Thursday, December 15, 2016 [Tweets] [Favorites]

The Businesses Apple Has Left Behind

Stephen Hackett:

This year, Apple has exited the external display business and is rumored to be discontinuing its AirPort wireless routers.

These developments have left a bad taste in many users’ mouths, but 2016 isn’t the first time Apple has shuttered an entire product line.

By my count, there are five major categories of products or devices that Apple has abandoned over the years.

5 Comments

Tedious whiners complaining about how Apple has abandoned them are also the number one fans who love to boast about what fantastic machines their Macs are because they only have to replace them once every decade. Cretins; it's called running a business.

Because we like what they make, we want them to make everything. However they risked becoming another HP, Sony, Yamaha, Hitachi, Mitsubishi. Those companies perhaps make so many different products that they lose focus. Have you ever tried navigating HP’s website?

"By my count, there are five major categories of products or devices that Apple has abandoned over the years."

The difference between those categories and the current EOL's is that the current ones don't seem to have replacements, either at all, or at the same price point.

If you use AirPort Express to send audio, what are you left with? If you use Time Capsule to do network backups, what are you left with? I don't use either of those products myself, but if I did, to replace the functionality, I'd have to spend a lot more money, and I'd have to have certain technical chops...

Most of the lines listed in Hackett's article were either things that were new, or Apple was building because other companies weren't or Apple feared other companies wouldn't make those things.

Apple also had most of an entire line of Ethernet networking products (mostly AAUI transcievers, thinnet cabling), LocalTalk networking products, Claris (as owned by Apple) used to make, in addition to HyperCard and ClarisWorks, higher grade software products to compete with various players such as a word processor, a spreadsheet app, a presentation/graphics app, a raster paint and a vector draw app, along with a CAD app, and of course, FileMaker.

And then, there were modems, which Apple made basically until Global Village stepped in (and even then, GeoPort.)

In most of these situations, there were better products available, and this is true for most of the modern examples as well.

Probably the most troubling of any of these examples is the AirPort family. Even without updates, the Express' functionality as an AirPlay device, and the Time Machine functionality of the Airport Extreme and Time Capsule are, as far as I know, not duplicated well (in particular, running Time Machine while in connected standby sleep mode) anywhere else.

"Even without updates, the Express' functionality as an AirPlay device, and the Time Machine functionality of the Airport Extreme and Time Capsule are, as far as I know, not duplicated well"

Well, as I noted just upthread, this is indeed the problem, and why this particular EOL is quite different from the ones covered in the article, and the interesting additions you mention.

As far as alternatives go, AFAIK, they do exist. They just are significantly more expensive and complex.

Personally, I use a Mac Mini to handle both beaming audio to my stereo, and for doing wireless backups. But the beaming audio only works for me because I live in an urban environment where we only have a need for music in one room.

Otherwise, I think Apple has licensed AirPlay to other companies who make devices, but AFAIK, they aren't going to be as cheap, convenient, or simple as an AirPort Express. For wireless backups, obviously another Mac like my Mini will do the job, though not as cheap or simple as a Time Capsule. I don't know the status these days of Time Machine working with 3rd party SAN devices.

So, yeah, I fully agree with you that the AirPort EOL's are troubling for users.

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