About | ACP | Buy | Industry Watch | Learning Curve | News | Products | Search
Home » Industry Watch

Apple: Tap-Tap, Tick-Tock

See what's happening?

Get It

Try It

Finally someone with authority came out and said what we and others have been saying all along: Apple is a ticking time bomb.

So says Stephen McBride of Forbes.

(At time of writing, the Forbes web server is going nuts. Fanboys be panicking.)

McBride ended his article by warning people about their investments in Apple stock.


Remember when Steve Jobs had a promising company in Redwood City that optimistically could look forward to three hundred million in annual revenues?

That same Steve Jobs took the stage in 2007 and introduced the ultimate gadget in a keynote that's gone into history. 'Are you getting it' became iconic. Even those who hate phones - and lots of us do - could not but heap praise on Jobs and Forstall for pulling off such a feat.

And the world entered into a tailspin. And Apple completely forgot about their 'Mac'. And two thirds of their revenues suddenly came from the iP* devices. And Apple hit the trillion-dollar market cap ceiling.

But it can't last, and anyone knows it, and we've been warning for years. But fanboys like to cheer. Like when a dejected but determined Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997 and the assembled faithful hung on every word he said. He had nothing to give them - NOTHING - but - and he couldn't even manage a smile - he told them things would get better.

Thank goodness for NeXT.

NeXT saved Apple. NeXT powers the iPhone. And almost everything emanating from Apple today. Almost everything. Yes, it's a great technology. John Siracusa and John Gruber refused to admit that, of course, even as Apple started recovering and blowing people's minds, but that's the truth. It should be obvious to everyone.

All your eggs in one basket. One-trick pony. How many times have we harangued about that? On what days have we not? It's bloody obvious.

Half of Apple's Business Is at Risk, writes Stephen McBride, and he's got the figures, but we'd think it's more like two thirds. It depends on how you count it.

OS X was unceremoniously dumped at the wayside.

Nearly twenty years ago, when we jumped on the OS X bandwagon, we were firmly convinced we'd made the right move. OS X was the antidote to Windows. But today, nearly twenty years later, 87.5% of all computers are still running the wretched rubbish.

Make no mistake: Apple, as opposed to myriad open source projects out there, had the ability to bury Microsoft once and for all. Think about it. Think of the beating that the world of Windows took back then. But did Apple take the cue and go for the jugular? No they did not. They glued their hardware to their software and put bloody limericks in their kernel code begging hackers not to steal. Seriously.

Apple rode on their one-trick pony. And that pony is tired, that pony doesn't want to rodeo anymore. First they artificially up their prices because they can't sell as before, then they do 180 and lower their prices. And, as Stephen McBride shows, they're making less and less profit per unit. They're tanking.

It didn't need to be like this. Apple represented the synergy between good taste and secure open-source systems. NeXTSTEP was nothing less than brilliant. Steve Jobs once said it was five years ahead of its time. He was wrong. It was twenty-five years ahead of its time. It still is today. No one has a system like NeXTSTEP. Not even Apple if they don't stop screwing around. Because their OS X today is mind-blowing mess.

They retooled the fantastic Project Builder and came out with Xcode. That name doesn't light up the sky anymore exactly. The original Xcode was a big 'meh', and today it's a hopeless - HOPELESS - monster. It has half a million files. Mostly devoted to half a million iPhone configurations of course. No one at Apple knows how to consolidate and synthesise. They don't have time. They're too busy running around frantically trying to make more and more money.

Thank goodness the people at Bell Labs could work in a less stressful environment. Their output quality shows.

Apple Is a Phone Company, writes Stephen McBride. So true. Perhaps some of you remember back in 2007 when John Gruber and Cabel Sasser sat together after Steve's keynote and could not understand why Apple took the 'Computer' out of their name, or why they took the 'Mac' out of their 'OS X'? Those people were such die-hards that they probably ignored the two chapters by Chris Stone in every Pogue book. Those were the kind of people who couldn't understand why creator codes had to go away. Those were the people who got hostile when anyone pointed out that Cocoa and Carbon were not equivalent. Those were the kind of people who pressured Steve Jobs to dump File Viewer and bring back Finder.

'Since it introduced the iPhone in 2007, Apple has sold 2.2 billion phones raking in over a trillion dollars in sales - more than any other phone maker in history. Meanwhile, Apple stock shot up over 2,037% and became the world's largest publicly traded company.'

