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You are here: MacNN Forums > News > Mac News > Exclusive: OS X, iOS through the eyes of 1,000 Apple Store shoppers

Exclusive: OS X, iOS through the eyes of 1,000 Apple Store shoppers
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NewsPoster
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Jan 10, 2016, 08:16 PM
 
We here at MacNN have been making some assumptions about the Apple user base, based on browsers that hit MacNN on a daily basis. We've combined those traffic numbers with Apple's sales figures, such as they are, that we get every quarter, and tried to glean Apple user percentages over time. This interpolation is an inexact science, so -- prompted by a conversation in our forums about the potential removal of the headphone jack on the forthcoming "iPhone 7" -- we corralled some minions, and camped outside a few Northern Virginia Apple Stores (with store and mall approval) on Saturday morning to get some concrete data. Let's delve into the stats, and see what we can determine, shall we?

When figuring out what to ask the user base, we knew that we needed additional data for context, plus we had the opportunity to glean more info that we just didn't have. On top of that, we got a feel for the foot traffic in several Apple stores here, and it is just monumental. Spanning four stores, we got 1,009 people to give us the time of day in just less than two hours on a Saturday morning. So, that out of the way, on to the data.

To qualify respondents, we identified that we were from MacNN, and asked shoppers if they currently own, or have ever owned, an iOS device. Of the 1,009 people that responded, we stopped when we got 1,000 yes answers. Our first data-collection question was how long did the respondent have an iOS device -- the average was 2.1 years. The data we got was a very smooth bell curve, with some people dating back to the very first iPod touch (actually, pre-iOS), and some people walking out with their first device ever.

Based on that average (and that fact that half of those polled have only had an iOS device for a fairly recent period of time -- one contract cycle or less), our polling data supports Apple CEO Tim Cook's contention that there is still a large market of untapped users and potential Android or other-platform users yet to reach. We didn't ask about switching in the interests of not detaining the shoppers too much, but it is safe to assume that a high percentage of those with their first iOS device are, at this point, switching from a different brand of smartphone.

What does the modern Mac user base look like?

We then asked the questioned if they had owned a Mac at any point, going back to 1996. Of the 1,000, 782 people said no, leaving 218 positives. Of the 218, 200 were current users, having one or more Macs in the house. As a third question, we asked the user if the Mac they owned was an "appliance," or if the user was capable of performing maintenance tasks on the Mac, specifying basics like creating or selecting a second iTunes library, or formatting a drive of any sort. Two people noted that they were OS X support professionals, and only 38 people said that they could accomplish this task with minimal hand-holding.

This means that 160 of the 200 use their Macs as an computing appliance, and have little, if any, troubleshooting or upgrade experience. In fact, we'd only say that the two who claimed to be OS X professionals had any ability at all to perform hardware upgrades.

Apple's iOS users

We then asked a similar question about the user's iPhone or iPad, specifically asking if the device was an appliance, or if the user knew how to perform basic troubleshooting tasks like restoring from iTunes. Of the 1,000, 712 said that the device was an appliance, leaving the remaining 288 saying that basic maintenance was fine, with a large number of the 288 saying that all users should be able to do iTunes backups or similar tasks.

The future of iPhones

Very simply, we asked about future iPhones. In the first question, we asked the users that responded to us if they wanted future iPhones -- starting with the future "iPhone 7" -- to be thinner. A whopping 902 said that thinner would be better.

Regarding display size, 204 users thought that the iPhone 6/6s screen size (4.7 inches) was fine, and 709 thought that the 6+ size (or larger in some cases!), at 5.5 inches, was ideal. Only 87 liked the size of the iPhone 5/5s/5c, which has a four-inch display.

Now, to the two-fold question that launched this process. Verbatim, we said that "rumor has it that Apple will eliminate the headphone jack in favor of wireless or Lightning-connector headphones. If true, will this have any effect on your day-to-day use?" The majority, 723 users, said that the removal of the headphone jack would have no effect, with 189 saying it would have a detrimental effect on usage of the devices. The remaining 88 users had no opinion.

