In 1995, two years before his return to the company, Steve Jobs gave a characteristically blunt answer when asked why Apple found itself struggling in the early to mid 1990s. The issue, he said, was that Apple had gotten greedy.
What ruined Apple wasn’t growth … They got very greedy. Instead of following the original trajectory of the original vision, which was to make the thing an appliance and get this out there to as many people as possible, they went for profits. They made outlandish profits for about four years… What that cost them was their future. What they should have been doing is making rational profits and going for market share.
Much has changed since then, of course. Apple has a substantial market share in both the personal computer and mobile markets, demonstrating that the two goals – growth and profitability – are not mutually exclusive. This is not an ‘Apple is doomed’ piece, nor anything like it. But I do wonder whether the company is once more putting short-term profits ahead of long-term brand loyalty … ?
Many of us have expressed dismay at the fact that Apple still, in 2015, sells an iPhone with just 16GB of storage. Apple would, of course, argue its corner. It would point to app thinning, enabling apps to take up less storage than they used to. It would point to iCloud, suggesting that much of what we used to store on our phones can now be stored online. Why bother loading up your phone with lots of music, for example, when Apple Music allows you to stream it instead?
These arguments will one day make sense. When we have affordable, ubiquitous, high-speed Internet access, then sure, there’ll be little sense in storing much on the device itself. But we’re not there yet. Most of us aren’t on unlimited data contracts, and even if we are in theory, there are ‘fair use’ provisions in the small-print.
We often don’t have access to data connections on subway systems. There are still areas of the country where LTE is either patchy or non-existent. If planes offer Wi-Fi at all, it’s slow and expensive. I could go on, but the simple reality is that most of us need local storage, and trying to palm people off with 16GB is simply unreasonable. Apple is offering an iPhone which pretty much guarantees frustration down the line, and there’s absolutely no reason to do so when it could offer a 64GB starting point at the cost of a few bucks less profit.
For years, Apple limited iPhones to 1GB RAM. It would argue that tightly integrating the hardware and software meant that it was able to make much more efficient use of that RAM than Android phones, and I don’t doubt that. But at a time when many users were complaining that lack of memory meant inactive tabs refreshing when you returned to them, Apple was risking a poor user experience for the sake of a few dollars. (It has, of course, finally bumped up the RAM to 2GB in the iPhone 6s/Plus.)
And then we have the latest Retina iMacs, where Apple reduced the SSD component of the 1TB Fusion Drive from 128GB to a miserly 24GB. That’s less than the RAM available in some configurations. Effectively, Apple has swapped out a genuine fusion drive – one that really did combine the responsiveness of an SSD with the affordability of a hard drive – for one that is, at the very least, severely compromised. One that is unlikely to deliver the snappiness expected of SSD storage. One which, we might even say, can still be marketed as a fusion drive without genuinely delivering on the promise of the technology.
I am not in any way suggesting that Apple should sacrifice profit for market share. When the company takes home 92% of the entire smartphone industry’s profits, Apple could quite rightly argue that it has all the market share it needs, thanks very much. It would make no sense at all for it to drop prices significantly to put itself in a position where it has to sell more phones to make the same total profit. Its strategy of selling expensive items to the premium end of the market has proven incredibly successful, and I wouldn’t for one moment suggest changing that.
What I am suggesting is far more modest. I’m merely suggesting that if Apple were a little less penny-pinching with its specs, were willing to sacrifice maybe $10-20 of profit on an iPhone, perhaps slightly more on a Mac, that would help it retain its premium positioning.
Customers know they are paying more for an Apple product (though a smaller premium than many imagine). They are happy to do so, knowing they’re getting a premium product. Apple delivers that premium product in a great many ways, The designs are fantastic. The operating systems are great. The customer service is unrivalled. Above all, the ecosystem is way better than anything else available.
But the only constant in the tech industry is change. Take Windows. Microsoft has opted, in essence, to offer a single operating system for all devices, from desktops to phones. It has majored on hybrid devices, that combine tablets and laptops in one. Personally, I’m not convinced that’s the right direction, but it does have one implication. Microsoft can, for the first time, offer an integrated ecosystem. Not one that comes remotely close to rivalling that offered by Apple, but it will improve over time.
Perhaps more worryingly, look at Google. The Google ecosystem comes very close to rivalling that offered by Apple. Its one weakness is that the ecosystem is predominantly geared to mobile. At a time when most Android users have Windows PCs, neither Google nor Microsoft can offer the level of seamless integration between desktop and mobile environments delivered by Apple.
But … Chromebooks are becoming increasingly viable as laptops for the type of things most people do with them. Sure, a Chromebook is no MacBook. Most are weedy, and they have the same issue as that 16GB iPhone I complained about earlier – they are designed for an always-connected world which doesn’t yet exist.
But they have enough power and offline capability for many people, and Chromebooks no longer look like the poor relation. Some of them come close to rivalling the stylishness of a MacBook. Give Google a bit of time, and it’s going to be delivering a complete mobile/desktop ecosystem that genuinely competes with Apple in terms of performance using devices that give Apple a run for its money on the desirability front.
Again, I stress: I am not arguing that Apple is doomed. Nor I am suggesting that the average Apple customer cares about how much RAM their device has, or the size of the SSD component of the fusion drive. But even non-techy Apple customers do care that the company’s products Just Work. And nickel-and-diming customers on specs that impact the degree to which products Just Work is, in my view, not a sensible path for Apple to take.
Photos: Top & bottom Hangzhou store Apple; chips iFixit; iPhone in store AP; Chromebook chromebookworld.com. For the relevant section of the interview, skip to 38 minutes in.
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This article raises some interesting points, but I think its short sighted. Everything Apple does seems to have a long term strategy. They slowly add features, and are not about adding everything but the kitchen sink to the iPhone. They are very careful about changing things that might alienate developers. They have had missteps, but think about things like Apple Maps. Everyone expected it to be just as good as Google Maps right from the start, but, despite some show stopping bugs, they always thought about Maps as a long term deal. They knew it would take a long time to make a great mapping product, and expected it to take many years to build.
That is far from what this article is proposing. RAM and storage space, used as examples, are not “features” that are going to alienate devs, break, or confuse customers.
Lack of sufficient specs might change “Just works” to “Just barely works” if the trend continues though. And that could damage public perception.
No, it is not short-sighted because you’ve missed the point of the article and you are on a completely different train of thoughts. Your point is valid if Ben was talking about how slow Apple is to develop software to match against its powerful hardware. Yes, you are correct that Apple’s a grand chess master when it comes to software vs. hardware integration and they’re 5 years ahead of where we are.
However, Ben is talking about Apple intentionally picking the cheapest option for its hardware to save money instead of choosing the best option for its customers. Beside mere pennies per device, Apple is not losing anything by providing the 32GB as the default size for its iPhone. There is nothing you can point out that benefits Apple to have 16GB or downgrading from 128GB to 24GB for its Fusion drive. The NANDs have in fact dropped in price every year for the past decade consistently, Apple is choosing to stick with 16GB and it has nothing to with profits or cost of technology.
I agree with your premise, however I do think Apple choosing to use the tech they do has everything to do with their profits.
I worded it incorrectly and I wish I could edit but what I meant to say is that it has nothing to do with the technology cost or how it eats into Apple’s profits. Basically, 16GB/32GB difference is mere pennies, it wouldn’t reduce the profits that much, maybe $200m per quarter in a $30b+ quarter.
Apple is intentionally doing this to upsell the 64GB model, it works and I get it. I just wish the public would call BS on it and not fall for it.
If it’s not profits and cost of technology, then why is Apple sticking with things like 16GB of RAM and moving from 128GB to 24GB for it’s Fusion drives?
I personally would like it if Apple did the following with their iPhones and iPads.
1. Do they REALLY need Aluminum cases? I would rather it be a high grade poly carb, that doesn’t scratch, bend, break.
2. Add more RAM, Storage to their iPads and iPhones.
3. Use better colors than the pastel crap they used in the iPhone 5C.
I wonder if Apple grabbed usage data from OS X and realised most consumers don’t use more storage than that anyway.
This is an absolute best case scenario, and the kind of thing that would be better to explain on stage. I can picture Steve Jobs saying something along the lines of “We learned that consumers don’t use more than x GB, so we give them approximately double that in the default configuration, meaning we can lower the price. Of course, for those users who do want more, you can configure a model with a greater amount of flash storage.”
Apple, unlike we speculators and bloggers, can far more capably track usage and purchasing habits of their devices from model to model. It is their choice not to share these numbers with the public, which is what gives rise to the endless speculation and criticism, baseless or otherwise.
One simple but often overlooked fact regarding the 16Gb iPhone option is that there are possibly tens (if not hundreds) of millions of users who simply purchase the iPhone for what they perceive it to be – a phone (i.e. voice communication handset) on which they occasionally surf the web, read email, socially network and take the odd photograph or two. This base option easily offers them the functionality that they require at a reasonable cost.
Only power users and ever-tinkering geeks, vociferously over-represented in the blogosphere, actually delve deep into the hundreds of ancillary tasks and capabilities that the modern smartphone or the modern desktop offer within the devices’ lifetime. For them, the higher end storage options like 64/128/256Gb iPhones and 128Gb/1Tb Fusion drives make perfect and practical sense. Fact of the matter is, we are a considerable minority, in spite of our loud online presence, and acquiescing to our needs would just create unnecessary wastage for any manufacturer struggling to meet up with staggering demand, and yes, eat into net profits for no tangible purpose other than to gain the adulation of an entitled, philistine minority.
Online blogs and analysis articles are replete with criticisms about Apple “leaving money on the table” and “squandering their popularity”, and yet, and yet… check on the quarterly and especially year-on-year sales figures of the iPhone and tell me if this flawed logic bears out in the face of the reality of these numbers.
Yea, that’s why *all* of my casual family members and friends bitch about running out of space all the time, they’re just power users and tinkering geeks. Majority of these space are easily taken up by photos and videos that can generated in a single day of use. Now, the bump of 4K video and bigger photos will eat into these storage quicker than usual.
So, if you’re correct, then why did Apple work so hard to make sure iOS updates didn’t require so much space, which was the single biggest complaint over the last 2 years. A lot of people could not update on 16GB because iOS update required space they didn’t have and Apple basically confirmed this in some of the conference calls as to why iOS adoption were slower than usual. Apple made a huge point on reducing the required space in the last WWDC Keynote as a big benefit starting with iOS 9.
Apple are giving out all hints that people are complaining about 16GB.
