Walt Mossberg on Why Apple is Like a Movie Studio


In an interesting story released today, Re/code’s Walt Mossberg talks about the state of Apple after Steve Jobs and revisits Tim Cook’s promise of new products coming in 2014.

Mossberg compares the company to movie studios, using a movie analogy to explain Apple’s current state:

But I think the most useful way of thinking about Apple is to see it as a movie studio. Studios release blockbuster franchise movies every few years, and then try to live off a series of sequels until the next big, successful franchise. We are in the early stages of one such project right now: On May 2, Columbia Pictures will release “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” the first of what may be several sequels to the original 2012 film, that was itself a reboot of an earlier series.

Just because these things are sequels doesn’t mean they’re bad, or even worse than the originals. Sometimes, as with “The Godfather Part II,” the sequel is considered by many to be even better than the original. (Of course, sometimes — as with “The Godfather Part III,” a sequel may be reviled as so bad that it’s unworthy of the series.)

Mossberg then relates the movie analogy to the iPhone 5S and the iPad Air, the company’s latest flagship smartphone and tablet.

Looked at in this way, your almost-new iPhone 5s and iPad Air are mere sequels, iterations of Apple blockbusters that rocked the world when they first appeared… After awhile, audience interest in sequels wanes, and competitors come up with alluring new things. Then you’d better have a whole new franchise, because you can’t live forever on sequels.

Mossberg says he has been assured that Apple has plenty of “blockbuster” hits scheduled for the second half of this year. He also argued that the company is doing just fine under the direction of CEO Tim Cook.

Apple is set to take the stage at WWDC in June, where the company is expected to introduce iOS 8 and the next version of Mac OS X 10.10. The company is said to be working on a new version of the Apple TV, which will compete with new offerings from Google, Roku’s set-top box, and the Amazon FireTV.

The company is also rumoured to be working on a health and fitness based device, dubbed the “iWatch,” which may be revealed alongside the next-generation iPhone in the second half of 2014. Mossberg also believes that Apple is working on a mobile payments system, which we may not see until later this year or next year.