Five Years After I Switched To Android: Has Apple Lost Its Innovation Mojo?

  • Apple’s product line for professionals, which was one its strongest and most stable segments for a long time, is frankly an unmitigated disaster. Its latest line of Macbook Pro laptops suffer from inferior keyboards (that triggered a class action suit), a badly executed touch bar, and underpowered hardware for the price. These and other problems made me recently switch to Windows, and I’m not alone. Apple’s pro-level desktop products continue to disappoint. Also, many creative professionals can’t understand Apple’s botched software strategy that for example ruined its amazing Final Cut Pro video editing product and drove back many editors to Adobe Premiere Pro — which happens to run on PCs as well.
  • Apple had a huge head start in voice-based computing with Siri, releasing its voice assistant three years before Amazon Alexa was launched. But since 2014, Amazon and Google have captured most of the voice assistant market with superior products. Siri is by now not much more than a laughing stock, and Apple’s attempt at cracking the smart speaker market with HomePod fell largely flat, despite the amazing commercials. It’s OK to be a luxury brand, but if your product literally seems stupid compared to the competition, brand power just isn’t enough.
  • The iPad, once a category-defining product, is in decline, in line with the overall tablet market that gets crushed from both sides by larger smartphones and ever more flexible laptops. Sure, with Google’s negligence of the tablet market, the iPad is largely the only game in town now, but that’s not much of a consolation.
  • Remember when Apple completely dominated digital music distribution? That was long ago, before the market shifted to streaming music, which is now dominated by Spotify. Apple Music was launched in 2015, and while it showed some good traction, has failed to catch up with Spotify. Quite an embarrassing loss of a dominant position in a category that was once brand-defining for Apple (remember those iconic iPod commercials?).
  • iCloud. Where do we even start? Apple’s cloud-based services are far behind the competition. For some reason, Apple even missed out on building the underlying infrastructure and now runs iCloud on — get this — Amazon’s, Google’s and Microsoft’s cloud servers. Sure, it’s not a bad idea to concentrate on your strengths, but it’s kind of concerning to see a dominant tech giant like Apple miss out on a foundational wave of innovation like cloud computing. Of course, Google, Dropbox and even Microsoft will happily sell you their cloud-based services for your shiny Apple device. The problem for Apple is that it makes its hardware so interchangeable. When I switched to Android and later to Windows, it was ridiculously easy because everything that mattered was in the cloud anyway. Apple completely missed out on building a service-based lock-in, with the notable exceptions of iMessage and Facetime.
  • Apple was early in connected TV devices with Apple TV, but the market is now dominated by Roku, Amazon and Google. Winning in the living room is presumably one of the most important challenges for tech giants, but Apple has not done much to earn this title.



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Andreas Goeldi

Andreas Goeldi

Technologist, entrepreneur and investor. Likes startups, gadgets, movies, good audio technology and rambling about any of those topics. Partner at