Apple’s problem is precisely its users (us), know they can sell a 16GB iPhone, iMac and Mac Mini without the possibility of improvements RAM to the highest prices in the world. Why ?, because we will continue buying their products despite their greed.
Upgrading PC’s is an antiquated notion. Most consumers now days just want to buy a nice Mac and keep it for 5 years. The days of upgrading RAM and HD each year is over. Only the tweakers and nerds want to do that now. Apple is not building the iMac for those people.
Its the same reason the iPhones don’t have swappable batteries and SD cards. Those are tech that the mainstream don’t give a crap about.
No its not. Look at iPhone 16 gb, how on earth this is going to affect developers if 64 gb was the based model!!! Look at iPad Pro, a pro device with 32 gb!!! look at iMac now with its downgraded hard drive, this is shameful. IS STEVE IS STILL ALAIVE, NONE of THIS WILL ever HAPPEN. he will give the middle finger to shareholders and what makes sense in terms of innovation. Where is that now? Do you think 3d touch is fair enough?
Look at Microsoft with its new hardware /software ecosystem like the surface book, first of all now its the only laptop on earth that get sold out on pre-orders. When was the last time a macbook got out of stock before release?!! While companies are waking up, Apple is going in the opposite direction. Don’t forget that Apple’s biggest moment of all time was and will always be 1984 and not 1997 or 2007. And despite that epic moment, Apple almost doomed after that. Same could happen with Apple’s current epic moments.
Wake up. How many SurfaceBooks did Microsoft make to get the ability to say they “SOLD OUT”. That’s a cheap and easy way to say they are selling, when they really aren’t. The fact is they didn’t TELL us the exact number of units they actually sold, did they? They could have artificially only had 250,000 units made, which is pretty easy to “SELL OUT”. Did they sell out 1 million units? 2 Million units? 5 Million units? Which model was the most widely sold? the cheapest or the most expensive? We don’t know because they didn’t SAY how many they actually sold and how many pre-orders additionally to what was shipped. The Surface Book looks cool, but it’s still a Yoga copy, which wasn’t a great seller. I think because Intel got their SkyLake chips to Microsoft first, that that’s helping them since everyone else is waiting to ship product with the new SkyLake and that’s what helping them, right now. But, I’m not seeing IBM switch their MacBook orders to Surface Book orders. :-)
Don’t believe Microsoft’s hype until you see what the REAL quarterly numbers are. Microsoft is VERY sneaky when it comes to numbers. I’m a long time veteran in the computer reseller industry and I can tell you that Microsoft does some of the sleaziest marketing. They are paying the NFL $400 MILLION and giving them free Surface Pros to use at every game. That’s a LOT of money to pay someone to FORCE someone to use your products. I think it’s sleazy because Microsoft knows Apple doesn’t do that. Apple loans products for promotional spots, but they don’t PAY people large sums of money to FORCE people to use their products.
What is your proof that Microsoft is doing that with surface book. It looks great and every single tech websites and comments of people everywhere are praising the device. What makes it so hard to believe that it is sold out. Why they didn’t do that with the surface pro 4 ?!!!
You are either a Microsoft troll or really not that bright. Anyone can ‘sell out’ if they only make 1,000 laptops available.
The proof will be in the pudding in a few months when Microsoft releases their surface sales. I’m pretty sure the iPad Pro will outsell by 300% or more.
And let Steve Jobs rest in peace. Nothing is more pathetic than a person who says “but, but, but, if Steve was alive….” Well he isn’t alive. DEAL WITH IT. Stop living in the past. Apple’s revenue is up 200% since Jobs was CEO and profits are up 250%. They are doing fine without Jobs.
You have been Microsofted.
And yes, they have done it with other versions of the Surface Pro, which subsequently were shown to have flopped (by Apple standards).
Seriously – wake up! It may succeed, it may be a cool product (but they said that about the Surface Pro, I have one for work, and it sucks – it’s a touchscreen Windows laptop, not a tablet, nothing to see here)….but if you’re seriously fooled by this “sold out” marketing, I don’t know what to tell you…..it’s called PR.
One thing I’ll give Microsoft – their marketing spin and PR has really improved – they’re almost as good as Apple at creating a reality distortion field nowadays. 😏
While it’s true Apple isn’t quick to kill projects after they enter the marketplace, I’ve observed their habit of tearing away features only to have them added again. They also withhold features so that they might more easily distinguish the 2nd generation product from the first. In software, look how they gutted Final Cut Pro, Pages, Photos, etc. There are plenty of instances where they kill features so that they can simply add them back in later. Look at the iPad. When it came out, there was no reason that it couldn’t have had a camera in it. I’m sure you could argue they kept it out to keep unit cost down, but consumers would have really appreciated the camera. It’s probably fair to say Apple knew the iPad would be a hit. They simply withheld the feature to help push the Gen2.
Apple has always prided itself on “telling consumers what they want”. Apple is on the verge of hearing “no I don’t” because of their obsession with thinness and profits. Does my iPhone need to be any thinner at the expense of an MicroSD slot? Did everyone’s 30-pin accessories have to be junked for the Lightning port? Does my iMac really need to be thinner? Do consumers favor “thinness” over an ability to upgrade RAM and HDs in their iMacs? I think profit margin is driving Apple to strip features for the sake of less complex manufacturing. This also has the benefit of pushing a shorter upgrade cycle.
Does my iPhone need to be any thinner at the expense of an MicroSD slot? Answer: an SD slot is just so far from Apple’s design and user experience ideology for the iPhone that it wasn’t about thickness. so the answer is yes.
Did everyone’s 30-pin accessories have to be junked for the Lightning port? Answer: another yes. i can’t even imagine being stuck with the 30 pin connector STILL. it was huge, unreliable, and took up so much space. always got full of lint, and often broke on the inside.
The 30-pin connector had a great run from the first iPods through to the iPhone 4S, a solid stretch of 9 or 10 years, and was starting to affect device size, thickness and reliability, not to talk of retaining unnecessary and redundant pin-outs and being fiddly to insert into devices.
LOL. No one wants SD slots except tweaker nerds! My goodness you have no idea what the mainstream customer wants.
perhaps they are running out of ways to be creative, and that’s not a bad thing,
Yes, Apple is greedy. Not only with the 16GB iPhone, or with the soldered RAM of the Mac. The pricing is also a problem, with prohibitive prices outside the US, thanks (among other reasons) to exchange rates. Apple has to take this in charge, they have the money for.
So you expect to pay the same for a BMW as a Kia?
You expect iPhones to sell for the same price as an Android? LOL.
Apple can barely keep up with demand the first 6 months of any iPhone release and you want them to discount their phones by $100 (by selling 64GB phones for $650).
iPhone 6s 64GB $750
Samsung S6 32GB $650
So yes, you are paying $100 more. But tell me what industry does the top product in the market not cost more?
No. Profit margin include invested money (such as the money that is being spent on the spaceship campus and the recently bought forest). With these things included, it doesn’t make sense to go your way of explaining.
AS to compare BMW and KIA you still doesn’t make sense, BMW is more expensive because it is faster, has more features and preimum build from the inside. Now compare iPhone to HTC One, Note 5, The new Lumia, etc… They looks cool, fells great and have much better screen resolution and speed than iPhones.
The HTC One, Note5, Lumnia are not faster than the iPhone 6s in real world performance. Plus they are run on a crappy OS that is open to attacks.
iPhones have features FIRST before those phones. Features like TouchID, 3D touch, and easy mobile payments.
Many cars like Ford Mustangs are FASTER than BMW’s but are far cheaper. Other cars get better gas mileage or offer more room than a BMW but are cheaper. But BMW is a premium brand. Apple is premium brand. Samsung isn’t. No Android phone is a premium brand. That is why Apple can sell at premium prices.
Galaxy s6 32GB is not $650. It is around $550 to $570 right now. Tmobile regularly sells base model for $500 also and they are currently selling 128GB version for $679. How much does 128GB iPhone 6S cost? Even the back camera on S6 is better than iPhone 6S.
Why are you comparing the price of a phone that has been out for over 6 months to the 6s that just came out?
Thats why I used pricing at LAUNCH
Excuse me in India the iPhone was discounted by a cool 300 dollars just to increase sales apple can’t ripoff consumes in india like they do in states we now have very low prices compared to launch from iPhone 6s
Five or so years back, I was in the mindset of updating my Apple hardware (iPhone, iPad, iMac) on regular intervals. But, as the prices remain where they are or higher, and the hardware itself not showing drastic changes, I have decided to only update one…the iPhone. Sure, that is something on my end stopping the updates but if prices or products were better, I’d probably have made an update on one of the others, maybe both since then.
As I’ve argued before, the brand that Jobs crafted (and you quite rightly refer to above) was very different from the rather shallow brand of expensive exclusivity that Cook and his marketing deputy Ahrendts have crafted. Apple haven’t created a new category with the success that marked the iPod, iPhone and iPad since Steve’s death. Since then, we have seen nothing but iterative development of existing lines, unless you want to consider the Watch. The Watch’s attempt to be a fashion item was pretty feeble, and the tech behind it even more so. And the iCar? The post-Jobs Cupertino gang imagines they can take on the auto industry? While I too am not predicting that Apple is going under, the iCar will be their Waterloo.
Incredibly ridiculous comment. First of all, you clearly know nothing, because you aren’t aware that in actuality, the Watch is designed with the idea that exclusivity is not Apple. That’s why the 17,000 Gold Apple Watch has no useful feature that makes it better than the $349 Aluminum Apple Watch, or $549 Steel Apple Watch. Yes, the Steel and Gold feature Sapphire crystal, but it’s actually worse more than it is better, in that it is far more reflective, and therefore washes out the screen, clearly seen in decent luminance.
Apple’s goal is to make money as a company, but their ultimate goal is to change the world, to change people’s lives, whilst making money. The edition watch is the same as the sport watch, and that means they aren’t selling exclusive products, they do sell some exclusive materials, but that’s 100% irrelevant and meaningless to anyone who is intelligent or doesn’t have some serious self esteem issues to be crying that they can’t get the gold watch.
Saying that Apple hasn’t created a new category with the success those products had, in the 4 years since Steve’s death is a seriously sad thought, but even sadder thing to state. I guess people aren’t smart enough to know that products don’t come about like those every few years. I guess people don’t realize that they were iterations of themselves, I mean the iPad was thought of first, then they thought, let’s do this, but in a smaller size for a phone before we do the iPad. The iPhone and iPad each have their own strengths, but they’re essentially the same core thing. And the iPod was just the beginning to the idea that evolved and became the revolutionary iPhone. And you idiotically think that if Steve were still alive that Apple would have already put out another product that would be selling as well as those.
