — whatever the hell that means.
Hey, isn’t this the same Fred Wilson who said he hated Apple more and more every day that he couldn’t figure out how to “jailbreak” his iPhone? Nah — I mean, yes.
John Naughton in The Guardian (July 2010):
“If Apple wants to be a major player it needs to start behaving like one”
Pssst. John. Apple is a major player. A really major player. Get used to it.
Jim Zemlin of the Linux Foundation (August 2010):
“Three or four years from now, Linux is not going to be just an operating system you use on your laptop or your phone. It’s going to become the fabric of computing.”
“We don’t have to evangelize Linux as much anymore. Nobody needs to be convinced. That battle is over.”
“I think there will be a healthy industry rebalancing [in the mobile app market]. It’s unlikely in my mind that Apple will end up with the same de facto API standard that Microsoft achieved in the 1980s and ’90s.”
“Other companies are launching their own app stores now. If you want to be on par with the Apple App Store, it’s totally within reach.”
“There are very few apps you need to buy, so the important thing is to get the good free apps ported to your platform. I think it’s an advantage Apple has right now, but it won’t be a huge competitive advantage when the next cool device comes along and everyone wants to port to it.”
“[The multi-platform app warehouse] model will get ironed out over the next couple of years. And it’s better than the alternative, which is iTunes. But nobody’s going to give Apple 30 percent of gross revenue forever. Even services are all through Apple. That’s so absurd, and just unsustainable.
And of course, all that warehouse stuff will be Linux.”
“There will be many, many more tablet devices, and the hot apps will be on those tablets, I guarantee it.”
We’re not talking about your damn word, Jerry. I mean, Jim.
Paul Venezia’s “The Deep End” on InfoWorld (August 2010):
“Smartphone wars: The PC wars all over again
How RIM, Apple, Google, and Microsoft are re-enacting the desktop wars of the ’80s and ’90s
The current smartphone playing field looks amazingly familiar. In fact, I think I’ve seen this movie before.
The names have changed, but the roles remain the same.”
“Apple, meanwhile, is in the same position it was in way back then.”
“Google holds Microsoft’s place in this comparison ...”
“[I]t’s clear that Jobs absolutely values quality over quantity and always has.”
I noticed you managed to mention Zune in this article, but no mention at all of iPod-vs-PlaysForSure? Smooth, Paul. I guess you don’t call it “The Deep End” for nothing.
Avram Piltch on The Tech Night Owl Live With Gene Steinberg (September 2010):
“I don’t think the government is going to push Apple around in any way, unfortunately — because what Apple’s been doing in a lot of cases is more egregious than what Microsoft was accused of doing in the late ’90s, in terms of anti-competitive practices. You know, locking people out of their App Store.”
“It’s just much easier to develop for Android than it is for iPhone.”
“Why does Apple have to force you to not only meet their stringent guidelines, but you can’t use Windows [to develop iPhone and iPad apps]? You literally have to buy a Mac in order to develop for iPhone? ... Hopefully, that will change.”
Hopefully, we’ll all be stuck with Windows forever.
Consumer Reports as reported by Josh Ong in AppleInsider (September 2010):
“Consumer Reports condemns end of iPhone 4 free case program
Consumer Reports responded negatively to Apple’s discontinuation of the free iPhone 4 case program, refusing to recommend the iPhone 4.”
“Apple’s decision to discontinue the iPhone 4 free case program was seen as ‘less consumer-friendly.’
‘Putting the onus on any owners of a product to obtain a remedy to a design flaw is not acceptable to us,’ wrote Consumer Reports.”
When there’re a hundred different phones, with no stand-out leader? That’s really, really good for a publication like Consumer Reports. When there’s one, clear, stand-out, gotta-have-it phone? That’s really, really bad for a publication like Consumer Reports.
Paul Thurrott, winsupersite.com (September 2010):
“Droid Attack Spells Doom for iPhone”
“Aside from one killer mistake, something that would be oh so easy to fix, this phone is hands-down superior to anything designed in Cupertino.”
“Android and the DROID X are, warts and all, already neck and neck with the iPhone 4. It’s scary to think how one-sided this would be if Google just put a handful of UI experts on the [Android app] marketplace. Game over, Apple. Game over.”
Translation: All Google has to do is just make products that are much better than Apple’s, and Apple is totally screwed! So a few years from now, when Apple’s still riding high, we’ll all know why — Google mercifully decided to let them live.
Michael Arrington of TechCrunch (September 2010):
“I Forgot How Bad The iPhone Is”
“I’m not so sure that long time iPhone users even remember what it’s like to have a phone call that doesn’t drop at the end.”
“This thing is eye candy but it’s a very flawed phone. I’ll be going back to the Nexus One.”
Sorry about that CrunchPad fiasco. Would’ve been a huge hit.
Update: Oh, and congratulations on getting bought out by AOL. Hope that works out really well.
Update: Looks like it’s working out really well already.
Update: Now it’s working out even better.
Alan Panezic of RIM (September 2010):
“We aren’t focusing on, say, hitting the 50,000 app mark [in our App World that now has over 10,000 apps].”
“For us, apps are all about adding real value to the end-user’s life and creating revenue for developers. We don’t need 200 fart apps in App World.”
“With the focus on SuperApps, we’re trying to create a sustainable app ecosystem.”
It’s 300,000 apps, Alan, not 50,000. You’re off by a factor of six. But no matter — as long as the difference between 10,000 apps and 300,000 apps is “200 fart apps,” then you’re probably on the right track.
Joe Wilcox in betanews (September 2010):
“The bright spot in Microsoft’s mobile OS disaster is... ...There’s no place to go but up.”
“Microsoft has been humbled by upstarts Apple and Google; from that admission comes a fresh start.”
“Bottom is an ugly place to be, but there’s only one direction to go, eh?”
“Even the fallen can rise to greatness. Apple was a near-death case in 1996, with many people asking: Should the board of directors pull the life support plug and give the organs to shareholders? Now look at Apple, with market capitalization greater than Microsoft’s, which stock closes on a record $300 a share and products are hot, hot, hot. If Apple can achieve such greatness with so much less than what Microsoft can bring to bear, Windows Phone can yet push upwards from the bottom. After all, Microsoft isn’t a company teetering on the edge of collapse like Apple was in the mid 1990s.”
If Apple can rise from has-been to superpower, then so can Microsoft. Got it.
Brian X. Chen on ars technica (November 2010):
“Windows Phone 7 already doomed? Don’t let early sales fool you”
“Despite entering a crowded market, Microsoft’s brand-new Windows Phone operating system seems off to a healthy start. Nonetheless, the estimates aren’t impressing cynical tech journalists.”
“If you consider that Windows Phone is entering a market where everyone and their mother already seems to be cradling an iPhone or an Android phone, a 40,000 day-one estimate isn’t bad.”
“This all makes the pile ‘doom and gloom’ stories about Windows Phone 7 look silly (as was the case with the ‘iPhone is doomed’ stories.) I personally think Windows Phone 7 is going to be huge in two years ...”
Hey, isn’t Chen the guy who said “It’s appropriate that the Apple logo on the iPad is black. The Cupertino, California, company’s image is taking on some awfully sinister tones lately?”
Um, yeah. I think it’s the same guy.
Paul Grim on MobileBeat (November 2010):
“For the better part of 20 years, Mac lovers fumed in frustration as Apple languished in sub-5% PC market share territory. Wintel dominated. Big, ugly, buggy, clunky, and everywhere. It seemed as if graphic designers were the only people stubbornly refusing to admit defeat and join the rest of the planet in using Windows.”
“And then the iPod begat the iPhone [...] Apple had irreversibly changed the wireless industry, for the better.”
“But Android was getting ready to take over.”
“Once it was clear that Android was building a critical mass, handset OEMs saw their chance to beat Apple and stay relevant.”
“[W]ill Apple ever have 20 versions of the iPhone? 50? Of course not. Will it ever license the platform to OEMs? Are you kidding me? This is why Android will completely dominate the wireless world.”
“[I]f you had to prioritize your focus, Android in the long run is the right place to be. Apple’s distribution platform is much better currently, but the numbers game is more important.”
Yuk it up — CDMA iPhone’s just around the bend.
Jim Balsillie of RIM (November 2010):
“We believe that you can bring the mobile to the Web but you don’t need to go through some kind of control point of an SDK, and that’s the core part of our message.”
Which is better: The wide open mobile web? Or the wide open mobile web and a zillion, pre-screened, phone-native apps too? You be the judge.
Francisco Jeronimo of IDC (November 2010):
“The iPhone was last year’s hot device and now people are looking for something different.”
Something like... the next iPhone?
Katherine Noyes in PCWorld (November 2010):
“Apple Is Getting Desperate in the Mobile Arena”
“Apple is notorious for the iron-fisted control it exerts over the apps in its App Store ...”
“[I]t’s clear Apple is more worried than ever about Android’s growing popularity. Of course, that fear is understandable. ... [The rise of Android is] terrifying, if you’re on the iPhone team.”
“Settling into a Niche”
“I believe Apple’s iPhone is rapidly becoming a niche device.”
“Apple may always have its share of fans among consumers who don’t mind living in its ‘walled garden,’ but there’s no way it can compete in the market as a whole with the diverse, compelling and powerful platform that is Android.”
Maybe a little desperation is called for when you’re only #2 in market capitalization out of all companies in the entire world. #1, of course, is Android. I mean, Exxon Mobil. #3 is Android. I mean, PetroChina. (PetroChina must be really desperate.)
Update: Apple is now #1 in market cap. And desperate as ever.
Paul Thurrott on Windows Phone Secrets (November 2010):
“[T]hese early [Windows Phone 7 sales] reports don’t provide any credible figures. But even if sales are as bad as all get-out, you’re forgetting one thing: It almost doesn’t matter., because Microsoft is in this for the long haul. They’re going to continue pushing this system ahead, and pushing it to developers and users.”
Kind-of like the way they kept pushing PlaysForSure? Oops, I mean Zune? Who cares if Zune is four years old and still sitting in about a 1% market share — as long as Microsoft keeps “pushing it,” it’s sure to eventually blow Apple away, right? Microsoft can just decide to “push” Apple’s successful products out of the market — right?
Update: Reportedly, the Zune is being, at long last, cancelled.
Update: Zune officially cancelled.
Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures (December 2010):
“I got a bunch of replies suggesting that Apple will remain the market share leader when measured in dollars and I really wasn’t focused on that. I don’t own Apple stock or Google stock. I’m not really focused on who makes more money in smartphones. But I care a lot about where our portfolio companies should be focusing their precious mobile development resources.”
“I am pretty convinced we are going to see the mobile OS market split between Apple and Google, with Apple having the better business in terms of revenues and profits and Android having the bigger market share.”
“So, when thinking about where to invest your precious mobile development resources, I’d say Android first and iPhone second.”
“One thing I am sure of is that developing solely for iOS, which is a very common thing I see out there, is not the right strategy unless you only want to serve 25% of the market.”
If that 25% of the market is delivering, uh, more than 90% of mobile app revenue, maybe it is the right strategy.
Kieran Connell of Microsoft (December 2010):
“I think there are too many people with too much money invested to let Apple win in terms of flooding the entire market. You’d better believe Microsoft is very serious about Windows Phone 7, and protecting their part of the business.”
Pray tell, what part is that? And when an Apple product is a huge, runaway hit, is that because Microsoft beneficently “let” it succeed?
Louis Gray, Silicon Valley tech blogger (December 2010):
“The iPhone Fanboys Can’t Handle the Truth On Android”
“The truth is that Android can go feature by feature against iPhone now. iPhone is not yards ahead of the competition, and while there may be some clear places where Apple is ahead, it comes down to an individual’s preference now, including their choice to have a keyboard (which Apple seems not interested in doing), their choice of carriers (still limited here, even if Verizon comes to the party), or many other factors.”
Other factors... like 400,000 apps? Including many, many excellent ones that are exclusive to the iPhone? And hardly any good apps that are exclusive to Android? What was that about “handling the truth?” Not sure I heard you.
