Worrying trends in a 39 year old Apple

The last few months have shown some odd fractures in Apple’s decision-making, notably in the  Watch and Apple Music.

In recent years, its track-record on decisions has become second to none. Earlier mistakes like Mac clones, Pippin, Newton, and all the other colourful tales which enrich its corporate biographies, seem to have been put behind. Starting with the iPod and iTunes Music Store, almost every bright idea that emerged into the market has taken Apple from success to greater success.

It has not always fared so well in litigation, perhaps, and could feel justifiably sore about attempts to protect its intellectual property rights, and to compete with Amazon’s Kindle publishing empire; but these have been smaller running sores compared to earlier gaffes.

Then in April it started shipping its Watch, having apparently forgotten to provide it with a proper operating system so that it can run its own applications, as detailed here. I remain surprised that this massive mistake has escaped more general opprobrium, but perhaps others are still too fascinated at watching Mickey Mouse and Twitter on their wrists to have noticed this singular failure.

Now in June, shortly after announcing its new Apple Music streaming ‘radio’ service, and offering us all three month free trials, it has apparently forgotten to make adequate provision for any content during the trial period. This comes to light as one performer, Taylor Swift, openly castigates Apple for expecting her to provide her music free of charge during trials, and Apple has to hastily backtrack and offer to pay her and every other artist whose music it will be broadcasting in a week’s time.

eddycuetweetThere are of course many other potential explanations for these very public mistakes. Let us hope that this apparent forgetfulness is not a sign of things to come.