Then you talk about iterative development. Hahaha, I mean the entirety of your comment has to be a joke. What do you actually think they are going to do to these established products? Please give us your ideas of how to make groundbreaking changes to them. I’m kidding of course, you have none.
You think that Apple, the company that has by far the most money can’t make a car. That’s really good. They have God knows how many people working on that, they are hiring more and more people who specialize in every aspect of car development and have so much more money for R&D than any other company, it’s down right insane. They will build a car, it will blow other cars away, just like everything else they decide to do, and everyone will either be quiet, or say they knew they’d do it again, after sharing their views of apple’s ill-fated future.
Angela Arendt’s goal is not to change the world.
Your opinion about the car will look pretty silly in 10 years. Mark my words.
When you get to Apple’s size and influence, the biggest problem you have is talent retention because you know your employees can basically write their own ticket. Super smart and creative employees will only go so long working on the next iteration of a current product, be it Mac, iPad or iPhone. They want to be motivated and have their creative juices focused on the next big thing. Right now, that is wearables and the automobile.
I suppose you thought the iPad wasn’t a new category when it was introduced, too?
As an Apple user since 1984, I must say that I am disappointed by where the company and their products are headed. The MacPro was not what production professionals needed at the time and hasn’t been updated in almost 2 years. The iMac, which really should be a semi- to professional machine has seen its specs cut and form factor slimmed when it didn’t need to be. The iPad and iOS are still artificially limited to only one user account per device, making it impossible for me to share an iPad with my kids or spouse (and an effort to clearly sell more iPads on Apple’s part). iTunes and Apple Music are absolutly horrendous.
As a loyal Apple customer and creative professional, I am starting to feel ashamed to use Apple products. Apple is making a play to keep customers through the stickiness of its ecosystem. The only problem is, they are starting to sell things that the loyal customers don’t need or want, making us look like fools in the process. I don’t want Apple managing my music, videos, contacts or my files for me! I can do that myself.
Microsoft just released a slew of innovative products that are very attractive. My next computer will probably not be a Mac and the iPads I’m using may be my last.
I agree. Somewhere in race of market share Apple lost its charm! They are worried about bringing new customers, rather than listening to loyal customer! Because they know we have huge loyal fans community, which will buy anything what we sell. So lets take benefit of it and start garbing customers from other ecosystems. They made market share such a big concern that they forgot they were known for.They should understand that you are making premium products, Not every person/family can afford it. you cant see BMW in every house. Sure, you make money with your premium products, but not on the cost of losing quality and trust. I count myself in one of those who got so influenced with ipod and iphone that could not stop me fall for Apple products. Back in those days I never felt any compromising while buying any Apple products. But now, lots of recall, buggy and tasteless software designs! why should I pay premium money for a downgraded technology!
I would say they released 2 innovative products – Band 2 and Surface Book. Not so much the SP4 or Lumias.
Spot on piece Ben – these are my thoughts exactly :)
I have been using and buying Apple products since I went to Uni in 1988 (which must be due to a weird glitch in the space-time continuum as I am sure I am only 24 …), so have been through the genuine “Apple is doomed” years. Like yourself I am not suggesting that they compromise profitability in a race to the bottom – but surely a small reduction in margin would result in a better user experience. There is much more to be gained by being a little generous with RAM and storage on iPhones rather than stingy. Why give people a less than premium experience, particularly when you don’t need to?
I love my iPhone 6 (and all my many other Apple products), but would love a little more if it came with more RAM and I hadn’t been upsold to 64GB as 16GB is not enough, when 32GB would have been fine.
The crux of this story is Ben, that the things you bring up will not increase market share, but do have a potential to decrease it. At the very least decrease unit sales.
Providing only 16GB iPhones and other iOS devices with 1GB or less of RAM means they can be obsoleted quicker. An original iPad is not much more than a paper weight today. We have one here in the house and even with dedicated use for a 6 years old, it’s almost pointless. It has 32GB of storage which is also pointless because it’s near impossible to fill it up. There’s no reason to put photos on such a tablet, it has no camera and there are fewer apps every day that can be installed on it.
Take a look at iPods. If you don’t have the latest generation, maybe one back, it’s useless except as a dedicated music player. App support is the same story as the iPad – maybe worse depending on model.
So while I very much dislike the ver quick EOL of some of these devices and their abysmal specs right from day one, it’s one of the factors prompting people to upgrade more often, which brings apple additional unit share and profits both.
Yes, what you’re talking about is Planned obsolescence. Apple is intentionally doing this with the intent to force people to upgrade sooner than later. However, it is not working out, iPad sales are decreasing or slowing however you look at it, and with the contracts going away, it won’t work as it did in the past. That’s the sole reason Apple is doing the iPhone Upgrade Plan, if that plan works than Apple can survive another few years but as Android and Windows 10 continues to gain on iOS, it will not work either. Only by then, Apple will stop doing the planned obsolescence BS.
Also, Apple never cared about market share, they care about the profits, nothing more than that. If you can get away with 90% of the profits with less than 10% market share, you’re a big success and harder to take down than a 90% market share leader with little profit.
Even the iPad 3 (the first retina iPad) I got for my mom is so laggy today it’s almost to the point where it’s unusable…If you go to that speed dial screen in safari, the animations go so slow it looks like it’s crashing the entire OS. I’m sure this device does not have to function this way; it certainly did not go this slow when I bought it for her — they are doing it on purpose because they want me to buy a new iPad, despite none of the big features changing that much, aside from form factor, weight, etc..neither of which my mom really cares about. The only good reason to upgrade is TouchID — but I don’t think that would be very useful to her — she doesn’t even use a password lock on her iPad. Also, compared to other tablets and even laptops that were released at around that time, the obsolescence of the iPad 3 is just off the charts. Apple themselves even pulled it from sale quicker than any other product in the history of their company (not 100% sure on this but I think I am correct here). They are losing sight of what their customers really want. Re: storage concerns; how hard would it be to add a microSD slot to any iOS device? That would solve the problem entirely; they can continue to save money hand over fist by buying flash in bulk as they do and then stiffing the customer at the register, and we can still have extra space if we need it. A 128GB MicroSD card is around $40 on eBay!
A microSD card is not the same as the flash memory used in iPhone/iPads.
Those $40 microSD cards are horribly slow and fail very often compared to internal memory in iPhones.
The iPad 3 was the first Apple retina screen in tablet form factor. The available display technology at the time could only produce a bulky, power-draining screen which made that model much thicker than its predecessor, more CPU-intensive in operation and as a result of these with relatively poor battery life.
Having held out on buying an Apple tablet until retina screen technology made its debut, I hastily splashed out on the iPad 3, and was mortified by the rapid update to the iPad 4. I resolved to skip that upgrade and wait for the next one, but intriguingly, Apple named it the Air, which instantly suggested there was a Pro version waiting in the wings if you follow Apple’s MacBook nomenclature. And now that the Pro is here, the advent of 3D Touch on the iPhone 6S which the Pro lacks suggests that another possible quick upgrade may once again leave me stranded on old technology in a year’s time or even earlier.
Meanwhile, my trusty iPad 3 continues to run the latest iOS versions like an old soldier, albeit with certain features lacking like AirDrop, Handoff, Bluetooth 4, Touch ID, Slide Over and Split Screen multitasking and Picture-in-Picture, not to mention Transit Directions in Maps.
But guess what? It still gives me a lot of amazing functionality thanks to Retina display TV & video, FaceTime, AirPlay Mirroring, Siri, Spotlight, the App Store and its wealth of 3rd party programs like Auria Pro, AudioBus, Pixelmator, Paper by Fifty-Three, remote PC/Mac administration utilities like LogmeIn, Fing, TouchTerm Pro and TeamViewer and literally hundreds of excitingly useful apps too numerous to mention here.
I must admit that it’s on its last legs now and will not successfully run another major update, but I still feel privileged and productive enough to appreciate that my whingeing and wish-lists are pretty much First World problems (continue to flog this dying horse of mine for another year, or go Pro now?).
MicroSD card slot mentioned. Sad. There’s no explaining things to a few of you, you just don’t get it.
I agree with you, and would argue that this is unnecessary for Apple. It has the talent and the imagination to create product improvements appealing enough to make people want to upgrade for those, rather than because their existing product no longer works properly. 3D Touch is a great example. I had no intention of upgrading from the iPhone 6 to the 6s, but 3D Touch won me over. My old phone still worked perfectly, but I wanted the new toys. That’s how Apple should be generating sales.
From the figures I read from your own very articles and others, sales generation has not been Apple’s problem from the very first iPhone to the iPhone 6 (too early to say regarding the 6S).
Surely you mean profits and not sales…
As for existing product, I still use my old 3GS (cheap international voice calling and remote control functions) and my 4 (love the design, can’t bear to part with it) alongside my 5S. They all work marvellously within their capabilities, which I recall were cutting edge in their heyday, and are still immensely useful to those who know how to do so. I’ve switched to the “S” iteration seeing how performance tweaks are always more prominent and exciting than the form factor and design of the “tick” model.
Yes, I’m looking forward to a new handset very soon…
I agree and would love to see spec bumps. What tech wouldn’t. I would only argue that Apple absolutely has Diagnostic data to backup their decisions. I would think if Apple saw that a majority of its 16GB device owners were constantly using over 80% of their device, then it would have a reason to move up the storage tier. But there are countless Mom & Pop and teen users that are nowhere near those limits. Until three weeks ago Apple still sold an 8GB phone. And businesses definitely don’t need more than 16GB for corporate devices. Also, $10-13 of profit per device equals $130M net loss of profit each quarter. I don’t think they’re giving that up just to please the fringe. And if not fringe, at least a minority. Apple rarely does things simply to cut costs. They put the best into each product. There is still an Apple University that was created so that management would always think like Steve did. If 24GB is all that was needed in order to make the best use of the SSD in the OS side, then thats why they went there. Gruber said it best. It’s just how Apple rolls. Careful planning. And preparation for the next model.
$130m is nothing for a company making $30b per quarter and with $200b in savings. What it would gain them is long term customers and it is much harder to retain customers long term than it is to get more customers.
The market hasn’t been saturated yet, so Apple is still focusing on new customers, which is why they’re focused on China and Android switchers.