Seth Weintraub in Fortune (December 2010):
“2011 will be the year Android explodes”
“[I]f things play out the way Rubin, Google, Broadcom and HTC hope, even [tripling sales] may wind up being a conservative estimate for Android growth. What’s most interesting is that unless Apple has a plan to keep up, their iPhone, once one of the only usable smartphone games in town, may wind up back where most Apple products are slotted — at the top of the market, affordable only to those willing and able to pay a premium for Steve Jobs’ aesthetic sensibilities.”
And if things don’t play out the way Rubin, Google, Broadcom, and HTC hope? If Apple does have plans for future products? Uh...
Steve Ballmer of Microsoft (January 2011):
“When people see it [WP7], they fall in love with [it]. The result is very high enthusiasm. 9 out of 10 customers at AT&T say they recommend the product to others. We’re investing aggressively in the future.”
“Whatever device you use... Windows will be there.”
“Windows PCs will continue to adapt and evolve. Windows will be everywhere on every device without compromise.”
Let me get this straight. Among those people who are on AT&T and so can buy an iPhone, but who are so in love with Microsoft that they would rather buy a WP7 phone — 90% of them would recommend WP7 to others? Wow. I thought it would be, like, 100%. Maybe 101%.
How many people are we talking about, Steve? What, no numbers? And you don’t need to remind us that Microsoft is investing in this stuff. We know. Billions and billions and billions of dollars. Year after year after year. If that much money can’t buy uncompromising dominance of every device, what can?
Katherine Noyes in PCWorld (January 2011):
“Why Apple’s iPhone Will ‘Drown in a Sea of Androids’”
“[U]nless Apple starts licensing the iPhone to other handset makers, the platform could get lost amid the many Android competitors.”
“Though [the iPhone has] enjoyed a first mover advantage in the smartphone arena, the Android floodgates are now open, and promise to make the iPhone a niche device for Apple enthusiasts.”
“The Power of Choice”
“The iPhone will clearly out-earn any single Android device in the short term, but Android’s diversity will win out in the long run, relegating the iPhone to niche status.”
“Apple imposes too many restrictions in its condescending approach, and it offers too few choices to have the broad appeal it needs to dominate in the long run ...”
“Apple will always have a contingent of fanatics that support its every move. But with its current strategy, it can’t compete with the diverse and powerful platform that is Android.”
Millions of new “fanatics” each month, apparently.
Say, Katherine — didn’t you write this same article a couple months ago? Yeah, I think you did. Do you plan to write it again six months from now? A year? Two?
How ’bout this: Next time you write it, throw in a hard prediction about when the iPhone will be a “niche device for Apple enthusiasts.” No need for an exact date; just round it to the nearest six months.
Joe Wilcox on betanews (January 2011):
“Why Verizon won’t let Apple announce iPhone”
“Verizon isn’t AT&T. The United States’ largest cellular carrier isn’t accustomed to taking crap from handset manufacturers. Verizon controls everything on its network and is quick to customize handsets with its software and services. AT&T is different, or was when Apple launched the original iPhone in June 2007. AT&T made lots of concessions to get iPhone, such as granting Apple control over the software and updates.”
“Perhaps 18 months ago, Verizon would have ceded more to Apple.”
“Verizon takes No Crap from Suppliers”
“iPhone is stalling against the Android onslaught, which is everywhere. That makes Apple’s need for the nation’s larget carrier hugely important, perhaps more so than Verizon’s need for iPhone.”
“Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg is a formidable figure in American business.”
“No one should expect Verizon to take a backseat to Apple, the way AT&T has. ... Apple is just another phone supplier, albeit a hugely successful one.”
Albeit? Whatever — we’ll find out in just one day whether the iPhone’s software and updates are going to be controlled by Verizon. Or rather, you’ll find out, Joe. Some of us already know.
Update: The Verizon iPhone 4 presentation has wrapped up, and guess what? It’s just like the iPhone 4 on AT&T, except it uses CDMA. Nothing at all about Verizon controlling the software and updates. Next time you dream up an Apple-will-be-put-in-its-place fantasy, Joe, do it a couple months in advance. Then you’ll get to enjoy it for a couple months.
Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia as reported by John Lister on Tech.Blorge (January 2011):
“[S]et-ups such as the iTunes App Store can act as a ‘chokepoint that is very dangerous.’ He said such it was time to ask if the model was ‘a threat to a diverse and open ecosystem’ and made the argument that ‘we own [a] device, and we should control it.’”
Since you bought an iPhone, Jimmy, you should be able to control all the apps that anyone has written for it? Regardless of the time and effort it took to write those apps?
Last time I checked, an incredible 400,000 apps had flowed through that “chokepoint” in just a few short years. Maybe “chokepoint” is the wrong analogy... How about “enzyme?” “Turbo?” “Overdrive?” “Fast lane?” But if I was someone who didn’t care about how many more apps are going to be written for the iPhone, if all I cared about was loading and using all the currently existing apps for free, and if I had some weird desire that most other iPhone owners do the same — then yes, I would probably view any obstacle to that level of freedom as a “chokepoint.”
Dan Lyons in Newsweek (January 2011):
“The Verizon iPhone Is Too Late
Apple’s phone would have snuffed out the Android a year ago, but now Google’s device has become an unstoppable juggernaut.”
“[I]f this event had taken place a year ago, I would have said Android was in trouble. ... But a lot has changed in the past year.”
“Android still has one huge advantage over the iPhone — diversity. ... With the iPhone you can have whatever Steve Jobs says you can have.”
“So who cares that now Apple will sell its phone on Verizon? For me, it’s too late.”
“Apple’s big weakness is its control-freak nature and insistence that there is only one way to make a smart phone. No matter how many carriers sign on to carry the iPhone, in the long run, Apple has again set itself up to be a niche player in smartphones, just as it is in PCs.”
One carrier signed on, Dan. One carrier. Called “Verizon.” Get used to it.
Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures (January 2011):
“Android is a global phenomenon. The big deal is, Android is free software, and handsets that can run it are getting super-cheap. So we are going to see a massive shift from ‘dumb phones’ to ‘smart phones’ around the world this year, and iPhone will not be the big beneficiary of that trend.”
Because $49 for an iPhone 3GS is way too expensive for people who can afford a smartphone plan. Right.
Update: The iPhone 3GS is now free (with standard contract). And it runs iOS 5. Also free.
eMarketer (January 2011):
“Google’s mobile OS will be on top [of the US smartphone market] by year-end 2012”
“eMarketer estimates that after exploding from just 6% of the US smartphone market in 2009 to 24% in 2010, Android will continue to gain share through 2012, when 31% of all smartphone users will own a device running the Google OS. That same year Apple’s share of the market will hold steady at 30%, up only slightly from 2009.”
Verizon is going to get virtually all of its iPhone customers by converting current users of AT&T iPhones? Uh-huh. Hey, look: no mention of “Verizon” or “CDMA” in the entire article!
Eric S. Raymond, “Armed and Dangerous” (January 2011):
“Far from scoring a coup, Verizon may have just bought the biggest bag of substanceless hype and wind Steve Jobs has ever peddled while AT&T snickers behind its hand. The iPhone brand is in worse shape than I thought was even possible. And the implications of that are huge.
First: We can expect Verizon’s iPhone sales to be anemic.”
“Second: Anybody betting their dollars or reputation that Apple’s ‘superior user experience’ would guarantee it perpetually increasing market share just took it on the chin, hard.”
“Third: The iPhone is in deep trouble.”
Sounds serious. Take two aspirin, come back in twelve months, and we’ll check up on how the iPhone is doing.
One-year update: If “deep trouble” means selling very well on Verizon, and having the hottest selling model of phone ever (the 4S), then yes, the iPhone is in deep, deep trouble.
Reggie Fils-Aime of Nintendo (February 2011):
“[Cheap mobile games are] disposable from a consumer standpoint.”
“Angry Birds is a great piece of experience, but that is one compared to thousands of other pieces of content that for one or two dollars I think create a mentality for the consumer that a piece of gaming content should only be $2.”
“[I] think some of those games are actually overpriced at $1 or $2, but that’s a different story.”
A very different story, I’m sure. Hey, know what? Once you have an iPhone in your pocket, a Nintendo DS would be overpriced at $1 or $2.
Richard Stallman of the Free Software Foundation (March 2011):
“I don’t have a cell phone. I won’t carry a cell phone. It’s Stalin’s dream. Cell phones are tools of Big Brother.”
“[M]ost people are taught to think about software purely as a matter of price and performance, not whether it respects your freedom. People who make decisions on those values will not make any sacrifice of convenience to get free software, whereas I am willing to work for years and years and years to have no proprietary software in my computer.”
Hey, everybody needs a hobby. Who am I to knock yours?
Wait a minute — I knew I’d seen you somewhere before! Pretty slick, faking your death like that, Jerry. Got tired of touring for all those Deadheads, huh?
IDC Analyze the Future (March 2011):
[forecasts that over the next four years, iOS market share will slightly decline while WP7 will nearly quadruple, putting WP7 ahead of iOS by over 35%]
When was the last time IDC predicted that an Apple product would dramatically improve in market share? Or that a Microsoft product would dramatically tank? Because they’ve had a lot of opportunity over the past ten years to predict either of those things and be stunningly accurate. Perhaps accuracy isn’t what they’re after.
Update: Looks like they’re at it again. Hey, IDC guys. If you’re listening (which, of course, you’re not), ask yourselves a little question. Four years ago it was early 2007 and Apple had announced, but not yet released, the iPhone. The iPad was barely a rumor, if even. What did IDC think the state of the industry, and Apple in particular, would be in four years? Was that vision even remotely like what’s actually going on today in 2011? So, uh, tell us again why you think you are at all likely to be able to predict where things will be four years from now? Food for thought.
Devindra Hardawar in VentureBeat (April 2011):
“Gartner: Windows Phone to beat iPhone by 2015”
“The prediction is far from crazy: I’ve argued in the past that Microsoft will doggedly fight to reclaim its mobile relevance ...”
2015 update: Windows Phone still stuck in the middle of nowhere; iPhone selling better than ever.
Henry Blodget in Business Insider (April 2011):
“Android Is Destroying Everyone ... iPhone Dead In Water”
“Apple fans should be scared to death about [Android’s gains]. Apple is fighting a very similar war to the one it fought — and lost — in the 1990s. It is trying to build the best integrated products, hardware and software, and maintain complete control over the ecosystem around them. This end-to-end control makes it easier for Apple to build products that are ‘better,’ but it makes it much harder for the company to compete against a software platform that is standard across many hardware manufacturers (Windows in the 1990s, Android now).”
“[T]hese Android gains should scare the bejeezus out of Apple bulls — and Apple itself.”
Hey, Henry, didn’t you write this same article in January? I mean, January of 2010. Except you were hyping the Droid and Nexus One then. This time you were careful not to hype any specific phone. You’re learning. Slowly.
One-year update: iPhone “dead in water?” Henry?
Eric Raymond’s Armed and Dangerous (April 2011):
“The only plausible comeback scenario for the iPhone after Android blew past it in November 2010 was that there was huge demand for the iPhone being pent up by customers’ inability to use it off AT&T’s network.”
“This fantasy is now dead. ... And the news from outside the U.S., where Apple’s market share has been nosediving over the last year, is worse.”
“Apple’s smartphone market share has been essentially flat for two quarters. That’s a very bad sign in a market where returns tend to increase with scale and both gains and losses in share are self-amplifying. Apple is balancing on a knife edge. I think we’re looking at the end stage of a successful technology disruption on the classic pattern. The question is no longer whether Android can be stopped, but when Apple’s market share will fall off a cliff. I think that could easily happen as soon as the next 90 days; one of the patterns in technology disruptions is that collapse often follows the victim’s best quarter ever.”
Apple is just so, so screwed.
One-year update: The only plausible comeback scenario for the iPhone is... that it will just do really, really well.
Daniel Ionescu on PCWorld (May 2011):
“A PCWorld analysis of the top apps on competing smartphone app stores reveals that the majority of the iPhone’s most popular apps are also available on Android, Windows Phone 7, Palm, RIM BlackBerry, and Nokia phones. This dispels the smartphone buyers’ myth that claims: ‘The bigger the app store, the better the phone.’”
So, uh, you’re saying that among the most popular iPhone apps, up to half of them aren’t available on other platforms? OK. And of the ones that are, are they just as good as on the iPhone? And what about all the quite-popular-but-not-most-popular apps? And what about iPad apps? Just wondering.
