Wednesday, 21 December 2016

How Does Apple Align Its Mac And iPad Strategies In Contracting Markets?


Apple's MacBook Pro was one of 2016's least convincing launches. Yes, Apple delivered its usual updates, upgrades and annoyances, but its thunder had been well and truly stolen by Microsoft's Surface Studio. Alongside a much more interesting array of Windows based competitors the MBP is a product more likely to staunch the flow of sales away from Apple than reverse it.

A report in Bloomberg this week suggests Apple's failures with the MBP (and its neglect of the Mac line in general) stem from switching resources and focus to iOS, where profits are easier to come by.

Yet its most recent iPad updates have failed to stop the continuing decline of iPad sales, even if they have improved the average selling price. Tellingly, after the launch of the original iPad Pro Tim Cook suggested it would be the only PC you'd ever need. Ads for the product have asked you to look at the computer again, through the eyes of an iPad Pro and a number of high profile Apple-friendly bloggers have been pushing the iPad as the only computer they use.

It feels like Apple is moving towards a time when the only computers they sell will be powered by iOS. To make that a viable strategy Apple needs to address the issues of exactly the users least happy with the MacBook Pro.

If it decides those creatives and professionals aren't important or valuable enough to keep happy and Apple decides it can afford to lose their business to Windows or Linux then its migration to iOS can proceed at  a much faster pace. Apple has never been shy of abandoning outdated ports, is it brave enough to abandon a whole market sector I wonder? Stop making Macs?

By focusing its effort s on iOS and shuttering MacOS, Apple would be in a position to build better iPads. Better iPads, more focused on being the only computer a user needs would certainly reverse the decline of Apple's tablet sales. More sales in the more profitable tablet space would improve Apple's bottom line.

Whether Apple is prepared to make that tough decision is another question. Tim Cook's leaked internal memo this week suggested, for now at least, the company will keep building Macs.

That doesn't mean its heart is still in it though.

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