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Is This the End of the Age of Apple?

By The New York Times

WE NEED THE NEXT WAVE OF INNOVATION, AND WE NEED IT NOWRead full story

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  • It needed to be said. I am incredibly excited to see what comes next, and I see a major downturn in 2019 as a necessary part of the journey. Most of the companies Kara cites - Uber, Spotify, and yes, Tinder - emerged out of some of the pain points created by the GFC in 2008. Out of every great crisis comes opportunity.

  • Bradley Tusk
    Bradley TuskproCEO at Tusk Ventures

    Kara’s 100% right about the iPhone leading to a multitude of new ideas and startups (Kara’s usually right about most things), but she may be underestimating the potential impact of tele-health. Given that the health care system is the biggest, most expensive debacle facing both the public and private sectors, tele-health could be the trigger that gets people to use less care and gets doctors to prescribe less care and yet feels like a better deal to both sides. We’ve seen this already in a few of

    Kara’s 100% right about the iPhone leading to a multitude of new ideas and startups (Kara’s usually right about most things), but she may be underestimating the potential impact of tele-health. Given that the health care system is the biggest, most expensive debacle facing both the public and private sectors, tele-health could be the trigger that gets people to use less care and gets doctors to prescribe less care and yet feels like a better deal to both sides. We’ve seen this already in a few of our portfolio companies (notably Roman) and based on what’s coming next (machine performed surgery, on demand and remote mental health care, at home urinalysis tests), the productivity gains could be pretty staggering. (And yes, as an investor in Bird, I’m legally obligated to point out that electric scooters are really cool too)

  • “We look at the present through a rear view mirror. We march backwards into the future.”

    -Marshall McLuhan

    If you look to the past to predict the future you’ll always think innovation is on the decline.

    The 10x innovations of tomorrow look crazy today. Cryptocurrency, blockchain, electric vehicles, and who knows...

    If you want to know what’s coming next:

    • what are the engineers and designers doing in their free time

    • where are all the smartest people working

    • what capacity is growing over time (Moore’s law)

  • “[Innovation] is a big issue not only for Apple but also for all of tech. There is not a major trend that you can grab onto right now that will carry everyone forward. The last cool set of companies — Uber, Airbnb, Pinterest and, yes, Tinder — were created many years ago, and I cannot think of another group that is even close to as promising.”

    Fightin’ words from Kara Swisher!

  • James Cakmak
    James CakmakEntrepreneur | Tech Analyst

    I’m not exactly sure we’re in need of the ‘’next big thing”. The smartphone is about placing a computer in your pocket. Now that the developed markets are largely saturated, the next stage should be about how we improve on the quality of the experiences on the device itself, and do so in a privacy-driven way. Versus iterating on the smartphone in a game-changing way. It is those companies that can do that which should accrue the most value, while those that don’t underperform.

    5G and other developments

    I’m not exactly sure we’re in need of the ‘’next big thing”. The smartphone is about placing a computer in your pocket. Now that the developed markets are largely saturated, the next stage should be about how we improve on the quality of the experiences on the device itself, and do so in a privacy-driven way. Versus iterating on the smartphone in a game-changing way. It is those companies that can do that which should accrue the most value, while those that don’t underperform.

    5G and other developments will undoubtably serve as further improvements. But the age of Apple should by no means be dismissed as closing. If anything, their commitment to privacy and security should further separate them from the rest of the field.

    Which companies will improve lives on the smartphone in the next paradigm is the main item to debate.

    https://techonomy.com/2018/12/tech-investors-get-wrong-privacy/

  • Mark  White
    Mark White Founder at White Label Media

    Swisher makes some excellent points about our being in a bit of an innovation slump but separately but not unrelatedly, I think predictions about Apple’s demise are a bit premature. Apple will being a dominate force

    for years to come if it can challenge Amazon’s dominance in our homes. Apple TV and Apple

    music are still bright spots, especially if cord cutting continues in such big numbers.

  • The end of the age of apple was predicted throughout most of the 1990s. Remember the Newton? Innovation always comes from unexpected places... that we can't see the next apple or uber today seems par for the course. It's hard to see around corners... and the bigger you are the worse you tend to be at that.

  • The smart phone business is mature, but that does not mean it has to be boring.

    iPhone has a fundamentally different business model from Android, a closed system with a bundle of premium services vs a commodity platform with a larger array of unbundled and loosely integrated services. While the market is relatively evenly divided in the US, Android dominates elsewhere.

