For years, as Apple only grew more and more successful, much of the punditry about it—which treated the company’s success as illusory and its customers as religious fanatics—was badly out of whack with reality. And then the worst of the worst largely went away. After all, it’s hard to paint a company as being on the brink of collapse when its profits seem to shoot ever higher and its market cap dwarfs the GDPs of major countries.
But this week, Apple reported a quarter which, though massively profitable, was, by Apple standards—let me quote Tim Cook here—”challenging.” And the people who love to predict an impending Apple apocalypse seem to be taking it as license to go back to their dystopian ways. Take “The Decline of the Apple Cult Comes to Pass,” by TechEye‘s Nick Farrell. After the obligatory reference to Apple fans as a cult in the headline, the story compares Apple to a decapitated brain and devolves from there. But I was particularly struck by this section:
Apple also relied too much on China without really understanding the market. In China, ownership of an iPhone was a status symbol. It proved you had more money than sense. However as the Chinese economy retracted, overt shows of wealth gave way to functionality. HTC and Samsung phones had more bells and whistles, and looked much better.
But Apple’s refusal to have a good old redesign go at its iPhone, even returning to the iPhone 5 design this year, was just silly.
Is it any wonder that Apple sold only 51.2 million iPhones this year?
I’m not even going to ask whether 51.2 million iPhones is a figure which can reasonably be preceded by the word “only.” Here’s another question, though: How can Farrell talk about Chinese consumers opting to buy HTC and Samsung phones instead of iPhones when the latest smartphone market-share stats for China show that Apple, even during a rough quarter, remains in the top five—and HTC and Samsung are nowhere to be found? HM