Here's an interesting data point -- not all of the 189 who claimed that they would be negatively impacted thought that the removal would be a bad idea. Only 132 of the 189 thought that the removal would be bad for Apple and the phone. There's still no overwhelming majority in favor of the eradication of the headphone jack, though -- 412 of the full pool said that the removal was a good idea, leaving 466 with no opinion one way or another.

Takeaways from the polling

Northern Virginia is a monied area, and apocryphal data gleaned over decades suggests that the affluent own Macs in a higher percentage than others, so US-wide, there may be a lower prevalence of Apple's computing line. Additionally, asking existing Apple users about removing the headphone jack isn't a cross-section of mobile phone users as a whole, but just Apple users. However, the extra data we collected about the Apple user base as a whole more than offsets not asking Android or Windows Phone users about the rumors.

The data pointing to most users not being able to perform basic maintenance tasks, with only a lower percentage having the skill to perform what we think of as basic software troubleshooting or mechanical maintenance, bears out Apple's decisions to seal up the iMac and Retina MacBook. We weren't expecting such a strong showing for iOS devices as appliances, though.

So, while the Apple user base isn't quite as far skewed towards iOS-only as we thought they were, the average Apple user now has little, if any, ability to perform maintenance on the device they own, relying on the Apple Store and other venues for support. Did Apple force this situation in choices made with the hardware, or did Apple's popularity attract people who want to use a computing device, be it iOS or OS X, as an "appliance" -- no more than something they can plunk down on the counter, and have assurances that it just works.

Chicken or egg?

At this point, it doesn't matter. We know the demographics of MacNN readers, and our readers are a markedly different crowd. The majority of you are college-educated, have a strong basis in technical matters and troubleshooting. You also skew older than our average respondent age, at 37, where the the median age of our respondents was 27. Our readership's average user is is not the same as Apple's vision of the user base -- but we're fine with that. Readers and writers of MacNN need to understand, though, that experiences that led us all to this point is no longer typical of Apple-owning humanity as a whole.

We suspect that the numbers will continue to tilt in "Apple as appliance," and we're certain that Cupertino knows this. This is the user base, whether we like it or not.

--Mike Wuerthele
( Last edited by NewsPoster; Jan 10, 2016 at 11:28 PM. )
     
Steve Wilkinson
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Jan 11, 2016, 04:10 AM
 
Great survey... but I've got some opinions on it (surprising, huh?).

First, I guess I wonder how much this 'appliance' vs 'technically competent' aspect has changed. Back in the day, when I was doing Apple-type (and other computer-type) consulting, I'm not that sure you'd have gotten that much higher percentage who knew how to, or would do their own maintenance... aside from maybe running some off-the-shelf popular utilities... or maybe having a friend add a RAM chip, or swap hard drives, etc. Now, you just can't do it... but I think this was more due to technical innovation, smaller units, manufacturing techniques, etc. than Apple following demand from user base.

And, I don't think the the big concern among some of us is a shift from 'hacker' to 'appliance' but from 'pro' to 'consumer.' While I'm competent to muck with software and internals, I'd rather just get on with my work these days. But, if they mess up the productivity of the OS, or kill the pro software and equipment, that is a big deal, at least for me.

I am a bit surprised by the 2.1 year average for an iOS device. I'd think at this point, there would be more longer-term iOS device users than that. I guess this is good, as it shows movement to the platform.

I'm also kind of surprised that only 20% of iOS users have Macs. I'd have guessed more like 40 or 50%. Again, I guess that's good in showing the penetration into the Windows and other markets with iOS. The Windows / Android... Mac / iOS connection seems stronger here (or places I've been), just in my observation.

I'm also not that surprised that iOS people are in the 'appliance' category. I think that's kind of the point... and until things go horribly wrong, is probably easier to be in that category.

The future of the iPhone stuff, a bit shocking, frankly. I'm wondering if the study were more in-depth, in terms of putting these people through some actual use of various models and such would change that. Maybe people have just bought into the thinner-bigger thing in a spec-war kind of sense? The actual sales numbers don't match, especially on the phone-size... so if true, these people are buying more 4.7" because they can't afford the 5.5"... I'm not sure I buy that.