    Historically, Apple’s marketing has always emphasized the content side of its bundle, namely iTunes and the App Store. Times change

    The smart phone business is mature, but that does not mean it has to be boring.

    iPhone has a fundamentally different business model from Android, a closed system with a bundle of premium services vs a commodity platform with a larger array of unbundled and loosely integrated services. While the market is relatively evenly divided in the US, Android dominates elsewhere.

    Historically, Apple’s marketing has always emphasized the content side of its bundle, namely iTunes and the App Store. Times change and and different aspects of the bundle have great value. Today, Apple has a staggering advantage over Android in privacy and security. On Android, all your data is vulnerable all the time, because data is the currency that drives the economics on that platform. On iPhone, the Maps app exists to protect Apple customers from Google’s data policies; Apple does not keep your data. Siri performs a bit less well than Alexa or Google Home ... because it processes everything on the device to protect user privacy. Apple Pay provides no data to vendors. There is lots more to Apple’s advantage ... more than enough to shift market share, especially in Europe and Asia.

    Security and privacy are a huge marketing opportunity for Apple. Users will eventually understand that security and privacy are valuable and they have a choice. Android users will learn this the hard way.

  • There may be new startups but they have yet to step up and give Apple a run for their money.

    I think Apple knows that the age of yearly iPhone upgrades is over, but they still produce beautiful hardware that works efficiently.

    I just walked out of the Apple store with a new desktop and it was packed, compared to the 3 kids in the Microsoft store playing Xbox.

    We expect innovation from Apple, they miss one quarter revenue targets, largely due to China, and everyone is declaring them dead in the water.

  • Helen Edwards
    Helen EdwardsAlways curious at Koru Ventures

    Kara’s question of “where’s the next innovation” seems to hint at three different things 1. what’s the next technology-enabled platform for others to build on, 2. what are the biggest needs out there and, 3. given the dominance of the current platforms, who will do it?

    On 1, the trend over a long time is to get computing to be more “human”. Voice interfaces, chatbots, apps that connect with us emotionally, hardware that’s smaller and smaller and even biologically “active”/embedded. I see this continuing

    Kara’s question of “where’s the next innovation” seems to hint at three different things 1. what’s the next technology-enabled platform for others to build on, 2. what are the biggest needs out there and, 3. given the dominance of the current platforms, who will do it?

    On 1, the trend over a long time is to get computing to be more “human”. Voice interfaces, chatbots, apps that connect with us emotionally, hardware that’s smaller and smaller and even biologically “active”/embedded. I see this continuing and, while not yet there, bio-computing with embedded AI that connects us to the internet and to each other seems like where we are heading.

    2. Three massive industries that affect us all and where costs have gone up not down while tech has only hinted at disruption - education, health, housing. Oh, and cyber security.

    3. Really big question. Is big tech stifling or leading innovation? Depends who you talk to but Apple is one of those platforms with big stakes in health and education as well as in AI all centered around privacy as a core design principle. Apple remains one of the most trusted brands in tech.

    I’d wager that if we were going to put chips in our brains and bodies that help us learn, connect, stay healthy or become a collection of super human intelligences that beat the AIs, most of us would choose the Apple brand over any other for that. I’m not counting them out yet.

  • Victor Anthony
    Victor AnthonyInternet Equity Analyst at Aegis Capital

    I've been in the Google/Android camp since inception and have been baffled by how cultish Apple iPhone owners have been for a commoditized product. I recall years ago comparing my Android-based phone to my friend's iPhones to help me decide if I should switch. What I realized is that their iPhones and my phone did exactly the same thing - make calls, download Apps, text, take good quality pictures, and had a functioning ecosystem. But my phone was at a fraction of the cost of an iPhone. I stuck with

    I've been in the Google/Android camp since inception and have been baffled by how cultish Apple iPhone owners have been for a commoditized product. I recall years ago comparing my Android-based phone to my friend's iPhones to help me decide if I should switch. What I realized is that their iPhones and my phone did exactly the same thing - make calls, download Apps, text, take good quality pictures, and had a functioning ecosystem. But my phone was at a fraction of the cost of an iPhone. I stuck with my Android. Smartphones have run their course in terms of innovation. At 60% of revenues, that's a problem. But I am sure those engineers are working on a product that the world has no idea that it needs. I wouldn't discount their innovative prowess yet.

