A few days ago, while reading the rather reactionary articles on Seeking Alpha to the most recent Apple earnings call, I made the following list of things I think Apple should consider doing. Now, to be clear, Apple is doing great, and I am long on Apple. But at the same time, their product line could certainly use some updates and expansion. After posting this list on Seeking Alpha, someone suggested I should make it into a blog post. So…. here is a copy of my post, take it as you will.
Dear Apple, please consider the following ideas to increase your business and please your stock holders:
- The Swift Cloud – Would be a cloud infrastructure for web-based Swift apps. Swift is an amazing, binary compilable, web capable language with huge developer uptake. It’s now open source. You need to build a cloud to host Swift web apps and market it to new startups and existing businesses developing new web-based capabilities. Binary web apps, as compared to the current Rails or Django frameworks, could be huge for efficiency and code security. The Swift Cloud would basically become an iTunes App Store for the web. Additionally, by offering “in app” (online purchasing) payment processing you could take this to the next level. This would be the implementation of Steve’s original vision for the iPhone, but with a much better revenue stream. This would allow you to compete directly with Amazon Web Services (AWS) without having to compete with them on price, as it’s hard to compete on price with a company who is committed to never make any money.
- Commodity Rack Mount Servers (Hardware) Running OSX – First, they could be used for the above described web market. But also, Hollywood and many other industries have been begging for this! OSX now runs on off the shelf components available from any vendor. You simply need to order some commodity rack mount servers from some razor thin margins manufacturer, install OSX, sell for 30-50% markup, and enjoy profits. More importantly, it would make your business customers, such as Imgix, VERY happy. And don’t let Jony Ive touch this project! No one cares how a server they are going to shove in a datacenter looks like. If you must, CNC cut a faceplate for these servers, but that’s IT. Stop ignoring your enterprise customers! Sell them servers to go with all those iPads and iPhones you claim they are buying. Make an A10 (or whatever you are going to call it) server while you are at it for low energy use applications.
- Buy GoPro – Let’s face it, you can do better with that company then they have. Roll it out into a full line of ProSumer must-have cameras for video production, from small action cams to full size 4/3rd cameras to compete with the likes of Sony. It’s not a huge industry, but it’s growing with the growth of YouTube and FB Video.
- Buy DJI or start your own drone company – GoPro is developing drones, so maybe 2 birds with one stone. Make industrial Drones, Selfie Drones, and Racing Drones (I am developing the latter, Tanky Drone, so call me if you are in the buying mood.)
- The “Pear” R&D Group – Stop spending money on top down R&D, or at least start spending money on bottom up R&D. Start the “Pear” company that offers 5 year grants to people who apply with an interesting project, similar to what Google has started doing recently, but they are offering 90 day period for development. 2-5 years is a must for any kind of hardware innovation due to lead time on prototype production. Offer $1M budget per year for 2-5 years to 1-3 team members with 50k/year available for living expenses per member. Talented people, the truly talented, are not motivated by money, but are very motivated by the possibility of working on their passion projects. Open campuses in Europe and use all that trapped cash to pay for it, but import people from around the world, including US. Spain is dirt cheep I hear, and it’s a nice place to do R&D.
- STOP making the iPhone thinner – News flash, no one cares! Move the finger print sensor into the Apple logo on the back, unless you have figured out already how to do in-screen finger print scanning. I know you have patents out for that tech, but I’m not sure if you actually figured out how to do that. You can get patents for all kinds of things nowadays. Anyway, whichever way you do it, get rid of the home button and bump the phone to screen ratio to >90%. People want larger screens, but NOT larger phones. Thinner isn’t smaller. Thinner is just more annoying to hold, less screen on time, and more bendable. Machine the frame hoop out of titanium with carbon fiber / fiberglass band back, with integrated solar panel, and glass front. Make the Apple logo glow different colors based on the messages / notifications the phone has pending. Make it water resistant already! Make 3 sizes, small, medium, large (come up with better names). People want small phones, really! Look at SE sales for reference. And make the damn iOS transitions faster for god sakes.
- Add full USB support, a proper file system, full BT support, and a SD card reader to the iPad Pro – Stop trying to profit on the iPad Pro storage space upgrade, or, even if you want to still do that, just make the apps installable on internal storage ONLY. But add SD card reader internally to iPad Pro. Alternatively make a line of pro level cameras that support USB and WiFi connection to iPad Pro for image preview and review. See item 3.
- Tell us where you are heading – I am sure you have a lot of “products in the pipeline.” But at the moment that sounds a lot like: “Jony Ive is now in the basement shaving nanometers from iPhone 6SS and painting it an even pinker shade of … Gold?”