Dan Frommer in Business Insider (May 2011):
“Here’s Apple’s Weak Non-Answer To Why Android Won’t Torch The iPhone Like Windows Did To The Mac”
“Why isn’t Android a Windows repeat? Why won’t it crush your growth, especially in the U.S.? Tim Cook responded with a big, fat non-answer. Basically, he just said a bunch of things that could be summarized by: Apple is awesome! And Android is crap!”
I don’t know, Dan — sure he didn’t hit the nail on the head?
Stephen Elop of Nokia (June 2011):
“Apple in 2007 introduced a high water mark in terms of saying, ‘This is what users expect...[’] But Apple did this in a very Apple way. It was closed.”
“Apple created Android, or at least it created the conditions necessary to create Android. People decided they could not play in the Apple way, and they had to do something else. Then Google stepped in there and created Android... and others jumped on the Android train.”
Number of companies. Again. Never gets old. Never will.
One-year update: Latest data show the iPhone is gaining market share against all those companies. Now, how can that be? That’s just impossible, isn’t it? And how’s your company doing with Android, Stephen? Oops, I mean with Windows Phone 7 on Lumia.
Elias Samuel on International Business Times (July 2011):
“Motorola Droid Bionic Dwarfs iPhone 5 in Every Aspect”
“Whatever may be the outcome of specifications of these two smartphones, Motorola Droid Bionic seems to have clearly dwarfed the iPhone 5.”
For at least fifteen minutes.
Timothy B. Lee on Forbes (August 2011):
“Why Google is Winning the Smartphone Wars”
“[Google] has focused on making Android work gracefully with as much of the ‘real world’ as possible. When Apple was building its own hardware, Google was cutting deals with numerous hardware manufacturers.”
“This explains why iOS has been losing ground to Android even though most people agree that the iPhone is the best single smartphone on the market. There are tens of millions of people who care most about the narrow end of the funnel. They want the best user interface, and are willing to make compromises on other fronts to get it. Most of these customers will opt for an iPhone. But there are hundreds of millions of customers who care more about some other factor.”
“And things will only get more challenging for Apple as the smartphone market globalizes. The overwhelming majority of potential smartphone customers are outside of the United States. Android’s relatively liberal licensing model will make it much easier for overseas partners to customize Google’s software to the needs of local markets, while Apple’s ‘my way or the highway’ licensing model rubs potential partners the wrong way.”
If I was a carrier, I would much rather be able to load phones with junk, than carry the iPhone. Much.
Staff Reporter on International Business Times (September 2011):
“Droid Bionic Release Confirmed, Will iPhone 5 Still be Waited For?”
Hey, didn’t you guys write this same article a month or two ago? It’s at least another month before the next iPhone comes out — why not make it three times? Oh, there you go. I knew you could do it.
Peter Bright On ars technica (September 2011):
“Ultrabook: Intel’s $300 million plan to beat Apple at its own game
My desktop isn’t the only computer I plan to replace in the next few months. I need a new laptop too, and my goal is simple: to find a 13" MacBook Air that isn’t made by Apple.”
Sorry, Peter — it’s made by Apple.
Martin Fichter of HTC (September 2011):
“I brought my daughter back to college — she’s down in Portland at Reed — and I talked to a few of the kids on her floor. And none of them has an iPhone because they told me: ‘My dad has an iPhone.’ There’s an interesting thing that’s going on in the market. The iPhone becomes a little less cool than it was.”
They won’t stay kids for long, Martin. FYI.
Cole Brodman of T-Mobile (September 2011):
“We’re very confident that these Android smartphones rival or beat any smartphone out there in terms of functionality, speed, overall experience and features — including the iPhone. Android has evolved quickly from geek to chic. In many ways, Android is rivaling and even outpacing the iPhone ...”
Translation: We don’t have the iPhone.
Zach Epstein on BGR (October 2011):
“Apple’s fall from grace”
“On Tuesday when Apple unveiled its brand new iPhone 4S, the fifth iteration of Apple’s revolutionary smartphone, things felt different. ... People seemed, in a way, bored. Reactions from those who spent time with the device at Apple’s press conference were positive, of course, but it didn’t feel the same.”
A radically improved iPhone camera isn’t for shooting dramatically better photos and movies — it’s for keeping obscure tech journalists from getting bored. Twice the processing power isn’t for running better apps and being twice as responsive to user requests — it’s for keeping disgruntled reporters from being bored.
Maybe, Zach, you’re bored because re-reporting what Apple has already reported is a boring thing to do. Maybe you should just buy an iPhone 4S, and, like, use it. A lot. Every day. Less boring. I promise.
Louis Bedigian in Forbes (October 2011):
“If you thought Facebook press conferences were bad, just wait till you hear what Apple did this afternoon. Nothing!”
“[The iPhone 4S is a] remarkably sucky, shoddy, sloppy, slapped together disaster of a phone ...”
“I give Apple a great big ‘LOL’ for creating another fine example of why the company’s video game presentations are always a joke. Come on, Apple! When are you going to wake up and design a real game machine that plays real games?”
You know, Louis, if you wrote a fun little iOS game or two, you could make some really good money. Then you wouldn’t have to scrape out a living writing link-bait for Forbes.
Michael Pearson on WhatCulture! (October 2011):
“Apple vs Android: Is The iPhone 4S Already Dead?”
“[I]f you’ve already invested in a hefty contract for the iPhone 4S, you may be regretting that decision after hearing about Android’s latest offerings. Both the Motorola Droid RAZR and the Galaxy Nexus pack super hi-specs, as well as the latest Android 4.0 OS. That is unless you’re one of those people that simply have to own an Apple product just because it reflects your lifestyle or it’s stylistically in tune...... Blah blah blah.”
“[I]f I absolutely positively had to put money on a winner.... Well it has to be Google green.”
It has to be.
Paul Thurrott of Paul Thurrott’s Supersite For Windows (October 2011):
“There’s a long-running joke that Apple’s fans would buy anything the company sold, no matter the quality. But this past weekend, the joke became reality when the Cupertino consumer electronics giant sold 4 million units of a smartphone, the iPhone 4S, that even its most charitable supporters have described as an evolutionary update over its predecessor.”
“Apple’s fans are more interested in spending money than they are with facts. ... That the lackluster iPhone 4S can sell so well in a market dominated by more capable Android handsets (not to mention Windows Phones) only bolsters that notion.”
Apple’s fans bought 4 million phones in one weekend? Uh... that’s an awful lot of fans, Paul.
Mike Elgan on Datamation (October 2011):
“[T]he iPhone 4s kind of sucks. There. I said it.”
“I don’t have much faith in Apple to get it right for the upcoming iPhone 5, either. The iPhone 4s has shaken my confidence in Apple’s legendary ability to bang out hit after hit.”
“The iPhone 4s is the first stumble by Apple since the company launched the original iPhone in 2007.”
“The iPhone 4s feels like they chose to release an unfinished product in order to satisfy Wall Street ...”
Hottest selling phone ever = stumble. Got it.
Joe Wilcox on Betanews (November 2011):
“Why can’t Apple get iPhone’s design right?”
“For a company praised for such great design, Apple sure seems troubled getting out an iPhone that works right.”
“Maybe Apple simply is out of its depth.”
“A company with deeper-engineering function culture might not have so blundered as Apple did ...”
“iPhone 4S carries on the sad tradition of its predecessor ...”
What? No mention of sales in your entire article, Joe? Wonder why. Probably just an oversight.
Consumer Reports on the iPhone 4S (November 2011):
“These pluses were not enough, however, to allow the iPhone 4S to outscore the best new Android-based phones in our Ratings. Those top scorers included the Samsung Galaxy S II phones, the Motorola Droid Bionic, and several other phones that boast larger displays than the iPhone 4S and run on faster 4G networks.”
And just in case you need a little help (wink, wink) figuring out which one of those many Android phones you should buy... have we got something for you.
Dan Frommer on SplatF (November 2011):
“Why Apple’s iPhone market share actually matters”
“While Google Android’s share of the smartphone market soars, Apple’s is drooping.”
“[E]ven the best iPhone Christmas probably won’t even come close to Android’s quarter. And even if you broaden your scope to ‘years’ and not ‘quarters’, it’s safe to say that Google is winning the market share race, and this is not good news for Apple.”
“Why? Because this isn’t just about selling devices and making a few hundred bucks a pop. It’s about building the dominant mobile platform for the next several decades.”
iOS = “a few hundred bucks.” Android = “winning” and “dominant” for “years” — no — “several decades” to come. Got it.
Eric S. Raymond in Armed and Dangerous (December 2011):
“Apple is chasing Android’s tallights. Then Apple announced the iPhone 4S, and it’s a big yawn. iCloud? Me-too voice recognition features? Really, Apple? Is this the best you can do? Gawker has a hilarious post on how overblown the media hype was, but even that fails to convey what a boring, derivative-seeming product the 4S is. How are the mighty fallen.”
Apple is recently-mighty-but-now-fallen. Just like it was a few years ago. And a few years before that. And just like it will be a few years from now. Got it, Eric.
Eric Schmidt of Google (December 2011):
“Android is ahead of the iPhone now.”
“Android was founded before the iPhone was.”
“[If you’re saying iOS apps are beating Android versions to market,] my prediction is that six months from now you’ll say the opposite.”
“Ultimately, application vendors are driven by volume, and volume is favored by the open approach Google is taking. There are so many manufacturers working so hard to distribute Android phones globally that whether you like [Android 4.0] or not ... you will want to develop for that platform, and perhaps even first.”
App developers love to write for a voluminous number of manufacturers’ different devices. And they hate to develop for a voluminous number of identical phones from a single manufacturer. Got it.
Niels Munksgaard of Nokia (December 2011):
“What we see is that youth are pretty much fed up with iPhones. Everyone has the iPhone.”
Is that what you see?
Taylor Hatmaker on Tecca (December 2011):
“A Year In Fail: The 6 biggest technology flops of 2011”
“3. iPhone 4S
While it’s no flop when it comes to sales figures, the iPhone 4S remains one of 2011’s biggest consumer letdowns. ... [I]t’s tough to not be disappointed by the iconic company’s most recent handset. Apple’s newest iteration of the iPhone is certainly nothing to sneeze at — it’s still one of the fastest, best-looking smartphones on the block — but it’s no iPhone 5.”
You mean, it’s not unseen and unannounced like the iPhone 5?
Charlie Kindel on cek.log (December 2011):
“Apple has been successful (at least in terms of generating revenue) in this space by cutting the device manufacturer out. They have then used that fact to force the carriers into being even more of a fat dumb pipe. ... [M]y belief is over time this strategy will start to deteriorate for Apple.”
Over time? How much time? Ten years? Twenty? Fifty?
Don Reisinger in eWEEK (December 2011):
“Forget about Apple
Microsoft should totally ignore Apple. The iPhone maker might be selling boatloads of smartphones, but its overall OS market share is on the decline. Plus, it controls both software and hardware. Google is the company Microsoft must worry about. Android has the same basic business plan as Windows Phone 7, and it’s targeting the same vendors. Forget about Apple, Microsoft. It’s just distracting you from the real threat.”
Word of advice, Don: Don’t hold your breath waiting for Microsoft to ignore Apple.
Brian Deagon in Investor’s Business Daily (December 2011):
“Apple, Google Seen Stumbling In 2012”
“Apple will lose its cool factor.”
“The iPhone is boxy, flat and feeling stale. The Samsung Galaxy smartphone seems cooler. With Google’s Android platform now the fastest-growing mobile OS, Apple’s software advantage will diminish. Smartphones and tablets will become commodity items and Apple will be eaten by the collective Android gang. Apple’s next big hope is the TV market, a tough nut to crack and where Samsung is king.”
Is there hope for Apple?
Hillel Fuld in inneractive (December 2011):
“Bloggers Declare Windows Phone Dead but The Numbers Tell a Different Tale”
“[T]oday brought a new wave of Windows Phone bashing from non other than the Web’s two leading Apple fanboys ... Sorry, guys. Both of you know I read your stuff religiously and I am the last person to dismiss your analysis by saying you are blinded by your Apple obsession but that is the only possible explanation here.”