Hopefully the 4" rumor turns out to be true... and it isn't too gimp'd so we can put this one to rest for real. (and, out of selfish interest!). I'm willing to bet they'd sell a LOT more than 8.9% of the iPhone lineup, if it's a real, viable model. If it's a 'budget' model, then who knows, as that's just a whole different market.

And, the thinner thing, I just don't get. Where will this stop? They are already so thin they are nearly uncomfortable, and we're starting to run into physics limitations, people!

I also have to wonder how well thought-out the headphone thing really is. For example, how would I connect it in my car? Wouldn't it be a pain to have to have Apple headphones? Or, wait for other companies to make them? Or, not being able to use existing headphones? Or deal with broken-off lightening connectors?
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Steve Wilkinson
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Jan 11, 2016, 08:39 AM
 
Great survey... but I've got some opinions on it (surprising, huh?).

First, I guess I wonder how much this 'appliance' vs 'technically competent' aspect has changed. Back in the day, when I was doing Apple-type (and other computer-type) consulting, I'm not that sure you'd have gotten that much higher percentage who knew how to, or would do their own maintenance... aside from maybe running some off-the-shelf popular utilities... or maybe having a friend add a RAM chip, or swap hard drives, etc. Now, you just can't do it... but I think this was more due to technical innovation, smaller units, manufacturing techniques, etc. than Apple following demand from user base.

And, I don't think the the big concern among some of us is a shift from 'hacker' to 'appliance' but from 'pro' to 'consumer.' While I'm competent to muck with software and internals, I'd rather just get on with my work these days. But, if they mess up the productivity of the OS, or kill the pro software and equipment, that is a big deal, at least for me.

I am a bit surprised by the 2.1 year average for an iOS device. I'd think at this point, there would be more longer-term iOS device users than that. I guess this is good, as it shows movement to the platform.

I'm also kind of surprised that only 20% of iOS users have Macs. I'd have guessed more like 40 or 50%. Again, I guess that's good in showing the penetration into the Windows and other markets with iOS. The Windows / Android... Mac / iOS connection seems stronger here (or places I've been), just in my observation.

I'm also not that surprised that iOS people are in the 'appliance' category. I think that's kind of the point... and until things go horribly wrong, is probably easier to be in that category.

The future of the iPhone stuff, a bit shocking, frankly. I'm wondering if the study were more in-depth, in terms of putting these people through some actual use of various models and such would change that. Maybe people have just bought into the thinner-bigger thing in a spec-war kind of sense? The actual sales numbers don't match, especially on the phone-size... so if true, these people are buying more 4.7" because they can't afford the 5.5"... I'm not sure I buy that.

Hopefully the 4" rumor turns out to be true... and it isn't too gimp'd so we can put this one to rest for real. (and, out of selfish interest!). I'm willing to bet they'd sell a LOT more than 8.9% of the iPhone lineup, if it's a real, viable model. If it's a 'budget' model, then who knows, as that's just a whole different market.

And, the thinner thing, I just don't get. Where will this stop? They are already so thin they are nearly uncomfortable, and we're starting to run into physics limitations, people!

I also have to wonder how well thought-out the headphone thing really is. For example, how would I connect it in my car? Wouldn't it be a pain to have to have Apple headphones? Or, wait for other companies to make them? Or, not being able to use existing headphones? Or deal with broken-off lightening connectors?
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coffeetime
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Jan 11, 2016, 12:59 PM
 
Interesting. Young generations don't mind the changes. My son has 5c because it's free (sort of) from AT&T. I used to tinker with Macs a lot in the past and now I just want to get things done. So "almost" close-system like MacPro serves me fine. Wow, 20% of Mac users hasn't changed much since 20 years ago. My wife loves iPhone but she hates Mac OS because she's so used to Windows. But she thinks Mac hardwares are cool looking though. She wants to buy a MacBook Pro but put Windows OS in it (what the....!).
     
