In December 2014, I cajoled: “Writers, Own Your Content!” All my work-written blogs—thousands of posts—between mid-2003 and April 2009 are gone. The companies shut down the sites (because of acquisition and restructuring). Now, to prevent future deletion calamity, everything I want to preserve cross-posts here, as is the case with yesterday’s “Whatever Apple Was, It Isn’t Anymore“, which appears on BetaNews as “Apple’s core is rotting“.
Unsurprisingly, the BN version generated more reader reaction—119 comments as I write. You can consider the post as example of what I referred to two days ago when answering question: “Where are the Comments?” Most of the reaction to my stories takes place elsewhere. As such, I sometimes feel need to transplant some of the interaction here, as I did four months ago with post “Who’s the Troll Here — This Dude or Me?” I do so again, today.
Don’t Make Me Laugh
As is typical, numerous commenters accuse me of writing clickbait, which turns my eyes down and smile up in response. I can’t hold back the chuckle, because they’re clueless—and that’s being damn polite.
The point of the analysis is this: Apple took many risks under Steve Job’s leadership but very few since iPad’s release in 2010. In yesterday’s analysis, I bulleted an incomplete list of examples, repeated here:
- iMac (August 1998)
- iTunes (January 2001)
- OS X (March 2001)
- Apple Store (May 2001)
- iPod (October 2001)
- iTunes Music Store (April 2003)
- iPod mini (February 2004)
- iPod nano (September 2005)
- iPhone (June 2007)
- App Store (July 2008)
- iPad (April 2010)
Commenter John Young’s response tweaked my interest. He writes: “Honestly in Joe’s list the only one I consider a risk was the iPad. The tablets before that were a failure for the most part. The iPod and iPhone, other companies already had devices on the market and Apple redefined those devices. OS X…was just an evolution of Mac OS”.
Let Me Tell You Something True
Here’s how I answered, not just for him, but other comments who willfully ignored the analysis’ point, or just didn’t get it (as writer some blame for the latter belongs to me). I don’t blockquote for readability’s sake and add useful links:
iPad was actually least risky of all.
The 2001-four: iTunes, OS X, Apple Store, and iPod were huge risks, starting with timing. There was a recession, and Apple reported quarterly losses. OS X meant re-engineering the architecture and trying to get developers’ support—the same year Microsoft released Windows XP. Yikes! Apple Store came as Gateway shuttered its 400 stores (or thereabouts), and Apple had zero experience in retail. Apple also had no experience with music players when releasing iPod, which chickwheel and simple sync were revolutionary user interfaces for the time.
iTunes Music Store was yet another new market for which Apple had no experience but which did something unexpected: Sold songs for 99 cents. The concept could have flopped, and some aspects of it, like Ping, later did.
iPod nano’s risk was something unheard of in retail: With its launch, Apple killed off the most successful music player on the planet. The iPod mini. Steve Jobs did that to stick it to imitators shipping product for Christmas 2005. Nobody ditches a hot-selling product in its prime, but Apple did just that.
iPhone was riskiest of all. Apple entered a category for which it had no experience, taking on entrenched incumbent Nokia, and selling through one carrier (AT&T) in one market (United States). iPhone is monument to innovation risk-taking.
If you really understand the history of Apple, what risks the company took to bring these products to market, and the current context of maximizing margins and preserving established revenue streams, you would get the analysis’ point. Anyone calling this article clickbait doesn’t get it.