Farhad Manjoo, for The New York Times:
So now, instead of selling better stuff to more people, Apple’s new plan is to sell more stuff to the same people. “Today is going to be a very different kind of event,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, taking the stage.
It was not. From start to finish, Apple’s affair was a brushed-aluminum homage to sameness — a parade of services that start-ups and big rivals had done earlier, polished with an Apple-y sheen of design and marketing. Among other offerings, Apple showed off a service for subscribing to news on your phone and a credit card, and it offered vague details about a still-in-development TV service involving Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey (who are not exactly edgy or up-and-coming).
None of these efforts look terrible. Some, like the news service, might be handy. Yet they are all so trifling and derivative. As the analyst Ben Thompson noted, Apple’s crush of me-too announcements falls far short of Mr. Jobs’s goal of putting “a ding in the universe.” As I watched Apple’s event, I felt the future shrink a little. In its gilded middle age, Apple is turning into something like a digital athleisure brand, stamping out countless upscale accessories for customers who love its one big thing, a company that has lost sight of the universe and is content merely to put a ding in your pocketbook.
The only Apple product in recent memory, which truly changed anything, were the AirPods, and they’re not even close to putting ‘a ding in the universe’. Quite frankly, it just feels as if Apple is stagnating, and because of that, it’s focusing on milking its customers for every last penny, during this absence of ideas.