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Jan 11, 2016, 02:52 PM
 
Based on my experience with 20 years of IT and tech support (primarily Macs, but also Windows), I don't think the percentage of "Mac as an appliance" users is any different now than it has been since the '90s. If anything, one of the things that drew people to the Mac through the dark days was the fact that it required less technical proficiency to keep running than Windows (not that Windows users seem to know any more, on average, about how to maintain their machines).

"Only 87 liked the size of the iPhone 5/5s/5c, which has a four-inch display."

This is an "only" in that it's only about 9% of users, but if you do the math that's 4-5 million iPhone buyers per quarter globally that prefer a 4" device, for a market of around $10 billion annually. It's also about 5% of all US phone buyers.

Which, for comparison, is more than *all* iPod (of any shape) sales at this point, and in the US is around the same share as Blackberry and Windows Phone have combined.

Point being, no, it's not anywhere near the most popular form factor, but it's still a sizable market that makes sense to serve.
     
Charles Martin
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Jan 11, 2016, 03:46 PM
 
Makosuke: the purpose of the survey was not to "prove" or "disprove" anything; any thing we found "surprising" was only based on our own opinions, which were not part of the survey. The numbers do, however, show why Apple is moving in the directions it is, and the specific percentages on this poll might surprise some people. Neither data nor the article, make any conclusions about what Apple will or will not, or should or should not, do -- any perception otherwise exists only in the mind of the reader.
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Rhyman
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Jan 11, 2016, 05:23 PM
 
While the survey is interesting, I wonder about the questions you did or didn't ask.

Did you ask if they would like a thinner iPhone or did you ask if they could have that or longer battery life? That's like asking someone if they want to be rich without telling them the rules are they have to give up all friends and family.

I agree with Steve Wilkinson that I don't want Apple to eliminate pro features of Macs. But, the article says that the inability of most people to do basic maintenance justifies Apple's decision to seal the iMac and MacBook. Apple's trend has been towards sealing all Macs, and this in my opinion is a poor decision. It certainly decreases the longevity of a Mac. And, it can result in negative feelings towards Apple.

As a Mac user group leader, I have had to explain to people on many occasions that the RAM in their Mac cannot be upgraded or the hard drive in the iMac will be expensive to replace or upgrade, because the entire screen has to be pulled out. When buying a new Mac, people base their initial decisions on cost, not factors they are clearly told they will encounter 2 or 4 years later.
     
Mike Wuerthele
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Jan 11, 2016, 05:59 PM
 
Originally Posted by Rhyman View Post
While the survey is interesting, I wonder about the questions you did or didn't ask.

Did you ask if they would like a thinner iPhone or did you ask if they could have that or longer battery life? That's like asking someone if they want to be rich without telling them the rules are they have to give up all friends and family.
Questions were asked, given the limited window, and patience, of the mall and the Apple stores we had to work with. I would have liked to had the manpower to ask each 1000 respondents more questions, but this is what we had to work with.

I agree with Steve Wilkinson that I don't want Apple to eliminate pro features of Macs. But, the article says that the inability of most people to do basic maintenance justifies Apple's decision to seal the iMac and MacBook.
and from another reader...

Based on my experience with 20 years of IT and tech support (primarily Macs, but also Windows), I don't think the percentage of "Mac as an appliance" users is any different now than it has been since the '90s.
In my 29 years of IT and tech support of Macs and Windows, I have seen the clear deterioration of technical knowledge by the user base. Perhaps our different markets is the key differentiator here. There has always been a segment of the population that has used a Mac as an appliance, but the shift, even in the last decade, has been very apparent to me.

I don't want Apple to eliminate "pro" features in computers either. My favorite machine is the Mac Pro, followed very closely by the Sawtooth and DA G4 towers. However, the article doesn't approve or disapprove of Apple's decision in any way. It just tells you what the user base is, and how they use their machines, and what factors Apple is using to make their decisions about things, like sealing machines.