“It has only been five years since the first real smartphone with a responsive touch screen, intuitive UI, apps, and the REAL Web, was introduced. Five years! Since when is five years long enough to declare ‘Game Over’? ... Of COURSE there is still room for competition.”
“[T]here is absolutely no question that it will compete with iOS or Android, which both have serious disadvantages (Apple too closed and Android too ‘open’/fragmented).”
“‘... No one is talking about Windows Phone. Windows Phone is not cool. It is not an iPhone’. Yes, this is how those arguments sound. Childish, unscientific, and overly simplistic. ...”
“Let’s just agree to disagree and meet back here in two years to see what the mobile market looks like. My prediction:
2. Windows Phone
“I am using Windows Phone and am truly enjoying it. Is it as comfortable as an iPhone 4 or 4S? No, not yet, but neither was the original iPhone, the iPhone 3g, or the iPhone 3Gs.”
Luckily for Microsoft, its 2012 Lumia phones can compete with Apple’s original, 2007 iPhone. Uh, right?
iSuppli (January 2012):
[predicts that Windows Phone will surpass iPhone in market share by 2015]
People don’t remember these 3-, 4-, and 5-year predictions, so let’s take special note that iSuppli predicts that this year (2012), iOS share will not go up at all, and Windows Phone share will nearly quintuple. We’ll know how accurate that was in less than twelve months!
Eric S. Raymond on Armed and Dangerous (February 2012):
“The Smartphone Wars: The market share scramble and Apple’s long con”
“Remember all those carrier execs rhapsodizing about how iPhone is the awesomest invention since sex? Well, it seems Apple is sucking all the profits out of the carriers that went for it. That has interesting implications for the future. Like, what happens when the carriers decide they’re done being conned?”
“From any carrier’s point of view, the case for dumping iPhone, or at least threatening to do so in order to renegotiate Apple’s subsidy requirement away, seems pretty open and shut. Apple has things all its own way right now — skimming the lion’s share of the profits off the carriers’ business without having to shoulder their risks. But this is an unstable situation, because the carriers’ investors won’t tolerate it indefinitely. What happens when they revolt?”
“The bottom line is that Apple’s current performance isn’t sustainable. The losses the carriers are presently eating on the iPhone are going to get squeezed out one way or another, almost certainly re-manifesting as significantly higher unit prices to the consumer. This, of course, will increase Android’s competitive advantage.”
Hmmm... This couldn’t be the same Eric S. Raymond who said, around this same time last year, that “The iPhone is in deep trouble.” Could it?
Paul Thurrott on Paul Thurrott’s Supersite For Windows (February 2012):
“Yes, Android Still Beat Apple Handily in the Q4 Smartphone Market
Anyone who thought stronger-than-logical sales of the iPhone 4S in the previous quarter were going to make a difference short-term needs to breathe deeply for a few seconds. Because it didn’t happen.”
Translation: If it meant passing up a chance to piss on Apple, I would never breathe deeply.
Mike Elgan in Datamation (February 2012):
“Rise of the Extreme iPhone-Killer Super-Phones!”
“What will it take to stop the mighty iPhone? Don’t look now, but the competition is getting ready to hit Apple’s super-villain iPhone with something akin to the X Men or the Avengers — a group of mutant super-phones with unprecedented powers and capabilities that vastly exceed anything that has ever been put into any phone ever.”
“[T]ogether, the new generation of extreme super-phones will be very hard for the iPhone to compete with all by itself.”
Ten phones always beat one phone. And Apple should be stopped. Got it.
Alasdair Monk (April 2012):
“Microsoft can create user interfaces as delightful and beautiful as Apple’s, they just needed to be provoked. Apple have poked the sleeping bear ...”
“Metro is beautiful. I’ll say it a thousand times in this piece no doubt, but it is. ... But what’s really amazing is that not only is Metro as good as iOS in almost every respect, but in some ways it’s far, far ahead.”
So Microsoft is a big bear, and Apple is some smaller animal that poked it? Checked financials lately, Alasdair?
Mark Evans in Forbes (May 2012):
“Five Reasons the BlackBerry Isn’t Doomed”
“BB10 is a huge step forward for the BlackBerry ... This will provide the BlackBerry with a huge boost ...”
“With a new CEO, Thorsten Heins, at the helm, RIM will benefit from a refreshed corporate culture.”
“RIM will benefit from much better marketing ... [BlackBerry] marketing was not a corporate priority, which is one of the many reasons why Apple was able to gain so much traction quickly with the iPhone.”
“The launch of new BB10-powered devices will be a huge difference ... As well, BB10 has the potential to give the much-beleaguered PlayBook a shot in the arm ...”
Translation: BlackBerry is doomed.
Eric Zeman in InformationWeek (May 2012):
“As much as Apple might want to stick to its own guns with respect to screen size and resolution, it would be better for Apple’s customers if Apple conformed to the 1280 x 720 spec that’s quickly becoming the norm for high-end devices.”
Where “norm” means “whatever Apple’s competitors are trying to sell, regardless of whether any of them are half as successful as Apple.”
IDC (June 2012):
[predicts that Windows Phone will surpass iPhone by 2016]
A little over a year ago, IDC predicted that Windows Phone would overtake iPhone by 2015. Now they’re saying 2016. Maybe a year from now they’ll say 2017? Can’t wait to find out.
John C. Dvorak in PC Magazine (June 2012):
“[Apple] is strolling like Microsoft when it should be sprinting like Adobe.”
“Apple just got a court order to stop Samsung from selling its Galaxy Tab 10.1 in the United States. This is the wrong approach for a category leader to take ...”
“We should have had an iPad 3 by now and an iPhone 5 by now. Apple seems to be following the lead of Microsoft and coasting once it gets ahead of the competition.”
“Apple does not have this luxury because everyone is breathing down its neck, including Samsung, a partner of Apple’s.”
“Apple is slowly going in the Microsoft direction. This only works in a real monopoly. Perhaps Apple thinks it can achieve a monopoly in the tablet category by suing everyone. Good luck.”
“All these [Samsung] phones are much slicker than the iPhone 4 by any honest standards.”
“Nobody can deny that Apple is fashionable, and most iPhone users buy the newest so they can be fashionable. To do this right, Apple needs a new phone every quarter.”
“Apple must run faster. Right now, it appears to be seated — in a courtroom.”
“Samsung is going to calculate what it lost in the court action and I can assure you that someday in the future, when the opportunity is right, Samsung is going to pull the plug on some component. It will make sure that Apple eats at least that much money in lost sales.”
Their fantasy, or yours, John?
Eric S. Raymond, Armed and Dangerous (July 2012):
“The iPhone Design Was Inspired by Sony”
“This isn’t speculation — an Apple employee copied Sony’s design, circulated it to his bosses, and testified to these facts in court.
From now on, when anyone heaps phrase [sic] on Apple’s design excellence and superlative innovation, just point and laugh.”
Eric, haven’t you been trying to point and laugh at Apple for, like, years? No reason to stop now.
Peter Svensson, Associated Press, in USA Today (July 2012):
“iPhone appeal dims as Samsung shines
The latest iPhone looks much the same as the first iPhone, which came out more than five years ago. That hasn’t been a problem for Apple — until, now.”
“For a dose of smartphone envy, iPhone owners need to look no further than Samsung Electronics ... By comparison, the iPhone ‘is getting a bit long in the tooth,’ says Ramon Llamas, an analyst with research firm IDC.”
That wouldn’t be the same IDC that keeps predicting that Windows Phone will overtake the iPhone. Would it?
Henry Blodget in Business Insider (July 2012):
“I can’t be the only potential customer who is deflated by what they see. In fact, I’ll go far enough to say that, if the iPhone 5 looks like the pictures that have recently appeared, Apple may be screwed.”
“Samsung and other manufacturers have come out with phones that make people’s jaws drop ... Galaxy feels like a next-generation phone.”
“[T]hat will mean fewer sales — and less growth — for Apple. Apple’s competitors, meanwhile are on a tear.”
“[I]t’s safe to say if people feel forced to use an inferior phone just because of the ‘ecosystem,’ they’re going to be disappointed.”
Apple is screwed.
Ed Liston in Seeking Alpha (September 2012):
“Apple May Lose The Smartphone War To Google”
“This war has similarities to the PC wars of the 1980s ...”
“[B]y making Android free, Google has created an army of companies to fight Apple ...”
“Look how complex Google’s strategy is, how multi-layered. What is Apple selling? Apple is selling a phone on the back of which it tries to pack a few apps, a few stores ...”
“Google is giving away a highly efficient operating system for free; giving it away to very large tech companies in Asia so they can capture market share in the smartphone market at Apple’s cost.”
“Now, my prediction is that in the next 5 years, Apple will lose this war.”
“It may seem difficult to destroy a half trillion dollar company, but historically speaking, larger companies (adjusting for inflation) have fallen. ... [T]his is the same kind of war that was fought in the 1980-90s between Microsoft and Unix/IBM.”
“Here’s a lesson for Apple. Make iOS hardware-independent, and make it free.”
“The recent legal wins have given Apple a lifeline for another couple years or so ...”
“If you ask me: who is going to be runner up in market share after 5 years, I will not say Google/Android and Apple. I will say, Google/Android and Microsoft.”
“Apple, the original smartphone pioneer, will be fighting what I think is a losing battle against these two tech giants.”
“Apple will be relegated to a luxury brand that will still sell smartphones, but at a cost both to its customers and to itself.”
Glad to see several tired, Apple-is-doomed arguments spring back to life in a single article. It seems there’s always one more industry writer willing to make a complete fool of himself.
Dan Lyons in BBC News (September 2012):
“Apple’s iPhone launches no longer excite”
“[I]s this really the best we can expect from an outfit that claims to be the most innovative company in the world?”
“This is what happens when a company is too cheap to invest in research and development. Did you know that Apple spends far less on R&D than any of its rivals — a paltry 2% of revenues, versus 14% for Google and Microsoft?”
“[D]espite all its bluster about innovation, Apple has become a copycat, and not even a good one.”
“[T]he new iPhone ... looks ridiculous.”
“Apple also has become a copycat in tablets.”
“Apple got where it was by taking bold risks. Now it has become a company that copies others and plays it safe.”
“Apple seems less interested in blowing people away than it is in milking profit out of the existing lineup.”
“Apple has become boring.”
Translation: I really, really miss my “Fake Steve” gig. Nobody seems to care about my “Real Dan” site.
Mat Honan in Wired (September 2012):
“The iPhone 5 Is Completely Amazing and Utterly Boring”
“The iPhone 5 is the greatest phone in the world. ... And yet it is also so, so cruelly boring.”
“It’s a weird paradox. The iPhone 5 can simultaneously be the best phone on the market and really, really boring.”
“[A]t least Nokia’s Windows Phone has a narrative and an identity. The iPhone no longer really has either ...”
“[T]he iPhone? It’s boring. And it’s probably going to remain that way for the foreseeable future.”
Everybody together now: 1, 2, 3, borr-ring! Suck on that, Apple.
Matt Asay in The Register (September 2012):
“Win Phone 8 should give Apple the fear”
“Windows Phone 8 might spell the beginning of a climb to relevance for a desktop vendor breaking out its latest PC operating system at almost the same time.”
“[I]n the smartphone market, Microsoft actually stands a chance.”
“[T]he real Windows Phone 8 advantage is actually that it’s not iOS or Android.”
“[A]s Android vendors seek shelter from the Apple [patent litigation] storm, Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 is going to be the most likely safe haven.”
“It’s an ugly way to win, but I suspect Microsoft won’t mind. Winning ugly is still winning.”
Losing ugly is uglier.
Andrew Leonard in Salon (September 2012):
“Apple’s enormous insult
The iPhone 5’s new dock connector is a sign of arrogance and the harbinger of decline”
“Really, Apple? Haven’t we suffered enough?”
Translation: Hey look, I think I found something bad to say about Apple. Uh, didn’t I?
Farhad Manjoo in Slate (September 2012):
“No, This Is Not the Best iPhone Ever
The one incredibly irksome feature that will leave you cursing Apple.”
“If Apple really believed that the old dock was too big for its newer devices, it should have replaced them, once and for all, with the tech industry’s standard way to connect stuff: USB.”
