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Has Apple Lost Its MoJo (mo~jo | noun) : charm, magic?

by ajtrek / November 9, 2012 10:01 AM PST

Before I begin to elaborate on the title let me state that I am an Apple product enthusiast. My meager collection of Apple products consists of a 17" MacBook Pro (early 2011), a 27" iMac (late 2009), 1st and 3rd Generation iPads, two iPod Touches, two Time Capsules, 1st and 2nd Generation Airport Expresses, two 3rd Generation Apple TV's, iCloud storage and I use iTunes match! OK....I don't yet have an iPhone...so sue me. At the moment I'm debating whether or not to buy the iPhone 5 or wait until the next iteration to give Apple time to fix it's maps app and maybe include some other nice-to-have features like NFC (sweet).

So, why do I ask...Has Apple Lost Its MoJo? Recently, while cruising the CNET site I ran across several interesting articles. One by Charles Cooper, an executive editor at CNET News discussing the recent drop in Apple Stock. Another by Greg Sandoval who covers digital entertainment for CNET who commented on an interview of David Sobotta, former director of Apple's federal group by Readwrite.com wherein Sobotta allegedly questions Tim Cooks leadership style and dubbed him a tech "lightweight". In an article by Steven Musil, night news editor at CNET News he cites quotes by Jeffrey Gundlach, CEO and co-founder of investment firm Double Capital as having told CNBC that Apple shares may drop to $425. However, on the brighter side Oppenheimer & Co., analyst Lttai Kidron believes that the pounding that Apple stock has taken is over done and the stock will bounce back, this from an article by Roger Cheng, an executive editor for CNET News.

Lot's of negative press lately about the Wunderkind-Corp Apple. We all know that Apple is the master of fanfare and mystique when it comes to a product launch. No one does it better. But I wonder as consumers have we come to the point that we expect any major revolution in tech entertainment products and/or productivity to bear an Apple logo.

The last revolutionary product from Apple was the iPad. New iterations of the iPhone, iPod Touch and siblings, as well as Apple TV have all been evolutionary. By that I mean they are basically the same products that essentially do the same thing as their predecessors, but only better. The last two unveilings of the iPhone after much fanfare were followed by "antenna gate" and the most recent in the form of the iPhone 5 has major problems with its Apple branded "maps'" feature. So much so that Tim Cook made an apology and of all things recommended an alternative competing platform (that shall go nameless - but it starts with "G")!

I must admit the Retina Display that first appeared in the iPhone was revolutionary and required some amazing technology to make it work. However, the inclusion of the Retina Display in the iPad and of late the MacBook Pro line IMO is no more than what one would expect. Start small (iPhone) then after a few teaks go large (MacBook Pro). Recently, Apple put the iMac on a much needed weight loss program. But isn't every manufacturer finding ways to cut the fat and go lean and mean. So when the next Retina Display appears in the iMac will that be revolutionary or evolutionary? You make the call.

I do believe that Apple will introduce another revolutionary product that will rock the tech industry. Let's not forget that Apple is still in it's infancy when compared to also-ran tech giants like Sony and HP and will not turn 40 until 2016!

The Apple design pipeline I would suspect is a treasure trove of exciting things to come. However, until then Apple needs to find away to stay relevant but ease the pressure of having every product advancement that it unveils being viewed as the next technological planet buster. I still don't get all the hoopla over the iPad mini. Sure it's small and light weight but from a capitalization point of view it's what Apple had to do in order to fill a competitive gap. Frankly, I'm still a little miffed that my 3rd Generation iPad is now old news after only 6 months! As Brian Tong would say....BADDDDD APPLE!

So, I ask you again...Has Apple Lost Its MoJo...or is that we expect too much in too short a span of time from the this tech juggernaut? Not to tick anyone off...but...just look at how long it took Microsoft to develop Windows 8. I'm just say'n....

What are your thoughts? Lets hear 'em!
Thanks!


