All over but the shouting: The iPhone X doom bringer


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It seems a particularly 2017 thing to ask “When does The End begin?” but don’t bother because, for Apple, it has already begun.

Writing for Fortune, Kellogg School of Management professor Mohanbir Sawhney says “The iPhone X Is the Beginning of the End for Apple.” (Tip o’ the antlers to David, Alex, Jason and Ben Thompson who offers his thoughts on the piece.)

Sure. That sounds right.

[An eye roll so severe that it is somehow audible]

More like the end of places for them to stuff cash, amirite?!

Haha, no the Macalope is not right because they stuff it in overseas holding companies carefully constructed to avoid taxes and they won’t run out of countries to incorporate those in for a long, long time.

Have we reached peak phone?

Is this all that there is? Have we finally hit the darkness on the edge of flavor town?

To understand the future of phones…

You must forget everything you know. Including the rules to Risk, where you and your friends hid that amulet and the words to “Dancing Queen.”

…it helps to look at the history of phone innovation.

Professors gotta profess.

We’ll skip the flip phone part and get to the iPhone.

Fast-forward to 2007, when the vector of differentiation shifted once again with the debut of Apple’s iPhone. Now it was about display and apps.

Is Sawhney’s chair at the Kellogg School in Reductionism? The display and apps weren’t what “it was about.” They were a means to an end: putting a computer in your pocket.

The shifting vector of differentiation to AI and agents does not bode well for Apple.

Because Apple is not the best at AI. But Apple is quite frequently not the best at any number of individual features. The iPhone originally shipped with EDGE, but people loved it. Apple removed the best mapping data for privacy reasons and that turned out OK. Apple was also not the best at AR and that was going to DOOOOM the company and… now it is the best at AR?

Sawhney seems to think all anyone is going to care about in the future is AI and only the best AI will win. The history of the iPhone belies that assertion. But, even if it’s true (and it’s not), the company has a pretty good track record of turning things around quickly.

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