Does it matter that Apple cast no shadow on CES?

From Ben Bajarin’s Apple’s Indirect Presence Fades from CES:

I want to make an observation, which I feel is an important one. However, I don’t want it to be taken the wrong way. For the record, Apple is not doomed. What should be noted, is how fast the Amazon ecosystem is growing. The critical point here is how consumer electronics vendors need platform partners. The question at hand is whether or not that platform partner can or will be Apple or not. As of now, the answer is no.

For many years, articles were published discussing how even though Apple was not present or participating in CES they were still one of the shows biggest winners. This was during, what we may now call “peak Apple ecosystem.” I distinguish this phrase from peak Apple, which I don’t believe is the case. However, one could ask whether Apple’s ecosystem has reached its peak…

Gone are the days of Apple’s presence, or observably “winning” of CES, even though they are not present. It was impossible to walk the show floor and not see a vast array of interesting innovations which touched the Apple ecosystem in some way. Now it is almost impossible to walk the floor and see any products that touch the Apple ecosystem in any way except for an app on the iOS App Store. The Apple ecosystem is no longer the star of CES but instead things like Amazon’s Alexa voice platform, and now Google’s assistant voice platform is the clear ecosystem winners of CES.

My take: Having covered CES and Comdex in the 80s, just as Apple was being sidelined by IBM, I’m not as confident as my friend Ben that you can separate “peak Apple” from “peak Apple ecosystem.” That said, I’ve seen the fast followers at CES run like lemmings after fads with shorter half-lives than an Alexa “skill.”


  1. Fred Stein said:
    A few observations (never went to CES):
    1) Siri is behind today and that is a problem. But Apple has proven it’s ability to make up lost ground before. This is a big deal. Apple knows this.
    2) Is CES important? It’s been around for 51 years. But I can’t recall any enduring products that were launched there. Maybe way back.
    3) Apple may be focusing on health care, a highly fragmented $16T global market ($3.6T in the US.)
    4) The best proof that Apple’s ecosystem is intact is that App Store revenue is still outgrowing Google Play.

    January 15, 2018
    • David Drinkwater said:
      I’ve been thinking of the “lag” in Siri and the delay of HomePod: I wonder if the recent acquisition of Shazam plays into that at all. Maybe the negotiations started and Apple said, “hey, let’s get our new software tech and put it to work in this new hardware”. Just a thought.

      January 15, 2018

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