Note: This post was edited by a forum moderator to add link to articles on 11/13/2012 at 3:49 PM PT

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Kinda makes you wonder
by TwinDuda / November 9, 2012 9:19 PM PST

I hadn't given it much thought until this comment. But it does make you think with all the changes taking place in Apples management. Not just playing musical chairs but people leaving and rumors of firings. As far as the mojo thing...I think Apple is still in the game and just waiting until the right moment to hit the market with the next big thing. Although the last introduction of revamped products may have been too many at once. The Apple I know or knew seemed to be more interested in quality versus quantity. Not to say that the knew products are bad. I think Wall Street has a tendency to over react or raise the bar too high at times. That type of cowboy financial analysis not only affects Apple but triggers negative reactions ( domino effect) in other areas of the economy. So maybe it's Wall Street that's lost it's mojo thing?

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A agree. I haven't really thought much about it, but...
by webserf / November 14, 2012 3:49 AM PST
In reply to: Kinda makes you wonder

I think that they've not lost their mojo. I think some other companies are taking it. Apple has always been knows for tightly engineered self-indulgent products, that are, YES, very good. I can honestly say that my MacBook Pro, purchased nearly 4 years ago has performed leaps and bounds better than any other laptop or desktop, mainly from a standpoint of reliability. I've dropped my MacBook Pro from a 4 foot distance to a tile floor, and the only problem?, a small dent in the corner of the laptop.

AND NOW: There are other companies presenting products to the market that approach the level of detail that Apple has, and so now there may be choices, hence IBM based products that do pretty well, especially after the trashing of Vista, an OS that Microsoft should have been put out of business for. To this day, I'm surprised that Microsoft was not big-time sued for the gross negligence it created in Vista, and the absolute unwillingness of manufacturers and Microsoft to make good on either a "downgrade" or an upgrade to win7, which is a competent OS.

Apple? Maybe people are getting tired of paying top dollar for a product (hence the iPad, mini, iPhone etc.) that the company STOPS supporting in usually less than 3 years.
Example: I purchased the original iPad. less than 2.5 years ago. The latest OS cannot be loaded? Screw you APPLE.

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Steve Jobs the Mojo? He certainly was the compass.
by n2art / November 14, 2012 11:59 PM PST
In reply to: Kinda makes you wonder

I for one love all things Apple. They have always been revolutionary. Other companies have stolen and emulalted their trail blazing ways. However, I sometimes think that the techs at Apple forget that they have a lot of Microsoft customers they could win if they would do just a few things to accomodate those customers. i.e. a USB port and HDMI port for instance on IPads.

I for one do not think that any tablet on the market compares to IPad whatever generation. I am still using a IPhone 3S and need to upgrade. But I too am waiting to see what supersedes the IPhone 5 since it hasn't had great success. I'm also disappointed that Apple would change the charging device for the new phones.
Come on! The fact that one could charge many devices on one charger was great. However, again Apple has gone down a notch to be more like it's competitors instead of the innovator it has always been.

I'm hoping that Apple Gets back on track, the sooner the better.

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Too many rumors that come true? Apple playing catch up?
by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / November 13, 2012 4:15 AM PST

When the Apple announcements came around these past couple of times, there was no element of surprise or wow factor for me. Why? Because of two things --all the leaked photos and rumors floating around on the Internet that were more and more accurate. So by the time things were announced, I wasn't a bit surprised. iPad mini and iPhone 5 to me were lack luster announcements given all the spoils floating around. And the second reason, their new products, they were just some enhancements done on them rather then giving us feature sets that were truly new and unique. I felt like they were playing catch up with the market more than anything.

So has Apple lost their mojo? Not yet. Well at least for now. But if they fall asleep at the wheel in continuing to innovate ahead of the game and at any given point think or feel like they are on top of the world and nobody can innovate like they can, they will fail and someone will take their place in a heartbeat. They need to stay humble, continue to innovate aggressively, and proactively be the ones that come out with new technology that makes everyone else scramble to catch up. If they continue to do what they've done in two previous announcements, they will be slowly heading towards the back of the line.

