I enjoyed a recent Google blog analysis of the changes to advertising due to cookies being phased out. Google had tried something different, it didn’t go far enough for privacy advocates, not they are trying again. That’s life, a give and take between interested parties. Well, unless you are Apple. The Cupertino approach is to dictate anything they like, whenever they like, usually without advance warning. They have been doing it with everything from the plugs to their machines, to other standards, to features they simply kill suddenly.
But this isn’t yet another rant about how insular and small minded Apple is, how small a part of the world they actually influence. This is a very serious warning to Apple investors: Apple’s lack of innovation and laziness will bite back.
Let’s take an example like Maps. Pretty essential tool. Does Apple think it will get away with just buying up some companies and occasionally updating maps of, well, North America? Amongst the gazillion things Google Maps does better is a simple callibration whereby you lift your phone, it looks around and figures out where you are. Why? Because Google bothered to drive around the entire planet. It has the images and the technology to process all that. And then it went a step further by crowdsourcing a constant stream of updates through it’s Google Maps contributor scheme. These aren’t just “nice little touches”, these are very serious stepping stones in achieving faster, better, more meaningful experiences to users.
Let’s take Siri. While the planet shoots ahead with voice search for more and more users, Apple is stuck in American English and an extremely limited real world application. Home automation? While Apple copies Tile (badly) and plays with a few retails sales, Google has paved a way through Google Home for thousands of developers and manufacturers to work together.
It is easy to say “we are dropping Flash next year” like Steve Jobs did so prematurely. What is hard is coming up with real world solutions so that stuff actually works, millions of websites and web developers need to find a way to do what they do tomorrow as well. “Oh Google is so dominant in search, it is easy for them” says anyone too lazy to think it through. Have you seen https://crowdsource.google.com/ ? Hundreds of thousands of people around the world are organized by Google to actually work on making AI what we all imagine it will become. A trillion data points can only get you so far. An army of volunteers are helping to get us a bit further, a bit faster. That takes community building, events. It takes transparency and information moving around freely. Things Apple never has done and shows no intention of ever doing.
They think that they can fool stockholders and markets with tricks like the M1. Some of us remember the last time they left Intel though. We all know how this ends in 3 or 5 years. Stunts like that can only go so far. In our globalized and extremely complex modern world even simple solutions that work need nurturing, explaining, selling to multiple interested parties. Real world problems take work to analyze and adress. It is more like gardening, yet Apple still wants to attack with a chainsaw all the time. Stop drinking the Kool Aid. It may not have cyanide, but it sure as hell has less and less of anything much better.