Want to Understand the iPhone Updates? Look at the Mac

by Hadley Stern Jun 12, 2009

Some folks out there are upset with the iPhone updates. Where is the video iChat they ask? What about the rumored OLED screen? And let's not even get into the iPhone nano, iPhone tablet stuff (although, ostensibly the 3G iPhone, at $99, has become the iPhone Nano).

For those people new to the life of living with Apple products welcome to the frustrating, but ultimately very worthwhile reality of committing oneself to Apple.

We have seen this type of story before with the Macintosh. If Apple had released what all us Apple fans have wanted, written about, done prototypes of in photoshop over the years the company would have a gazillion absolutely cool products.

But this is not how things work at Apple. And while this can at times feel frustrating, or seem unfair there is a very good reason for it.

Apple doesn't release crap.

Sure, if Apple followed the model of other companies there would be an Apple tablet, 3 types of iPhone, a video chat iPhone, lord knows how many Netbooks, and a ton of desktops. But the very non-existence of so much stuff is the very reason that Apple is able to pull of something innovative like the iPhone.

So next time you find yourself mumbling about the lack of the newest mini, or the lack of a 12" PowerBook replacement be thankful for what Apple does put out.

Now, before I come off sounding like an Apple apologist (an aside, I receive notes slamming me for being critical of Apple, and others for being to Apple biased, one cannot win) I will say that Apple has been slow bringing certain products to market. This brings up another more disturbing question, can Apple only concentrate fully on one thing at a time?

Right now all of Apple's eggs are in the iPhone basket. Ever since the iPhone launched any innovations in the iPod space have effectively stopped (the iPod Touch is merely a neutered iPhone). When the iPod was all the rage any hardware innovations in the Mac slowed way down. And while Snow Leopard looks to be a great incremental upgrade, it is more of a maintenance release (as reflected by its price and nomenclature) than a new version of OS X.

Imagine for a moment an Apple without the iPod or iPhone. The company may very not exist from a revenue standpoint but from a product innovation standpoint what other innovations on the desktop would have occurred? This isn't to say that the iPod and iPhone aren't important products. Rather that the Macintosh, from a product innovation standpoint appears to be less important at the moment.


  • “Apple doesn’t release crap.”



    It also depends on your definition of ‘crap’. A laptop that has a non-removable battery, to many people, is ‘crap’.

    TheWerewolf had this to say on Jun 12, 2009 Posts: 1
  • The puck! Ha ha ha smile And how about the so-called ‘Mighty Mouse?’ The clit on mine dried up within 2 months and became unusable. I actually use a Microsoft cordless mouse with my Mac (heresy, I know).

    It’s the old ‘innovate then evolve’ argument, isn’t it? The last Mac innovation was the original iMac, which is now evolving. The iPod was an innovation and now it’s evolving. Let’s see… iMac in ‘98, iPod in 2001, iPhone in 2007… which means now the iPhone is merely evolving, the next big innovation may arrive between 2010 and 2013. Now that would be something to get excited about.

    evilcat had this to say on Jun 12, 2009 Posts: 66
  • You shouldn’t have to look even as far back as the Puck Mouse. raspberry How can one say Apple doesn’t release crap when they just freshly released an MP3 player



    I’m facepalming again just thinking about it. From .Mac/MobileMe to the third-gen Shuffle to the bubbling cesspit of Hell that is the App Store approval process, Apple has proven, recently more than ever, that they’re just as capable of screwing up as anyone else.

    Shunnabunich had this to say on Jun 12, 2009 Posts: 2
  • Funny my iPod shuffle has controls.
    Bitch Bitch Bitch, nothing new here!

    Parky had this to say on Jun 13, 2009 Posts: 51
  • “can Apple only concentrate fully on one thing at a time?”

    I think the answer to this is largely YES, unfortunately.

    I believe Apple would benefit if they had a highly placed manager responsible for pushing all the minor bumps and fixes forward, for a while it has seemed that Apple has its attention more on the future than on the present.

    Steve Jobs 6months lead may have changed that to a degree. When everyone was asking “can Apple survive if Steve leaves?”, I was wondering “might apple THRIVE if Steve leaves?”. I’m presuming Steve has previously been incredibly hands-on, and that distributing that responsibility will enable more things to be done at once.

    I’m also hoping Apple will announce that when Steve returns in a couple of weeks, his role will be changed. For example - director (not CEO), and “Head of Product Design” or “Head of Innovation” which relieves some pressure while putting him squarely where he can do great things for Apple.

    Greg Alexander had this to say on Jun 13, 2009 Posts: 228
  • Damn no corrections… “6 months leave” not “6 months lead”

    Greg Alexander had this to say on Jun 13, 2009 Posts: 228
  • The Apple products sometime seem too futuristic, and technology has never been my cup of tea, I just need something simple and cheap enough to remain a non-hipster. The VoIP phones have always suited me.

    Noe Samuhel had this to say on Sep 29, 2011 Posts: 4
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