Originally Posted by chucker
I think this is mostly good news. Their access points have been highly-priced niche products for about a decade now. You can get good-enough alternatives for a fraction of the price, and yes, I do recognize that they won't be as polished, their UI won't be as good, yadda yadda. Even then, brands like Ubiquiti and Eero seem to offer products for that segment.
It's mostly a commodity market. That's never been Apple's strength. Have 'em focus on stuff they're actually good at.
Because management is hard, and one of the most important things Steve was to make sure the company is focused. Within two or three years, he killed the tablet (Newton), the scanners, printers, and even most of the Mac models. This wasn't just (or even mostly) about Apple being too small to afford it.
Yes, they're larger now, and have plenty of cash. That doesn't mean managing a more vast swath of products becomes that much easier. You still have scaling issues, and there's little wisdom on how to solve them. You can delegate and create a deeper hierarchy, but then you have to worry about infighting, communication, vision, and generally losing touch. One aspect Windows Vista / Longhorn had to be rebooted (and still ended up being poorly received) was such a convoluted organizational structure, and part of the reason Apple could taunt Microsoft about it by shipping Panther, Tiger, and Leopard in the meantime — iterating quickly on features — was that they were lean about it. They didn't attempt huge-picture problems like WinFS did, nor worry too much about backwards compatibility like Win32 continues to.
Cool, so should Apple start producing displays again? How many models?
Printers? Scanners? If not, why not? At what point do you draw the line of "products that play nicely together"?
Oh bullshit. Does Microsoft make desktops now? No, not pricey niche-market digital easels. Desktops. Mac mini-like, iMac-like, just a regular minitower, anything. Bueller? Oh, right, no, they don't. In fact, they don't make any mass-market computers at all, so why is it relevant what they have to say on the matter? They're providing interesting concepts, and products perhaps useful for some segment of the market. Not much more. They can't even ship a desktop OS with a sensible UI framework any more, and their smartphone story makes less and less sense (why not just team up with Google for some Android-Windows integration?).
Apple is currently the only company that has both a successful mass-market desktop/laptop operating system and one for smartphone/tablet. (Their smartwatch and TV stuff still strikes me as not-quite-there-yet.) macOS has some quality problems, and iOS is beginning to have growing pains (does anybody really intuitively understand the differences between long-pressing and 3D Touch? Don't we have too many swipe gestures with overlapping meanings by now?), but they continue to iterate at a pace that seems just right. Any faster, and the quality would be worse; any slower, and we'd want more features. We both keep whining about the quality and about how boring the products have become. You can't have it both ways.
Their visions of Continuity (how data and your workflow gets transparently shared between devices you use), of how macOS and iOS starkly differ in their UI paradigms, of how we can eventually extend some of this to other platforms like a TV, of how privacy / your data sovereignty should be handled? Those are fairly strong. Name a company that offers something comparable.