Allow me to tell you a story.
There was a man who was full of great ideas about how best to do his job. He had found himself surrounded, almost by chance, with people that possessed the skills and position he needed to assist him in seeing his dreams become a reality. He saw what needed to be done and did it, no matter what others thought. While he was convinced his actions and behaviour was both defendable and desirable, it set him at odds with the powers that be, and he ended up completely removed from his position.
For a number of years he was considered irrelevant. People, in fact, largely forgot his name. He was discouraged, for sure, but found things to keep his hands busy and still gave 100% in what he found to do.
This time of rejection birthed a remarkable and much needed humility in him.
Many years later, through a series of strange events, he found himself presented with the opportunity to offer assistance to the very people that had once rejected him. The group by this time were at a stage of great desperation and ultimately had no better options. Had something drastic not been done, they perhaps would have ceased to exist.
He reluctantly accepted the opportunity to lead, but not everyone was pleased with his reinstatement. Whenever things went pear shaped, people still felt inclined to turn on him. After some time at the helm, it became evident however that he was the right man for the job, and most of the people looked to him as their saviour. He was in fact, still considered somewhat arrogant, as he himself came to realise that he was the right man for the job.
He had a problem micro managing people and activities. He was involved in every tiny decision that was made, and this drained his energy and time immensely. Fortunately, as time went on, he took good counsel and learned to delegate things that others were more suited to.
He had some astounding successes during his new stint as leader. His competitors grew to fear him immensely, learned to respect his abilities, and sought partnerships wherever possible. Unfortunately these partnerships were few and far between, as he liked to keep everything in house as much as he could.
At the end of his life, having led his organisation so very far, people wondered who could take over from him and continue the miracles that he had overseen. Unbeknownst to most observers though, he was well aware of his impending death and this had led him to put things in order to ensure a healthy leadership transition, and a continuity of, or even a progression towards greater, prosperity.
Thus, when his life did end, the group found continued success with their new leadership, who, while different in many ways to their previous leader, possessed incredible skill and was not at all afraid to pursue new ground, having been instilled with the principles and experience needed.
Of course, uncertain and turbulent times awaited ahead for the group. But while they stuck to the things they had learned under the leader that had wrought them such initial success, things went well for them, and they continue to flourish to this day.
His name was Moses.
What's with all the people recently saying eventually Apple will die? Apple will ultimately become irrelevant, eventually they will lose the magic that has made them so freakishly successful seemingly (but not actually) overnight?
These comments seem to appear every time there is a management change or a noticable dip in the share price. Both of these events have transpired recently giving more fuel than usual to the fire.
I'm not sure what the motivation is. Perhaps the author just wants to be able to sit at a dinner table one day and say "I called that". Thing is though, no-one is keeping a record of all the "Apple is doomed" prophets and prophecies, thus no-one is ever held accountable for their hollow and repetitive articles.
In pseudo scientific circles, and indeed a lot of religion, one of the most effective ways to trick people into thinking they know why things happen is the confusion between causation and correlation. I noticed as a child that babies came along after people were married, therefore marriage caused babies. (My parents were quite happy to perpetuate that lie in order to delay the inevitable awkward discussion that would later follow.)
And it is with this arrogant and ignorant, so called "hind sight", that we look back on failed companies, nations and religions and with a sense of greater wisdom, and condescend to explain why these institutions failed as though we could have seen the writing on the wall had we been in a similar circumstance. We would have prevented the downward spiral had we been given the chance. Moreover, because we can so skilfully narrate the timeline that transpired and articulately pinpoint the decisions that led to the decline of said institution, we most assuredly now posses the wisdom to prevent the same thing from occurring again.
And yet the only thing one can truly draw from a careful and scientific study of the past, is the consistent inability mankind possesses at predicting the future.
While it may seem quite safe to declare that one day Apple will descend into irrelevance, if you were to do a careful study of institutions that have survived longer than 100 years, you will find they do, in fact, exist.
Apple is not; an overnight success, a one hit wonder, an overpriced speculative investment, an unprofitable business with no revenue model, prideful from never having failed, known for poor customer service, known for poor product quality, without a loyal user base, undercapitalised, overly dependant on third party businesses, without a solid retail presence, growing at an unsustainable pace, or laden with unproven management.
That is not to say that they are immune from failure. But they don't seem to be aiming for it.