Has Apple lost the magic touch?

When was the last time Apple released a truly innovative product?

With the iPhone 7 launch on the horizon, thousands of blog posts and news articles are lining up to guess the big features and post “leaked” photos of the new device.

Here’s everything you need to know about the iPhone 7 — it will be slightly better than the iPhone 6S, which was itself slightly improved over the iPhone 6.

There, I’ve saved you a whole bunch of clicking.

Maybe they’ll eliminate the headphone jack and force everyone to start using Bluetooth earbuds. Or maybe the new phone will be so light and slippery that we’ll all need to buy even heavier and more protective cases.

The last time Apple shook things up in the world of iPhone was when they surrendered to larger screen-sizes with iPhone 6. But that was in response to consumer demand, as companies like Samsung were gobbling up market-share with phablet-sized devices.

And a larger screen wasn’t revolutionary, it was evolutionary at best. An obvious next step and a reaction to other companies who were leading the way.

Iteration is Not Innovation

For a decade and a half, Steve Jobs took Apple on a spectacular run. Think back to the first time you saw the wild and colorful design of the all-in-one iMac, first launched in 1998. The iPod and iTunes revolutionized the way we buy and consume music. The iPhone and iPad transformed mobile computing and communications.

Lately, Apple’s “innovations” have consisted of making bigger and smaller versions of their existing products and playing around with the colors and naming schemes.

No, I’m not an Apple hater. In fact, quite the opposite. I am very invested in the Apple ecosystem.

I use an iPhone 6S Plus as my daily driver smartphone. In addition to Windows PCs, I have a 27-inch iMac, an iPad mini, and one of those super-thin MacBooks.

When was the last time Apple offered really compelling new software? Or an industry-changing new product? Or something new that really fit the description as INSANELY GREAT?

Each new version of iOS becomes slightly more minimalist, with increasingly flat design. Force touch or 3-D touch, or whatever they finally decided to call it is virtually useless. Seriously — when was the last time you “peeked” into your email instead of just opening it?

People have been complaining for years about the built-in apps that come with OS X. They are stale and increasingly outdated, but Apple seems to place improving them as a lower priority than developing new shades of gold for the Apple Watch band.

Speaking of the Apple Watch, let’s be honest for a minute. A much smaller, less functional version of the full device that you can strap to your arm? Apple has covered this ground already, it was called the iPod nano.

The Apple Watch is just an iPhone nano.

The super-thin MacBooks are impressive, I’ll give them that. So impressive that I actually purchased one and six-months later I’m probably going sell it on eBay because OS X is falling so far behind Windows 10 that it’s not even funny.

Apple’s absurdly high build quality is no longer the advantage it once was. Companies like Dell and HP are building ultra-thin and very durable laptops.

The high mark-up and huge profit margins on Apple products are starting to make them feel more “expensive” than premium.

What Happened to Apple?

When Steve Jobs died 5 years ago, I thought the company would be mostly fine. After all, he wasn’t really the driving force behind the company’s products — he was just a pitchman who sold the public on each new product.

I guess I was wrong.

To my surprise, it feels as if Apple has lost the vision and the will to really innovate in meaningful ways. Maybe Jobs really had the magic touch?

Maybe he cared more about breaking new ground technologically than he did about expanding Apple’s stock price by optimizing the iPhone to death?

Apple under Steve Jobs would have never bought Beats headphones — they would have developed a vastly superior, minimalist headphone that looked more like a Star Trek prop than a fashion accessory.

It seems absurd to me that Cortana and Alexa are better voice assistants than Siri. Insane that Microsoft is building augmented reality visors and Amazon is leading the way with delivery drones.

Don’t even get me started on the steaming pile of garbage that is Apple Music and the iTunes store of today.

This is the company that created the Macintosh, the iPod and iPhone! What happened to true innovation at Apple? Did it really die with Steve Jobs?

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