Someone at Apple drank the Kool-Aid and made up some spreadsheets and PowerPoint slide shows that said our favorite Mac maker needed to be like Microsoft and license Mac OS to broaden the Mac’s market. You know. Like Windows did to PCs back in the day when Microsoft did not manufacture its own personal computers and relied on revenue from Windows and Office.
How did that licensing scheme work out? Apple almost died. And one of the first things interim CEO and Apple co-founder Steve Jobs did upon his second coming was to kill off the clones and end Mac OS licensing.
But everybody said that would save Apple. It. Did. Not.
Instead of listening to the cries of gloom and doom, Jobs went ahead and reconstructed Apple in his image. Instead of licensing Microsoft’s Windows to run on Mac hardware, Jobs did the unthinkable and dropped PowerPC CPUs and adopted Intel and Windows came along for the ride.
Remember netbooks? Everyone was sure Apple would wither and die without a cheap notebook. What died were cheap notebooks.
You see where this is going, right?
Apple is late to nearly every technology party, sufficiently so on a number of new product categories that critics howl the gloom and doom until late at night, then wake up to Apple’s version of a new product which immediately sets off more howling until the entire market turns around and moves in Apple’s direction.
Mac, iPod, iTunes, iPhone, iPad, Watch et al. It’s always the same story. To mix metaphors, Apple is so late to the party that it misses the boat entirely, and then the boat turns around and heads off toward Apple’s new found course anyway.
Except now. Again, Apple has missed the boat of home talking systems like Amazon’s Echo and Alexa voice assistant, and Google’s Home and whatever name they’re calling their voice assistant this year. We’re still waiting for Microsoft’s Cortana talking personal assistant to show up in the new Microsoft Home Box, but maybe the Windows maker knows what Apple knows.
Apple’s Siri is everywhere already and does more than Amazon’s Echo and Alexa team, and the market isn’t quite ripe for talking boxes in the home, anyway. Yet. Amazon sold a few million Echo devices last year and it was a huge hit that had the technology community all abuzz. Apple sold many more millions of the more expensive Apple Watch and that disaster had the technology community all abuzz but in a different direction.
The drumbeats have started for Apple to introduce a talking box, a Siri speaker for the home, a cutely packaged digital device which listens for commands and then performs specific actions while you sit on the sofa.
Uh huh. Apple missed that boat. It may be too late to save Apple this time. No talking Siri box you, Apple die hards and zealots.
Of course, that particular Apple exists in a different but nearly parallel universe and the Apple we know and love already has a billion boxes where Siri can talk, take dictation, perform the few parlor tricks such artificial intelligence personal assistants can manage at this stage of the technology.
Siri works on Mac, iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, and Watch. About a billion of them to be imprecise. Oddly enough, none of the technology critics point that out. They also seem to forget that Siri is mobile whereas Echo and Alexa are not. That leads me to believe that Apple is not missing the netbook or Mac OS licensing boat at all, but is exactly where it needs to be at this point in the space time continuum to be, well, Apple.
Somehow Amazon found itself the complete and sole owner of the voice-controlled home appliance market; that same market where Apple has been sitting already with the aforementioned iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Watch, and now Mac, all with Siri, and with Siri ready and willing to perform similar parlor tricks.
Yeah. Uh huh. Right. Apple missed another boat. Just like always.