Macbeth syndrome: Killing the Mac won't stop the voices
Before we begin, please extinguish all cigarettes and put your tray tables in their upright and locked position. Because you're going to want to jam that cigarette in your eye and hit your head against the tray table when you read the "modest" suggestion of the Wall Street Journal's Christopher Mims.
The Macalope is going to go ahead and say that this is a terrible idea and not just because he has a head shaped like a Classic Mac.
Apple Inc. has the kind of “problems” few companies in history could dream of.
Chief among them is the constant fire hose of absurd suggestions as to how they can "improve" their already amazing business. Replace Tim Cook! Give stuff away for free! Cut out giant parts of your business!
Not to put too fine a point on it but these pieces do nothing more than show how clearly there's a very good reason why Apple's executive corps is paid to run Apple and these pundits are paid to not run Apple.
If you'd like a serious deconstruction of Mims' argument, Glenn Fleishman obliges. If you'd like to point and laugh, well, you're in the right place.
But Apple is still people...
Just like soylent green.
...and its leaders have only so much time.
Mims' time would be better spent on things other than trying to figure out how to get Tim Cook to say "Here, hold my beer." before getting on that BMX bike and taking off toward the flimsily constructed ramp at the edge of the Olympic-sized swimming pool.
Which is precisely why Apple should kill off what is perhaps its most-refined brand: The Mac.
It's a good thing he put that in the title because Macs aren't warranty-protected against spit takes.
I realize this is heresy...
No! No, it's not "heresy". It's lunacy. They sound alike but they're not.
...but if you’ll indulge me...
What do you think we've been doing? We're in paragraph four already. That's plenty indulgent for a premise like this.
...I think you’ll find it a useful exercise in thinking about both what makes Apple such an exceptional company and how hubris is the ultimate downfall of all empires.
You know what contributes to the ultimate downfall of all empires? Bad decisions.
Also Huns. Every time. Very strange.
At last week’s Worldwide Developer Conference, Apple’s annual confab for the faithful, it was hard not to get the impression that the company is stretched thin.
Apple both didn't announce enough stuff -- video streaming service, new Apple TV, iPad Pro, iCar -- and it announced too much stuff. Because Apple.
Early presenters blew through lists of new features for Apple’s major platforms...
So, what, now we're holding up Google's long, dull cavalcade of minutiae as something to aspire to?
Something’s got to give. Showpieces like iMacs with screens that have more pixels than any PC ever (and four times the average selling price of a PC) are impressive, but what is Apple trying to prove?
Uh, that they make really good computers?
"Actors like Chris Pratt and Anna Kendrick are triple threats: talented, attractive and funny. What are they trying to prove?!"
I realize there is money at stake, of course.
Do you realize that? It doesn't seem like you realize that. It seems like you're bundling that up with a number of other things including the cat, a brand-new Roomba, an original set of Star Wars trading cards still in the wrapper and Grammy-award winning musician Taylor Swift, and blithely tossing them out the window in order to commit your thought experiment atrocity.
Apple doesn’t release its margins on Macs, but in 2013 analyst Horace Dediu calculated that Apple was making more profit on Macs than the top five PC vendors combined.
OUT THE WINDOW! OUT, OUT, HUGE PROFITS!
[stabs Mac repeatedly]
On the one hand Apple is chastised for getting such a large proportion of its profits from the iPhone, as if something is about to happen to the iPhone any day and Apple will suddenly find itself without most of its profit. And on the other hand Mims is telling Apple to increase that proportion because... well, because he had to come up with something outlandish to gin up some controversy.
How much more competitive could Apple make its other efforts if the designers, engineers and executives behind Mac are redirected?
Zero. Probably zero percent more competitive.
Tim Cook, holding an iPhone: "This thing is super competitive."
Jony Ive: "Yeah, it sure is."
Tim Cook: "I bet we could make it more competitive by throwing more bodies at it."
Jony Ive: "Yeaaaah..."
And just as important, what if the developers who create for OS X had no choice but to move to things that actually represent the future?
Just think of how much Xcoding they could do for iOS! Of course, Xcode only runs on Macs so we're stuck in a causality conundrum here, but please don't ruin the Wall Street Journal's beautiful thought experiment with your piddling details of reality.
Apple is an exceptional company, and it is at a crossroads.
Every single day of its existence. Everyone is so concerned about Apple and its future. And for some reason that concern drives them to write this terrible anti-fan fiction. In effect, Apple's power has driven them mad.