Having a bit of a brain fart
“The product lineup was too complicated and the company was bleeding cash. A friend of the family asked me which Apple computer she should buy. She couldn’t figure out the differences among them and I couldn’t give her clear guidance, either. I was appalled that there was no Apple consumer computer priced under $2,000. “- Steve Jobs (1998)
I saw a post on a forum regarding how the product line at Apple has moved beyond the nice simple straight forward 4 square product matrix into what exists today. I’ve got a few opinions I’d like to share – as I usually do on any given matter. When it comes to their portables, the MacBook Air is what the old MacBook used to be (the entry level consumer device), MacBook is what the MacBook Air was and the MacBook Pro is pretty much what it has always been. What they really need to do is fix up the naming convention – entry level consumer, professional and ultrabook. Regarding the MacBook Pro – I have problem with the Touch Bar but it certainly isn’t something that compelled me to purchase the MacBook Pro but it certainly didn’t take away from it. I really have to ask – are there any MacBook Pro users who consider it a feature they wouldn’t do without if suddenly they woke up the next morning and the conventional function keys were there instead?
I’d say though the biggest confusion is their desktop offering – no clear message on what is happening with the Mac Pro. All the professionals I talk to just wanted a traditional Mac Pro cheese-grater design with updated specifications and yet Apple insisted on the rubbish tin design – money wasted on a design that no one wanted or needed. The iMac Pro is a great idea but where is the demand for such devices? a product in search of being a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist? The Mac mini is a great idea but are they going to offer significant discounts to organisations who want to order them in the thousands? why is there an aversion with pushing volumes of Mac mini’s into organisations that want large fleets of desktops that aren’t hobbled with the train wreck that is Windows 10. With all the missteps that Microsoft is making with their own operating system you’d think that this should be a golden age for Apple to come in an offer an alternative – a sane stable operating system and quality hardware without the drama of Windows 10.
When it comes to their cloud offering, there is a niche they could fit – for the small to medium business by getting their act together when it comes to offering the privacy and security niche that Google is unwilling to cater to. I don’t ever seeing Apple competing with the likes of Microsoft or even Google but there is a lot of potential selling fleets of Mac minis to small businesses and providing custom domain hosting by teaming up with WordPress for website hosting. Develop some sort of middle ground turn key solution to grow the services division outside of the consumer space without having to dip ones toe into the controversial areas of original content and so on.
I’d also love to see Apple expand their software portfolio – to serve as a counterbalance to the near monopoly status that Adobe has in the creative market. It isn’t about expanding for the sake of ‘the market’ but because Apple shouldn’t allow its future to be at the mercy of whether Adobe actually get their act together and properly support existing technologies, which they’re failing at, and new technologies such as Metal and Metal performance shaders, Adobe hasn’t even bothered talking about supporting in the near term. When you’re selling hardware and the way in which you show off your hardware is the software and the operating system then being dependent on a vendor who isn’t 100% committed to your platform (as seen via their actions and published books by ex-Adobe engineers regarding how macOS is an after thought in many cases – but then again their attention to Windows has been pretty shoddy as well).
With that being said, I’m pretty happy with how things are going – people are keeping their computers and phones longer so the turn over in terms of upgrades has slowed down so Apple is adapting to that new reality with its focus on building up niches with the recent refresh of Mac mini which is a popular hardware for a server along with the refresh of the MacBook Air. As much as the noise makers on the Apple subreddit and Macrumors try to make out as though their opinion is some how the majority, the cold hard reality is that all their complaints fall on deaf ears – customers are still buying Mac’s, they’ve still got the highest satisfaction rate and as for the phone if you choose to live in the middle of no where resulting in next to no coverage but apparently that is Apple’s fault and Intel’s fault too (regarding their cellular modem that Apple use) yet the average person rants and raves about how great it all is. Maybe, just maybe, the noisiest wheel doesn’t represent the vast majority of customers.