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MacBook Pro, Echo Chambers And Apple's PC Strategy


An echo chamber is a space where sound echoes back to you. The results of the US Election and the Brexit Referendum are demonstrations of the echo chamber effect that have nothing to do with sounds. 

In the run up to the US Election both sides were convinced of their victory. One of them was very wrong.

In the media, traditional and social, Trump supporters were demonised as misogynists, racists, right-wing extremists. Maybe true for a minority, but what about those to whom Trump presented an alternative option on real issues? Hillary Clinton lumped them all together as deplorables. No wonder their concerns weren't heard by the Democrats.

By dismissing and ignoring these voters, the Democrats missed the opportunity to address issues that might have won them the election.

The MacBook Pro is an example of technology companies doing exactly the same thing.

Apple gets feedback  on its products from Apple users, pro-Apple bloggers, pro-Apple websites and pro-Apple journalists. It even moderates the reviews its products get by providing early review samples to those who tow the party line.

When the backlash comes from its customers Apple seems to be surprised by it.

Take the iPhone. Apple consistently failed to deliver a large screen on its best selling device because it knew that customers wanted a device they could use one-handed. It knew it was right and the echo chamber told them they were right. All those customers buying Samsung? Well they were just a bunch of copybots, with opinions that weren't important.

So when the iPhone 6 arrived with its bigger screens and sold in record numbers did anyone at Apple the reasons for the delay in making this change? Did they look at how many sales were hande to competitors by the voices of these customers?

Apparently not.

In the MacBook Pro Apple continued its drive towards thin and light - at the expense of features that MacBook Pro users value. Features that PC notebook users demand and take for granted.

Pro-Apple reviewers are still giving Apple a free pass on these changes, offering platitudes and repeating the Apple messages: USB-C is the future, we're giving it to you today; the Touch Bar is all the touch you need.

Despite the problems it will bring to your workflow, irrespective of issues you'll have with carrying around dongles or hubs. Despite the demonstrable advantages that PC users gain from touch and stylus on their laptops and hybrids.

And the dissenting voices get ignored - they don't understand, the haven't learned to adapt or they're just anti-Apple. Like those who voted for Donald Trump, like those Samsung phone buyers, Apple fails to address their needs or requirements. In fact it goes further and dismisses them entirely.

That's fine if Apple is happy to only ever sell to its existing customer base, but at some point that will become an untenable business position. So either it plans to drop the Mac and is expecting to be all in with iOS by the time that milestone is reached, or its become a slave to the echo chamber and like Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party, it is convinced it is going to come out on top.

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