您现在的位置: 纽约时报中英文网 >> 纽约时报中英文版 >> 观点 >> 正文

如今的苹果为何让人失望?

更新时间:2019/4/5 9:22:28 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

The Incredible Shrinking Apple
如今的苹果为何让人失望?

The Steve Jobs Theater on Apple’s spendy new campus in Cupertino, Calif., is a majestic temple to pomp. An ethereal glass-and-marble cylinder set high on a serene hill, the venue feels like the architectural manifestation of the Apple co-founder’s famous “reality-distortion field.” It is an edifice meant to recall those moments when Mr. Jobs, smirking joyfully, would bound up to the stage, teasingly pull a black shroud off some new invention and instantly alter your picture of the future.

位于加州库比蒂诺苹果公司新园区内的史蒂夫·乔布斯剧院(Steve Jobs Theater)是一座富丽的殿堂。一座玻璃和大理石的圆柱形建筑,高踞于宁静的山丘之上,感觉就像用建筑体现了这位苹果联合创始人著名的“现实扭曲力场”。这是一座旨在让人们回忆那些时刻的建筑,那时,乔布斯带着志得意满的笑容走上台,神秘兮兮地扯下一块黑色罩布,露出下面的新发明,当即改变你对未来的想象。

And so it was meant to go once more last week, when Apple invited journalists and celebrities to an event billed as “a Think Different production.”

上周,苹果公司邀请记者和名流参加一场名为“不同凡响的产品”的发布会,也是为了再现这样的时刻。

Some different thinking did seem in order. Since becoming the first trillion-dollar corporation last summer, Apple has battled a souring assessment on Wall Street. The iPhone is the most profitable product in the history of business, but more than a decade after its debut, pretty much everyone on the planet who can afford one already has one, and many customers see little reason to upgrade.

一些与众不同的想法似乎是需要的。自去年夏天成为第一家市值上万亿美元的公司以来,它在华尔街的口碑开始恶化,令公司疲于应对。IPhone是商业史上最赚钱的产品,但在上市十几年后,地球上几乎所有买得起iPhone手机的人都已经拥有了一部,而很多顾客认为没什么理由更新换代。

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.

所以,如今苹果的新计划不是把更好的产品卖给更多的人,而是把更多的产品卖给同样的人。“今天将是一场非常不同寻常的活动,”苹果首席执行官蒂姆·库克(Tim Cook)登台后说。

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).

并没有什么不同寻常的。从始至终,苹果所作的都是以拉丝铝材打造的千篇一律——一系列初创企业和大型竞争对手之前就已经做过的服务,只在设计和营销方面增加了一点苹果的光辉。在所有新产品中,苹果特别展示了一项在手机上订阅新闻的服务、一种信用卡、以及一项尚在开发中的电视服务的模糊细节,史蒂文·斯皮尔伯格(Steven Spielberg)和奥普拉·温弗瑞(Oprah Winfrey)会参与其中(他们可谈不上是前沿或新锐)。

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.

这些努力看上去都并不糟糕。其中一些可能会带来方便,比如新闻服务。然而,它们都是如此微不足道而且缺乏独创性。正如分析师本·汤普森(Ben Thompson)指出的,苹果对亦步亦趋产生的兴趣,与乔布斯“在宇宙中留下痕迹”的目标相去甚远。看到苹果的发布会时,我觉得未来有点失色。在镀金的中年时期,苹果正在变成一个类似于数字运动休闲品牌的东西,为喜欢它的某件重要产品的客户推出无数高端配件。这家公司已经失去了展望宇宙的视野,只满足于在你的钱包里留下痕迹。

In an ordinary time, such an ordinary corporate vision might be fine. But these aren’t ordinary times, and Apple is no ordinary company. Here is a corporation with the resources of an empire, the mass devotion of a religion and the operational capacity of a war machine. Under Mr. Cook, Apple has cannily avoided every minefield in tech and politics over the past couple of years, winning a windfall from President Trump’s tax cut, avoiding getting burned in his trade war — all while enjoying the loyalty of every moneyed hipster and suburbanite on earth.

在一个普通的时代,这样一个普通的企业愿景可能是好的。但眼下不是普通的时代,苹果也不是一个普通的公司。这家公司拥有堪比帝国的资源、堪比宗教信仰的大众忠诚度和堪比战争机器的运作能力。在库克的领导下,苹果公司在过去几年里巧妙地避开了科技和政治领域的每一个雷区,从特朗普总统的减税政策中获得了意外之财,避免了在他的贸易战中遭受损失——与此同时,它还享受着地球上每一个有钱的时髦人士和郊区阶层的忠诚。

Yet, all around Apple, the digital world is burning up. Indirectly, Apple’s devices are implicated in the rise of misinformation and distraction, the erosion of privacy and the breakdown of democracy. None of these grand problems is Apple’s fault, but given its centrality to the business, Apple has the capacity and wherewithal to mitigate them. But instead of rising to the moment by pushing a fundamentally new and safer vision of the future, Apple is shrinking from it.