I hate to see them end up like brands like Sony or Panasonic who were once leaders in the TV market, now they are just around slowly bleeding it out, until they just drop out of the TV market. http://news.cnet.com/8301-1001_3-57547921-92/the-era-of-japanese-consumer-electronics-giants-is-dead/ Another example: Nokia and Blackberry in the cell phone industry, where are they now?

I believe brand name can only carry you so far, without innovation and being in the game to make things better and quickly adapt to the evolving market needs--they will drop out of the running pretty quickly these days and it will be difficult to survive or attempt to make a come back. I personal see this in the auto industry too, Honda and Toyota, you better look out your rear view mirror--Hyundai, KIA, Ford... they are all creeping up on ya.

That's my personal take.

Cheers!
-Lee

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Great Commentary
by ajtrek / November 13, 2012 9:28 AM PST

Hi Lee

Great commentary! You're right on target when say that Apple better not fall asleep at the wheel. Your comment reminds me of a movie from the 1970's called the Gumball Rally about an illegal cross-country, no holds barred auto race. In the movie one of the characters recites the line...."what is behind me does not matter" ...and proceeds to rip-off the rear view mirror.

As a metaphor to the tech world ( and for that matter any business) corporate executives in that highly competitive arena like Apple better keep their eyes ahead and in the rear view because whats behind them does matter in the real world.

It's also ironic that you mention Sony and Panasonic as the once giants in the TV world. I purchased a Sony flat screen and after a year I tried to use one of the HDMI inputs and it was not functional. Needless to say Sony and I had a conversation since I discovered the problem right at the end of the 1 year warranty. I'd never bothered to purchase an extended warranty as I had owned Sony products and TV 's for years with no problems. Sony did remedy the problem after much coaching and carefully chosen words.

The Panasonic plasma I purchased after just over a year went south also. Same story with them to resolve the issue as with Sony. The point here being is that you are right-on in your assessment of them as companies who once ruled their industry and look at them now. Very sad.

So, maybe someone from Apple is monitoring this forum. If so I hope they take what we say to heart and make the appropriate adjustments to ensure their continued success.

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Personally I think for Sony...
by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / November 14, 2012 1:49 AM PST
In reply to: Great Commentary

they had too much pride--thought they were untouchable and had their nose high up in the air when all these decades of dominating in the TV industry. But now they're play catchup, but a little too late in my opinion.

They also stuck with the proprietary stuff --media storage, formats, etc... which I think eventually mostly failed forcing the public to go their way or the highway. It might have worked back then because people wanted Sony product not only for their name, but for their quality. But not today when people want stuff immediately and don't want to hassle with other formats or headaches getting one more one off thing to use their stuff. Sometimes I think they try to reinvent the wheel too much, rather than going with the flow.

I remember when Sony TVs were the best. And my dad wouldn't even look at any other brands when shopping for a TV. I personally loved Sony Products too, I thought they always had the slickest and aesthetically pleasing designs. And the name meant quality. Today, while I still do believe they do make great products, to me they lost their mojo--simply by not staying humble and maybe didn't believe that at any moment a competitor can catch up to them and eventually take over the lead. It's pretty sad.

Thanks for posting this question ajtrek. Got me to do a lot of thinking not only about big companies, but just about business in general.

BTW I've own a Panasonic plasma for over 6 years+ and it's still running strong and has a beautiful picture despite being 720p. So no matter how good of brand or quality item they produce, I still think you can end up with a lemon in the bunch. Sorry to hear about your TVs.

Cheers!
-Lee

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Clarification
by ajtrek / November 14, 2012 2:43 AM PST

Regarding the Panasonic plasma that went south. It was on the low end of their plasma line...not the Viera class. I do own another Panasonic Viera class (1080i) plasma purchased in November, 2007. It has not given me any problems ...knock on wood. So, you're right....sometimes you get lemon.

Glad to know that the question stimulated the old grey-matter. Hmmmm...Are you, TwinDuda and I the only "thinkers" in the cyber-sphere?

Have a great day!

