Where did Apple go wrong?

Apple started messing up on basics.

This is kind of like what happened to the Titanic when it broke the first law of shipping: don’t sink. Apple made the same mistake.

How did this happen?

Let’s start with the MacBook Pro’s. By focussing on size (thinness) and speed the my forgot the most basic of all – it must just work.

By basics, we mean of course, the keyboard.

Let’s get one thing out in the open. This is not an Apple hit piece. I want Apple to do well. I have been long time Apple users since 2008. Sure, they cost more but that was ok because they “just worked”. They also had amazing longevity – they just worked, for a long time. I have had only 2 MacBooks since 2008. 2 laptops in 11 years? Wow. Bravo Apple.

Sadly, over the past few years, something seems to have changed. Let’s talk about the main issue mentioned above, the keyboard.

The keyboard is like your heart. If it stops working you are done. It is like the wheels on a car. Essential and (should be) easy to get right except…. Apple has got it wrong, repeatedly, inexplicably.

While getting something as fundamental and basic as the keyboard wrong is serious, the reason why, is even more serious.

There can be only 3 reasons to get something like this wrong: 1. They simply forgot to test it or 2. They did test it but did such a poor job they missed the issues or 3. They tested it, were aware of the issues and just didn’t care. The first is unlikely which means the second or third are the probable reasons. If this is true it is deeply worrying as it means a fatal management/culture flaw and we all know what happens when a company gets the wrong people in management or a culture of mediocrity takes hold.

Some good news though : Apple ‘seems’ to have fixed the keyboard issue in the new 16 inch MacBook Pro. While this is great if you need a large and expensive laptop (and are in the market for one right now), it’s not so great is that if you (like us) are looking for a new MacBook Air 13 inch with a rock solid keyboard (like you get with even a $300 chrome book) or have recently bought any MacBook in the last few years and are now sitting with a dud keyboard.

But what about Apple’s undertaking to fix any broken keyboards for the next 4 years? Well, this offers cold comfort to those that work in remote locations and also, what happens after 4 years? So at the moment, other than the 16 inch option, there is no reliable MacBook on the market and for a company as excellent as Apple, that is ridiculous.

But Apple has so much cash it does not need to cut corners! We know! Which makes this even more baffling. If a small cash strapped company fails to deliver an excellent product due to lack of funds you kind of get that, there is just no more cash! This is not an excuse available to Apple.

So to conclude: something has been wrong at Apple for a number of years and so far there is no rational explanation for it. And that’s worrying. Remember, no company lasts forever just like no country lasts forever. Rome was all powerful but toppled eventually. The cause? It rotted from within. If you want to know who destroyed Rome, I will save you some time, it was no external force, it was the Romans themselves.

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