Pssst. Farhad. Every iPhone ever made comes with a USB cable. Don’t tell.
Update: Look! He likes it, after all. Welcome, Farhad. Glad to have you. (And watch out, Microsoft; your days are numbered.)
Lewis Page in The Register (September 2012):
“The iPHONE 5 UNDERMINES western DEMOCRACY”
“Owning one will be the badge of an utter fool”
“Owning it will mark you out as an easily-led simpleton — and worse, the purchase will undermine western democracy.”
“iPhone and Apple fever are undermining the bedrock of Western democracy[.] No, really.”
No. Not really.
Jessica Dolcourt in CNET (September 2012):
“iPhone 5 opens the door for Nokia, Samsung
There’s no doubt that the iPhone 5 is going to be a great, fast-selling smartphone, but it’s out-innovated by Nokia and Samsung.”
“[H]owever good the iPhone 5 is, it lacks the knockout, gasp-inducing feature that Apple followers have come to expect ... Instead, we see a lot of catching up ...”
“For the first time in a long time, Apple has given its rivals room to bask in their own innovations.”
“[iPhone 5’s] lack of a ‘gotcha’ feature gives shoppers considering other powerful alternatives — like the intriguing Lumia 920, the larger-than-life Samsung Galaxy Note 2, or even the won’t-quit Motorola Droid Razr Maxx HD — fewer reasons to stick with Apple.”
The iPhone is “catching up” with its imitators. And apps? Who uses ’em anyway? Got it.
Marcus Wohlsen in Wired (September 2012):
“Why BlackBerry’s Breakdown Should Worry an Arrogant Apple”
“Among the many lessons of RIM’s collapse, Apple would do well to note the fungibility of mobile brand loyalty. In other words, if someone builds a better phone, people will buy it. That doesn’t sound like a difficult concept. But the iOS 6 map disaster displays an arrogance that suggests Apple doesn’t get it.”
“[Apple] shareholders should hope that this most recent move isn’t a sign that the iPhone 5 is Apple’s BlackBerry Pearl — the last decent design before the downfall.”
If RIM couldn’t hold onto success, surely Apple can’t. Right?
Joe Nocera in The New York Times (September 2012):
“Has Apple Peaked?”
“[T]here is nothing about [the iPhone 5] that is especially innovative.”
“I would be surprised if [Apple] ever gives us another product as transformative as the iPhone or the iPad.”
“Apple’s best days may soon be behind it.”
“Apple wants to force its customers to use its own products, even when they are not as good as those from rivals. Once companies start acting that way, they become vulnerable to newer, nimbler competitors that are trying to create something new, instead of milking the old.”
“[D]espite [Jobs’s] genius, it is unlikely he could have kept Apple from eventually lapsing into the ordinary. It is the nature of capitalism that big companies become defensive, while newer rivals emerge with better, smarter ideas.”
Apple has peaked! I mean, it’s gonna peak “soon.” I mean, “eventually.”
Rosa Chun in IrishTimes.com (October 2012):
“For most companies, sales figures like these are the ultimate sign of success. But for Apple, it may not be enough; the iPhone 5 is a failure at its heart. This is about pride, reputation and loyalty, not just money. The magic is over.
Some cracks are already beginning to show in the idea that Apple can always sell expensive, under-featured hardware on the back of customer loyalty.”
Cracks like: they never could and never have?
Doug Kass of Seabreeze Partners, as reported by Tiernan Ray in Barron’s (October 2012):
“[G]o play with the iPhone 5 yourself. It feels terrible. It’s very light and to me feels like a toy. It needs a lead weight.”
It’s too much better. It would be better if it was worse. Got it.
Tim Collins in IT World Canada (October 2012):
“10 solid reasons RIM will make a comeback”
“Incremental Improvements are boring. The last iPhone had only incremental improvements. The top two smartphones look more and more alike with every new release. If BB10 can offer us something new that we always wanted but never thought was possible, we’ll buy it.”
You do that, Tim.
Steve Ballmer of Microsoft (November 2012):
“With the work we have done with Nokia, HTC, Samsung and others ... there is now an opportunity to create really a strong third participant in the smartphone market ... I expect the volumes on Windows Phone to really ramp quickly.”
Volumes of what — units in stock?
Dan Crow in The Guardian (November 2012):
“We’ve passed peak Apple: it’s all downhill from here”
“Apple has taken missteps before.”
“[D]ictatorships without their dear leaders tend to fall to infighting, intrigue and inefficiency. This could be Apple’s future.”
“Apple has serious structural faults. The loss of Steve was devastating — the entire company was built around him and the mistakes we have seen since he left are entirely consistent with a very hierarchical organisation trying to find its way without its leader. I think in hindsight, we will see that Apple’s peak of creativity, innovation and leadership was early 2012.”
“I may be wrong. I hope I’m wrong.”
Good news, Dan!
Rob Enderle in CIO (December 2012):
“Why 2013 Is RIM’s BlackBerry Year”
“The iPhone isn’t that great and the Android OS is woefully insecure. Come Jan. 30, if mobile users take a hard look at their devices and then look at the new BlackBerry 10, RIM could be in for a windfall.
As we look ahead to 2013, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the new year provides an unprecedented opportunity for Research in Motion to make a huge comeback. This is largely because the market is dominated by two platforms: Android, which is seen as an unsecure malware magnet, and iOS, which comes from a firm that has never learned to spell ‘IT.’”
“If Apple users start looking at the faults in their devices — particularly in areas such as mail integration, where RIM is strong — the stage is set for a strong backlash favoring RIM.”
“[A]s RIM brings out its next-generation products, the company will stand alone as the only mobile solutions provider focused on IT first and the needs of users later.”
Now there’s a recipe for success.
Nine-month update: RIM (now BlackBerry) sold for scrap to a Canadian holding company. The End.
Serdar Yegulalp in InformationWeek (January 2013):
“2015: Apple Cachet Is Passé”
“Learning from one’s mistakes and owning up to them is good practice. After the gigantic stubbed toe of Windows 8, Microsoft gave us a reworked Windows 9 that actually makes touch feel useful, not something tacked on as a sidecar or afterthought. Even RIM seems to have climbed most of the way out of its hole, thanks to a mix of new devices and a smart luring of developers for them.
I never thought I would see the day where the iPhone would be considered a brand as quaint as the Walkman or as tarnished as the Ford Pinto, but here we are [in 2015].”
Translation: Hey, this link-baiting works pretty well. Hope I can make a well-paying career out of it. (And 2015 isn’t actually going to arrive, is it?)
Larissa Faw in Forbes (January 2013):
“Is Apple’s iPhone No Longer Cool To Teens?”
“It goes without saying that no teen wants to show up dressed identically as the science teacher. And unfortunately for Apple, this teen logic may also apply to smartphones. ... They want the latest, greatest phone that speaks to their generation.”
“Ultimately, in the eyes of today’s youth, massive popularity has watered down Apple’s coolness. ‘Teens are telling us Apple is done,’ says Tina Wells of the youth marketing agency Buzz Marketing Group.”
“Meanwhile, Research In Motion (RIM) is attempting to move back into the youth space ...”
Maybe Forbes should have gotten a teen to write the article.
Eric Mack in CNET (January 2013):
“The iPhone 6 won’t wow”
“Back in September, after the much-awaited and meh-filled unveiling of the iPhone 5, I made a declaration that’s being borne out further in this week’s headlines — the iPhone jumped the shark some time ago.”
“[M]y best educated guesses are that we will see a new iPhone this summer, and it will be an iPhone 5S with mostly iterative updates ... But the real question is: then what? My gut tells me the iPhone as we know it will be done at that point.”
Translation: If I can’t predict Apple’s next move, they must not have one.
Paul Lilly in HotHardware.com (January 2013):
“Has the iPhone Lost Its Luster?”
“[A]t some point, the Cupertino company has to face the reality that the iPhone isn’t the trend-setting device it once was. Remember when the iPhone was a status symbol and the coolest handset on the block?”
“There has to be significant separation between the next iPhone model and the iPhone 5, or smartphone shoppers are just going to keep investing in older hardware. Or jump ship to Android.”
When the next iPhone is better than the iPhone 5, I’ll remember I have you to thank, Paul.
Sarah Perez in TechCrunch (January 2013):
“Technically speaking, the iPhone 5 is already jailbroken. You’re just not allowed to have it yet. The reason for this is because one of the bugs that contributes to a functional jailbreak is so good, that the hackers who discovered it would rather hang on to it while looking for another to replace it, instead of releasing it out into the wild where Apple could learn of the exploit, and patch it.”
This hack is so good we can’t let anyone have it. Because if we did, Apple would just fix it. We’re winning the war on “closed.”
Thorsten Heins of BlackBerry (March 2013):
“‘History repeats itself again, I guess,’ the BlackBerry CEO said. ‘The rate of innovation is so high in our industry that if you don’t innovate at that speed you can be replaced pretty quickly. The user interface on the iPhone, with all due respect for what this invention was all about, is now five years old.’”
You’re doing great, Thorsten. Keep up the good work.
Lorraine Luk in the Wall Street Journal (March 2013):
“For Apple Suppliers, Galaxy S 4 Isn’t Good News”
“‘The only hope for Apple and its suppliers is the possible launch of a low-cost iPhone later this year ...’ said Capital Securities analyst Diana Wu.”
There may be hope for Apple yet.
Fredrick Moore in The Eagle’s Rant (April 2013):
“iPhone 6 Release Date Must Astound, and Soon”
“Tim Cook and his loyal legions have done their best to reassure the world that they can still innovate with the best of them, but in all honesty we’ve seen little to no evidence of this as of late.”
“Apple as a whole has lost so much of the sparkle that until recently had the world hypnotized.”
“[A]nother gap-filler like the iPhone 4S or the iPad 4 could be the company’s undoing in the eyes of the both critical and consumer masses alike.”
No worries, Fred — with “loyal legions” of “hypnotized” customers, Apple’s new products are sure to win big. Just be ready to pooh-pooh them when they do.
Terry Myerson of Microsoft (April 2013):
“With Apple, I sense a lack of urgency. When iOS 5 came out and there was a fifth row of icons and not much else, you say, okay, are they running out of steam, is iOS getting boring?”
Apple urgently needs to keep Microsoft managers from saying they’re bored. Because, you know, they buy most of Apple’s products.
Karl Denninger (April 2013):
“BlackBerry Q10: Here It Comes”
“Fastest-selling consumer electronics product ever? Oh, boy. And this was with essentially no promotion.”
“Both iOS and Android are aimed at the [media-consumption fanboy] population and, like good little sheep waiting to be shorn, the mass market has bought into that model hook, line and sinker ...”
“The business users who actually need to communicate quickly, effectively, and securely are the real users of technology for the purpose of leveraging their earnings power. They are a minority of the user population, but they’re the high-income people who power both America and the rest of the world — rather than 16-year-old kids screaming at their parents for ‘iPhony’ status symbols.”
“Disclosure: The author is long BBRY.”
Disclosure: Denninger bought high and now doesn’t want to sell low, so he’s going to flail his reputation to death trying vainly to push the stock back up.
Salvatore “Sam” Mattera in The Motley Fool (April 2013):
“Samsung’s Mediocre S4 Reviews Are Bad News for Apple”
“[W]hile most might see [bad S4 reviews] as good news for Apple, it’s actually quite troublesome, since the reviews are evidence of a devastating new trend in the smartphone market.”
If Samsung can’t hack it, how can Apple? Got it. Hey, Sam, if you really want to know how bad things are for Apple, why waste your time reading negative articles about Samsung’s phones — instead, just search for negative articles about Apple and/or Apple’s products. There’s a bumper crop!
Jay Yarow in Business Insider (May 2013):
“Apple Should Be Furious That It Has Such A Tiny Sliver Of The Smartphone Market”
“While it’s certainly important to be profitable, at some point it becomes obscene, and self-defeating.”
“[Apple fans] should be furious that Android ... is on more phones than iOS ...”
“[Are profits] really the best way to measure Apple’s success? Is that really the best way to measure winning?”
“[Apple]’s failing consumers when only 18% of the global smartphone population has an iPhone.”
Don’t worry about it, Jay: Consumers will buy whatever they think is best. If that’s an Android phone, so be it. Relax; there’s no problem here.