I bet you once the market no longer gives Apple new customers at the pace they want, Apple will change its behavior to focus on retaining its customers longer and they can only do that with their services and providing more value over time. Eventually, the hardware is going to be bumped quicker because there is no benefit in postponing them.
Apple does not make $30 billion in profit a quarter. They will make $50 billion in profit this year. They made $40 billion last year.
And yes they have $200 billion in cash, but also $50 billion debt. And most of that $200 billion in foreign profits so they can’t even use that cash unless they pay 35% tax to the US government.
I do agree that once growth stops (new customers) Apple will be begin to lower prices. They did the same thing with the iPod. But wouldn’t they? During the first 6 months of release Apple can barely keep up with demand. Why the hell would they sell their phones at a discount? After the iPhone is out for 6+ months its easy to find $100 discounts and gift cards. So you can easily get a 64GB iPhone 6s for $650 in March 2016.
I stand corrected, I misread one of the articles, it wasn’t profit, it was revenue. Thanks for correcting me.
Isn’t the debt intentionally to borrow money at a super low rate in US and pay it later with their profits?
As for discount, no one is saying Apple should discount their products. What Ben and others including are asking is for Apple to sell 32GB iPhone at the same price as the current 16GB, especially when it only cost them a few penny per device.
If Apple is making 400$ per device selling 16GB model, they would still make 399$ per device selling 32GB.
The reason they aren’t doing this is because they want to upsell the 64GB at 100$ more, which would net them an extra 95$ as it cost them a few bucks to bump the storage instead of pennies.
Also, where do you see 100$ discount? I have never seen Apple offer a 100$ discount or do you mean at a third party reseller doing a sale?
In the USA you can easily get $100 of iPhones with in store gift cards during the holiday season.
Walmart/Bestbuy and the carriers always run promotions to get $100 off iPhones. T-mobile is also doing $100 off iPhone 6s doing their upgrade plan.
Personally, I do WISH they would make the base iphone 32GB and the base iMac a 64GB SSD fusion drive. However, I am maybe a bit outdated. A lot of people just buy the icloud storage, and I guess it keeps all your photos in the cloud, and your most recent ones on your phone? Does it merely Sync or does it work like a cloud drive for the photos?
The iMac makes no sense to me- especially when they’ve made these things impossible to upgrade. I’ve used the newest Mac Minis with a spinning drive and they are unbelievably slow. It makes the processor and i-graphics feel way overpowered because no matter what you do you are just waiting on that hard drive.
I think they have gotten a little too greedy, but I’m not sure if it will hurt them in the long run. Very hard to tell.
There are a few options with iCloud Photo Library:
1) Everything is copied and synced to the cloud. The same library is on your iPhone, your iPad, your Mac and in iCloud. Make a change anywhere and it syncs to all your devices. If you take your device offline, your photos are still accessible at full resolution because they are stored locally. (Like notes in the Notes app).
2) Everything is moved to iCloud. Low-res copies are stored on your devices, so if you go offline you’re not completely without photos, but when it can, Photos will stream the full resolution photos from the cloud.
You can pick and choose which option for which device. When I tried iCloud Photo Library, I had full resolution photos downloaded onto my Mac, and low-res onto my phone. My theory being my phone had less space, and was more likely to be connected 100% of the time if I wanted to jump onto photos and find and old holiday snap.
Their website isn’t clear, but when you actually dive in and use the product it feels pretty intuitive :)
Apple can do that when Tim Cook has taken the company privat…..otherwise WallStreet will punch Apple for every Dollar led on the table.
In the meantime, it is not up to Apple to be “less greedy”….it is up to greedy investors who are disappointed with 50 million iPhones sold in a run-down economy and who are crying for more and more.
I agree, look at Dell. The quality has gone up since they went private and that XPS 13″ is awesome, the new XPS lineup already has TB3 support, quicker than Apple.
When we talk about limited 16GB/24GB storage in iPhones and iMac, consider the enterprise where storage consumption is minuscule. They have clouds up and running all the time to store their data, however, on the other side – as mentioned – it matters a lot to the average consumer. Apple products are built to last, unlike other companies. I had one computer Dell that lasted for nearly three years, and a Mac that is still up and running without any issues. What you say is greed, is probably the price consumers paying for excellent customer support, user experience and ecosystem Apple and its developers develop.
Apple has an Enterprise Store, they can and do sell directly to Enterprise (and Education, K-12 & Higher Ed). Why don’t they instead make 32GB the baseline to the masses at $649, and offer 16GB models through their Enterprise and Ed Stores, directly, for $619? Apple could, Apple doesn’t. And it wouldn’t hurt them a bit on margins. Nada. Zip. Because that’s how far the NAND pricing has fallen since 2009 when Apple first shipped 16GB as a baseline
for storage in the iPhone 3GS. (For the math challenged, that’s 6 years and counting of NAND price reductions that Apple has stretched margins on.)
So consider this point of argument squashed. Apple is greedy.
Wrong. Many people are 100% fine with 16GB iPhones. I know my parents are, my aunty, and many of my friends at work. If you hate the 16GB phone just buy the 64GB phone. This is like saying BMW is greedy since their 3 series car only fits 5 people instead of 7. Just get the phone that fits your usage!
Apple’s profit margin is 21%
If you think that is too high and too greedy, then feel free to buy Android.
IMO a 21% profit margin is not greedy and is a fair amount of profit.
In addition to the Fanboy101’s comment: Let’s not mention the storage and talk about the RAM and Processors. I agree that the A9 processor is very powerful, but 2GB of RAM costs much less than those gigantic-like in Samsung. IMO, you really don’t need 4GB of RAM in a smartphone, Apple has done things which other companies can’t even achieve with Octa-Core/4GB RAM. The level of optimization comes from R&D and that is for making the products in the market better. Do not forget, if there was no Apple, you could have been using the same old Stylus-based “smartphones”. I wonder if Steve Jobs was alive. Even if they are making profits, then I can assure you that is for making a better market, devices, and environment. How many companies have solar powered data stations?
Other than that, I use 64GB models, but for some even 128 GB is a little low – what you say about that? I agree, sometimes you don’t need a bus (128GB) to travel alone on the roads. Better use bike (16GB) or a four-seater car(64GB).
Whats makes you think that only apple is innovative when it comes to research and development. As far as we know, google is the company that has the best research and most talented engineers. Look at nexus compared to iphone 6s, it is faster with specs. Apps are a different story because of fragmentation issue. Apple used to innovate, now all it does is cloning.
Number game? Scores? Benchmarking? Nope, that doesn’t affect the end user. Tell me something else. You can compare OnePlus and Nexus, but not the iOS vs Android smartphones. That’s not realistic. Also, can you use a smartphone without apps? You better buy a feature phone rather than a smartphone. Apps matter the most, and you cannot deny the fact that iOS has the best apps among all. For example, the Google Analytics app is even better on the iOS than the Android, why? Is Google is trying to be biased against the Android users? Answer these questions yourself please.
Yes ios wins when it comes to apps, but still google play istnt too far behind. I switched from iphone 6 to note 5 and everything I needed are presented in both stores. Both get daily updates, both looks almost identical. The only difference is with new app relaeses, ios get it first.
On the other hand wham it comes to functionality, note 5 wins because its much more custumizable and the spen is an amazing tool (i hope iphone 7plus will have one).
Anyone says that this or that is garbage is nothing more than a person who is a fan. The reality is that both are great and do almost the same stuff.
No, not greedy. They’re doing things for good reason. Take the 16GB iPhones, there’s market for it. Many people are just fine with it. Of course 16GB entry phones will get idiots riled up about, there will always be whiners. Why these fools don’t simply buy larger storage is beyond me.
Apple usually makes a good balance on things, like the phone thickness vs battery life. What do the whiners think, Apple doesn’t think things through. Ingenious at best. I know people who simple use 2 iPhones because they’re heavy users. Others get a battery pack. There’s no point in whining about it, because Apple caters to the vast majority of its users. And is doing fine.
Soldered RAM? Really, that’s something to whine about? Then why are other manufacturers moving in that direction? Just like non-removable battery, wedge-shaped laptops, fewer ports. I could go on, but won’t. The whiners will know in advance they’ll be a minority with their wishes.
Apple usually caters to most common situations, to most users, to the most common denominator.
I think the issue for me with the 16GB tier is that 9to5Mac readers understand the implications, so if we buy the wrong tier, we have no-one to blame but ourselves. But non-techies have no idea. They assume if Apple sells them something, it must be ok – and 16GB generally never is for long.
Right on, @BenLovejoy! It is APPLE who has positioned itself as the company that deserves trust. They are the company that produced the 1984 commercial, and the Lemmings commercial. They are the company that repeatedly trumpets their designers and engineers as being better and more capable with less to do more than others’. They are the company that created the “myth” that Apple customers need not concern themselves with tech specs because, hey, trust us! That IS Apple, so technical people who then apologize for Apple’s behavior when they VIOLATE that trust with non-technical consumers are doing APPLE a disservice, they aren’t holding the company to account. ALL companies need held to account: witness Apple during the late ’80s and early ’90s (I was involved there then, I know the lack of accountability). That is EXACTLY the thing you are talking about in this article. Greed from lack of accountability by the users, the fawning press, and the seemingly-finally-happy Wall Street. Well, I can assure ALL your readers that Wall Street doesn’t give a CRAP about Apple’s products or their users. And neither does most of the Press, as they’ve loved to loathe Apple for 30 years. As for the consumers? They are fickle; they’ll change teams in a heartbeat. Over stupid stuff. Plus remember, most of them were Windows and Android users already; what makes anyone think that now they’re suddenly Apple Loyalists?
You don’t think Apple has storage usage data on all 600,000,000 iPhones sold?
You don’t think Apple has the most information to make the best decision if a 16GB phone would work for tens of millions of people?
Personally I know many people who have 16GB iPhones and are perfectly fine with it. I have a 64GB 6+ and I’m currently only using 9GB of storage. Why? Because I stream almost everything: music, movies, ect. And every 6 months I upload my photo’s/video’s to my Mac and to the cloud. Something everyone should do anyway unless they are willing to risk losing all their photo’s if their phone gets lost or crashes.
Bottom line is any time you buy the best in class you expect to pay a bit more. Do you expect to pay the same for a BMW as a Kia?
So why expect a 64GB iPhone to cost the same as an Android?
