Apple’s new hardware and software is less than overwhelming for the iPhone and iPad, as well as the Mac. Apple hardware is still good, but the difference between Apple and other brands is no longer as great as it used to be. Perhaps the most glaring is the failure to build a Mac with a real touchscreen. My wife, who uses her iPhone and iPad all the time, has difficulty using the mouse pad on my Mac when I try to show her something on it. Apple should make a Mac that has a touchscreen that works just like an iPad and that will run iOS apps made for the iPhone and iPad. From advertising, it looks like the Microsoft Surface has beaten Apple in this race, although I have never used a Surface. I’m not sure exactly what features it has, but has certainly ended the perception that Apple is on the leading edge of technology.
Apple hardware is still among the best, but it is not without difficulties. Highlighted is the inability to easily replace batteries or upgrade memory. The iPhone is the most obvious, because weak older batteries have prevented older iPhones from running new software well. Apple’s decision to slow down older iPhones certainly points to Apple shortcomings, whether in hardware, and in sales techniques, since it looks like Apple is forcing users to buy new phones when the phones worked perfectly well with the old software.
Apple has not had any new, exciting features to demonstrate either in hardware or software for the last few years. Amazon’s Kindle makes Apple’s iBooks look bad as both hardware and software. It’s hard to find iBooks, and they play on very few devices. Apparently Apple thinks the people who use their devices are too stupid to read, and only listen to music. Using facial recognition as a password has turned out to be interesting, but not a game changing development. The Mac has been a neglected stepchild. The iPhone is Apple’s bread and butter, but it hasn’t changed that much since it was first introduced. It’s smarter and more powerful, but the voice features still don’t work well; it’s a better tablet than a phone. I don’t think that adding emojis and cartoons has made the iPhone more productive, although it has made it more of a toy.
Basically, Apple has become the new Western Electric that builds sturdy, reliable, unimaginative hardware, like the phones that Western Electric built for the old Ma Bell AT&T. Without Steve Jobs, Apple is just another phone company.