Rob Enderle (May 2013):
“Why a BlackBerry Is Better Than an iPhone”
“I spent most of this week at Blackberry Live and couldn’t help but wonder just how badly the smartphone got off track when everyone got so excited about the iPhone and smartphones switched from primarily being a business tool to an iPod with phone capabilities.”
“Blackberry Live drove home the point that shifting the emphasis of phones from productivity to entertainment was stupid. We should have ignored the siren song of an iPod with a built-in phone.
Don’t Be Distracted by Shiny Objects
Perhaps the best analogy is looking at the person you want to marry vs. the person you should marry.”
Translation: I’m married to stodgy, old, “business” computing. And I want everyone to know it.
Matthew Miller in ZDNet (June 2013):
“Windows Phone to close in on iPhone by 2017”
“Microsoft and its partners are starting to operate on all cylinders and Canalys forecasts show Windows Phone market share nearly matching Apple’s iPhone by 2017.”
Lotta smart guys there at Canalys.
Dylan Tweney on VentureBeat (June 2013):
“While much of the tech world fawned over the new design, I’m not impressed. iOS 7 ... does nothing to advance the operating system beyond the basic menu of buttons it’s relied on since the iPhone launched in 2007.”
“iOS 7 is an almost purely cosmetic upgrade. The people who are calling it a radical new design are misguided. It’s not a redesign — it’s a new coat of paint.”
“Apple’s true goal ... is to make the OS look fresh but not actually change things up so much ...”
“Microsoft has actually been leading the pack in mobile design. ... When Windows Phone 7 came out in 2010, I was struck with how dated iPhone and Android looked by comparison.”
“[Apple’s] Stuck in 2007”
“[I]t’s not a major redesign of the user interface, no matter what Apple says.”
Apple sucks no matter what. Got it.
Stefan Constantinescu in Android Beat (June 2013):
“If anything is going to threaten Android, it’s operating systems that are complete [sic] new. Operating systems that are completely different. The only two that come to mind are Windows Phone and BlackBerry.”
I’m sure this can’t be the same Stefan Constantinescu who four years ago said that the rumored Apple tablet “doesn’t exist” and “will never exist.” Nah, probably some other guy with the same name.
Sam Mattera in The Motley Fool (June 2013):
“If This Is the Next iPhone, Apple Shareholders Should be Worried”
“[I]f Apple’s next iPhone is simply an iPhone 5S, investors shouldn’t expect record demand.”
“Sam is a member of The Motley Fool Blog Network — entries represent the personal opinion of the blogger and are not formally edited.”
You don’t say?
“The reason why people like Android, the reason why Android in my opinion is the best mobile operating system, is because it’s like Windows of old. It is an open operating system that gives programmers lots of freedom to build apps that take full advantage of your hardware. If you don’t want to get a virus, buy a flip-phone. If you want good technology, it comes with some level of risk.”
Unless you get an iPhone. Oopsie. Forgot about that one.
Larry Dignan in ZDNet (August 2013):
“History rhymes: Android dominates smartphones like Windows dominated PCs”
“Android’s success doesn’t rest with one device. Some hardware partner will cook up something to entice the masses and swarm Apple.”
“Google’s Android market share approached 80 percent as Apple ceded share in the second quarter to wind up with 13.2 percent of the smartphone operating system market, according to IDC. In other words, Android is doing to Apple what Microsoft did in PCs decades earlier.”
“Now market share via IDC isn’t everything ...”
You don’t say?
Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures (September 2013):
“[T]he [iPhone] 5C is a big disappointment.”
“The C in 5C ... means clueless, as in clueless about how the vast majority of new smartphone users are paying for their phones.”
I’m sure this can’t be the same Fred Wilson who said, “Apple is making a mistake by snubbing Adobe’s desire to get Flash on the iPhone.” Can it?
Anton Wahlman in The Street (September 2013):
“Google Laughs at the New iPhones”
“There was nothing new from Apple today that could stop Google’s market share march forward. Another company that’s having a field day today: Nokia. Apple’s new iPhone 5C is seemingly a flawless copy of the Nokia 620 that has already been available for several months.”
“Fingerprint sensor? You mean the same thing I got on my Dell laptop in 2007? ... If Apple’s latest claim to fame is to having copied a Dell 2007 laptop and a January 2011 Motorola smartphone, then Apple is in trouble.”
“Google’s Android and Chrome teams were already nicely ahead of Apple’s iOS team ... The pace of innovation at Google is simply faster than it is at Apple these days.”
“Apple has many dilemmas.”
“[W]hen compared to Google ... Apple suddenly falls short. The products cost many times more and they’re not as easy to use, requiring visits to special stores — and extra warranties. If these two new iPhone 5 models are all that Apple has, Google will then crush Apple in the coming months.”
Apple’s about to be crushed. Got it, Anton.
Dylan Tweney of VentureBeat (September 2013):
“Apple: The Beginning of a Long Decline?
You can only put so many dents in the universe.”
“After awhile, you run out of industries to reinvent.”
“I’m underwhelmed by iOS 7 ...”
“Apple is facing an existential threat, and this week’s news suggests it has no clue about how to respond appropriately. Android now accounts for more than 80 percent of smartphone sales, while iOS is down in the mid-teens. This is a company that is slowly but surely losing the final stages of its war for the phone industry. Merely keeping the faithful happy is not working. Incremental upgrades are not going to stem the tide.”
Apple’s being washed away by an ocean of Android. Thanks, Dylan. Now — you will be pointing to this article proudly a few years from now, as an example of your astute understanding of tech. Right?
Curtis Rush in the Toronto Star (September 2013):
“iPhone5S fingerprint reader: 10 reasons it’s a bad idea”
“This is a solution to a problem we don’t have.”
“Apple is using fear to sell this product.”
“Anytime you get complex software, it can lead to problems.”
“Expected technical difficulties with a new product.”
“People will use it initially, but the novelty will wear off.”
It’s a novelty — no wait, it’s a bad idea. Apple’s exploiting fear of what can happen if someone gets hold of your unsecured phone — no wait, it’s a solution to a problem we don’t have.
Joe Wilcox (September 2013):
“Apple’s iPhone 5s failure”
“Last week, I warned not to be fooled by Apple carefully managing the launch for maximum marketing benefit, twisting truth as so many companies try to but few achieve as well as iPhone’s maker.”
“Three days of sales is no real measure of any product’s success or failure.”
But the iPhone 5s is a failure. Thanks, Joe, for providing us with that untwisted truth.
Anand Chandrasekher of Qualcomm (October 2013):
“I know there’s a lot of noise because Apple did [64-bit] on their A7. I think they are doing a marketing gimmick. There’s zero benefit a consumer gets from that.”
Because consumers don’t benefit from a faster, more efficient processor.
Update: Two months later, Qualcomm now announcing plans for their own 64-bit mobile processor.
Sam Mattera in The Motley Fool (October 2013):
“Apple’s Latest iPhones Could Be the Most Disappointing in the Company’s History”
“Evidently, investors didn’t have much faith in Apple’s new devices — and now it’s looking increasingly likely that they’re right.”
“With Apple whiffing on its latest devices, it strengthens the case for handset makers that use Google’s Android, including Samsung.”
“Many consumers may purchase Apple’s iPhone over a competing Samsung because of its unparalleled system stability — well, maybe not for much longer.”
Apple’s iPhones are “whiffing.” Got it, Sam. Say.. didn’t you write this same article a few months ago?
Eric Schmidt of Google (November 2013):
“Eric’s Guide: Converting to Android from iPhone
Many of my iPhone friends are converting to Android. The latest high-end phones from Samsung (Galaxy S4), Motorola (Verizon Droid Ultra) and the Nexus 5 (for AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile) have better screens, are faster, and have a much more intuitive interface. They are a great Christmas present to an iPhone user!”
“[Y]ou will switch from iPhone to Android and never switch back as everything will be in the cloud, backed up, and there are so many choices for you. 80% of the world, in the latest surveys, agrees on Android.”
Translation: If I say everyone is dumping Apple, everyone will dump Apple! That worked great for Ballmer for the past decade, didn’t it?
Sam Mattera in The Motley Fool (December 2013):
“Nokia’s New Phones Will Put Microsoft Ahead of Apple”
“Apple’s slow market-share slide, combined with Nokia’s low-cost handsets and new phablets, are exactly what Microsoft needs ...”
“Nokia’s recently launched Lumia 1520 was temporarily delayed after demand outstripped supply. Customers who had preordered the yellow version of the phone were told they would have to wait longer than expected due to ‘overwhelming demand.’”
“In the third quarter, Microsoft’s Windows Phone saw year-over-year shipment growth of 156%, according to IDC. That’s an impressive figure. ... If that growth continues to accelerate, it could begin to attract more developer support.”
“Microsoft could surge past Apple in global market share by staking out a claim on the next billion smartphone adopters.”
“[W]ith Windows Phone’s rapid growth, and Microsoft and Nokia’s willingness to aggressively target emerging market consumers with budget handsets, I expect Microsoft’s platform to eventually overtake Apple’s iOS when it comes to global market share.”
I expect reality to overtake your expectations, Sam. Eventually.
Jim Edwards in Business Insider (January 2014):
“Android Dominated Apple At CES”
“This is not a good sign for Apple.”
“[T]he fact that many attendees appeared to be using Android devices — or at least non-iPhone devices — for mobile communications at CES ought to worry Apple.”
“Apple must learn from history. And the history of smartphones is pretty clear — the small screen phone that can’t communicate with others loses.”
“iPhone was once a great phone that offered the height of productivity in its day. But now its screen is too small, and its hostility to Android makes it too inflexible as a business device.”
“Apple, without a big-screen phone, risks becoming the BlackBerry of 2014 if it keeps its screens so small.”
iPhone users can’t communicate with others. And Apple might go the way of BlackBerry in the coming year. Got it, Jim.
Mark Moskowitz of JP Morgan, as reported by Lance Whitney in CNET (January 2014):
“The [Lenovo-Motorola] deal could push Apple to the fringes of the smartphone market unless the iPhone maker can cook up more innovative products, according to analyst Mark Moskowitz.”
“The smartphone market itself may follow the path of the PC market, according to Moskowitz, meaning slower growth, more vendor consolidation, and less of a distinction between different products. If so, that could spell trouble for Apple ...”
That Moto X is kicking ass! Right, Mark?
Shara Tibken in CNET (January 2014):
“Apple, the biggest loser in the Google-Motorola-Lenovo deal
The iPhone maker will now face a more focused Google, as well as a stronger Lenovo. Both could cause problems for Apple down the line.”
“Things are about to get tougher for Apple.”
“Apple may not be able to win over customers as easily as it has in the past.”
“A combined Lenovo and Motorola ... has the potential to take a large chunk of the market. It won’t be easy or quick, but Lenovo has a strong track record for dominating markets it enters.”
“Apple won’t just face Lenovo in China. The company also will use Motorola to break into the US market.”
Because Motorola is doing so well in the U.S. market.
Galen Gruman in InfoWorld (February 2014):
“No, a phablet version will not save the iPhone
Everyone is telling Apple it needs a big-screen iPhone to rekindle sales — but a look at the data shows that won’t work”
“Apple has not seen fit to address this need [for big screens], and its iPhone screen has become the runt of the smartphone litter ...”
“Sorry, but a phablet isn’t Apple’s salvation.”
“[A] bigger iPhone model will attract some people, but it won’t dramatically grow Apple’s iPhone sales ... If you want to grow smartphone sales dramatically, you need to have much cheaper models ...”
Translation: I like saying that Apple products need to be “saved.” And I like the way “runt of the litter” implies struggling also-ran, but I didn’t actually say that.
Steve Wozniak, Apple co-founder, as reported by Paul Krill in InfoWorld (February 2014):
“Wozniak to Apple: Consider building an Android phone”
“‘There’s nothing to keep Apple out of the Android market as a secondary phone market,’ [Wozniak] said.”
“[Wozniak] said BlackBerry should have built an Android phone; he then said Apple could do so, too. ‘BlackBerry’s very sad for me,’ Wozniak lamented. ‘I think it’s probably too late now’ for an Android-based BlackBerry phone. Apple, he said, has had some lucky victories in the marketplace in the past decade ...”