Apple has data on the size of iCloud backups, which obviously can’t exceed the capacity of the phones. It has no idea how many people have been frustrated when they ran out of storage, other than indirectly by the switches in demand between tiers from year to year. I know non-tech users who bought the 16GB phone because they assumed it would be fine for most people and then fairly quickly ran out of space. There is simply no reason to offer a 16GB phone these days other than the real budget end of the market.
Except 16GB is FINE for most people. Your problem is thinking that everyone is like you. 16GB is never good for very long? Hmm, I had a 16GB iPhone 6, and I have a 16GB iPhone 6S, I’d argue that intelligent people need less space because they are smart enough to know that they don’t need more than a couple thousand songs they know they will listen to frequently, on their device at any given time, they know that those couple of games they might want to play can stay, while the rest can be deleted and redownloaded anytime, if they decide they want to play that, they know that they don’t need every photo and video they’ve ever taken on their device, and can export as soon as they get home, they know that they aren’t going to watch all the movies or tv shows they own, so they’ll intelligently plan ahead of they want to watch one, and they know that they don’t need all of those garbage apps that they never open, taking up space on their device.
It’s funny, people complain that Apple won’t let them delete stock apps, but I bet if you had data on their app usage on their phones, you’d find that they have numerous apps downloaded that they absolutely never open. Or they have their entire music library on the device, which they’ll never listen to.
Here’s the thing about the cloud, and streaming, it isn’t MEANT to be the only way you consume your media yet, it’s meant to augment that. It alleviates the strain on storage. That is, if you’re smart enough to know how to use it efficiently. For example, you don’t put your entire music library on your device, that’s completely idiotic, yes you want access to all of them, but you’ll never listen to probably 80% of them, so you select the songs you know you’ll listen to and put those on the device, and the rest you can stream when you so decide you want to listen to one of those songs. It’s not rocket science people, it’s made as simply as Apple could do it…
The vast, vast majority of non-tech iPhone owners do not frequently offload content from their phone and replace it with whatever they want access to this week – and this fact doesn’t make them unintelligent, it just makes them typical, mass-market customers. Exactly the type of customers Apple set out to attract. We – the techie ones – are the exception.
Sorry Ben Lovejoy,
but you have no idea what HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS of iPhone users storage needs are. Apple knows. They have all the data.
To say that you know this better than Apple is dilusional and arrogant.
It is not whiners, its you being a slave and blind. Look at ps4 and xbox, they become cheaper with time because they become cheaper to manufacture. Same goes with 16 vs 32 gb. Applications got bigger in size and chips became cheaper in price and still Apple didn’t change it. Stop being a slave is the issue here.
iPhones do get cheaper.
The 1 year old iPhone 6 is $550
The 2 year old iPhone 5s is $450
Your comparison for the ps4 does not work because they don’t make a new playstation every year unlike the iPhone.
Being a slave is not the issue. This is a free country. Its real simply. Not satisfied with Apple prices? Then don’t buy it.
Seriously man!! why trying so hard to be blind?!!
ps4 and xbox are still current gen consoles and despite that, their prices drop over time as material become cheaper. It is totally a different story with old generation iPhones. Defending a company makes you either a slave or a shareholder. I like apple but I don’t like what they are doing now. You talk about BMW and KIA and compare this model to phones, are you serious? phones are meant to be changed in about every 1-4 years in general, doyou see this with cars?!!!!
What are you talking about! You are comparing the price of a PS4 which is over 2 years old to a brand new iPhone 6s? Of course the cost of the PS4 will go down. Its TWO YEARS OLD.
A two year old iPhone is the 5s. And that is $200 cheaper than when it came out.
Same goes with iphone parts, when so become so damn cheaper, like a 4 dollars differnece between 16 and 32 gb, Apple majesty should makes it default. When 16 to 64 gb is only 20 dollars more, Apple’s majesty should not charge a hell of another 100 for that. Are you getting it now when I compare ps4 to iphone?
Amen Jesus – valid points all around. The 16 iPhone is just a joke considering the cost differential to go to 32. Don’t even get me started on the fusion drive.
The veering toward greediness was very apparent when the new Magic Trackpad and Magic Keyboard 2 were announced. A price point of $100 for a keyboard lacking a number pad and backlight is pretty un forgiving and un justified, not to mention $130 for a trackpad…. I’m not arguing that they’re peripherals aren’t the best and don’t offer quality products that deserve a premium price, but these prices are beyond premium pricing in their respective areas.
You do realize they spent a lot in R&D for them, and they have big lithium ion batteries included now…right? Not to mention lightning cables which Apple charges $19 for alone.
I absolutely realize this, but standard products with MORE features are at or far below the noted price point. The previous price point was technically a premium price point. Adding a lithium battery does not validate the cost increase at all. Quality and R&D included, it simply isn’t justified. Heck, even the review on this site slightly touched on that.
Yes. Yes. Yes. Absolutely. I am appreciating 9to5Mac for bringing this topic. It really need a louder noise to knock back Apple to the track. Of course its whole new Team management in last four years. No doubt they are running one of giant tech in the world. They have to worry about profits, survival and planning. But it is going too too low that they are downgrading their image, quality and trust what they had. We may not complain if you cant upgrade much ahead, but surely people will throw stones at you if you are losing what you have. flat colorless ios, removing sim ejector in box, apple maps fiasco, 16gb primary iphone model, founding guilty for ibook lawsuit, founding guilty for App store kids’ games section, founding guilty for a7/a8 chips lawsuit, buggy ios9, failure launch of ios9, iphone 5 battery recall, iphone 6 plus camera recall, macbook pro display defect, iphone 5s gyrometer issue and still there are numbers of things which comes to the news than actual progress of Apple! My biggest concern is only their new flat ios design! Who the hell dare to mess up their most loving design/UI which was market leading, so proven and cannot be made standard. And no one even stopped making/approving that ridiculous design. Is Tim running company for money only? He just like bigger numbers on balance sheet? Jony is misusing/taking advantage of his post at Apple? He is the one who changed this design and made Apple software horrible. He added colors in screen what he likes(like his plain gray tshirt in all videos), not what people like. Just to win his ego battle with Scott, he changed everything what Steve/Scott and earlier Apple team made in last 30-40 years! Well, I am no one to comment on their internal affairs, also I may be wrong completely. But as a consumer I have no appealing for Apple anymore. Its just like other company, who keep going on for cost cutting and run after higher profits. I am not bashing, but loving Apple so deeply, I am just disappointed that how it is changed upside down! It is getting greedy and creepy day by day. Someone save Apple!
Nobody can convince me that the Apple of old can match what my iOS 9 on 6S, Watch os2 on my Watch, and El Capitan can offer as an ecosystem. We are no longer in the rough early years of iOS 7. I can get behind criticisms of some of the new Mac hardware for instance but there is nothing that could come close to making a case that the ecosystem is not the most efficient it has ever been. We have improved security, we have an improved and uniform look of many of the products, much of the new hardware is crazy fast, iCloud is no longer useless……. there’s less and less reasons for users to jailbreak…..all facts. I just don’t get stuff like this.
Jake: you are right. Their technology is not the problem at all. Its always meaningful, useful and efficient than any other ecosystem. I am not complaining about that. But the way they started selling their technology is the problem. Their hardware quality is broke down to such level, still the best in market. But we cant deny that it is fallen down from their original standard. It took years for them to make their “re-designed” ios to make upto this standard. I got iphone 6s, I was excited to unbox and using it, but I got stucked in “slide to upgrade”. Took me 2 hours to solve the problem and that frustration. My friend was laughing on me. Certainly this was not the Apple standard. Every upgrade of ios is a pain nowadays. ios 8 was disaster, ios9 was disaster. i still extremely hate new flat ios. improved security ? in ios 7, there was an issue with any user can call from emergency screen, recently found that chinese xcode clone could deploy vulnerable app in app store, just today’s news is saying few apps in app store is running against apple’s user policy standrad. Apps are crashing in iphone more than ever nowadays.
Thanks for this piece, I think it’s nice to take a look at that from time to time, and we all had a little moment when we saw the specs and prices of the iMacs and Magic stuff :-)
Just to be clear, I think what you’re saying about the 16GB iPhone is a little naive, even though I agree with you about facts. You say that putting 64GB in the base model would make them lose “a few bucks”. But the reason they keep that 16GB model is because they want people most people to spend the extra cash to get the 64GB (or even the 128GB). So we are talking about a 100$ difference, which is a lot.
A sure thing is that if you put 64GB in the base model, they would almost sell the 699$ model only.
That being said, I would love them to do that ;-) and I seriously wonder if Steve Jobs would have.
I honestly think a lot of people just buy the same tier. For example, I bought the 128GB phone this time and last, and if the top tier had been 256GB, I’d almost certainly have gone for that because you can never have too much storage. Once we get that ubiquitous always-on affordable data, then Apple will need to find a new way to differentiate models, and I’m sure it will figure out a way to do so.
I generally like your articles, but I agree with Drew above. Just adding features or spec bumps without need is unsustainable. Apple likes each new device to be 2X the last device in speed. And like 4-10X two or three generations before. Why change that? My 6s runs great. Speedy, workable. I don’t need 4GB of Ram and 128GB of space.
The 16GB is one thing, but there is clearly a market there. Why should they bend? Just because? If they eliminated the 16GB tier but started it at 300$, would you say the same thing?
True. Their technology is not the problem at all. Does not matter whats inside the device as far is runs upto the mark and satisfactions ! But how to sell that technology with that trust is the problem.
Sure, I understand the significant year-on-year bumps, but the 6s demonstrates that there’s plenty of new features to differentiate it. The 6 could have had the 2GB RAM and both could have started at 32GB or 64GB storage and that would still have been true.
What if Apple couldn’t lock down getting 10’s of millions of a certain component to be available at the rate they need them?
That would be justification, of course, but Cook is the master of the supply-chain, and this isn’t some incredibly hi-tech component in limited supply.
The memory thing becomes much more significant when you are not un the USA. Data rates for cell phones are prohibitive here in Canada (i pay 100$ for 5GB) and there are no ‘unlimited’ plans available. Once you burn through your data, you can expect to pay 5$ per 500MB over your limit… It gets pricey real fast.
Being able to put your music on your device becomes a necessity…and 16GB is really marginal. At the price memory is… 32 would not even show on AAPL’s balance sheet. Not at the profit margins & volumes they operate.
Then you should buy the 64GB phone. I don’t see why this is so hard to understand.
This is like someone buying a BMW 3 series and then crying foul when he can’t fit 7 people in his car.
Buy the phone that has the storage you need for your usage.
