HomePod failure shows Apple should quit making pricey niche products

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homepod
Watch out, AirPods Max! You might be next.
Photo: Apple

After throwing in the towel on the original HomePod after just three years, Apple should stop releasing pricey, niche products.

They don’t sell well — at least not well enough to keep Apple interested, apparently — and it’s not fair to consumers who shell out big bucks, then get stuck with a product that vanishes after just one generation.

Yes, Apple says it will continue to support the full-size HomePod with software updates, even as it refocuses on the $99 HomePod mini. But the old-school HomePod is a dead-end product.

You can read the HomePod debacle as an admission of failure regarding Apple’s framing of the device as a smart speaker rather than high-end audio gear. But it’s more than that. It’s an illustration of Apple’s faltering strategy of creating premium products for niche corners of the market.

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App Store reviews
This app can’t be a scam. Look at all those positive reviews!
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Good riddance to iMac Pro and the era of underwhelming Macs

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The 27-inch iMac Pro.
The iMac Pro never seemed to find an audience.
Photo: Apple

The iMac Pro is seemingly nearing the end of its natural lifespan — and good riddance to it.

In fairness, the iMac Pro was not a bad computer. It was even, technically, a pretty great one. But it epitomized an era of Mac design that may have been the most uninspired and directionless in Apple history.

I want a folding iPhone and I want it now

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Why should Android users have all the folding fun?
Why should Android users have all the folding fun?
Photo: Mika Baumeister/Unsplash CC

If you’ve been paying attention to cutting-edge smartphones, you probably noticed a trend — foldable screens. And while folding phones might seem gimmicky, I think they present the perfect solution to a market-inflicted problem.

Unfortunately, while Apple is reportedly working on folding iPhone prototypes, the latest report suggests it we might wait nearly three more years for Cupertino’s first crack at such a device.

That’s way too long when the Android market is pressing forward fast. Please, Apple, don’t make us wait for a folding iPhone.

Apple at $2 trillion is amazing for investors, but boring for fans [Opinion]

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Tim Cook WWDC
Are Apple's days as a game-changing innovator behind it?
Photo: Apple

Apple’s surge past a $2 trillion market cap this week underlines just how well CEO Tim Cook’s vision works for shareholders. But is this good news for Apple fans?

The first publicly traded U.S. company to hit this milestone, Apple has transformed from one of the world’s dynamic companies into one that can be, well, kind of boring. The strategy that fueled this unprecedented success makes it far less likely that we’ll seen an insanely innovative product coming out of Cupertino in the future.

Focusing on major movies could prime Apple TV+ for success [Opinion]

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It's the perfect time for Apple TV+ to makes its move with movies.
It's the perfect time for Apple TV+ to makes its move with movies.
Photo: riviera 2005/Flickr CC

The deal to bring legendary director Martin Scorsese’s future films to Apple TV+ sounds like a gift for movie fans who subscribe to the streaming service.

But signing Scorsese and other top filmmakers could turn out to be a shrewd and self-serving move that benefits Apple, too. Focusing on films crafted by the world’s top directors could differentiate the fledgling Apple TV+ from dominant rivals like Netflix. And it looks like Apple might be timing the market perfectly.

Why Apple needs to fix the medical mask emoji ASAP [Opinion]

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The medical mask emoji needs an update for 2020.
The medical mask emoji has way too much in common with the disappointed face emoji.
Photo: Apple/Cult of Mac

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, when wearing a face mask slows the spread of this disease, Apple really must change its medical mask emoji. It seems like a small tweak, but it’s important.

Currently, the face shown is unhappy about having to wear a mask. The design needs to show the person is glad to do their part.

After virtual WWDC, Apple should never go back to live keynotes

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During the WWDC 2020 keynote, Apple software chief Craig Federighi reveals big changes coming in iOS 14.
It was certainly a different experience, Craig. I'll give you that.
Photo: Apple

WWDC 2020 Apple turned chicken sh*t into chicken salad with Monday’s WWDC 2020 keynote, and now I don’t want Cupertino to ever go back to doing live keynotes. Crude? Perhaps. Truthful? You bet.

Before the streaming event started, some of my Cult of Mac colleagues discussed how Apple would deal with its first virtual keynote. Some of us thought Apple would simply deliver the same Steve Jobs Theater experience, but with no audience present. (Heck, if Apple wanted to, it could have gone the route of U.K. televised football and added crowd noise.) Others thought Apple would, well, think different.

Apple chose this second option and, in the process, freshened up a formula that has remained the same for years. Here’s why it would be a step backward for Cupertino to consider going back to live keynotes.

iPad Pro is a Swiss Army knife, not a surgeon’s scalpel [Opinion]

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The iPad Pro is the perfect tool for many people.
The iPad Pro is the perfect tool for many people.
Photo: DP Spender/Cult of Mac

By DP Spender

The launch of the new 2020 iPad Pro brought a plethora of articles from tech journalists asking, “Is this Apple’s laptop replacement?” That question is so open-ended, it might as well be an infinite loop. It’s like asking a toolmaker, “Is your new hammer a suitable replacement for last year’s wrench?”

It is in many ways a pointless question — and one that in my opinion totally misses the point. The question should be, “Does the 2020 iPad Pro get your job done?” To which my answer is yes, but then so did the 2018 model.