“[Wozniak:] ‘I just like it better when companies say, ‘Rather than fight patents in court, why don’t we just agree we’ll cross-license?’’”
Great advice, Woz.
Zach Epstein in BGR (February 2014):
“Huge leak suggests Samsung’s Galaxy S5 will outclass the iPhone 6”
“[T]he Galaxy S5 will pack specs that outshine and outclass its iOS-powered rivals.”
This wouldn’t be the same Zach Epstein who called the iPhone 4S “Apple’s fall from grace,” or who said, “Sorry Apple, Windows 8 ushers in the post-post-PC era,” or who told us iPad demand was “fading,” or who said that the third-generation iPad’s “launch day is quite a fiasco,” or who informed everyone “Apple again seen losing steam, new products needed desperately,” or who rhetorically asked, “How far can fanboys carry Apple?”
Ashraf Eassa in The Motley Fool (February 2014):
“We are just on the verge of the launch of Samsung’s next generation Galaxy S5 flagship phone. ... it’s pretty clear that it will be a state-of-the-art design from a hardware perspective. ... the key takeaway is that Apple can’t afford to wait until September to counter.”
“[T]he competition from the likes of Motorola/Lenovo, HTC, LG, and others is intensifying.”
“[T]here are some harsh realities from a component cost perspective that Apple is going to have to deal with ...”
The iPhone faces a harsh future. That’s reality. Deal with it, Apple.
Gordon Kelly in Forbes (March 2014):
“iSheep. That’s the retort most readily used to attack owners of Apple kit. ... Well brace yourself ... because it might just be true.”
“[T]here are clouds on the horizon.”
“Existing iPhone owners may love their handsets, but they aren’t winning over new owners.”
“While Apple searches for an answer (Bigger iPhones? Cheaper iPhones?) the battle right now isn’t so much about winning over the masses as keeping hold of the iSheep.”
“There are now 24 countries where Windows Phone outsells the iPhone.”
“[Apple’s] enviable position is only as strong as it is sustainable and — whatever company you prefer — adopting a stance of knowing ignorance is unhealthy. Technology’s greatest aspect is the speed it brings change and no-one should blind themselves to it.”
“[R]esearch heavyweight IDC reported in 2012 that Android took 69% of the global smartphone market. ... it reinforces the notion that keeping hold of the ‘blind loyalty’ brigade is not enough.”
IDC is a research heavyweight. That settles it.
Daniel Kline in The Motley Fool (March 2014):
“Are Strong iPhone Sales Actually a Weakness for Apple?
Apple may be incredibly successful, but the company’s fortunes could shift dramatically if anything disrupts the iPhone business.”
“[I]f something majorly affected the iPhone business, Apple would be in a vastly different financial situation.”
“Just like it was great to be ... Blockbuster Video until the concept of video rental largely moved from physical to digital rental, it’s great to have the top smartphone while people buy smartphones.”
“[I]f Apple is not prepared for whatever is next, than the company — no matter how great a 2014 it will have — is built on a shaky foundation.”
If Apple falls, Apple will fall? Truly, Daniel, you are a genius.
Gordon G. Chang in Forbes (April 2014):
“Apple, Be Afraid: China’s Xiaomi Going Global”
“Cupertino should be worried. ... Unless you insist on having a depiction of a piece of fruit on your device, you will go with the Xiaomi offering every time.”
“‘[Xiaomi]’s definitely disrupting everyone,’ says IDC’s Ryan Lai.”
“[Xiaomi’s plans] cannot be good news for market leaders accustomed to earning fat margins. Those market leaders will have a respite of a few years ...”
A few years left for the iPhone. Well, it was fun while it lasted.
Jim Edwards in Yahoo Finance (May 2014):
“The iPhone 6 Had Better Be Amazing And Cheap, Because Apple Is Losing The War To Android”
“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? And if that is the case, can a mobile device that serves such a small minority of the planet stay relevant in the years to come? 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?”
Quick, Jim, tell King.com — maybe they’ll stop developing for iOS!
Clay Christensen of Harvard University (July 2014):
“I said, ‘I don’t think the iPhone will succeed.’ ... But then comes the Android operating system from Google, which by definition makes the devices open and modular all the way through. So the people using the Android operating system are now Motorola, Samsung, LG. And they are killing Apple: now, Android accounts for about 80 percent of the market. So I was wrong, and then I was right.”
So — your prediction was that the iPhone would fail somehow, some way, someday? Funny, I don’t remember that. Might wanna go back and re-read your own stuff. (And brush up on iPhone financials while you’re at it.)
Jim Edwards in Business Insider (July 2014):
“I Ditched My iPhone For A Samsung Galaxy S5 And Was Blown Away By What I Was Missing With Apple”
“Using a large-format Samsung Android is leagues ahead of the iPhone experience ...”
“The Galaxy handles texts and email better than the iPhone ...”
“iPhone users do not realize quite how bad even basic web media like YouTube or Vimeo are on an iPhone ...”
“On iPhone, the video experience is frustrating ...”
“This is a phone for grownups who need to work. ... Finally, I can get some work done on my phone.”
“Until recently, I was a loyal Apple customer ...”
Um, how recently was that? As recently as last January, when you said that “Android Dominated Apple At CES?” Or was it a couple months ago, when you wondered how Apple could “stay relevant in the years to come,” because “hardly anyone” uses its products? Hey, maybe you can convert from Apple to Samsung again, a few months from now — who’s gonna know the difference?
Karl Denninger (July 2014):
“Ford’s Folly (iPhones)”
“If this is how Ford views security and the iPhone short Ford to zero.”
“Secure my ass.”
“[Ford] has publicly declared that fellating employee egos takes precedence over enterprise data security. A company that takes this position deserves what befalls them as a consequence.”
You mean, they deserve a better phone experience?
Mark Wilson in Beta News (August 2014):
“There is simply no reason for anyone to care about the iPhone 6”
“[The iPhone has] turned from something special into a poor substitute for one of the countless alternatives.”
“[Its] popularity ... certainly seems to have made Apple lazy. Innovation has gone out of the window.”
“While Android users (and even Windows Phone fans) have a huge number of handsets to choose from, the same cannot be said of those sucking on Apple’s teat. ... It’s a functional phone, but Christ it’s dull.”
“Look to Android. ... the range, the variety is impressive.”
“Sorry, Apple. The iPhone died with Steve Jobs.”
Most people can’t buy a range of phones, Mark. They can buy only one. Boring, huh?
Joel Silberman in The L.A. Times (September 2014):
“Sorry, Apple fanatics, but the new iPhones aren’t exceptional”
“The weirdest thing to me about Apple, however, is this: To the company’s devotees, nothing I just wrote matters. At all. They know they’re paying a premium, they know there are other options, and they don’t care. ... I am once again on the outside looking in, feeling the way you feel deep down when you witness acts of devotion by adherents of another faith: you do your best to respect and find the beauty in it, but deep down, you just can’t escape the feeling that it’s all kind of strange.”
Ten million iPhones were purchased last weekend by strange devotees and fanatics. Got it, Joel.
Paulo Santos in Seeking Alpha (January 2015):
“Apple: Winning The Profit Battle, Losing The Smartphone War”
“Apple had an extraordinary quarter due to the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. However, the overall dynamics of the smartphone market are now deeply unfavorable to Apple. If these dynamics are allowed to persist — and they most likely will persist — Apple will be exposed to the same thing that happened to the Mac.”
“Android already overwhelmingly dominates the market. Habits are forming which favor Android.”
“For now ... Apple has been successful ... [Its] strategy, however, carries risks ...”
“The app picture, once a defining Apple advantage, is also for the most part entirely gone. If you desire some kind of app, you have it on Android and it works well.”
“Windows ended up dominating by the sheer numbers which ultimately led to a software advantage. The same thing could eventually happen with Android/iOS. ... Android’s sheer domination by numbers can, at some point, produce an effect similar to what happened with Windows/Mac.”
“[T]he question beckons. What now for Apple? The larger display will have run its course ... trust me, there is nothing you can achieve with an Apple device right now that you can’t do likewise with your Android, and as easily.”
Even without Karl Denninger, Seeking Alpha hasn’t lost its touch.
Hey, check out Paulo’s bio: He’s an “algorithmic trading expert,” who’s been “trading professionally for about 19 years.” Want to read his really good ideas? Just $444 per year — $299 if you pay for a whole year up front!
Jim Edwards in Business Insider (February 2015):
“This [runaway success of iPhone 6] is, if left unchecked, an existential turning point for Android and its developers and manufacturers. After all, if you can’t win a battle against a product that costs about $700/£550 with a product that is equally good but free, then you’re screwed.”
Oops — you forgot to tell us which approximately-iPhone-quality Android phones are selling for $0, off-contract. Jim? Jim? Hello?
Michael Blair in Seeking Alpha (April 2015):
“Apple: Zenith Behind Us, Nadir On The Horizon”
“The Galaxy S6 should take share from the iPhone in the current quarter as may a new flagship expected from Xiaomi. Apple’s bull run is nearing an end with neither Apple Watch or Apple Pay big enough to offset an expected decline in iPhone sales.”
“[T]he relentless weight of competition will eat away at iPhone market share and market growth will slow.”
“With an installed base that is a fraction of the Android ecosystem, the iPhone runs some long-term risks. Android Apps now generate more revenue than Apple’s App Store and that trend is running away from Apple ...”
“A long time bear on Apple, I nearly became bullish with the surge in demand for the iPhone 6, but on reflection saw no reason to move away from my bearish stance with the aggressive reaction by top Android assemblers launching competitive devices every bit as good or better than the iPhone, with terrific devices from Lenovo; LG, Huawei; Xiaomi; and, now Samsung coming to market. In my view, Apple’s best days for the iPhone are behind it. ... At the end of the day, Apple is the iPhone and not much more.”
Keeping the Seeking Alpha tradition alive.
Steve Ballmer (July 2015):
“We would have a stronger position in the phone market today if I could re-do the last 10 years.”
You mean, if you could go back to before the iPhone existed — but still knowing all about the iPhone — then you could have won? Yeah, uh, OK.
S. Kumar in Fortune (August 2015):
“How the new iPhone could save Apple”
“[T]he new iPhone is crucial for Apple ...”
“[T]he company may have a hard time outdoing its blockbuster sales for the iPhone 6 ...”
“Some words of caution here. Apple’s new product launches are always surrounded by hype and predictions that don’t always come true. It remains to be seen how good the final product will be and, of course, how many people will buy it.”
Caution: Apple needs to be saved.
Rob Price in Business Insider (August 2015):
“Here’s why the iPhone isn’t going to catch up to Android any time soon”
“Research firm IDC ... predicts a dramatic slowdown in global [smartphone] growth ... So where does the iPhone fit into this? Looking forward, IDC says that ‘markets with the biggest growth opportunity are extremely price sensitive.’ This translates into new consumers in emerging economies looking for low-cost smartphones — a demographic with which Apple is unlikely to make any significant in-roads.”
Thanks for translating that, Rob. And here’s a translation of your translation: All potential Android-to-iPhone switchers have already switched; they just finished switching this year! Going forward, all Apple can hope to get is totally new smartphone users in emerging markets.
Matt Krantz in USA Today (September 2015):
“Apple’s latest iPhone 6S is already a bore
Another iPhone is coming! Is that even still ‘a thing?’ ... the novelty has more than worn off.”
“Other new products including the iPad, Apple Pay, Apple Watch and Apple Music have failed to meaningfully diversify the company’s offerings ...”
“Investors are counting on Apple to keep the excitement going over its aging iPhone smartphone line, which was first introduced more than eight years ago.”
“As Apple gets larger — and relies heavily on a product that’s become geriatric by tech standards, investors are increasingly difficult to impress.”
Apple relies heavily on an aging, geriatric product. Got it, Matt.
Rob Enderle in IT Business Edge (September 2015):
“Demand a Safe Phone
The market needs a secure line of phones that have a competitive number of apps. Since you can’t license iOS and Windows 10 for the phone doesn’t yet have critical mass, this leaves Android, but only if it can be made secure. ... There is no upside to an unsafe phone.”
You can license iOS, Rob. Just walk into your local Apple store and buy an iPhone. There — you’re licensed to use it.
