Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Gassée on Apple Services

Jean-Louis Gassée (tweet, Hacker News):

I suggested a simpler, sharper statement: Apple makes personal computers, small, medium, and large. Everything else Apple does has but one raison d’être: They push up the volumes and margins of the company’s main hardware products.


My feeling is that Cook and his team are way ahead of us — or me, anyway. They’ve known for a while that Apple has entered a different era. With no Next Big Thing on the horizon — with Devices in a safe-but-slow incremental upward incline — the company has been compelled to move into conquest mode with its Services. This forced change in priorities has consequences, the compass needle points in a different direction. The reward system, people hired, career opportunities, “How We Do Things Here” culture…everything changes.


It pains this aging geek to think such thoughts, but I can’t help but assume that Apple will evolve into a different sort of company.

Dave B:

This has already been apparently for a while in software.

Look at apps like Apple Music and the TV app. Those apps are not built for the user; they’re built like billboards to sell the music & tv services.

This shift in Apple’s North Star has already begun and it’s worrisome.

Michael Love:

I agree, the problem is that Apple isn’t actually that good at making services and most of their services profit comes from some combination a) rent-seeking lock-in, b) being installed by default, or c) system integration unavailable to third parties.

Ken Kocienda:

Company missions speak to potential employees as much as to prospective customers. If the CEO always talks about services, it will attract people who want to work on that as a mission. It also drive away people who want to work on a different mission, like making great products.


5 Comments RSS · Twitter

The problem is that many of Apple’s services suck compared to the competition. iCloud Photos has made some great advances recently with iOS 16, but it’s still not as good as Google photos when it comes to searching.

And Apple Music is not fundamentally any different than Spotify — after all these years, there’s really no major innovation, and no real reason to use Apple Music over Spotify except that “it’s the one that’s built-in to the iPhone“. Really makes me wonder what’s going on at Apple when all they can do is create (often worse) copycat versions of other companies’ services.

And don’t get me started on Apple Maps. I tried to use it again the other day after I had heard that it has been much improved in the past few years, but it still directed me to take an exit ramp off the interstate, then go straight to get back on the interstate, then take the correct exit a mile later (and no, there was no traffic or construction in the area). I don’t even know how Apple Maps navigation can be so terrible. Google maps rarely ever leads me astray, but every single time I’ve taken the chance to try Apple Maps in the last several years it has screwed up something more than 50% of the time. I just can’t trust it.

It sure seems like the people in charge of Apple either aren’t using these services, or they use them and experience all of these issues and think “Nope no problem here. Everything is working just fine“

Apple's overall decline in quality does more or less correspond with its shift towards services. But there's a lot of other stuff that correlates with Apple's decline too.

Spelling error in the title: Gasée has two e's in it.

Fixed, thanks. And it also has two s’s.


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