When you stop to think about it, we humans are creatures of upward mobility. Our first car likely wasn’t a Mercedes. I’m thinking Toyota or Honda makes a good starter car. We have starter homes. Some men have starter wives.
Look around. We have different tiers for all kinds of products and almost all of them have an entry-level or beginner tier. Mercedes? Check. It may be more expensive than many entry-level cars, but it’s an entry-level Mercedes for about 30-grand. Even Apple has a beginner tier.
Let me run down the list.
iPhone – Get an iPhone SE for $349. It’s fast, comes with a decent camera, and a very good display. It’s not iPhone X– not in size or screen quality or any other feature, except it runs the same version of iOS and most of the same applications. iPhone SE is the iPhone’s beginner tier.
iPad – My personal view is iPad is in the midst of a change, but even here Apple has a beginner, entry-level tier. The new iPad is $349, yet it has a decent screen, can use Apple Pencil, and still runs iOS and nearly a million iPad apps. Just like big brother iPad Pro.
Mac – If ever there was an Apple line that needed some much needed attention, it’s the Mac. Other than iMac Pro– decidedly not an entry-level machine; unless you’re thinking entry-level professionals– the rest of the line is showing wear and tear, and even though Mac mini starts the beginner tier at $499, it comes with a 4th generation Intel Inside when Intel ships 8th generation chips today. Beginner or abandoned? Even the MacBook Air, also not upgraded for years– not even a Retina display– is $999. That’s hardly beginner class or entry-level when compared to pretty good Windows PC hardware at the same price.
Watch – Apple seems to have spread Watch across a wide spectrum with a Series One for $249 (often discounted at non-Apple retailers) all the way to well over $1,000 with a ceramic case and more expensive watchbands. The beginner tier still runs the same apps as the expensive ceramic case model.
Why does Apple need a beginner tier for entry-level customers?
Growth has stalled in Apple’s major products. That means fewer new customers to any of the platforms (Watch, the newest, might be an exception). iPhone unit sales have been flat for years. The Mac is on a plateau, too. iPad actually went downward for three years before a lower price tag stalled the descent.
Apple needs more customers so it needs more beginner products with entry-level prices.