Get used to disappointment

Apple announced a product. It does basically the same thing as the things that came before it. It’s insanely expensive. It doesn’t do the things people think it should. It’s pretty, sure, but anyone who actually expects to use this thing is going to be disappointed.

Am I talking about Apple’s new Vision Pro headset? Or am I talking about the 1984 Macintosh, the iMac, iBook, iPod, iPad, iPhone, Apple Music, AirPods, or Apple Watch? I feel like I have written this article 500 times. I hereby retire from writing it yet again, but I will provide some hints.

  • Apple has been very clear that they don’t want to pioneer brand-new tech, they want to redefine how it can fit into everyone’s life. Put another way, they’re not first, they’re the first to make something “for the rest of us.”
  • Apple starts expensive with the best experience they can figure out, then they iterate and bring the price down.
  • They have a very good track record doing this. Not every time, of course. They have failures. But on big platform moves like this, they’re undefeated.
  • Apple’s vertical integration is basically impossible to beat on their terms.
  • Those things that look “slick” or “pretty?” That’s the secret. Seamlessly integrating hardware and software is their moat. It will be impenetrable until iPhones and Macs are seem as vastly inferior to their competition.

All the data is out there. The strategy and the plan is easy to analyse. If your big conclusion, like many wrong people before you, is that Apple missed the mark and not even if their sheep-like fans can save them this time, you’re in good company. For now. And then as the years go on, and Apple becomes the permanent frontrunner in mindshare, product usage, profit margins, and eventually units sold, a new Apple product will appear on the horizon and we’ll say it won’t be a hit. Not like iPhone and iPod. Not like Vision Pro.

That’s just how it goes.