As per the article, Apple's primary user is by a long shot no longer "us," meaning the technically savvy upgraders. Could the Mac mini still have socketed processors? Sure, but Apple decided that the two of us weren't worth the hit on thickness that it would bear for the other 198. Could the iMac have a drive door? Sure, but there would be design tradeoffs that they don't want to make for the sake of aesthetics, primarily. If the choice is 198 customers or two, the choice is pretty clear. Hell, if the choice is 110 customers or 90, that choice is pretty clear too.

Apple's trend has been towards sealing all Macs, and this in my opinion is a poor decision. It certainly decreases the longevity of a Mac.
The numbers aren't really out on that. It decreases the user serviceability of it, and the two are related, but not equal. I will generally accept your conclusion, with the caveat of the demonstrated fact that Apple's sealed devices still outlive the generic Windows manufacturer equivalent, even with possible decreases in longevity.

And, it can result in negative feelings towards Apple.
Yup, it can. In "us" primarily. We're the two out of 200, though.

As a Mac user group leader, I have had to explain to people on many occasions that the RAM in their Mac cannot be upgraded or the hard drive in the iMac will be expensive to replace or upgrade, because the entire screen has to be pulled out. When buying a new Mac, people base their initial decisions on cost, not factors they are clearly told they will encounter 2 or 4 years later.
Not sure where you're going with this last paragraph.

Anyway, I don't swig the Kool-aid, and I haven't in almost 20 years. Understanding and demonstrating something that Apple is doing is not the same as approval. I'd prefer to have something like the big-ass aluminum Mac Pro to tinker in. We as the two, have to understand that Apple's user base as a whole doesn't want that. If the two get left behind, its not a major deal for the company.
( Last edited by Mike Wuerthele; Jan 11, 2016 at 06:13 PM. )
     
sunman42
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Jan 11, 2016, 09:25 PM
 
Interesting survey, and interesting results. Just one thing though: "Northern Virginia is a monied area." _Any_ area with an Apple Store is an area with enough people with enough discretionary income to buy Apple's not particularly inexpensive products. That's why Apple puts the Stores there, and why Microsoft wants to build stores across the street (or mall hallway) from them: to get customers with deeper pockets than most. Then again, you don't tend to find Van Cleef and Arpels next to Arby's.
     
Steve Wilkinson
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Jan 12, 2016, 12:45 AM
 
@ coffeetime - When I was in corporate IT, even though much of the IT dept hated Macs, the whole executive team at the company used Macbook Pros loaded with Windows.

@ Makosuke - Yea, that was my point on the 'appliance' aspect. While there weren't Apple stores back then to take polls near, I don't recall the typical Mac user as being all that technically proficient. Given they were the odd-duck, I suppose the isolated ones had to have a bit more know-how just to get by, but again, I don't recall seeing that.

Certainly Macs and Windows require less maintenance now then they did back then. But, I'm not seeing this big difference in the mass user base... it's just a bigger base now.

@ Rhyman - Yea, I think asking people if they want thinner, has become kind of like, 'would you like more syrup on your pancakes?' I doubt most people even consider the implications and trade-offs. I'm guessing that if the questioning did go a bit deeper, the answer would be quite different. But, in defense of the survey, I don't think most people think about that when at the cash register either... there just isn't much thought about such things taking place outside our circles, IMO.

@ Mike - I think what Rhyman was saying is that people head into the store and buy a particular model, and then can be disappointed Apple's products are un-upgradable. They might not have bought enough RAM or storage, and now they're screwed (and, maybe go, 'gee, if I'd bought that HP laptop, I'd have been able to expand it.')

And, my original point was that I don't think Apple said... hey, the consumer wants an appliance, so let's give them one. It was more that the technology got to a point that they finally could. It doesn't make much sense to 'seal up' a laptop battery that lasts 2.5 hours, but if it lasts 10 hours, then *most* people don't need to swap them. Or, if it's a pricy SSD, then it's unlikely to get upgraded anyway (and even the upgrade is small), so they'll find external or cloud storage. Or, 4 GB RAM is sufficient enough for the life of the machine, that most people won't need to upgrade. Etc., etc.

re: "As per the article, Apple's primary user is by a long shot no longer "us," meaning the technically savvy upgraders."

