Apple’s death of magic
Tim Cook sits in Café Macs with a blank expression on his face. Alone.
His focus is on a point in space a couple metres in front of him but he’s looking behind that at blurry Apple employees eating Apple pizzas, talking and laughing.
A young intern with a mischievous glint in his eye throws an Apple-designed round pizza box like a frisbee at another colleague.
“HEY.” Tim calls out, snapping out of his stare, “Come here.”
The intern walks over sheepishly, “I’m sorry Mr. Cook.”
“Sit down.” Tim replies.
The intern sits. Tim looks at him in silence for a few seconds.
“Tell me,” Tim begins, “what’s wrong with Apple?”
“I’m not stupid. There is something missing since… well…” Tim nods to a huge Steve Jobs placard over-looking Café Macs, “… what am I doing wrong?”
“You haven’t looked on Twitter?”
“I want to know what you think.”
“Apple was incredibly magical when I grew up.”
“You said was. What isn’t magical?”
“You want to know?”
“Yes. Tell me everything. Don’t be afraid.”
“Ok… well… Having a banner advert on the Apple homepage selling off the newest iPhone since launch for cheap isn’t magical. It’s begging. It’s weak. And having a fat cheap iPhone XR, that confuses the product line up isn’t magical. iPhones should simply be small, medium and large. A budget iPhone should be last years model. Expensive doesn’t equal magical. iPads and iPad Airs and MacBooks and MacBook Airs, it doesn’t make sense. It isn’t magical. Apple TV isn’t magical. The Apple TV remote is not a magical experience. It’s almost useless. Apple TV OS isn’t magical. Wading through apps and channels is convoluted. It’s not magical. Apple TV+ is even more confusing. It doesn’t feel magical. Paying A-List celebrities to high five is not magical. Apple not selling its own external screen for 8 years isn’t magical. It’s insane. Though not as insane as ceasing production of Mac Pros and hoping nobody notices. Then crawling back to the media announcing we’ll actually make them again, give us a couple years? That’s not magical. The keyboards on every single laptop we sell. Not magical at all. Neither is our fuck-off-elephant-in-the-room silence about it. Waiting out a huge and growing problem is not magical. Credit cards aren’t magical. Debt isn’t magical. Dark mode isn’t magical. It’s nothing. Not updating our apps isn’t magical. I want to rotate and straighten a video I took on my iPhone by a few degrees. I can’t. Can only rotate 90 degrees. I don’t know why I can’t. That’s not magical. Build it! Tim I have naked photos of my girlfriend on my phone, Photos doesn’t have a private folder. That’s not magical. Not building features isn’t magical. Navigating the Apple Watch OS isn’t magical. The miss-fitting watch faces for the new Apple Watch isn’t magical. Infograph watch face isn’t magical. It’s colourful, it’s not magical. Marzipan isn’t magical. It’s like open sourcing our beautiful walled garden. It’s not magical. AR isn’t magical. Aimlessly talking about software and hardware years before we launch it isn’t magical. And then shelving it completely isn’t magical. Apple is gently gliding from greatness into mediocrity and it’s not magical.”
The intern is done.
“Well… you know… it’s WWDC next month… So…” Tim replies.
The intern motions up to the Steve Jobs placard, “Apple used to be product announcements. Now we’re the terms and conditions.”
Tim nods. The intern gets up to leave.
“You’re right.” Tim replies, staring again into empty space.
“Hey!” Tim shouts at the intern. The intern turns around, Tim frisbees an Apple designed pizza box at him, it hits him in the face, “you’re fired!”