The Macalope Daily: The impermanence of innovation


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They say that when you play peek-a-boo with a baby and hide behind your hands, the baby really thinks you’re gone. The same thing is true with some analysts and Apple’s innovation. “I can’t see it right now, so it must not exist!”

Trip Chowdry is back to add some more “color” to his statement from last week saying “innovation at Apple is over,” in case you’ve ever wondered how one colors an unfounded supposition.

In a piece by the Boy Genius Report, Chowdry explains how “Apple’s innovation is sputtering” (tip o’ the antlers to The Loop).

Apple (AAPL) is the most profitable consumer electronics company in the world by a healthy margin but according to one industry watcher…

And aerosol-paint-fume huffer …

…the company has stopped innovating.

The Macalope loves this construction. “Reasonable people do not believe evil robots control our every move from a vast invisible fortress hovering over Madison, Wisconsin. But this paste-eating man dressed in a gorilla suit with tinfoil on his head disagrees. We’ll devote three hours of primetime coverage to him next on ‘Who’s Right?’”

“Apple’s innovation is sputtering,” Chowdhry wrote in a research note to clients.

If you say it enough then it must be true!

“Why is that Apple, the company that brought touch to phones and tablets, stopped just there and did not bring touch to notebooks and iMacs?”

Chowdry might as well ask “Why has Apple, maker of egg-shaped mice, never rammed its ovipositor down my throat and laid its eggs in me?”

Trip, maybe Apple doesn’t think people want to hold their arms out, zombie-like, touching their screens all day? Maybe Apple’s sense of what works is a tad better than yours. That would certainly be shocking, wouldn’t it?

Having now tried out a Surface, the Macalope wouldn’t bet against the existence of a touchscreen MacBook somewhere deep within Apple. But, unlike Microsoft, Apple isn’t two-and-a-half years behind and in desperate need to rush something out the door. Also, Apple knows better than to do that anyway. If the company ships one, it ships one and the chances it’ll make the Surface look like a Lite-Brite are quite good, given Apple’s track record.

“Why is it that Apple brought high-resolution screens to…some MacBooks and not to all devices? High-resolution screens are a commodity today.”

But a more expensive commodity, the benefit of which doesn’t immediately resonate with every consumer. Apple could ship Retina displays across the board, but it would have to sacrifice margin to do so. Does that sound like Apple’s proven strategy for success to you? Do you even know Apple’s proven strategy for success?

What’s going on at Apple that is stifling innovation? Chowdry thinks the answer may have led to Scott Forstall’s departure and the recent executive shake-up.

“Our contacts speculate that Apple executive leadership may have rushed Scott Forstall to deliver products prematurely,” Chowdhry noted.

Apple rushing the head of iOS software has what to do with putting touch screens in iMacs exactly? (And if you think Chowdry wouldn’t say Apple was just copying competitors if it did put a touchscreen on the iMac, the Macalope has some fake iOS patents to sell you.)

The Macalope’s not sure what Chowdry’s deal is, but the man’s starting to give the air of someone just throwing things against the wall to see if they stick. Last week his reaction to the iPad mini was the sole “MAJOR FAIL.” In polling you might call him an outlier, but is an outlier an outlier when the opinion is deliberately skewed for some reason?

Whatever the case, Apple remains singularly unconcerned about Trip’s feelings.

Innovation or no innovation, Apple anticipates a record holiday quarter with earnings guidance at $11.75 per share on revenue that is expected to reach $52 billion.

The Macalope’s said this repeatedly, but he’ll say it again for the slower students. Apple has never shipped groundbreaking products every quarter. It has shipped groundbreaking product interspersed with years of evolutionary improvement on those products. If Apple goes another two years without introducing something truly new, that might be cause for concern about their ability to continue to innovate. Until then, please keep your chainsmoking-monkey-in-a-fez level analysis to yourself.

[Editors’ Note: In addition to being a mythical beast, the Macalope is not an employee of Macworld. As a result, the Macalope is always free to criticize any media organization. Even ours.]

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