10 September 2015

Apple looks as though it has run out of ideas


What next? Apple reinvents the door? An Apple knife and fork? Apple shoes? How about an Apple Pencil? Hold on, that is exactly what the tech giant did unveil on Wednesday in its latest rally for supporters, sorry, in its latest press conference.

The Apple Pencil will allow cartoonists and graphic designers to scribble on an enhanced iPad. If they don’t want to buy the electronic pencil, they can continue to use the screen of the new version of the iPad, just like they use the screen on their old iPad. Or they could buy some paper and proper pencils.

I cannot be alone in thinking that announcing all this with a fanfare and hype represents desperate stuff from a super-rich company that is now scraping the barrel.

It is difficult to know definitively though, because everything Apple does gets ridiculous amount of praise from fans with laptops. The firm’s pronouncements are treated with religious reverence. True, Apple is an interesting company and it makes good products (although they are not without their glitches). I am writing this on an Apple computer. Later, I’ll use my Classic iPod which still just about works and I’ll finish reading Jonathan Freedland’s excellent new thriller on my iPad.

But the company that made these products is just a company, although you wouldn’t know this from the breathless way in which it is covered. If other companies were covered by the media like the tech giants are treated, banking reporters would be gasping with delight when the latest profits are unveiled and political reporters would be tweeting pictures of themselves looking overexcited in the queue to see candidates and leaders.

“Excitement rising here as we get ready for HIS arrival.”

“Wow! He’s unveiled a change to the tax code, but done in a really groovy way! Consumers will love this!”

Now Apple has followed up its invention of the watch (it tells the time!) with a ridiculous electronic pencil that I’ll bet isn’t as good as a real pencil. I wonder if yesterday will prove to have been an Emperor’s no clothes moment? It should be.

Iain Martin is Editor of CapX.