Brett Arends in MarketWatch (October 2015):
“Why I dumped my Apple iPhone for a Microsoft phone
How uncool am I? Still, I basically get the same features but pay a fraction of the cost”
A really small fraction of $17,670. Right, Brett?
Parmy Olson of Forbes (October 2015):
“Apple’s iPhone Sales Defy Physics — But For How Much Longer?”
“[I]nexplicably, sales of Apple’s most important product continue to defy the principle that what goes up must come down.”
“[T]here’s still some reason to be cautious about how long this incredible growth will continue, and with a string of spectacular quarterly performances behind it, Apple has a tricky job managing expectations.”
“Sanford Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi believes that Apple’s heady growth days are now behind it. ... ‘The law of large numbers does kick in,’ he added. ‘Can the iPhone grow another 2-3 years or is it done growing?... I think investors are worried about the next two-year period. “Can there really be iPhone growth?” Because absent that there’s not really going to be much growth from Apple.’”
I think I’ve finally figured out the Law of Large Numbers: “No matter how successful be a company, nor for how many years, it shall always teeter on the precipice of imminent downfall, if its name be ‘Apple.’”
Matias Duarte of Google (December 2015):
“Where will digital design be in ten years’ time? Will we still be stuck using GUI interfaces and smartphones based on the original iPhone? I hope not. I really hope not. That would make me very sad and I’m doing my hardest to make sure that that is not the case.”
Translation: My job is to defeat Apple.
Rob Enderle (December 2015):
“Looking Ahead to 2016 or Why I Now Want My Own Bunker”
“iPhone 7 — We will again watch people line up to buy an iconic product that is only marginally better than the paid-for product they already have. Once again, we will hear the words ‘brilliant,’ ‘innovative’ and ‘beautiful,’ and wonder if folks are talking about the same phone we are seeing on stage. We’ll smile, nod our heads, and ask Siri to remind us to check to see if our medical plan covers mental health.”
And Siri will reply, “Too late for you, Rob. I recommend you go back in your bunker and stay there.”
Darren Orf in Gizmodo (January 2016):
“iPhone Sales Have Finally Stalled
It looks like interest in the iPhone is finally waning.”
Finally. Like, it should’ve happened a long time ago.
James Brumley in InvestorPlace (February 2016):
“The iPhone 5se: Everything That’s Wrong With Apple
Apple stock holders need to start asking tough questions about the company’s future
Really, Tim Cook? Really?”
“[I]s it time for owners of Apple stock to at least discuss the possibility that Apple is running out of ideas?”
“[R]everting to an older model risks sending the wrong message to current and would-be buyers. Indeed, it does send the wrong message about AAPL stock. That message being that Apple has so few new product or technology ideas it doesn’t even feel comfortable forging ahead with its sequential numbering scheme.”
Is it time to discuss Apple running out of ideas — again? For the umpteenth year in a row?
Jason Mander in The Guardian (February 2016):
“Is the iPhone really going out of fashion?”
“Apple is having a nervous start to the new year. Yes, it posted record quarterly revenues of $75.9bn and record quarterly profits of $18.4bn, but glance behind the titanium curtain at Apple and a core problem is materialising.”
“The conundrum for Apple is that iPhone sales are flat, iPad and iMac sales are down and wearables are yet to take off. Meanwhile, Samsung has produced some of the most innovative and cost-effective technology of the past 12 months. ... should Apple be more than a little nervous that it’s losing its grip on the global smartphone market?”
“Apple has always been able to trade on its premium status far more than any other brand. It will have to weather both an economic and Samsung storm this year, especially if virtual reality takes off, but there’s still a long way to fall from the tree before Apple has to panic.”
A really long way. Like, all the way.
Rob Enderle (March 2016):
“[Apple] needs the support of the U.S. government in the way that BlackBerry has the support of the Canadian government. If not, it needs to think about moving phone leadership and operations to a country that will supply it with that defensive support. If it doesn’t do this soon, it will eventually have its phones compromised and that could be the end of much of Apple’s iPhone business.”
Apple’s iPhone business could end.
Jason Perlow in ZDNet (March 2016):
“Here comes the iPhone apocalypse and the end of Apple as we know it”
“[G]rowth in its core business of iPhone, which makes up 68 percent of its revenue, is slowing quickly and making significantly less headway year-over-year in various key developing markets, giving up increasingly more share to more price-aggressive Chinese products instead.”
“The giant engine of manufacturing that is China is going to unleash this commoditization effect on Apple’s iPhone and iPad businesses as well. What it did to the PC industry before, China will do to what is Apple’s core business today. ... This is not Apple’s comfort zone, and it is not the arena they like to play in. In this commodity and supply chain sandbox with Chinese and Korean ODMs, Apple loses on the playground every time one of these battles occur. It lost having to play this game in the PC industry, and it will lose having to play this game with the smartphone and mobile device industry. It’s the same game.”
“What Apple has is its brand — and customer loyalty to that brand. It sustains them, but it only lasts one innovation cycle at a time. An extinction event always comes at the end of that innovation cycle and they have to rebuild and re-grow the user base again.”
“But once all the main components can be manufactured in China itself — the SoCs (semiconductors), the displays, the RAM, the flash, the batteries, everything, it’s game over for Apple and Samsung.”
Really, truly — this story never gets old. Just pull it out of the back of the fridge and microwave it up one more time.
Rafi Letzter in Tech Insider (May 2016):
“The affordability and openness of Google’s ecosystem offers huge advantages over Apple’s closed iOS.”
“Ask the average iPhone user why they stick with Apple’s increasingly boring, expensive lineup though and the answer is simple: They’re used to iOS.”
“Google is on the verge of striking a major blow in the ease-of-use wars ...”
“[A] huge majority of the world’s smartphone users already use Android devices.”
“iPhones get less and less interesting compared to premium Galaxies and HTCs ...”
Samsung and HTC have been really kicking ass these past couple of years, haven’t they?
Jason Perlow in ZDNet (July 2016):
“Four horsemen of the iPhone apocalypse”
“Huawei, ZTE, and Xiaomi — and now Lenovo, which owns Motorola’s mobile brand — are the four titans controlling [China]’s smartphone output ... make no mistake about it — the phones these companies make at the high-end are almost as good as what Samsung or Apple makes from a component perspective and are on par when it comes to manufacturing quality. And they can do it for half the price.”
“80 percent as good for half the price? If I was Apple, I would be extremely concerned about my prospects in China. ... it doesn’t end in China. China’s domestic market is just the start ...”
“The Chinese titans will battle it out, each one-upping each other until there are no margins to be had for the likes of Apple ...”
“Apple will retain their extremely loyal customer base that will continue to buy their products because of the status it entails. But it won’t be able to expand its market, and eventually it will start to shrink. And that’s fine, because Apple always ends up moving on to do something else.”
Apple will be fine, because it’ll go find something else to do — besides continuing to sell the most successful product ever made.
Dave Thier in Forbes (September 2016):
“Apple Killed The Headphone Jack, And I’m Switching To Android”
“Apple, in its infinite wisdom, has decided to remove the headphone jack from the iPhone 7, replacing it instead with a stopgap set of headphones that work off the lightning port alongside an obvious push towards wireless headphones for all.”
You mean, iPhone still comes with wired EarPods, but you can also buy the wireless AirPods if you want to?
Robert McMillan in The Wall Street Journal (September 2016):
“Apple’s New iPhones Arrive, as Glow Fades ... sales slow and competition heats up”
“iPhone sales are shrinking for the first time; consumers are waiting longer to upgrade their phones; and Apple faces fresh competition from rivals including Samsung Electronics Co. and Huawei Technologies Co.”
“The glow from Apple’s initial large-screen models, introduced in 2014, has faded.”
“Chief Executive Tim Cook is still looking for another breakout hit to rival the iPhone.”
Speaking of glowing and heating up, how’s that Samsung Note 7 doing there, Robert?
Farhad Manjoo in The New York Times (September 2016):
“The absence of a [analog headphone] jack is far from the worst shortcoming in Apple’s latest product launch. Instead, it’s a symptom of a deeper issue with the new iPhones, part of a problem that afflicts much of the company’s product lineup: Apple’s aesthetics have grown stale. Apple has squandered its once-commanding lead in hardware and software design.”
“[T]here are signs that my critique of Apple’s designs are shared by others.”
“It’s not just that a few new Apple products have been plagued with design flaws. The bigger problem is an absence of delight.”
“Apple’s design difficulties prompt two questions: How bad is this problem? And how can Apple solve it?”
“The real danger is in Apple’s long-term reputation.”
“[W]hile Apple has slowed its design cadence, its rivals have sped up. ... Samsung put out several design refinements, culminating in the Note 7, a big phone that has been universally praised by critics.”
Critics like — you? Say... this wouldn’t be the same Farhad Manjoo who said, four years ago, “[Microsoft Surface] could be the iPad rival the tech world desperately needs. ... I love the Surface. And that’s true even though I know very little about it.” Some other Farhad Manjoo, perhaps?
Chris Duckett in ZDNet (December 2016):
“2016: The year flagship phones became skippable
For the cost of a brand new Google Pixel XL or iPhone 7 Plus, you can buy a pair of Huawei Mate 8s and still treat yourself to a decent dinner”
Then you just squeeze those Mate 8s together, and bam, they turn into an iPhone 7 Plus! And hey, free dinner.
Steve Ranger in ZDNet (January 2016):
“The smartphone becomes a commodity”
“2016 was a year of overpriced and underwhelming flagship smartphones.”
“[S]martphone makers have ... been terrified to move away from the successful-but-aging format (the flat black slab of glass) ... this lack of innovation has mainly benefitted the second tier smartphone companies by giving them a chance to build phones that look like the flagships, have all the features that people actually use, and are a lot, lot cheaper. In 2017 those trends will accelerate ... it’s going to get harder and harder to justify the big premium for those flagship smartphones as a result.”
“Will [iPhone 8] be enough to revitalise the market? Perhaps, or more likely we will see the smartphone slide further into commodity status.”
Further! Because iPhone’s been slipping lately. Hasn’t it?
Rachel Gunter in Market Realist (February 2017):
“What Microsoft’s Foldable Phone Could Mean for Apple”
“Although it might take years before Microsoft begins to ship a foldable handset, such a device would be a game-changer, potentially emboldening Apple, Samsung, and other smartphone makers to try to catch up to protect their turf. ... Apple is particularly under the gun to defend its market share ...”
Apple’s “under the gun” to “try to catch up” with hypothetical, future phones from a company that effectively exited the phone market nine months ago.
Shelly Palmer in AdvertisingAge (February 2017):
“Is Apple Over?”
“On September 7, 2016, I stood on line for an hour to pick up my brand new iPhone 7 plus. ... I was still a blind faith follower of the cult of Apple. ... being one of the faithful means putting aside common sense.”
“Insane Design Decisions
Who is making decisions about dongles and jacks at Apple?”
“Samsung’s new Note 8 looks amazing, and Google is doing an exceptional job with its Pixel and Android OS. ... Why do I need iOS and OS X?”
So.. which phone did you get, Shelly?
Ewan Spence in Forbes (March 2017):
“New iPhone 8 Leaks Reveal The Four Horsemen Of Apple’s Apocalypse
An almost perfect storm is coming for Tim Cook and his team at Apple. It is not going to kill the iPhone line stone dead, but it has the power to inflict lasting scars ...”
“Apple hardware has always been priced high to create the feel of luxury at a just about affordable price.”
“The lack of genuinely new hardware will mean more reliance on slick marketing and buzzwords rather than practicality ...”
Say... didn’t you say, four years ago, that the iPad would have a tough time against the Nexus 7 tablet? And was that you who couldn’t figure out last fall whether Apple was “flying or dying?”
Matt Weinberger in Business Insider (April 2017):
“Mark Zuckerberg just signed the death warrant for the smartphone”
“HoloLens boss Alex Kipman recently called the demise of the smartphone the ‘natural conclusion’ of augmented reality and its associated technologies.”
“While it’ll take at least a decade to fully play out, the stuff Facebook is talking about today is just one more milestone on the slow march toward the death of the smartphone ...”
At least a decade. Maybe more. Maybe a lot more.