  • Junta Nakai
    Junta NakaiproIndustry Leader at Databricks

    Apple may be over, but it doesn’t mean Apple’s stock is over.

    Apple has a $100bn share buy back program. Since stock is down 40% from peak, it means Apple can now buy 75% more shares versus a few months ago.

    At today’s share price, Apple can buy back 700 million shares for $100bn.

    At peak price, only 400 million shares.

    This means each share gets more valuable because the number of shares outstanding decreases by a bigger number.

  • Apple just need to realize they put way too much faith in one product, the iPhone.

    I am a huge Apple fan, but I kept saying, Tim Cook is not making anything new. For example, MacBook Air should have stopped production a long time ago. At that point Apple should have focused on “How can we make the iPad the new MacBook”? When Adobe went over to Creative Cloud, that was Apple chance to seize the day. Most people in music and graphics are Apple users.

    Second thing, they failed where Amazon is succeeding

    Apple just need to realize they put way too much faith in one product, the iPhone.

    I am a huge Apple fan, but I kept saying, Tim Cook is not making anything new. For example, MacBook Air should have stopped production a long time ago. At that point Apple should have focused on “How can we make the iPad the new MacBook”? When Adobe went over to Creative Cloud, that was Apple chance to seize the day. Most people in music and graphics are Apple users.

    Second thing, they failed where Amazon is succeeding. Home automation should have been Apple’s other crown jewel.

    It’s pretty clear, making 3 different iPhones was stupid. If you make one superior iPhone for whatever model, then you can move on to bigger and better ideas. iPhone XS should have been it and came in multiple colors like the XR.

  • Jay Margolis
    Jay MargolisChairman at Intuit Consulting

    Our Presidents trade war with China cannot be underestimated. First Tiffany’s earnings indicated a big slowdown in consumers from China not buying and not traveling. Apple is being impacted and so will many companies relying on growth from a country with a new middle class looking for trend and having disposable income. Yes , Apple needs to continue to innovate, and yes they might have priced themselves over the consumer threshold, but I believe it’s more about a really foolish trade war. What

    Our Presidents trade war with China cannot be underestimated. First Tiffany’s earnings indicated a big slowdown in consumers from China not buying and not traveling. Apple is being impacted and so will many companies relying on growth from a country with a new middle class looking for trend and having disposable income. Yes , Apple needs to continue to innovate, and yes they might have priced themselves over the consumer threshold, but I believe it’s more about a really foolish trade war. What % of Apples products are produced in China? Think they could put higher duties on goods made in country bought in China.Watch, AirPods,Phone etc still better then most.Is there an obvious replacement for Apple-No!

  • No, it is not.

  • Kara is right on target here. In the words of another great cultural thought leader, Ariana Grande.. “ Thank U, Next”

  • Adaora Udoji
    Adaora Udoji

    Interesting. Yet, accurate? Contextually, it’s often not clear at the exact moment of a new product launch where the future will land. In fact, humans are so often way off, let’s not forget, some were stoned when they claimed the world was round. The point is there is opportunity, which was listed from #AR to #Blockchain to frameless and keyboard-less, gesture filled worlds. The more focused and committed experimenting we do across sectors, the faster the future gets clear. It won’t magically happen

    Interesting. Yet, accurate? Contextually, it’s often not clear at the exact moment of a new product launch where the future will land. In fact, humans are so often way off, let’s not forget, some were stoned when they claimed the world was round. The point is there is opportunity, which was listed from #AR to #Blockchain to frameless and keyboard-less, gesture filled worlds. The more focused and committed experimenting we do across sectors, the faster the future gets clear. It won’t magically happen by itself and there are so many converging technologies right now. #Rlab #BrooklynYard

  • If we follow the trajectory of major “tectonic shifts” in innovation: electricity, personal computers, internet, smart phones the logic points to ambient intelligence... not just AI or AR/VR but the cross section of several technologies that make humans achieve more per unit of time. I don’t think that only one of the paradigms mentioned would be “it”... my guess is the confluence of several things that make humans who they are and able to do more...