If Apple started at 32GB it would show up on AAPL profits. Because many who would have upgraded on a 16/64/128 tier would not upgrade if the lineup started at 32GB. That’s $100 of lost revenue for each person who does not upgrade. Even if only 20% decide not to upgrade Apple would lose BILLIONS in profits.
@realfanboy101 Spoken like a true fanboy. You know…it’s not all about profits… Even AAPL will tell you that. It’s about value. Right now, value decreases + profits increase… AAPL has been there before and almost died. Remember that? This time, there is no Jobs to save it from itself…. Tim Cook knows that… we…the consumer must say what we prefer…and keep the value & interest up.
Like many here… I used to think i could update all of my iDevices (iPhone x2 , iPad, Mac x2, AppleTV, Apple Watch x2) on a regular basis. It all started with the iPhones… but trying to keep up, especially with the last update has become nonesense. Simply put, the differences between the iPhone 6PLUS and the 6S PLUS are just not enough to warrant another $1000 per unit. I mean, if the memory on the phone would have doubled (for the same price) I wouldn’t be asking myself the question.
However, 3D Touch isn’t a compelling feature (atm) for me that warrants the spending. Between the 5S & 6, there was already less reasons to upgrade but the new format in the 6Plus was a change big enough to jump in… now… not so much.
So, here I am with my 6S and i’m not budging…
Now with MSFT starting to make computers that actually are nice and may actually be of quality… the competition gets a bit more tangible. Granted that the Surface they created isn’t my cup of tea but, it shows what they CAN do if they want to… Now if Windows 10 is as solid as it seems to be (and hopefully secure) MSFT has a good hand to play.
Would I go back to MSFT? My loyalty is to the best computer, ecosystem, OS & Support…. if AAPL becomes 2nd in that aspect… I will move.
I’m not worried yet though. MSFT has a LOT to show gfor the lack of support of recent years.
As for GOOG & the Chromestuff or Android. I value my personal data too much to just give it away.
Apple getting greedy is exactly what me and my girlfriend were talking about a few days ago and we think they are. Some of their pricing has become ridiculous in the last few years.
Yes we expect to pay more for quality but I feel Apple now just bump the price up regardless simply to differentiate themselves from the rest. The new keyboard is £80 in the UK and it doesn’t even have a numerical keyboard or USB ports (from what I could tell).
I think this strategy will do them harm in the long run and they seem obsessed with profit margins.
Alot of the price bumps have to do with the strong dollar
I think Apple is getting more and more greedy every day.
I’ll give some examples:
In Europe, iPhone proces have gone up the roof. Every year or two, the price goes up. iPhone 3GS 16GB launched for 575€ . iPhone 4 started at 600€, iPhone 4S started at 650€, iPhone 5 started at 700€, iPhone 6S starts at 740 or 750€. There is absolutely no excuse for these price increased. Yes the euro is worth less than before but the difference is way less than Apple’s price increase suggests.
iPhone, iPod and iPad start at 16GB storage. Please do not come with Phill Schiller’s excuse because that is utter buII.
Fusion drives now come with 24GB flash storage (or even 18gb?) comapred to 128GB before.
Spec upgrades for Macs are rodiculously overpriced. Apple now sodlering components means manually upgrading isn’t possible anymore.
So many examples showing Apple is greedy. I love their products but they are so frikin greedy.
A lot of the price increases in Europe, and even in Canada where I live, has to do with the strong US dollar more than anything.
The strong dollar is causing most of this price increase.
The iPhone in the USA has been the same price since the 3GS
Good opinion piece, nice read.
I could not agree more. I have found lately that all of the standard configurations (SKUs) Apple is offering for iMacs and MacBooks fall short of what I need. And, in instead of entering Tim Cooks relentless uncharge maze, I’m simply ignoring the their products altogether. I don’t have time, energy, or money to play Tim’s games. Start selling devices that work…or I’ll shop elsewhere.
Shop elsewhere. They may not be what you need, but Apple understands, they fit the needs of the vast majority, which always outweighs the few.
Take the new MacBook for example. I have a 2010 MacBook Pro, and I’d absolutely love to have the new MacBook, it’s plenty powerful enough for me, and has the much more beneficial features (to me) of being insanely light, thin, Retina display, better colors, contrast, anti reflectance, keyboard, force touch trackpad, etc. I just don’t want to pay that much for it right now. That doesn’t just fit my needs though, it fits the needs of the vast majority of computer users (i.e. it fits the needs of probably 98% of the world’s computer users).
The fact they have launched their own subscription model for the iPhone with an automatic new model each year for roughly the cost of buying a new one every other year says to me the updates are going to become even more incremental. I have a 6+128 I really like the new features of the 6s+ especially 3D touch but it is not enough for me to upgrade this time although 2gb ram is tempting. I think I will wait for the 7 and maybe by then they will release the subscription model in the UK….which means I would get a new phone each time for pretty much the same price
No the subscription model is mainly about the fact that there are basically no more subsidies, it’s either customers pay in full, or finance through the carriers, and since this year was the first year of this new selling model, Apple also introduced their own financing option. Although, I have no idea what you’re referring to by incremental upgrades, as that’s literally all there have been in the ways of storage or RAM upgrades since the inception of the iPhones and iPads.
It’s 2015, the mechanical HD should be consigned to the bin for anything under !TB and it should not be a king’s ransom to buy it. Big data storage can be plugged in using USB3 if more is required
Apple also benefits from a huge drop in repairs and returns.
This, I agree with.
This article really reflect what I’m thinking after seeing the latest iMac update with the soldered RAM and 24GB SSD for the fusion drive. I’m really grateful that you raise this topic as an article Ben! :-)
First of all, I love Apple. I currently use 15 Retina, iPhone 5S, iPad Mini 2, iPad Air, Thunderbolt Display, Keyboard, Trackpad, etc, and I update my Apple gear regularly. They really inspired me as a designer and I love all Apple products (except for their mouse, I still prefer ergonomically designed Logitech mice). But the trend start to make me worry. I used to have good answers for people who points out about how greedy Apple has been. But it become harder and harder everyday to defend Apple when my friends pointing to 16GB iPhone 6S, soldered RAM on iMac, 24GB SSD on the fusion drive, and lately the price increase of all the magic accessories (keyboard, mouse, and trackpad).
I really hope they will seriously take this article into consideration and rethink about their strategy in increasing their profit. Profit increase should not sacrifice user experience as Ben has mentioned. Giving away some extras like 32GB space on iPhone or giving 128GB SSD on the fusion drive will definitely more positive appreciation. It also give positive impression among the reviewers and journalist.
Several Apple gear announced this year really start to make me think my friends might be right, and I hope Apple will prove them wrong again next year with better products line up.
Another Apple is Doomed™ piece that the author swears is not one. Yawn. Man people should go read the MacRumors thread when Apple released the Unibody MBPs in 2008 and in some cases increased prices. That happened under Jobs watch. People have been complaining about Apple hardware and prices forever. This isn’t anything unique to Tim Cook’s reign as CEO. Honestly if you think Apple is stingy and want to blame someone, it should be Phil Schiller. He’s the one obsessed with this upsell nonsense and he probably has more say than anyone else at Apple regarding specs and prices.
If you mistake it for an AiD piece, I would respectfully suggest reading it more closely. It argues that Apple will face more competition in the future, and that it should ensure it retains its premium positioning, nothing more.
Since when hasn’t Apple been greedy? Apple products have gigantic profit margins and they stash all that money in offshore tax havens so they can avoid paying any local taxes. This is their modus operandi.
I’m also impressed Ben that you’ve managed to get LTE in the UK, given that it doesn’t exist here. Unless in the heavily Americanised alternate version of the UK in which you apparently live enables you to get it somehow. Meanwhile in the rest of the world, we have 4G, at least in a handful of select cities.
The ITU agreed that the terms 4G and LTE can be used interchangeably (which was sensible given that neither of them live up to the original standard set).
The term LTE is meaningless outside of America and Canada to all but hardcore nerds.
I’ve been using Macs, Macbooks, iPad and iPhone for the past 6 years. But I must admit I’m considering moving to Microsoft Surface and the upcoming Surface phone because of the steep increase in Apple prices over the past year due to the USD exchange.
I normally upgrade my Macbook every 2 years but skipped the upgrade this year because of the price increase. I normally upgrade my iPhone annually but have also skipped that because of the price increase.
I’m also holding off on upgrades because I believe the Microsoft Surface phone due early next year could be a game changer as long as it’s using an Intel based processor. If the Surface phone has a capable enough Intel processor along with the Windows 10 Continuum it may be all that I and a lot of other business people need.
What is this mythical Surface phone you keep talking about?
First of all, you’re right, and can sensibly argue that Apple is really pushing to get every penny on certain things, like the 16GB base iPhone, just now going to 2GB of RAM, and starting the new Fusion Drive with 24GB SSD. I think they should give a little more (not RAM now, 2GB is absolutely plenty for years and years to come), like 32GB base iPhone at least for the iPhone 7, and 64GB SSD for the Fusion Drive.
The problem with your views on this are that you’re a tech journalist and I guess you’re unaware that in reality a lot of the user base, maybe most of the user base is still fine with 16GB. Sure, as I said above, I think they should be giving at least 32GB base, but it turns out that Apple has done nothing short of exhaustive market research and determined the best paths for customer satisfaction to profit ratios. Sure, the 16GB is still there for anyone who thinks they couldn’t do 16GB and needs to jump to 64GB and thus a lot of people pay an additional $100, a significant number more than if it started at 32GB, but they’ve learned they can get away with that.
About the 2GB of RAM? Frankly, it’s a very nice upgrade, and great, and I love it, and I’m glad everyone is happy, but the truth is, the vast majority of users aren’t keeping and navigating through numerous safari tabs…. I mean do people on these tech sites not grasp the simplistic fact that they represent a fraction of a percent of the user base? I hardly ever had many tabs opened, it’s largely unnecessary, and for most people they don’t know or care to be opening numerous tabs. The RAM upgrades aren’t even marketed because they realize basically no one understands what it means for their usage and it doesn’t affect the vast majority of users in any really meaningful way.
Concerning the 24GB base Fusion Drive? That one is pretty simple, Apple did their research and acknowledged the fact that the number one benefit the fusion drive offers the average user is that the operating system is fully on super-fast SSD, and that is the extent of it. Should they have offered more SSD? Sure you could debate that, I guess you might also debate if they should have instead offered much more HDD in place of just a little more SSD (since it’s far more expensive), I mean when you look at the average user, they’d probably prefer more storage to faster storage. Should they have made it a faster HDD? Yeah I’d say so. The fact is though, there really isn’t some crazy speed increase aside from large file transfers, and that goes for apps running on an SSD too. The operating system is faster, sure, but that’s easily held in 24GB, and even that isn’t something the average user is going to really care much about.
