Future shlock: Apple’s prospects never look good

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It’s the first day of a new year so let’s take a look at what the future looks like for…

“Apple's Future Looks Rotten.” (Tip o’ the antlers to 5cat, Tibor, Brian, Bill and Alberto.)

Oh. Well. There you go. That was quick. Thanks to Gizmodo’s Brian Clark Estes for clearing that up.

A weird thing happened this year:

Sentient toast. Scientists are at a loss to explain it.

Apple put its brand new iPhone on sale just a few weeks after release.

It did?

Well, it wasn’t an outright sale.

So, it didn’t?

Faced with poor sales…

Rumors have mostly been about “poor” sales of the iPhone XR, with the iPhone 8 selling better than expected, although maybe not enough to make up the difference. The great thing is (read: not really that great), we’ll never know how well either sold because Apple isn’t releasing unit sales figures anymore. We will continue to argue over it until this year’s iPhone XRS ships and then we’ll start arguing about how poorly that’s selling. Can’t wait.

The truth is, though, unit sales don’t really matter that much anymore. Apple is banking on people keeping iPhones longer so it’s charging more money for more phone. Maybe it’s not selling as many iPhone XRs as it wanted to, but it’s making at least $100 more on every new model than it was two years ago.

I know, I know. “Rotten” is a too-easy quip to describe potentially troubling times for a company named after a fruit.

Oh? Really? Hadn’t noticed.

I also can’t stop seeing reports of Apple’s plummeting stock price.

AAPL was down 8.4 percent over 2018, which certainly isn’t great, but the S&P 500 was down 6.2 percent and the Dow Jones down 5.6 percent.

I mean, what has the company invented in recent memory?

Apple’s real strength has never been in invention, it’s been in reinvention. Yes, the company so far has failed to reinvent the home speaker category, but it did “reinvent” the smartwatch category, taking it from a home-arrest ankle bracelet sized collection of garbage features (some of them directly aimed at the creepy stalker set) to something that could save your life. But hold on! How much could it save your life?!

Just a few months ago, Apple earned accolades for adding electrocardiogram (ECG) capabilities to the Apple Watch, but the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) also had to point out that the feature doesn’t always work.

“It might save your life” isn’t good enough for Estes. It must unequivocally save your life or it’s trash. The piece he links to is actually fairly glowing about the Apple Watch 4’s ECG feature and concludes:

All these concerns shouldn’t detract from the importance of Apple’s announcement.

But from reading Estes, we’re supposed to come away with the idea that it’s a failure.

Estes further dismisses rumors about Apple possibly making an AR device because it sounds like Ready Player One and, and here The Macalope quotes: “Would you want that future?” Well, would you? Because, naturally, the moment Apple releases AR goggles, people will become slaves to corporations and be forced to live in stacked trailers in Ohio. That’s just science.

Have dismissed all of Apple’s hardware successes of late and its options for the future, Estes is ready to conclude.

If Apple’s future really is all about services and not about hardware, what a rotten future that is.

For us, he means. Not for Apple.

It probably won’t be rotten for Apple, a company with nearly $240 billion of cash on hand. Apple is rich and will almost certainly find all kinds of new ways to get richer.

Oh, he M. Night Shyamalan-ed us! It turns out it’s not Apple’s future that’s rotten, it’s our future using these terrible Apple devices we hate so much but inexplicably keep buying! Now it all makes sense.

Wait. That doesn’t make sense, either.

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