Run down the list of the tech markets that Apple has had a disruptive influence. The original PC market with Apple II. The Mac, of course. Steve Jobs was forced out of Apple and there wasn’t much disruption until he returned in mid-1997. The next year Apple did it again.
One could argue the iMac helped to save Apple but more disruptions were on the way. The Apple Store. Then the iPod and iTunes. After that, the iTunes Music Store and iPod on Windows. The Mac moved to Intel Inside, and Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone, and the next year the App Store. And, before Jobs died, the iPad.
What a string of market disrupting products.
So, Apple, what have you done for me lately? Yes, each year since Steve Jobs died Apple has upgraded and updated and added new innovations to all products. But what about those market disruptions of the Steve Jobs era?
What hath CEO Tim Cook wrought?
Cook seems to be something more of an operations guy than a visionary. He bought Beats Music which became the hot selling Beats headphones you see in the Apple Stores and elsewhere. He turned Beats Music into Apple Music but neither one are exactly market disruptors. Spotify has double the paying subscriber base of Apple Music.
Well, Cook introduced Apple Pay which is the most used mobile payment system; relative to whatever Google or Samsung or Walmart and other big box stores push onto their customers. Apple Pay is sweet and easy but not exactly a market disruptor of the Steve Jobs class.
Apple Watch? OK, now we’re talking disruption. Apple Watch disrupted the entire watch industry, and Apple owns the smartwatch segment and sells almost as many Watches as Macs each year. Clearly, Watch is a hit. And it disrupted the watch market.
I’m hard pressed to come up with more than that list. Mac Pro, iMac Pro, the new MacBook Pro models are iterative innovations of existing products and don’t blaze any new ground. Face ID and Touch ID are not really products, either.
Steve Jobs died in late 2011 and in the nearly seven years since Tim Cook’s Apple has launched iPhone accessories but no truly market disruptive products. Apple is crazy profitable, yes. Apple’s stock is crazy high, yes. And there’s the dividends and stock buyback programs.
But put those all together and all I can come up with is this. Apple’s vision of the future of technology is cloudy, fogged over, and in need of… insert a Mincey drum roll right here… glasses.
I’m thinking Apple Glasses.