I do understand your point of view. But still a little more value for money and especially a wow factor for Apple products (which I think they’ve lost a little lately) in addition to their trademark quality and general reliability would be a welcome addition everybody would appreciate!
Thank you Ben Lovejoy for yet another brilliant article that clearly highlights the concerns of this long-time Apple fan. I truly hope that Tim Cook reads this. Ben, you are a brilliant writer!
*Shared by this long-time Apple fan. (sorry)
Steve Jobs said, “that Apple had gotten greedy.” Boy that sounds like it makes him a hypocrite. It’s cost around what $200 to make an iphone but yet they charges $649, $274 to make a ipad but yet charges $499 and so on and so on. I love apple product and have many but it just irks me when someone says one thing and does the opposites of what they said. Yes a company has a right to make a profit but charging 2 to 3 times as much is called greed. Too many people put Jobs on a pedestal but the truth is that if it wasn’t for Steve Wozniak Apple wouldn’t be the company that it is today. Just my opinion.
Those numbers you are quoting are pull bull. No ways it cost $200 to make an iPhone.
Apple’s company wide profit margin is 21%. THAT IS A FACT. You can check the SEC filings for that. That $200 figure you mention is a total guess by some company that takes apart devices. They don’t take into consideration R&D costs, admin costs, retail costs, and dozens of other costs.
Bottom line is Apple makes about 21 cents for every $1 of revenue. So in other words they make about $135 for each iPhone they sell for $650. It cost them about $515 for each iPhone. If you think that’s too much then you should buy a cheap Android phone.
The cost is misleading, I think. It does not include the RND cost, but just the manufacturing cost of a single iPhone unit. There was a famous joke. Some patient complained that the doctor charged too much for his short examination, and the doctor replied that he had spent years to be able to examine.
@Fanboy101, You know something, you’re just rude to people. People on forums voice their opinions and it so happens that yours isn’t always right. It’s fine to make a reply to someone comments but just do it with some respect, you don’t know anything about the people who make comments or their experiences with computers. So just try to be nice, so you don’t come off sounding like a know it all.
Please explain where I was rude. If I was rude I apologize.
But if someone says an iPhone cost $200 to make I will correct them because it is ABSOLUTELY FALSE.
Again pull up the SEC filings and you will see Apple’s profit margin is 21%
To say they charge 3x more than what it costs them is idiotic and ignorant.
There you go again “idiotic and ignorant” Have a nice day – agree to disagree.
Greedy ? Damn right! iPhone with 16gb? 21.5″ iMacs with 5400rpm drives and no possible GPU ? Apple wireless keyboard without backlit? low RAM ? well I think that with every new product we will adding new item to this list. It looks like they want to kill some lineup, like new 21.5″ iMacs, waiting for decent upgrade for years(GPU for exemple) and than killing it totally ? I mean if you buy premium you except premium, like normal fusion drive, 32gb on starting phone! But NO… Well as I was getting forward to buying a new iMac and a new iPhone now I will think twice first, paying double premium is just nonsense.
Paying double? Tell me what smartphone cost half that of the iPhone and has the same performance, customer service, and ecosystem?
Do you expect to pay the same for a BMW than a Kia? If you can’t handle paying the extra $100 for an iPhone then maybe the iPhone just isn’t meant for you. Try going to a BMW dealership and demand they charge you Kia prices.
Your comparison is not spot on. Customer service in Europe ? you mean waiting for month and a half to get my phone from service and until than using something from 90s? Same performance for same price? i get that in less, for example iPhone 6s 16gb is now 929$ while SAMSUNG Galaxy S6 edge 32GB is 756$ (i know that is like comparing apples with oranges but they are both top of the line, flagships) only thing here that i can agree with, is ecosystem, but than again Microsoft in a year or two will be miles in front Apple. Think again when you try to put something in perspective, USA is not the centre of the world
and yes, i said double, well sorry for that, but still is much much more
This article is ridiculous for calling Apple greedy.
Do you expect to pay the same for a BMW as a Kia? Yet this author thinks the iPhone should cost the same as a ‘top-end’ Android phone. The Galaxy S6 with 32GB retailed at $650. The iPhone 6s with 64GB retails at $750. So yes you are paying $100 more for the iPhone. But you are getting the best in class device. For hundreds of millions of people that extra $100 is well worth it.
Next lets talk about profits.
Apple’s profit margin last year was 21%. In other words each $1 of sales Apple gets 21 cents of profit. Is that being greedy?
Apple profit Margin 21%
Microsoft profit Margin 26%
Google profit Margin 22%
So Apple’s profit margin is actually the LOWEST!!! How can you call that greedy!! The problem is people don’t take into account all the extra dollars Apple spends on giving customers a superior experience. They literally have spent TENS OF BILLIONS on retail stores, R&D, developing and maintaining iOS, warranty costs, cost for services like Maps, ect.
No. Profit margin include invested money (such as the money that is being spent on the spaceship campus and the recently bought forest). With these things included, it doesn’t make sense to go your way of explaining.
So are you telling me the price of Apple’s corp offices should not be part of their profits?
So them that spaceship campus will just pay for itself?
Of course you need to include the cost of headquarters. Don’t be silly. The cost of Rent/office space is a MAJOR expense for every business. You can’t just ignore it.
And much of the cost of the Spaceship campus will be deferred anyway. Most of it will be spread over 20-30 years through depreciation.
My figures still stand. Apple’s profit margins are lower than Google and Microsoft. Both Google and Microsoft pay more for RENT and BUILDING costs than Apple does proportiately to their revenue. So no your point does not stand.
So if Apple is GREEDY, than Microsoft and Google are even MORE GREEDY.
People complain about Apple and their prices all the same, but when the D hour comes (D = dollar), they keep buying Apple because it’s the best option if you appreciate quality.
Yes yes yes!! Great article Ben! This is exactly what I and a few others have been thinking for a while now. Its something I’ve been trying to get across on forums, especially the zealots over at Appleinsider! But I generally get put down and attacked when I do so as if I’m the enemy. I’m not! I just want the best for Apple and its customers. And this path that Apple seems to be taking lately is likely not a good one. I don’t like bringing up the ghost of Jobs, but I don’t think he would of approved or allowed this kind of policy. In the end Apple is not impervious to increasingly savvy competition, producing ever more desirable products.
“What I am suggesting is far more modest. I’m merely suggesting that if Apple were a little less penny-pinching with its specs, were willing to sacrifice maybe $10-20 of profit on an iPhone..” Ben Lovejoy
Its not about the $10 of incremental costs associated with replacing a 16GB flash with 64GB flash.
The figure that Apple is worrying about is the loss of $100 in revenue when people who would have upgraded to the 64GB phone can simply buy the base model. That $100 in lost revenue per phone is a massive loss.
Lets say 15% of people decide not to upgrade.
250 million iPhone annual sales x 15% x $100 = $3.75 billion in lost revenue
And since memory upgrades are almost all pure profit that would be about $3 billion in lost profits.
$3 billion in lost profits is about how much profit the ENTIRE iPad line makes a year!!!! So you want Apple to throw away the entire iPad profit?
Bottom line is if you want the best you need to pay more. In other words buy the $750 iPhone6s with 64GB. Expecting Apple to price match the top end Android phones spec for spec is ridiculous.
$3.75 Billion for a company with approximately $200 billion a year in revenue – not like they can’t afford it. Apple prides itself on making the best product and providing the best UX. An iPhone with a base storage of 16GB and Retina iMacs with a starting price of $1,500 that come with spinning drives as standard is not providing the best UX. That’s penny pinching.
You are missing the point. Its not about just losing $3.75 billion in revenue. The point is that $3.75 billion in incremental revenue is almost 90% PROFIT.
Apple losing $3 billion in profit is A BIG DEAL.
Like I said iPad line only makes about $3-$4 billion in profit a year! So do you think Apple is willing to sacrifice the ENTIRE iPAD profits for an entire year?
I’ve addressed this point further up the thread.
They put 5400RPM hard disk into the $1500 new iMac. In 2015, a spinning hard disk on a $1500 computer? Really? Do they really need to save some measly manufacturing cost at the cost of severely reduced user experience? What are they going to do with all those billions of cash?
Many people have no need for a fast SSD drive.
Find me a computer with a equal screen as the iMac, beautiful design that cost much less than $1500?
Now find me one that does not have the virus infested WindowsOS on it?
People like my parents have no need for an SSD. They are perfectly fine with a 5400 hard disc. But they care about a beautiful screen to look at photo’s and a no worry OS like OSX.
It isn’t just about whether a person needs a fast SSD or not. $1,500 for a desktop, Retina or not, is by most accounts, considered a premium desktop. It should have premium components – at the very least the 1TB Fusion Drive. A 5400rpm drive considered waste bin of a technology. We’re in 2015, not 2000 anymore.
Go see HP, Dell, Lenovo, etc… Offerings for $1.5K…
5400rpm HDD’s, and 1080p displays…
For large file transfers that about 2% of the world’s computer user-base does, yes, 5400rpm will be slower. The funny thing though, is that SSD really doesn’t change much after you have the operating system running on it, which is the entire purpose of the fusion drive. You’re not going to notice much speed difference except for large file transferring like I said, which few actually do.
The author also did not point out that the cost to upgrade to Fusion drive is only $100. It was $250 last year. So its not really a ripoff at all.
5400rpm drives don’t just contribute to slow file transfers but also slow boot times and slow app load times. There is a difference.
Um Shameer, the boot time is taken care of by the fusion drive in that OSX is fully loaded onto the fast SSD, as are all the apps, that’s the entire point of the fusion drive. You could say that the loading time of photos or iTunes will be a little slower, but it really is negligible.
Anyone who thinks it makes a big difference go ahead and try it, don’t post (you’ll lie) just try it and quietly realize that it’s not the difference you want it to be.
I agree on pretty much every point here, Ben. Apple has been a little greedy lately.
But it in the case of the iPhone 6s and its 16GB of storage, it could be explained by the fact that the storage is almost twice as fast as previous models, it’s almost as fast as the SSD shipped with my 2012 MBP Retina (in some cases), which I’m still using by the way.
