Skip to main content

Does Apple Need To Simplify Its Offering Once More?

One of the first things Steve Jobs did on his return to Apple was to sort out the confused and somewhat chaotic range of products that 1990s Apple was offering. The cull was deep and wide ranging and when it was complete Apple offered a line of five computers, each fitting into a separate niche, divided into consumer and professional lines. Desktop iMac and PowerMac; laptop iBook and PowerBook; and a single server PowerMac.

Until the iPod launched that was Apple's basic offering. And it worked. You knew what you wanted and what you should be buying. In 2002 Apple added the education focused eMac and split iMacs into two screen sizes, before adding three screen sizes to its PowerBook and two to its iBook a year later. There were multiple iPods too.

Things have grown out of hand over the last decade though. Apple offers five physically different laptop options, four desktop variations, four iPads, five iPhones, three iPods, two Watches, a single Apple TV option and there's quite probably a partridge in a pear tree in there too, if you look hard enough.

If you add in the different memory and connectivity options it adds up to something of an inventory headache. Which is why we're seeing Apple hardware hanging around longer, leading to unsold inventory at the end of product lifecycles and resulting in large discounts on unsold stock. Usually not from Apple, which manages its inventory better than pretty much anybody else, but especially for retailers.

Would cutting back on the variety of product help here? Almost certainly. Does Apple need to do it? Probably not. The benefit of having options at multiple price points outweigh the risk of having to discount old stock. Especially as Apple is likely to retain some profit margin even at the discounted price.

Can't help but look back and think the tighter range of very focused offerings was a more Apple thing to do though.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

F1: Robert Kubica Impresses In Renault Test Run

The car may be old but its the performance of the driver that's the story here. Robert Kubica returned to F1, after a fashion, earlier this week with an extensive test run in a 2012 Lotus Renault F1 car at Valencia.
The age of the car and the circuit were likely determined by F1's current rules which ban testing, but the reason for Kubica being in the car is far more interesting. Considered by many to be a potential World Champion and certainly one of the fastest drivers of his generation, Kubica's F1 career seemed to be over after a 2011 crash whilst driving in the Rally of Andora. His Skoda Fabia was penetrated by a guardrail in the high speed accident partially severing his right arm.
Up until last year Kubica has been competing in rallying, with the expectation that the limited movement in his repaired arm would prohibit a return to single seater racing.
So this week's test is both interesting and confusing. Interesting because Kubica completed 115 laps of the ret…

F1: Robert Kubica's Williams Test Asks More Questions Than It Answers

Comparing driver's times at a tyre evaluation test like last week's Abu Dhabi event is difficult at the best of times, but when trying to assess the performance of a driver who has been out of the sport for six years, that difficulty level is raised even higher.
On the face of it Robert Kubica's test for Williams was a success. Fastest of the three Williams drivers present the headlines look promising. However, taking into consideration the different tyres used to set those times muddies the water considerably.
Kubica ran a three lap qualifying simulation on the new 'hyper-soft' tyre - which should have given him a two-second advantage. Correcting for tyres it would appear that Kubica was significantly slower than Sergei Sorotkin - who was on the harder 'soft' tyre - and marginally quicker than Lance Stroll, the team's only contracted driver.

Stroll's family fortune currently funds Williams, so there' no chance that he will be anywhere but in a…

Panos Panay's Defence Of Microsoft Surface Hardware Sounds Eerily Familiar

This weekend I went out with my ten year old daughter to select a laptop for her school year beginning in January. The schools requirements are quite specific, requiring a Windows 10 device, with a preference for a touchscreen and a stylus. She chose a Surface Pro, after trying a large number of different options. Having seen the way I use my own Surface Pro - and tried it herself there was only ever going to be two options - and the other was a Surface Laptop.
I tell you this so that you understand I am a buyer of Microsoft's products through choice, not compulsion. I'm on my third Surface device now. 
So when Panos Panay dismissed reports of the death of the Surface hardware line, I was very interested to see exactly how strong these denials were. Especially how they reflect what has gone before. To whit: Windows 10 Mobile.
Panay claimed that Microsoft is in hardware for the long haul. Almost exactly mirroring the words of Terry Myerson, when he claimed Windows Mobile was g…