Apple Says 'You're Only as Good as the Last Thing You Did' Amid Sales Slowdown

After recording its first quarterly sales decline since 2003 this year, the doom and gloom sentiment surrounding Apple has reemerged. Some critics believe that Apple is doing too many things at once, or wrongly placing its focus on areas like Apple Watch bands rather than its core product lineup.

state-of-macs

MacRumors Buyer's Guide for Macs

The most vocal critics often point towards the state of Apple's current Mac lineup, which is beginning to stagnate. It has been 447 days since the last MacBook Pro release, while the MacBook Air has not been updated beyond a RAM bump in 518 days. Mac mini: 662 days. Mac Pro: 963 days.

Apple's stock also remains down over 13 percent from its 52-week high, and investors perhaps have at least some reason for concern. Rumors suggest, for example, that the next iPhone will be an incremental improvement over the iPhone 6s, with more significant changes not coming until 2017.

iphone-3gsIn a new Fast Company interview alongside CEO Tim Cook, Apple services chief Eddy Cue acknowledged that technology companies are "only as good as the last thing" they did.

"Look," says Cue, who somehow manages to look both like a man who just woke up and a compact ball of perpetual energy, "one thing you know if you’ve been in technology a while, you’re only as good as the last thing you did. No one wants an original iPod. No one wants an iPhone 3GS."

Cook admitted that Apple can "sometimes fall short," but indirectly added that the "Apple is doomed" narrative has existed during his entire 18-year span at the company.

"Is Apple making more mistakes than we used to? I don’t have a tracker on that." […] "We have never said that we’re perfect," he continues. "We’ve said that we seek that. But we sometimes fall short." […]

"What tends to happen with Apple, not just today but in the 18 years I’ve been here," says Cook, "is that invariably some people compare what we’re doing now to a vision or a product that somebody says they will create in the future."

Fortunately for Cook, he said he doesn't "read all the coverage on Apple that there is," and instead focuses on pushing the company into a future that is bigger and broader. "I want Apple to be here, you know, forever," he said.

As Cue says, grinning at the ambition: "We want to be there from when you wake up till when you decide to go to sleep." Cook himself is only slightly less brash. "Our strategy is to help you in every part of your life that we can," he says, "whether you’re sitting in the living room, on your desktop, on your phone, or in your car."

Earlier this year, Above Avalon analyst Neil Cybart said Apple is on track to spend a record $10 billion on research and development this year, up nearly 30 percent from 2015, and significantly more than the little over $3 billion per year it was spending on R&D just four years ago.

Cybart said the increased spending undoubtedly points towards development of the widely rumored Apple Car, suggesting that the company will pivot into the automobile industry. But if Cook's recent teaser about "great innovation in the pipeline" is any indication, Apple could have other plans in store too.

apple_maps_navigation

Apple Maps and Public Beta Testing

One other interesting anecdote in the wide-ranging interview: Apple Maps is the reason why iOS public beta testing exists.

Apple now does public beta testing of its most significant software projects, something that Jobs never liked to do. In 2014, the company asked users to test run its Yosemite upgrade to OS X. Last year, it introduced beta testing of iOS, which is the company’s most important operating system. "The reason you as a customer are going to be able to test iOS," Cue says, "is because of Maps."

Full-length interview: Playing The Long Game Inside Tim Cook's Apple

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
52 months ago

Cook admitted that Apple can "sometimes fall short," but indirectly added that the "Apple is doomed" narrative has existed during his entire 18-year span at the company.

But never during those 18 years has the Power Mac or Mac Pro gone 963 days without an update...
Score: 73 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
52 months ago
Or you're only as good as the last product Steve had a hand in.
Score: 70 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
52 months ago
Actions speak louder than words...
Score: 65 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
52 months ago
Apple should really be embarrassed over the current state of the Mac line. And going off this interview, Timmy knows it.
Score: 63 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
52 months ago

One positive of the recent slowdown and doom&gloom analysis that followed is that lofty, unrealistic expectations of unicorn world-changing-devices-every-second-year have been nuked down to reality.

What remains, is the envy of the business world, with an enormous war chest, huge profits, healty margins and the most valuable consumer brand on Earth. That's something.

I never understood this line of reasoning. Pfizer, Comcast, Verizon, Exxon Mobil are all hugely profitable corporations. Do we cheer when gas prices rise, prescription drugs cost more, internet prices increase at reduced speeds proving Comcast is doing super well and has an enormous war chest? A macbook pro that hasn't been updated in 440-odd days is bad for Apple customers, the brand and longevity no matter how amazing their corporate earnings are.
Score: 45 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
52 months ago
Then don't ****ing remove the headphone jack
Score: 38 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Apple Takes Legal Action Against Small Company With Pear Logo

Saturday August 8, 2020 11:09 am PDT by
Apple is taking legal action against the developers of the app "Prepear" due to its logo, according to iPhone in Canada. Prepear is an app that helps users discover recipes, plan meals, make lists, and arrange grocery deliveries. The app is a spinoff of "Super Healthy Kids," and the founders claim that they are facing litigation from Apple. Apple reportedly takes issue with Prepear's logo, ...