Ajtrek

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Proprietary stuff
by danfossdave / November 14, 2012 3:40 AM PST

Speaking of proprietary stuff as a disadvantage of Sony's business model, what about Apple?? The cell phone industry had all agreed in 2010 (including Apple) that the micro-USB connector should be standard on all mobile phones and other devices. So, when Apple moved away from it's previously non-standard connector, did they move to the industry standard? No, the created the "Lightning" connector. Which,oh by the way, means that any product designed to dock with an iPod/iPhone/iPad doesn't work anymore with the new connector. That is not only against standard, but ticks off a huge portion of Apple's existing customer base by making a lot of their "iCompatible" devices - worthless. And requires Apple devotees to spend even more money replacing all their Apple peripherals. Not a good way to "win friends and influence people".

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Typical Apple arrogance
by Rob10 / November 14, 2012 4:55 AM PST
In reply to: Proprietary stuff

Some Apple products I like, some I don't. But it's their arrogance towards customers and "with one hand we giveth, with the other we taketh away" towards features/standards that I will always look at Apple's competition first when making my buying decisions.

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My thoughts exactly
by Serena710 / November 15, 2012 2:51 AM PST

I don't think that Apple deserved the success that they had. It was mainly from dominating the market by having most of the other companies produce products that only worked with Apple products like the Ipod. It was never the best MP3 player and never had the best reviews, but almost every item that worked with an MP3 player only worked with the Ipod. That is good for them, but bad for us. Just because a company releases a lot of products does not make them better. If their stuff was great in the first place, then you should not need to trade it in every year just to get new features. What ever happened to downloadable upgrades? Not everyone wants or can even afford to buy a newer version of everything that they have every year.

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How true
by Crash2100 / November 15, 2012 12:19 PM PST

I always wondered if Apple was run by the Optimists, because they really act like one big (and arrogant) Optimist Club for themselves.

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This I definitely agree with you...
by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / November 15, 2012 1:36 AM PST
In reply to: Proprietary stuff

I know they are in the business of making money and I understand that. But dang it, sometimes they do need to cut their customers --"us" the folks who already use their products some slack and not have to make us "buy" another adapter to be compatible all existing accessories. And why they didn't go with industry standards and created the new lightning adapter? I have no clue--unless that lightning adapter has some special feature or functionality that makes it unique that it would be incompatible with standard micro USB then I would understand, but if it doesn't, I do question their motive, why? If anyone has an explanation, then please help me out here.

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What Apple is REALLY all about
by Rob10 / January 6, 2013 10:13 PM PST

Not a huge secret, but while Apple may act like they are here primarily to bring super cool things to the People that no one else can, that they make beautiful products that "just work", their PRIMARY goal is to make tons of money. It's all cloaked in a brilliant marketing machine that keeps people hooked on their products, and a closed ecosystem that insures it. I understand the idea that allowing every company that writes a program or builds a tech widget could introduce unreliability if Apple was a more open platform, but I think the main reason for it is the Apple Monopoly. Their exclusion of certain features in a product because They know what's best for Us is either a clever way of cutting costs/boosting profit margins, or laziness by their engineers. I'm going with the former...why else would they sell, say an iPod Touch that has the capability to mirror to a HDTV like an iPhone, but not release a FW update to allow it?

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I Love My Apple Computer
by triplet grandmom / November 14, 2012 3:33 AM PST

I have a Macbook Pro and my husband has an I-Mac. We love them and would not have any other kind.

I'm not a person who gets excited about new bells and whistles, so I don't think Apple is losing its anything. I just want a computer that works! And hopefully works well.

And that is what I have. I hope Apple stays around forever.

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Never underestimate the power of surprise
by timhood / November 14, 2012 4:07 AM PST

The leaked rumors of recent announcements definitely kills the thrill of the surprise. That surprise has huge marketing value, as Apple exploited under Steve Jobs. Apple needs to figure out how to control those leaks, if it's even possible anymore. It's one thing to hear people talk about their wishes and what Apple might be doing. It's another to be completely surprised. In fact, people would often clamor to watch the events just to see what the big surprises might be. Lately, there seems to be no point and that takes a lot of wind out of marketing's sails.

