Putting Apple Product Development into Perspective

Rick Tetzeli, co-author of Becoming Steve Jobs, interviewed Tim Cook, Eddy Cue, and Craig Federighi for an article about Apple’s approach to product development that was published by Fast Company yesterday. Tetzeli does an excellent job exploring critics’ ‘Apple is doomed’ refrain, putting it into historical context, and exploring what Apple’s long-term approach to product development might mean for the company’s future.

Apple often seems to be criticized for simultaneously doing too much and too little. The ‘Apple is doing too much’ criticism typically points to recent product misses as evidence that Apple has lost its focus under Tim Cook’s leadership and needs to return to its core products. But as Tetzeli points out, product failures at Apple are not a new phenomenon:

Indeed, the iPod, iPhone, and iPad—and the financial success they engendered—obscured the fact that Jobs oversaw almost as many flops as hits during Apple’s resurgence: the circular, nearly unusable mouse that came with the first iMac in 1997; 2001’s beautiful PowerMac G4 “Cube,” which was discontinued after one year; Rokr, a music phone Apple released with Motorola in 2005; the iTunes social recommendation network Ping, and many more.

The complaint that ’Apple is doing too little’ seems to come from fear that Apple is missing out on technologies announced by companies like, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft

There have been a few takes on the Fast Company article that was published yesterday, but the one by MacStories hits it on the nose.