Jony, Phil, Eddy: Where are they now?

Three senior Apple executives conspicuous in their absence.

I wonder if some of the things that bother me the most about Apple these days can be laid at the feet of three guys we didn’t see at WWDC.

  • Jony Ive, Chief Design Officer.  I can’t remember the last time I saw him that wasn’t in a magazine profile. [UPDATE: Fall, 2015, Pencil video]. I blame Ive—or the design team operating in his absence—for the Apple TV remote, the trash-can MacPro, and the current crop of MacBooks: too thin, badly ported, with keyboards that spawn class action suits.
  • Phil Schiller, Senior Vice President Worldwide Marketing. I also blame Schiller for what happened to the Mac, perhaps unfairly. He can’t help it that the fortune generated by the iPhone each quarter turned his beloved computers into poor relations. But there’s no excuse for making bad machines. Not at Apple.
  • Eddy Cue, Senior Vice President, Internet Services and Software. Has Cue done anything right since he signed the big music labels for Steve Jobs? He couldn’t land Hollywood, screwed up iBooks, over-payed for Beats and lost Siri. Now he’s been eclipsed by the boys from Sony, which may not be a bad thing.

My take: Some of these guys are phoning it in.

UPDATE: From Twitter.

13 Comments

  1. David Emery said:
    I’d characterize the current MacBook Pro line as “anorexic”. Too many compromises just to be thin.

    1
    June 23, 2018
    • Gregg Thurman said:
      People have a need to blame someone or something for results they don’t like They blame the receiver for dropping the game winning pass at the end of the game, ignoring that there 80 other plays that didn’t result in a score either.

      Blaming “to be thin” is another example of blaming something, anything for the lack of a desired result.

      The reality is that thinness has nothing to do with MacBook Pro performance, or the lack thereof. A processor that can support 32GB memory without eating batteries alive would take up no more space than the processor that doesn’t..

      If Apple is positioning Macs to use A Series processors in the near future it is because Intel’s processor development has lagged for the past 3 years.

      The latest latest Intel processor that supports low power memory 32 GB memory is old, and it only supports LPDDR3. Today’s Intel desktop processors support DDR 4 memory but not (low power) LPDDR4. Apple could put DR4 supporting processors in the MacBook Pro but battery life would be cut in half.

      Going back to A Series processors, they support 32GB today AND can address 64GB. THey just aren’t powerful enough (yet) to power MacBook Pros.

      Apple’s initiative to enable iOS apps to be ported to run on MacOS devices could signal that in 2 or 3 years A Series processors will be powerful enough to do double duty.

      Just don’t blame Apple for Intel’s inability to deliver.

      2
      June 23, 2018
      • David Emery said:
        I don’t mean just the current MacBook Pro, but rather the changes to the MacBook Pro over the last 5-7 years. For instance, the change from MagSafe to MagSafe 2 was driven by size considerations, not functionality.

        Similarly, dropping USB2 and SD card slots may well have been driven by size considerations (I can’t cite a specific source, but that’s certainly my impression.)

        Size also constrains keyboard including key travel. My much lamented ’11 MBP had a much nicer keyboard for my touch-typing, with more key travel.

        1
        June 23, 2018
      • Fred Stein said:
        Agree. Intel is dropping the ball.

        That said, Philip’s point holds up, regarding Eddy Cue. While Sir Jony has moved on, his followers are doing well – the iPhone X is pretty amazing. Phil seems more like a pitch man.

        From the following video interview by John Gruber, we see potential new leaders, needed for changes at the top tier. https://daringfireball.net/thetalkshow/2018/06/08/ep-223

        Happily Craig gives a lot of his talented team bigger exposure.

        1
        June 23, 2018
        • Gregg Thurman said:
          Cook isn’t afraid to fire senior execs (for whatever reason). Case in point: Forstall.

          If Cue wasn’t doing what was expected I’m sure he would be gone. He’s still there so I think the perception about him is based on faulty assumptions/lack of understanding as to what is expected of him.

          Without exception I feel very good about Apple’s management team.

          0
          June 24, 2018
  2. John Blackburn said:
    Doesn’t look like Federighi in that photo. Forstall?

    1
    June 23, 2018
  3. Peter Kropf said:
    ” I also blame Schiller for what happened to the Mac.”

    I believe Apple is 2 years into a 6 to 10 yr x86 Mac sunset. It seems x86 has been fully eclipsed in cost structure for mobile parts.

    If true, Schiller can’t be blamed for the Board decision to sunset x86. In fact, Apple’s monolithic functional hierarchy is allowing it to jump the x86 ship as it slips into the sea.

    “The king is dead, long live the king (ARM).”

    Kudos to Mark Hibben’s reporting. https://seekingalpha.com/article/4183500-intel-3-failures-brian-krzanich-part-1?isDirectRoadblock=false

    0
    June 23, 2018
  4. Jonathan Mackenzie said:
    If Apple overpaid for Beats, it wasn’t by much.

    Beats was said to be substantially cash flow positive when Apple bought them in 2014. They were reported to have $11 billion in revenue the prior year and to boast huge margins on their headphones. NPD Group estimated that Beats owned 57 percent of the “premium” headphone market (over $99).

    I know $3b is far and away more than Apple has ever spent on a company, and Jimmy Iovine may not have brought all that he was supposed to. But the headphone company alone was worth a decent amount of money.

    1
    June 23, 2018
  5. Richard Wanderman said:
    I think PED is on to something here although I’m not sure it’s a single thing.

    I get the feeling that there’s territorial discord in the executive ranks and while I don’t think it’s anything new, I think it may be hurting Apple’s ability to deliver.

    I hear about new emojis more often than I hear about more substantial things these days, and that’s troubling.

    2
    June 23, 2018
  6. Richard Wanderman said:
    I own over 400 movies and documentaries, bought in iTunes (most of them under $10, I wait for sales).

    Organizing them is a disaster: no way to tag them or make my own organization based on anything more than Apple’s genre sorting. Why doesn’t video content work the way music does in iTunes (or as some would say, like music doesn’t)?

    iBooks/Books lacks the same tools for organization. My wife and older step daughter have more books than I have movies in their respective iBooks catalogs with no way to organize them except the default ways Apple provides which are meager to say the least.

    I think, although I’m not sure, that this is Eddie Cue’s territory. It’s been years and nothing seems to happen to iTunes or iBooks.

    0
    June 24, 2018
    • David Emery said:
      That’s like the total inability to do ‘album shuffle’ on the iPhone. Given Apple senior executive’s well stated love of music, I find this incomprehensible. (I can’t believe that no one at Apple listens to album oriented music, whether classical, jazz or rock…) It seems that Apple is now failing at the first principles of user interface design, to have enough reasonable use cases to make sure the functionality is complete & consistent.

      0
      June 25, 2018

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