  • I believe point and entity predictions are challenging to get right on a regular basis, but it’s worth thinking about what could (not will) happen. On a more provocative note, perhaps the company is the wrong unit of analysis for this discussion. Aside from our emotions attachments that lead us to wish one company might succeed or thrive (i.e., innovate effectively), it seems that industries and economies might be more important than companies. Like many, I’m a longtime Apple customer; there are

    I believe point and entity predictions are challenging to get right on a regular basis, but it’s worth thinking about what could (not will) happen. On a more provocative note, perhaps the company is the wrong unit of analysis for this discussion. Aside from our emotions attachments that lead us to wish one company might succeed or thrive (i.e., innovate effectively), it seems that industries and economies might be more important than companies. Like many, I’m a longtime Apple customer; there are things I prefer (business model) and things I critique (some design choices). But whether it’s Apple or someone else that creates relevant and thoughtful offerings for the future isn’t that material. Whether or not the companies that will hopefully positively contribute to society on a meaningful scale exist yet is not knowable.

  • Dave Edwards
    Dave EdwardsFounder at Sonder Scheme

    Let’s step back a bit: the mobile internet revolution is nowhere near over. All the innovative companies Kara mentions require smartphones. And the improvements in those phones over the years (cameras, Bluetooth, single sign-on, location services, notifications, etc etc) have been the stimulus for gobs of unicorns. Proclaiming that we need a new hardware platform is too short-sighted...we still have a long way to go in inventing new things to run on computers in our pockets. The fastest growing startup

    Let’s step back a bit: the mobile internet revolution is nowhere near over. All the innovative companies Kara mentions require smartphones. And the improvements in those phones over the years (cameras, Bluetooth, single sign-on, location services, notifications, etc etc) have been the stimulus for gobs of unicorns. Proclaiming that we need a new hardware platform is too short-sighted...we still have a long way to go in inventing new things to run on computers in our pockets. The fastest growing startup in history, Slack, was launched just four years ago—have we really run out of ideas that can leverage a fast and powerful mobile platform?

    I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s another decade before the next big hardware platform. The iPhone has been around for 10 years. But the desktop was king since the launch of the Mac 23 years before then in 1984.

    Apple is at the center of this ecosystem and has created one of the largest services businesses in the world. Yes, the iPhone growth may slow but to proclaim Apple dead is also too short-sighted...there’s a long way that brand can go with the all the cash on hand and talent on campus.

    I’m with Roger on one important thing: security. Apple is heads and shoulders above the rest. Consumers will increasingly care for defensive reasons. They will also increasingly care based on the new features they can use with Apple and non-Apple services.

  • Marie Champagne
    Marie ChampagneBroker at Engel & Völkers

    Where is that next spark that will light us all up?

  • William Wood
    William WoodOwner at William Wood

    Where have I heard this before. I think I’ll listen to Warren Buffet, instead of the analysts, hush track record is better!

  • Adrian Warr
    Adrian WarrManaging Director at Edelman

    So AI, blockchain, 5G, IoT, AR, VR and robotics aren’t enough innovation for you?! Blimey. Draw out your own analogy, evolution didn’t exactly end after the Cambrian Explosion did it. While I can sympathise with your impatience, I’m just excited about what’s to come, feels like we are approaching some very interesting times.

  • Sanjeev Kale
    Sanjeev KaleCEO at SKale Consulting

    Impossible for anyone to truly answer this question. First, a falling stock price is not a good sign, but not the end of the world for the company itself. In some ways, performance of the company affects stock price not vice versus. Second, Apple is incredible secretive about new products in the pipeline. Unlike Google which us introduced many many products but not monetized then, Apple takes a very cautious approach, perhaps too cautious, in introducing new products. Finally, the Chinese and global

    Impossible for anyone to truly answer this question. First, a falling stock price is not a good sign, but not the end of the world for the company itself. In some ways, performance of the company affects stock price not vice versus. Second, Apple is incredible secretive about new products in the pipeline. Unlike Google which us introduced many many products but not monetized then, Apple takes a very cautious approach, perhaps too cautious, in introducing new products. Finally, the Chinese and global slowdown have affected every company. Apple is the most likely company to weather the storm due to a massive cash hoard. If they start buying up shares again earnings per share will rise and if there is a normalcy established in earnings the stock will skyrocket again. That's my prediction. This will all just be history.

  • Claudio Cammarano
    Claudio CammaranoMarketing Manager at Gruppo Mondadori

    “The problems Apple saw in China go far beyond just Apple. But Apple’s iPhone problems extend far beyond China, too.” To me, Apple needs to redefine its business model, or at least its revenue model. And it’s true, this is quite far beyond China.