然而,在苹果周围,数字世界正在燃烧。苹果设备与虚假信息和干扰信息的增多、对隐私的侵蚀和民主的崩溃都间接有关。所有这些大问题都不是苹果的错,但鉴于苹果在业内的核心地位,它有能力、也有必要缓解这些问题。但是,苹果并没有通过推动一个全新的、更安全的未来愿景来迎接这一时刻,而是在向后退缩。

Consider privacy. Mr. Cook is one of the tech industry’s strongest champions of the sanctity of our private information, and Apple has pushed for more stringent privacy regulations — which is just about the least Apple could do. But what if it thought a little bigger? For example, it could directly take on Google and Facebook — the demons who rule our era of surveillance capitalism — by placing far more stringent restrictions on their culture of rampant invasion, or at least removing them from preferential places in the iPhone. (Google will pay Apple an estimated $12 billion in 2019 to act as the default search engine on the iPhone.)

想想隐私问题。库克是科技行业中捍卫个人信息神圣性的最有力倡导者之一,苹果一直在推动更严格的隐私规定——这只是苹果所能做的最起码的事情。但如果它的目标更远大一点呢?比如,它可以直接挑战谷歌和Facebook——统治我们这个监控资本主义时代的魔鬼们——对它们猖獗入侵的文化施加更严格的限制,或者至少将它们从iPhone的优先位置移除。(2019年,谷歌将向苹果支付约120亿美元,使其成为iPhone的默认搜索引擎。)

More than restricting the present, Apple could deploy its billions to build a better digital future. In particular, I wonder why Apple isn’t working feverishly to create new privacy-minded versions of social-media services the world needs.

苹果不仅可以对当下作出限制,还可以动用它所拥有的数千亿美元打造一个更美好的数字未来。我尤其想知道,苹果为什么不积极地为社交媒体服务开发全世界都很需要的、更注重隐私的全新版本。

Take messaging, for starters. There is a strong moral case for Apple to turn iMessage, its encrypted messaging app, into an open standard available to anyone, even Android users.

首先以短信为例。苹果有充分的道德理由将其加密的即时通讯应用iMessage变成一个开放的标准,任何人都可以使用,甚至包括安卓用户。

There might be a business case, too. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s founder, recently reoriented his company toward messaging. As Will Oremus noted in Slate, the move brings Facebook into direct competition with Apple. This presents an opportunity for Apple to turn a cold war into a hot one; Apple could swiftly undercut Mr. Zuckerberg’s ambition by freeing iMessage and bringing the gift of privacy to the non-Apple world.

这也可以成为商业案例。Facebook创始人马克·扎克伯格(Mark Zuckerberg)最近将公司的业务重心转向了即时通讯。正如威尔·奥雷莫斯(Will Oremus)在Slate杂志上所指出的,此举将使Facebook与苹果展开直接竞争。这为苹果提供了一个将冷战转变为热战的机会;通过开放iMessage,将保护隐私的礼物带给非苹果世界,苹果可能会迅速削弱扎克伯格的野心。

Here are some other big ideas: Apple could embark on a long-term project to create a privacy-minded search engine to rival Google’s. It could build an ad-free Instagram (its founders just left Facebook in frustration). It could create a YouTube that isn’t a haven for neo-Nazis.

还有其他一些重大设想:苹果可以着手一个长期的项目,创建一个注重隐私的搜索引擎,与谷歌竞争。它可以建立一个没有广告的Instagram(其创始人刚刚沮丧地离开Facebook)。它还可以创建一个不会为新纳粹分子提供避风港的YouTube。

Some (or many) of these may be dumb ideas — ideas that would ruin Apple, or at the very least kneecap its short-run profits. But they are at least big ideas; they match in scope and daring what Apple was created to do. Let other companies handle streaming entertainment. To paraphrase a wise man: Does Mr. Cook want to sell prestige TV for the rest of his life, or does he want to change the world?

其中一些(或许多)想法可能是愚蠢的——这些想法可能会毁了苹果,或者至少会让苹果的短期利润遭受重创。但它们至少是伟大的想法;它们的广度和大胆能配得上苹果的初衷。让其他公司去搞流媒体娱乐吧。套用一位智者的话说:库克先生是想下半辈子就做个卖高端电视剧集的,还是想改变世界?

“全文请访问纽约时报中文网,本文发表于纽约时报中文网(http://cn.nytimes.com),版权归纽约时报公司所有。任何单位及个人未经许可,不得擅自转载或翻译。订阅纽约时报中文网新闻电邮:http://nytcn.me/subscription/”

相关文章列表