There’s the aging iMac, the more than aging Mac Pro, an aging Mac mini, the diminutive MacBook, the MacBook Pro that only customers actually love, and, yes, there’s still a MacBook Air in the mix. So much for Steve Jobs’ basic four product quadrant grid from the last century.
The iPad line used to be much worse what with two iPad Pro models, the iPad Air 2, a bunch of aging Mac minis in the mix. Apple seems to be cleaning things up a bit with a newly reduced product line of the post-PC era device that is declining in sales faster than the President’s approval rating.
The thing to remember here is that hot air will sell products for awhile, but over time there needs to be some substance. The iPad suffers from years of hot air emanating from Cupertino, and, except for a single issue, the new iPad doesn’t help clarify what’s going on with the iPad but might point to a future even that does.
Remember the good old days? That’s what Steve Jobs thought the future would be. Or, at least, a start toward a better future as he gutted and cleaned out the Mac line, made it simpler, and that helped to cut costs and keep Apple profitable. Obviously, that grid would need to be expanded today.
After all, Apple’s product line– from Mac to iPhone to iPad and Watch (plus other accessories)– won’t fit into a simple four quadrant grid, but the idea of a consumer and professional seems to make sense. Except that Apple doesn’t cater to Mac users or professionals the way it once did; that’s back when Apple and the Mac were mostly synonymous.
Here’s Jain’s idea of Apple’s product line from a few years ago.
See the difference?
Consumer and Professional are still there, but the products have changed. Desktop and Portable are still there, but the products have changed. That grid, from 2012, covers most of Apple’s high revenue generating products, but the MacBook has replaced the MacBook Air, and I cannot understand why it would be called a professional device other than I see so, so many so-called professionals who use one.
Regardless, the 21st century grid is an interesting exercise.
So, how does the $329 iPad fit into Apple’s plans to save the iPad line? Is it a stroke of genius, or just more hot air from executives who want to paint a picture that will never come to market?
Let’s call it a stroke of genius. Back to the quadrant. I don’t see how an iPad is a desktop, but an iPad Pro can be used like one, but it should be obvious that Apple needs a low end iPad as much as the iPhone line needs an iPhone SE. It’s still an iPhone. But it’s nearly half the iPhone 7 Plus price tag. The iPad, at $329, is just about half the price of a similarly sized iPad Pro. The MacBook starts at $1,299, just above a fully tricked out 12.9-inch iPad Pro. See how that works?
One side of my brain says all of Apple’s public relations nonsense about using an iPad as a PC, the iPad is the forerunner of the post-PC era, and the like is nothing more than hot air. Which makes the new iPad the iPad Hot Air 3.
The other side of my brain says Apple– albeit so damned slowly we may get some glacier water in our fishing streams here in Georgia before it happens– might be putting the product line back together after a few years of massive market upheavals and changes.
I’m hopeful, but I’m sitting on the fence.