    However, meantime I’m starting wondering if I should stop buying e-books from Apple bookstore.

  • Ken Knight
    Ken KnightArchitect at Self

    I don’t own Apple except via ETFs. The reason is no new innovations. They are now the 600lb gorilla playing catch-up. Its more of a service play which is reflected in their PE ratio.

  • Paul JIN
    Paul JINdskb

    Really enjoy using AirPods and the new Apple Watch.

  • Adrian Eversoll
    Adrian Eversoll

    No, Apple will make a game changing announcement in late summer on 2019.

  • Carmen B
    Carmen B

    It’s a trend. Every year the tech writers have meltdowns over what Apple isn’t doing right, what they aren’t doing fast enough, and then at the slightest trouble, Apple is dying. It’s been a constant and favorite refrain since Steve Jobs died and it’s tiring. No other phone manufacturer has so much heat and scrutiny.

    It’s not time to call the undertaker.

    People forget that Apple is forging ahead in its services area, security/privacy, health, Apple TV, the TV app, and so much more.

    Like other

    It’s a trend. Every year the tech writers have meltdowns over what Apple isn’t doing right, what they aren’t doing fast enough, and then at the slightest trouble, Apple is dying. It’s been a constant and favorite refrain since Steve Jobs died and it’s tiring. No other phone manufacturer has so much heat and scrutiny.

    It’s not time to call the undertaker.

    People forget that Apple is forging ahead in its services area, security/privacy, health, Apple TV, the TV app, and so much more.

    Like other tech companies, Apple has some bumps in the road, but it’s working on something new and great.

    It’s just the beginning of 2019. Have some patience.

  • Santiago Brockmann
    Santiago Brockmann

    No way that this is the end of Apple. About five years ago its share was stuck around the 80 dollar mark. It constantly showed slow growth and no momentum. At that time, a new iPhone brought it out of the doldrums. I agree that no new iPhone will save it this time. That said, it has already developed a services business that can and will add great value to the share price. It is slowly transforming from a manufacturing company to a balanced model of manufacturing and services. The current price reflects

    No way that this is the end of Apple. About five years ago its share was stuck around the 80 dollar mark. It constantly showed slow growth and no momentum. At that time, a new iPhone brought it out of the doldrums. I agree that no new iPhone will save it this time. That said, it has already developed a services business that can and will add great value to the share price. It is slowly transforming from a manufacturing company to a balanced model of manufacturing and services. The current price reflects almost exclusively the manufacturing side. It’s P/E ratio is not even close to those of service companies and it has the financial muscle to disrupt any business it chooses, much like amazon. Now is the time to buy!

  • Apple is in trouble, but not for the reasons the article suggests. Their problems are largely internal: since the loss of Steve Jobs, the company seems to have lost its capacity for long-term planning. Hardware and software quality, while still good, have both plummeted compared to what they once were. Under Tim Cook, Apple's culture of innovation looks to have been replaced by one of cost-cutting. MacBooks from 3 years ago were light-years better than the 2018 models. ITunes used to be the go-to

    Apple is in trouble, but not for the reasons the article suggests. Their problems are largely internal: since the loss of Steve Jobs, the company seems to have lost its capacity for long-term planning. Hardware and software quality, while still good, have both plummeted compared to what they once were. Under Tim Cook, Apple's culture of innovation looks to have been replaced by one of cost-cutting. MacBooks from 3 years ago were light-years better than the 2018 models. ITunes used to be the go-to desktop music application, even on Windows; starting about 5 years ago it turned into bloated crapware. Apple has plenty of opportunity to fix itself, but they'll need some big changes.

  • David Owen
    David Owen

    The next wave for Apple will be in health. They are already having an impact in the insurance industry and that will flow to improved health and globally accessible health records. Their better security will give them the advantage. The transition will continue to be services with more specialized hardware for hospitals. Blockchain will underpin everything.

  • Mark McLenaghan
    Mark McLenaghan

    I think that just like every other time Apple was down and people starting counting them out they came up with the next big reinvention that sparked the next big trend.

  • Yash Katireddy
    Yash Katireddy

    Yeeticus

  • Oscar Wu
    Oscar Wu

    Apple lost innovation when Steve Job passed. RIP.

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