When did Apple become boring?

Don Reisinger thinks people believe Apple is boring now. Is it?

Historically, no company in the tech industry has performed nearly as well as Apple at creating an immense amount of anticipation for its products. After all, do we really care when Sony releases its next HDTV or Dell announces a refresh to its notebook line?

And while every other company in the world gets a free pass when they quietly refresh a product line, Apple doesn't. Why is that, you ask? Simple really -- Steve Jobs has created one of the most fantastic promotion campaigns the world has ever seen and Apple is easily the very best at "selling" a product before it's even available in stores.

But lately, Apple has tried something different. Instead of amazing us with fantastic new designs (aside from the MacBook Air) and extremely important updates, the company has followed a plan where it would quietly announce a new update each Tuesday. Just over the past month, Apple has dropped the price of its iPod Shuffle, announced the release of the Apple TV Take 2 and today, refreshed its MacBook and MacBook Pro lines.

And while some may be happy to see Apple doing just that, I can't help but wonder why anyone cares. Beyond that, what happened to innovation and groundbreaking updates? Has Steve Jobs and company slowed down the innovation to focus on something else?

Now, I'll be the first to say that most people ask too much of Apple. After all, how many times can the company come up with the best and brightest device until it finally runs out of ideas or money? On top of that, it doesn't make sound financial sense to constantly change products. But hasn't Apple spoiled us all along?

Major Apple updates have become so customary over the past few years that it's as if a quiet update to a product line is a bridge to something bigger and better. In fact, I would venture to say that because of the company's focus on big announcements by its CEO, most people have come to expect it every time something new happens. And if it doesn't, the release of the update quickly becomes the source of another rumor post that asks when the real update will be coming along.

When did Apple becoming the boring company that Sony and the rest are? Aren't we supposed to see Steve Jobs announce an unbelievable new update each time the word "MacBook" comes up?

Since its release back in 2006, the MacBook Pro has been updated or introduced about six times, depending on what you count as a "true" upgrade. All the while, the footprint has stayed roughly the same, the design has remained static and the only witnessed changes were on the component side.

And although it has only been around for two years, people are already asking why Apple hasn't changed its design. Huh? It has only been two years!

But in the end, it's this issue of hoping and waiting that has created somewhat a problem for Apple. Is the company still considered the most innovative tech company around? Sure. Does it make some of the nicest products? Yep. But it's because of all the hoopla surrounding its products and its effective promotion campaigns that everyone has come to expect a big announcement from Steve Jobs each month.

But in reality that's not only impossible, it's dumb. Why would any company want to throw its CEO on stage to announce a new iPod Shuffle? Would that make any sense?

But alas, this is a monster that Apple has created and so far, it's unwilling to relinquish that strategy. But then again, why would it? It works.

Don't get too excited about Apple updates and try to tell the world that you just know something bigger is coming along. This makes sound business sense and when Jobs does take the floor again, you'll be happy. Until then, enjoy your refresh.

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About the author

Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.

 

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