Yes. And the computer OS started tanking. OS X 10.4 Tiger had over one million bug reports in queue when Apple abandoned it all and moved to 10.5 Leopard, without ever processing those reports.

iPhone Is Apple's Golden Goose, writes Stephen McBride. But of course. It was a brilliant coup. Look at the shape of things today. Tap-tap-tap. Everywhere. And, as he points out, it's not only unit sales, but profit margins. Apple can take a walloping 40% profit without blinking.

Stephen McBride has other stats he gets from PhoneArena which show that Apple earn more than twice as much per unit on an iPhone as they do on their best-selling laptop.

Peak Apple

But, as everyone has noticed, the smartphone market inevitably was saturated. Competition entered fast - very fast, considering the work they had to do. One imagines hordes and hordes of 'plumbing pipe' developers to make things happen in vastly inferior environments. (Apple's Cocoa could cut development times by as much as 80% and nobody but nobody but Apple had Cocoa. Or Objective-C. Or Interface Builder. Nobody.)

But they entered still the same, helped along by Google with their Android. Android, the Microsoft Windows of the new smartphone market.

Tim Cook announced that Apple would no longer publish sales stats. Gosh, why.

Without the iPhone, Apple would be a mediocre computer company like Dell at best, writes Stephen McBride.

Not quite. Dell computers are primarily Windows computers, and it might be too much for a financial analyst to grasp, but Windows sucks. And the chief reason it's still 87.5% of all troglodytes using that system is that Apple let it happen.

Trillion-dollar company? How would it be if Apple's sales on the computer end were 5000% of what they are today? When Tim Cook tells people there's no reason to own a computer? But those are the stats, the cold reality. Apple had the Windows-killer but chose not to do anything about it. They had a single-digit market share when the iPod came out - they had the world's best end-user computer system. Actually the only truly viable one.

See what's happening? asks Stephen McBride. Yes, we see, Stephen. Some of us have been watching all along.

Watching and weeping.

√ Apple once had one of the five top supercomputers in the world. At Virginia Tech. Then they closed down their brilliant server division.

√ Apple had Microsoft by the jugular. They were the heroes of open source. Then they shat all over Open Darwin, and their founder accused his employer of using the project as a marketing stunt.

√ Apple took in DTrace - and bastardised it.

√ Apple had ZFS ready to roll - and abandoned it.

√ Apple introduced their own web browser - and hosed early adopter machines. And never owned up to it.

√ Apple promised cross-platform compatibility with Windows - then dropped it.

√ Apple abandoned PowerPC architecture because they couldn't ship units to justify the research. And they couldn't do this because they had bloody limericks in their kernel code.

'Let me make it clear: half of Apple's business is going off the rails, and there's no turning back. Apple's money-making machine is grinding to a halt. Apple is a ticking time bomb.'

Steve Jobs shepherded the original Mac. Then he took an extended holiday in Siberia. And came up with NeXT. Then he returned to a failing Apple two months from going under.

Steve had cojones.

No one in Apple's management today has cojones.

Tap-tap. Tick-tock.

See Also
Industry Watch: The bigger they are, the Appler they fall
Industry Watch: Thanksgiving Day Remedial

About Rixstep

Stockholm/London-based Rixstep are a constellation of programmers and support staff from Radsoft Laboratories who tired of Windows vulnerabilities, Linux driver issues, and cursing x86 hardware all day long. Rixstep have many years of experience behind their efforts, with teaching and consulting credentials from the likes of British Aerospace, General Electric, Lockheed Martin, Lloyds TSB, SAAB Defence Systems, British Broadcasting Corporation, Barclays Bank, IBM, Microsoft, and Sony/Ericsson.

Rixstep and Radsoft products are or have been in use by Sweden's Royal Mail, Sony/Ericsson, the US Department of Defense, the offices of the US Supreme Court, the Government of Western Australia, the German Federal Police, Verizon Wireless, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Microsoft Corporation, the New York Times, Apple Inc, Oxford University, and hundreds of research institutes around the globe. See here.

All Content and Software Copyright © Rixstep. All Rights Reserved.

John Cattelin
Media Contact
ACP/Xfile licences
About | ACP | Buy | Industry Watch | Learning Curve | News | Products | Search
Copyright © Rixstep. All rights reserved.