Fortune: Has Apple Lost Its Design Mojo?

Betteridge’s law: Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no.

Rick Tetzeli’s lead story in the January issue of Fortune has an amusing opener:

The Touch ID on Victoria’s iPhone 6 doesn’t work well in the winter cold. John is tired of kneeling or sitting on airport floors to plug in his 6s, whose battery seems incapable of lasting through the day. A few months ago, Henry noticed that when he’d type an “I” into his iPhone, “A?” would sometimes show up on his screen. Nancy, who’s older, hates that Apple never provides instructions after upgrading her iPad to “new formatting.” Adam, who’s younger, has ditched Apple for Google’s Pixel 2 XL, because he prefers the design and uses Google apps. Tony, who thinks iTunes has gone from being a well-organized music library to a disorganized marketing vehicle for Apple ­Music, has subscribed to Spotify and Pandora.

The five people in my home use two dozen cables to power and connect 18 Apple devices. Six are frayed and wrapped in duct tape—their thin, rubberized, and attractive-till-it-breaks covering doesn’t seem designed for the heavy use these cables obviously get. Worse yet, hunting one down takes ages, because the USB, Lightning, Thunderbolt, and USB-C cables are incompatible in a variety of ways, and the little adapters I purchased after each “upgrade” have been lost long ago, probably behind some couch cushion that’s also hiding Anya’s too-tiny iPod Shuffle and the earbuds that came with the iPhone 6 that Tal shattered…

My take: A deep, well-sourced dive by the co-author, with Brent Schlender, of Becoming Steve Jobs.

5 Comments

  1. John Kirk said:
    There are two ways of looking at progress. Some measure how far we have yet to go. Others, like me, measure how far we’ve come.

    When we measure against perfection, we’re doomed to always fall short. To me, that’s a poor way of measuring things.

    Take another look at that opening paragraph. Now ask yourself: Are Apple’s products better than their competitors? Are Apple’s products better than previous iterations of Apple products? Are we better off owning Apple’s products than not owning them? Does the existence of Apple make the world a better place to be?

    Most of us would answer yes to all of those questions. Does that mean Apple should not continue to strive for perfection? Of course not. We should always strive for perfection. But we should do so with the recognition that it is not how far we have to go, but how far we’ve come, that matters. And, in my opinion, Apple has come a long, long way.

    2
    December 22, 2017
    • Gregg Thurman said:
      Excellent response.

      The media is paid to generate eyeballs. You could legitimately argue that journalists work for the advertisers, not the publication they ostensibly represent.. Certainly they are not employed to inform the masses.

      2
      December 22, 2017
  2. Fred Stein said:
    Rick’s five examples demonstrate the paucity of argument by example.

    Net switchers from Android to iOS is positive.

    The Installed Base Share of iPhones is higher that the annual average of iPhones shipped market share. The only explanation is that iPhones last longer in the hands of real people.

    So, Yes. The answer is No.

    3
    December 22, 2017
  3. John Butt said:
    “The five people in my home use two dozen cables to power and connect 18 Apple devices.” says it all. A committed home with probably no regrets but I need to say something to fill up my paid day.

    1
    December 22, 2017
  4. Darren Grayson said:
    “Six are frayed and wrapped in duct tape—their thin, rubberized, and attractive-till-it-breaks covering doesn’t seem designed for the heavy use these cables obviously get.”

    Translation: I could pay $20 to replace these cables, but then I’d have nothing to complain about.

    0
    December 22, 2017

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