In 1997, Apple was at a crossroads. It had wandered far from Steve Jobs’ original vision. The returning CEO decided Apple’s product line has become overly complicated. He set Apple’s revamped strategy in one diagram (pictured) with four quadrants (four markets, four products).
Now that the company makes iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches, and more products, the four-quadrant strategy no longer works. But Apple’s product line has become too complicated and needs streamlining. Following are my suggestions:
Apple currently offers the iMac, Mac mini, Mac Studio, and Mac Pro in the desktop line-up and the MacBook Air and three sizes of MacBook Pro. Some folks are hoping for the return of the 27-inch iMac Pro. I don’t think it’s needed.
Instead, I’d like to see Apple offer the iMac (consumer), Mac mini (prosumer), and Mac Studio (pro). And, sure, keep the upcoming, no-doubt-ultra-expensive Mac Pro with Apple Silicon around for a very specialized niche of users.
As for the laptop line-up, I think a MacBook (consumers) and MacBook Pro (pros) are all that’s needed. Of course, they could be available in different screen sizes and configurations.
Apple currently offers the iPad Pro, iPad Air, iPad, and iPad mini. That seems too cumbersome. How about just the iPad (consumer) and iPad Pro (pros). Again, like the Mac laptops, they could be offered in different sizes and configurations.
With the introduction of the Studio Display, Apple is back in the external display market (yay!). I’d love to see these selections expanded. Sure, keep the $5,000 (and up) Apple Pro Display XDR available for the high-end market. But how about a Studio Display in 24, 27, and even 30 inches sizes.
The rest of the line-up
I think the iPhone, Apple Watch, AirPod, Apple TV, and HomePod line-ups are okay — and Apple certainly has plans for big revamps for all of them. However, as I’ve said before, I want Apple to revive its AirPort and Time Capsule line-up of routers and back-up drives.
Steve Jobs’ original four-quadrant plan won’t work for Apple anymore. But the company could certainly choose to simplify its ever-expanding line-up of products.
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