I'm must not sure, as I said above, that it ever was. Even when upgrading RAM was just removing a door and popping it in, nearly everyone I knew had someone like me do it anyway.

re: "(And, it can result in negative feelings towards Apple.)

Yup, it can. In "us" primarily. We're the two out of 200, though."

I'd say it's the opposite. We 2 (now 3?) typically understand that the machine can't be upgraded and buy it up-front. The less technically savvy (those 'appliance' users), just buy the appliance *assuming* it should be able to be upgraded, like every other computer, and then get disappointed when it can't.

That's not an issue if Apple puts enough in, in the first place. And, in some cases they are now. But, that's part of my argument against the 16 GB iPhone... or the 2GB MB Airs Apple was selling a few years ago. When it's sealed, you can't have a sub-par model anymore!

re: "If the two get left behind, its not a major deal for the company."

I strongly disagree. The three of us are the Apple Evangelists who stuck by Apple in the worst of times. We're (or people like artists) are the content creators that make the stuff the appliance users use. We're the software developers who make the apps the appliance users run. We're like the Apple core. Letting us go might not have an immediate effect, but it will eventually.
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Rhyman
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Jan 12, 2016, 04:28 AM
 
Mike,

While these comments stray from the subject of the article, I think they must be said. I agree completely with Steve that we are the evangelists and have had a profound influence over the years on Apple sales.

We do not simply complain if Apple removes a DVD/superdrive or a headphone jack. We measure changes by the impact they have on our work, because we are content creators. We have used Apple products for a long time (for me, since the Apple II and beta testing the Lisa) because they are more efficient than Windows driven products.

We did not abandon Apple when times for them were tough, because we still had the products that helped us to get our work done. But, in the past couple of years, we have seen design decisions that appear to be made simply for the sake of how a product looks in the showroom.

Thinner for the sake of thinner. Is it really better better? We have also seen the lack of finish in Apple software products on the increase; Apple apps with bugs and lacking important features. Interface design that follows the whims of poor web design, rather than focusing on tasks that the user performs.

Apple has always been a leader, not relying on customer surveys. But, recent design decisions (in hardware, software and user interface) seem to indicate that Apple is becoming a bit lost, perhaps convinced of its own infallibility.

I spent one lifetime in aerospace engineering, where we (like to) say "if it looks right, it will fly right, and if it flies right, it will look right." Apple seems to be following the first half of that adage without the second.

Your article on surveying people on the features they might like to see opens up these thoughts in the more technically experienced users.

Rick
     
Mike Wuerthele
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Jan 12, 2016, 08:25 AM
 
Do you think Apple cares that we stuck by in the dark years? Do you think that they have a shelf of honor for those of us that have sold computers for them, or accompanied somebody to the store to help them with their decision?

Do you think that Apple believes we're owed something, or that anything will be done about it? Apple is now, officially, its own evangelist, with every pair of white earbuds. Yeah, we did sell computers for them. Yeah, we're still doing it to some extent, but Apple simply. doesn't. care. Nor should they have to.

What we, the two, have, is a form of survival bias.

The MacBook. It is not for the two. It is for the 198. Yet, the drama here and elsewhere about Apple having lost its vision was as ridiculous then as it is now. They still have THEIR vision, just not OUR vision of what the company needs to be.

Apple has always been a leader, not relying on customer surveys.
Simply not true. Apple used to have a line item in their filed budget for this, and about three years ago, it was $40 million.

Look, again. I'm not defending the company. "My" Apple left some time ago, when they said "heyyyy, look at all the money we can make in mobile." The remnants of it was squashed flat when the Aluminum pro was killed.

I'll give you the bugs part about software, but not the design part. WE don't like it, because it is not what WE expect. Disk Utility, and Airport Utility before that, were oversimplified taking away things that WE like, again, because WE ARE NOT APPLE'S MAIN CONCERN ANYMORE. Everything you complain about Apple, Rhyman, other than bugs are attributable to Apple's desire to keep the 198 and not the two.

Apple is a business. If they thought that they could light the the machines of the two of us on fire, and they'd get 1000 more customers directly as a result of it, don't you think that they'd do this?