Another aspect is that Steve Jobs used to create a show out of any product reveal. He made an incremental update seem like much more than that. So, even when a product wasn't getting a revolutionary makeover, it still seems so much better in it's change, rather than just a "mere" update. Under Jobs, Apple never merely updated anything, the way he spoke of the products.

The reality is that all of these recent product announcements are iterative improvements on what are great products that were once amazing changes in the marketplace. Apple's mojo will come next from another market-changing product, not an improvement on an existing one. What I imagine Apple could do for television is a great example.

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Good Points
by 0135boom / November 14, 2012 5:37 AM PST

The only exception I take is that Apple has never been humble about anything. They tell people how the will like it and that's it. The single really true success they had is marketing. The product required a great marketing plan to succeed. They targeted the rebellious nature in people prone to that message. Then they grew that model. As I see it now, that model needs to change. To what, I don't know.

Beyond marketing, really take a look at their products. Apple evolutionized the tablet attempt Microsoft made. They hit the technology timing just right whereas Microsoft was too early. Beyond that, they created a great interface that you can drive without a mouse or keyboard...well sort of.

In the end the Apple mojo tank is running dry. Apple TV basically exists in different forms. Apple will need to really do something amazing to evolve that experience. If they want to wow me they need to create holographic TV or computer systems.

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Apple have disappointed lately
by bknewhaven / November 14, 2012 5:41 AM PST

It's not the hardware that bothers me, but things like the removal of Google maps for a crap alternative. Then removing the YouTube app just because it's owned by Google. Both totally crass decisions in my view. Still planning to get an iPad Mini though.

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Exactly the problem
by GabbyTheGuy / November 16, 2012 12:39 AM PST

This is exactly the problem...the complainers who then add "..but I'm going to but it anyway."

If the fruit in the store is old and bruised, so you just buy it anyway because you like apples?!

Really?!

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its the leadership
by Parasuco / November 14, 2012 7:42 AM PST

Big companies "need" growth. This is a statement.
Then they need be competitive by paying a huge amount of money to the leadership.
Then this leadership stiff all inovation as this inovation needs change.
Hence all the crises all big companies live. All that don't apparently do that is because of "innovative" accounting, or financial tricks that postpone the reckoning.

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TOTAL B.S.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
by Glenn51 / November 14, 2012 8:10 PM PST
In reply to: its the leadership

"Then they need be competitive by paying a huge amount of money to the leadership." Most of them are way, way, way
over paid now to sit around and do squat!!!!!!
Which is exactly what they do. They collect a big fat pay check and do nada, zippo, nothing! ShockedAngry

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What's changed?
by angryshortguy / November 14, 2012 3:24 AM PST

So, in 2007 Apple came out with the iPhone.
Three years later, in 2010, it was the iPad.
Why don't we wait until 2013, three years after Apple's last new hit, to decide if they've lost their mojo?

Do you REALLY expect Apple to come out with a ground breaking, game changing product every year?!

Who does this?
Let's get realistic here and quit expecting Apple to pull a solid gold rabbit out of the rear end every year.

Rumors of an itv, or some game changing device are already circulating.

Lost their mojo.
Too funny...

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spot on
by qflux / November 14, 2012 4:04 AM PST
In reply to: What's changed?

i wish I could thumbs up this comment 1000 times. lost their mojo? laughable. in the eyed of whom? self styled pundits in need of click fodder who never had any "mojo" to begin with? the real problem is that critics outnumber productive people 1m to 1 so we get articles like this. then people wonder about the endless treadmill of the "next big thing" and the corporate drive for unsustainable growth. its like small spoiled children whining that their brand new toy isnt good enough 5 minutes after opening it

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Mojo or no
by rrmram / November 14, 2012 4:16 AM PST
In reply to: What's changed?

Don't know about mojo but as a buyer and user of several iProducts, I bought a Kindle Fire last spring rather than the then current iPad and just last week I replaced my iPhone with the Samsung Galaxy Note 2. Both purchases were non-iProducts because I feel that Apple is 12-18 months behind the rest of the industry so I put my money where my mouth is.

