Does anyone believe this is a competition within Apple? Some perhaps, but my perspective tells me Apple blew it with their strategy for both Mac and iPad and now is scrambling to get both back on track. We see Apple taking steps to shore up the product line for both– new Macs for professionals, new and affordable iPad for the masses.
When Steve Jobs introduced the iPad in 2010 he did so by calling an end to the personal computer era, and heralding the post-PC era. Over the next few years Apple became the iPhone company and iPad sales doubled, then tripled the Mac. Clearly, the mobile revolution was here, PCs were so 1999, and Apple was the leader of the pack.
Along the way to the future Apple went into a status quo coast along mode. The Mac didn’t get much upgrade love. Even the iPad, an early runaway success in the first few years, fell on hard times. So what? Apple was making money hand over fist with iPhone. Then, just as iPad was in a free fall from record sales, the Mac stagnated, and smartphone sales– all of them– hit the wall.
Clearly, Apple was not ready for the future and the future came with a bang. Almost over night iPhone sales stagnated, Mac sales stagnated, and iPad sales did not recover to previous record levels.
What happened? The future came faster than Apple was ready to manage it.
So, Apple scrambled to upgrade the iPad with Pro models, and lower priced models with more features. Apple scrambled to shut down criticism from professional users with iMac Pro, a promise for a modular Mac Pro, and new MacBook Pro notebook models.
The iPhone is in coast along mode where sales don’t increase but gross margins on existing products do. Apple can do that. Competitors cannot.
Here we are in the post-PC era, the middle of the mobile revolution, and at Apple it seems as if there is a race between iPad and Mac. iPad outsells Mac about two-to-one, but Macs are priced higher and make more profits. Apple refuses to turn the Mac and iPad into a Windows Surface PC; a notebook tablet hybrid (the only true success story in the PC industry in years).
As Apple scrambles to design and produce improved iPads and Macs, which of the two is truly embraced by Apple as the future? Apple seems to say, publicly, both are part of Apple’s future. If so, where are the new and affordable entry-level Mac models? Why are Mac models so old and still sold as if they are new? Why has Face ID, clearly a feature of the future, not available on iPad Pro or any Mac?
The iPhone is such a success story– and the rest of the product line has languished– that one could argue that Apple cares only about the mobile revolution, and even the mobility of iPad and Mac notebooks are not enough to divert attention from the cash cow. iPhone.
In a perfect world, every Apple product would have features not found on Android or Windows. That day may come. We may see Face ID on iPads and Macs. When that happens I will be convinced that Apple wants to succeed on all fronts, not just with iPhone.