Yet, here I am, because what are the other choices?
     
Steve Wilkinson
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Jan 13, 2016, 12:35 AM
 
Mike, I hear what you're saying. And, it's not as much that 'Apple owes us,' as it is the big picture. If they are just looking at the small picture (quarterly profits), then they are doing the 'right thing.' Hundreds of other companies have done the 'right thing' right to the end, as they've gone out of business or into irrelevancy.

And, if Apple follows their current path, they'll make record profits and such, until they aren't anymore, and great will be the fall. But, "your" Apple (and "my" Apple) used to be about more than quarterly profits. They used to be about great products that enabled their user-base to do great things. We became evangelists as a result. It was a reciprocal relationship... that's why they don't *owe* us anything. But, that's not to say we didn't do a lot for them.... OR .... that they no longer need brand evangelists!!! (Brand evangelism is more crucial today than it was back then.)

No, they have no obligation to listen to you, or I, or Rhyman, or give us what we want. We're just sounding the alarm.

re: "Apple is a business. If they thought that they could light the the machines of the two of us on fire, and they'd get 1000 more customers directly as a result of it, don't you think that they'd do this?"

That kind of thinking isn't necessarily 'good business.' Do you remember when Apple put a lot of money and effort into getting computers into schools so the next generation of business leaders people would be more friendly towards their products? That's more along the lines of traditional Apple thinking, and I'm sure someone had to leash the bean-counters to pull that off.

The other day, I actually heard a congressman say that companies (like Apple) have to do their tax stuff the way they do because companies have a legal obligation to maximize shareholder profit. NO THEY DON'T!!! Yet, this attitude is so prevalent today in business... I hear it all the time. It's also an economics 101 fail. Maximizing profit will get you into all kinds of trouble, and it's certainly not a legal requirement.

Likewise, Apple SHOULD NOT just blindly follow the main money trunk, chopping off any branches that don't appear quite as big. You have to consider the entire eco-system - in the long-term - while still making short-term decisions to meet immediate needs.
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Rhyman
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Jan 13, 2016, 03:36 PM
 
Once again, I find that Steve Wilkinson and I are pretty much on the same page.

Corporations are not required to maximize shareholders' profit, but to serve shareholders' best interests.

http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2015/04/16/what-are-corporations-obligations-to-shareholders/corporations-dont-have-to-maximize-profits

While I don't have a recent reference to the problems we see in Apple's hardware design, here is an insider's view about the problems Apple is having keeping up with their own software. David Sobotta worked for Apple for several years. This article was originally referenced by John Martellaro of the Mac Observer who worked for Apple as an evangelist to the engineering and science community:

viewfromthemountain.typepad.com/applepeels/- 2015/12/apples-core-has-changed.html

And, the problems in Apple's interface design have not gone without comment from two acknowledged experts in the field who worked for Apple, Bruce Tognazzini and Don Norman. They include a number of example of problems in their opinion piece:

www.fastcodesign.com/3053406/how-apple-is-giving- design-a-bad-name
     
Mike Wuerthele
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Jan 13, 2016, 04:22 PM
 
Do you seeing anything I personally am disagreeing with here?

On the other hand, do you see anything that the 198 may disagree with?
     
Steve Wilkinson
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Jan 16, 2016, 01:41 AM
 
Originally Posted by Mike Wuerthele View Post
Do you seeing anything I personally am disagreeing with here?

On the other hand, do you see anything that the 198 may disagree with?
Mike, I think the disagreement is more that it seems some of these articles have a tone of justifying Apple's actions in light of the data. And, we're saying, yea we understand *why* Apple is moving in those directions... we just see that as short-sighted, bean-counter, type actions.... which aren't in line with the 'old' Apple we knew and loved.

There's no reason a company with the size and wealth of Apple can't satisfy the 800, the 198, and the 2, so long as doing so best "serve shareholders' best interests."

As a friend put it earlier today when we were discussing this, "big groups make people stupid." I think that's a better explanation of what we're witnessing.
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Steve Wilkinson
Web designer | Christian apologist
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