It appears that Apple is caught up with cutesy names, iPad, mini Pad, maxi pad, and forgotten that many customers want today's tech, not last years with a cute name. imho

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As always ...
by rare_wolf / November 14, 2012 3:25 AM PST

... everything is relative ... and in this case, relative to anything significant coming from Apple's competitors. You do not mention anything coming from Apple's competitors ... why is that?

Granted ... you ask if Apple has lost it mojo. I suppose that's also relative to Apple's past ... and I do have to admit, Apple may have lost a little of its magical charm ... let's hope they get a little bit of it back with a media player to rival those available for Windows ...
Cheerios from the Avalon Happy

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MoJo Tough to Maintain Over Time
by jkotick / November 14, 2012 3:27 AM PST

I'm an apple fan and continue to use Apple products versus PC, etc. However, the IPad Mini and the latest IPad seem somewhat lackluster in their approach. As tech gets more universally adopted and the early innovators get caught by the herd, it get's harder and harder to find the new WOW product that people expect from you. Perhaps, it will come with a new revolutionary product, but revolutionary products require revolutionary thinking, design and engineering, which all takes more time than we've become accustomed to expect. I'm not giving up on Apple, by any means, just not sure that they will be the leader into the future.

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Maybe the revolution is over.
by jim7davis / November 14, 2012 3:30 AM PST

Possibly the era of revolutionary new products in Apple's chosen field is tapped out. I don't see anybody else coming out with anything that could be called revolutionary. Mostly just me-too.

This is not to say that there will never be another revolutionary product announced by Apple. I suspect they still have a few in the pipeline. But I doubt that the steady stream of revolutionary new products we have come to expect from Apple will continue. Or come from anyone else for that matter.

I am not saying that everything new that could be invented has already been done, but at some point the trajectory has to start leveling off with hotshot new products coming farther and farther apart.

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Timing
by Fierce_Bob / November 14, 2012 3:30 AM PST

Basically, you're saying that Apple has taken too long to come up with a new, revolutionary product since the iPad.

The iPhone was announced in early 2007, and the iPad in mid 2010. It was more than three years between the two product announcements. It has now been a big two and a half years since the first iPad intro.

In other words, it's really too early to make the claim that the pace of innovation at Apple is slowing.

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Sales strategy?
by ka7suz / November 14, 2012 3:34 AM PST

Disclaimer: I am not an Apple/Mac/iPxxx user. But, as an interested by-stander, it seems that "Apple" does what so many other vendors do, which is, as fast as an item is released and sales plateau, a newer, better, model is announced and hyped. I avoid such products.

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Innovative mojo, maybe...
by AlexDena / November 14, 2012 3:35 AM PST

But their products have excellent performance, they fabricated almost flawlessly and their systems are intuitive, powerful and functional... So maybe the company is getting to a stabilization process where it would be nice for them to kind of step back for a sec and think on the next big thing... I don't know... But what I do know is that as of now I would not trade my iPad for a galaxy tab nor my iPhone for a droid or S III ...
Yes other companies are catching up but still they have a long way to go in user friendliness approaches to their gadgets. For me apple is still ahead, and will probably be there a while longer....

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Apple needs to get diversify!
by jsshapiro / November 14, 2012 3:35 AM PST

As a shareholder I am worried...Apple releases an iphone once a year. If they don't have a super advance phone they are constantly playing catch up as other manufacturers release phones every 3-4 months. Since Apple main revenues are from the iPhone they need to have at least one other model - perhaps bigger? Not everyone is content with a tiny (by today's standards) 4" screen. They aren't really innovating anything people are ASKING FOR? They are doing what they want to do - not listening to consumers. Who cares the iPhone 5 is lighter? People want better/longer battery life - function OVER fashion. The Maps shouldn't have been launched and stuck with Google for the 1 year remaining on their contact with Google.

Now the iPad mini is going to cannibalize their sales with lower profit margins to boot! Apple is suppose to launch their TVs next year - could be a fiasco as the pricing is going to be expensive in comparison to other TVs at the same size.

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