Kuo: Global iPhone Shipments Could Decline Up to 30% If Apple Forced to Remove WeChat From App Store [Updated x2]

Sunday August 9, 2020 10:17 pm PDT by
In a worst-case scenario, Apple's annual global iPhone shipments could decline by 25–30% if it is forced to remove WeChat from its App Stores around the world, according to a new research note from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo viewed by MacRumors. The removal could occur due to a recent executive order aiming to ban U.S. transactions with WeChat and its parent company Tencent. Kuo lays out...

Google Maps Debuts New Apple Watch App and CarPlay Features

Monday August 10, 2020 9:16 am PDT by
Google today announced the launch of several features for Google Maps on Apple products, including new CarPlay functionality and a new Google Maps app that works on Apple Watch. The new Google Maps app for Apple Watch works similarly to the iOS app, allowing Apple Watch owners to get directions for a car, bike, public transit, or on foot. The app supports estimated arrival times and...

2020 iMac Teardown Reveals Internal Changes and Similarities

Saturday August 8, 2020 12:44 pm PDT by
A teardown video, shared by OWC, reveals the internal changes in the new 2020 27-inch iMac. The 2020 27-inch iMac was announced earlier this week with 10th-generation Intel Core processors, AMD Radeon Pro 5000 series graphics, up to 128GB of RAM, up to 8TB of storage, a 1080p front-facing FaceTime camera, a True Tone display with a nano-texture glass option, higher fidelity speakers, and...

Apple Seeds iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 Public Beta 4 to Testers

Thursday August 6, 2020 10:05 am PDT by
Apple today seeded new public betas of upcoming iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 updates to its public beta testing group. Today's software releases, which Apple labels as fourth betas to keep them in line with developer betas, are actually the third betas that Apple has provided and they come two weeks after the prior beta releases. Public beta testers who have signed up for Apple's beta testing...

Apple Believes This German Cycling Path Logo Infringes on Its Own Logo

Wednesday May 1, 2019 9:51 am PDT by
Apple recently objected to the logo of a new German cycling path in an appeal filed with the German Patent and Trademark Office, according to German outlets General-Anzeiger Bonn and Westdeutscher Rundfunk. Apple reportedly takes issue with the logo's green leaf and supposed "bitten" right side, attributes the company believes are too similar to its own logo. The logo, registered with the ...

Supposed iPhone 12 Display Unit Leaks

Thursday August 6, 2020 8:13 am PDT by
An image supposedly of an iPhone 12 display unit has been shared online by leaker "Twitter user Mr. White". Compared to images of an iPhone 11 Pro display piece, this new unit has a reoriented display connector, reaching up from the bottom of the display, rather than from the left-hand side on iPhone 11 Pro. This may be due to the logic board moving to the other side of the device. A...

Foxconn Reportedly Begins Seasonal Hiring Spree for iPhone 12 Production

Monday August 10, 2020 7:03 am PDT by
Apple's largest manufacturing partner Foxconn has begun its seasonal hiring spree to assist with iPhone 12 production, offering employees who recruit qualified applicants up to a 9,000 yuan bonus, according to Chinese media reports. As usual, Foxconn needs as many hands on deck as possible at its factory in Zhengzhou, China to assist with mass production of the upcoming iPhones. Apple is...

8 Third-Party Home Screen Widgets That You Can Try Out Now on iOS 14

Wednesday August 5, 2020 12:56 pm PDT by
One of the biggest new features of iOS 14 is Home Screen widgets, which provide information from apps at a glance. The widgets can be pinned to the Home Screen in various spots and sizes, allowing for many different layouts. When the iOS 14 beta was first released in June, widgets were limited to Apple's own apps like Calendar and Weather, but several third-party developers have begun to test ...

New 27-Inch iMac's Storage Affixed to Logic Board, 4TB and 8TB Configurations Have Expansion Connector

Friday August 7, 2020 7:46 am PDT by
Following a report from German blog iFun.de that claimed the new 27-inch iMac's flash storage is soldered to the logic board, MacRumors has obtained additional information in an internal document for Apple technicians. In the document, Apple says that the flash storage is indeed affixed to the logic board and cannot be removed. However, for the 4TB and 8TB configurations, Apple says that a...