I’m in no means an expert on the subject, but it could have played a part in the component costs (I haven’t checked those yet, I could be wrong).
As Anandtech says:
“In the case of the iPhone 6s, it seems that this means Apple has effectively taken their Macbook SSD controller and adapted it for use in a smartphone.” They also go on to say:
“To my knowledge, there’s no publicly available mobile storage solution that uses PCI-E and NVMe, so this controller seems to have more in common with the Macbook SSD controller than anything in the mobile space.”
I would also like to see more storage at the entry-level price point. 32GB should be the absolute minimum for any phone at this price point not to mention how much space 4K video takes up, should you choose to record in that resolution.
And for the Fusion Drive, the flash storage decrease is just a cost saving measure and greedy decision on Apple’s part. No other explanation there.
Great article, Ben!
“And then we have the latest Retina iMacs, where Apple reduced the SSD component of the 1TB Fusion Drive from 128GB to a miserly 24GB.”
You are forgetting one fact. The cost to upgrade to fusion drive on the iMac is only $100. In the past it cost $250 to upgrade to fusion drive with 128GB of SSD.
The last paragraph is all that needs to be said to those following Apple releases… As an engineer and consumer, I’m a fan of Apple. However, I’d be lying if I said I supported all the choices they have made in their product offerings over the past couple of years. I too share many of the views pointed out in the article.
Apple’s profit margin – 21%
Google’s profit margin – 22%
Microsoft’s profit margin – 26%
Phizer’s profit margin – 42%
Wells’ Fargo profit margin -25%
So you still think Apple is greedy?
Another place where “greed” isn’t as apparent, but is just as valid and existent is with HOW Apple designs their products. Apple prides itself on using advanced materials and being able to remove the superfluous during design and engineering. However NONE of that seems to trickle down to the user anymore. Nothing has gotten less expensive from Apple in nearly 10 years. Sure, you can not get a 4K iMac 21″ for the same price as the older 21″ iMac, and the 27″ 5K came “down” in price because the entry level non-Retina became Retina. But when Apple took the SuperDrive out of their line, was there a $100 discount? No. Why not? Isn’t that the point of jettisoning extra costs? Some would say, “Well Apple used that cost SAVINGS to give you extra somewhere else.” OK…where? Not in 5 years they haven’t. They routinely go cheap on GPUs, and ALL of their “Built To Order” parts are grossly over-priced compared to the fair market. In the case of of the 21″ iMac, why didn’t Apple solder in 8GB but ALSO put one empty DIMM socket on the motherboard? Cost, $1. Or, does Apple persist on NOT soldering on the SSD header on the iMac motherboard ONLY for those models that didn’t ship with an SSD. Cost, $1. Apple hypes recycling, but the BEST way to assure a computer doesn’t end up in the scrap heap is to provide forward-looking value. Removing $2 in parts assures that those models WILL END UP on the scrap heap, as they simply won’t be worth giving attention to in 3 years.
Not only that, but Apple has gotten into a REALLY greedy habit of offering “sucker buys” at the low-end, like the $1099 iMac. This is the kind of crap that car dealers got their shitty reputation doing. And APPLE is doing it? No one should really buy those products, they simply exist as a point to up-sell. The fact that Apple is even DOING it, speaks multitudes. It is beneath a company like Apple; it would be like finding out that Coach actually –IS– manufacturing and putting on the street all those knock-off hand bags. Slimy, and completely greedy.
And then, when Apple DOES have the opportunity to do “clever” design, they do not. For instance, why doesn’t every MacBook come with a Type-C to Lighting cable in the box? What does that cable cost Apple? But if you buy a MacBook today and have an iPhone or iPad…you’re screwed. Apple doesn’t even MAKE that cable and requires you to buy a(n overprice) Type-C to Type-A dongle. That design decision certainly didn’t save customers any money. OK, how about they design the power brick to have both a Type-C and Type-A port, and then engineer in a USB hub? Those charger blocks are $60, surely a 2-port USB hub which goes for less than $5 on Amazon could have been shoe-horned in there by Apple’s great design and engineering team! Did they not THINK of that? Of the scenario where a MacBook owner also has an iPhone and might need to sync or charge it?? Instead, they cost the user more money. Why does the Magic Keyboard NOT support multi-device pairing? Especially considering that Apple KNOWS and BRAGS that it is selling its users multiple devices within its ecosystem!
So it can’t even be said, as it could back in 2008-2010 or so, that Apple is offering a substantial VALUE with their goods. Back then, a MacBook Pro was more costly than an HP or Dell, but it was also GREATLY more powerful, with Apple having jumped onto the Core 2 Duo and Core i5 CPUs early. They truly “under-promised and over-delivered.” But now that Intel has streamlined their product matrix, Apple is back to “selling luxuriousness, and delivering platitudes.” “…rich corinthian leather…” Pretty much the same that every one else is selling, just without an Apple logo. At twice the price. Microsoft’s Surface Book should be a wake up call to all.
You can get an iPhone6 for $550 and an iPhone 5s for $450. So yes, products do get cheaper.
iPhone’s, iPad’s, and Mac’s are NOT commodity products. You cannot expect them to get cheaper AND have better features. They are more like cars. Do you see cars getting cheaper? Hell no. Cars have gone up 20-30% the last 10 years.
but you don’t see car manufacturers making slow smaller cars why reduce the capabilities at least give options.
and unspecified removal of functionality in OS X on previous models.
just to make you upgrade is not on
Haha I’m using a 2010 MacBook Pro, and speed is the absolute last reason I would upgrade my laptop. I’ll be able to upgrade to the latest OSX and get all the features for another 5-10 years probably. It runs extremely well, and does everything is ask of it, and the only thing I’ve done to it was put in a 500GB HDD because I just decided I wanted to store some more movies on it. The battery now says ‘service battery’ but it still lasts many hours, and it’s honestly astounding how I’ve never had a single problem with it, and never had a single virus on it, and that’s thanks to Apple. I paid an exuberant amount of money, and I got a fantastic, long-lasting product.
I want the new MacBook but that’s because it is much lighter, thinner, has a better display, Retina display, the better keyboard, and better trackpad. Not because it is marginally faster, I don’t care about the speed as mine is fine for how I use it, which is the same way 98% of other people use their computers.
agree totally apple product was god for years with s/w updates
now to get all features of new os you need a mac and or phone that was produced in last 2yrs.
i remember 10.1 and a think called isync gave you phone from mac dial receive and all other options covered by continuity /handoff
to just about any bluetooth phone.(as apple didn’t make one) symbian.
now my 2011 iMac i7 4.ghz can’t do any continuity/handoff as they have restricted it to bt 4.0 and broadcom wifi
all of which is a software block unless I’m missing something the same goes for “metal”
if ms or some other company did what steve did in the early days of the new ere i would switch hate to be manipulated in to new hardware
purely for greed…
Maybe its bigger then profits. A lot of times you read stories about how apple corners the market in buying “x” products. So if they corner the 16gb market then maybe another company corners let say the 32gb market. For every release they have to buy millions of “x” product. Maybe they can’t meet the demands if another manufacturer corners the same item. Also lets assume the buy “x” amount but don’t meet the sales goals, does that then spill into other years or products? Look at the new apple tv, its a iPhone 6. Gotta use those chips somewhere. Even with iPads you see them get passed down the line.
I would think it would take a year or two to get back the money it takes to retool and machine the products which is why every other year you get the iPhone x same. Sometimes I think they just wait too long to pull they trigger.
In 2015 there should be no argument for a 16gb iPhone unless its the free phone. 32gb should be the standard.
The new Magic mouse and keyboard should not be 100+.
Ben, you make many excellent points; however many people seem intent on sticking to the iPhone and the 16 GB argument.
I would point their attention to the Mac Mini and the entry level iMac. Not that long ago (2012 to be exact), you could get a Mac Mini, or the iMac and do outlandish things – like ADD RAM!! Why, even something as crazy as adding a second Hard Drive, or even making your own Fusion Drive were not merely possible – many people actually accomplished these feats in their own homes – without specialized tools, training or needing professional assistance. And this was part of the beauty of Apple. If you couldn’t afford the “bells and whistles” – you got in with what you could afford, and you built it up as you could afford to do it.
Now, if you buy the Mac Mini or entry iMac – you are “stuck” with what you bought. RAM is soldered in, and they removed the secondary SATA connectors so you cannot ever consider adding another hard drive, unless you have a surface mount soldering area, or are proficient as doing delicate soldering work on a very small and compact PCB. How does this benefit Mac Users? It doesn’t.
Does this encourage those who might consider trying Apple OSX, into testing the waters? No. Unless you jump in, with the everything you imagine you will ever want – don’t bother testing this out at all. It’s now an “all or nothing” proposition. It’s both short-sighted, and foolish, IMHO.
Fewer and fewer people upgrade their PCs these days. They just last longer and have reached the point of being “powerful enough” for the majority of people.
Lack of upgradability is a huge issue for me personally. It’s one of the reasons I’m still using my MBP 17 – what started out as an 8GB, 750GB hard drive machine became first a 16GB 2TB hard drive machine and later a 16GB 2TB SSD machine. But I do have to sadly agree with Kpom that those of us who want to upgrade our own machines are an almost irrelevant minority now. Most people would rather have soldered RAM and SSDs if it means 1mm off the thickness.
Upgrading a PC is a relic of the past. Just like removable batteries and SD cards for smartphones.
Your point about the 1TB fusion drive having only 24GB of flash is misleading. The reason is Apple is only charging $100 for that upgrade. Last year they charged $250 for the upgrade to 1TB/128GB of flash. You are not comparing Apple with Apples.
Bottom line is PC tech is not rapidly improving like it did in the 90’s. During that time it was worth it upgrading RAM/HD each year. But now that is an antiquated thing. Just buy a Mac that has the goods and you don’t need to worry about upgrading for 5 years.
Thankyou, for the video
Yes Apple is too greedy!! I hate non upgradable RAM and SSD, Also software quality has decreased very much, New versions of OS X and iOS are full of bugs, like beta versions. I hate Apple’s secret planned obsolescence. Not allowing hardware upgrades and making new OSes versions slower. It is the most stupid approach forcing users too buy new devices sooner by these dirty tricks. Apple reputation will suffer in the future. BRING BACK THE UPGRADABLE MACS !! BRING BACK THE ROCK SOLID AND FAST OSes !!
“The Google ecosystem comes very close to rivalling that offered by Apple” I would not exactly call it an ecosystem as Apple has hardware/software integration, something Google does not have. A free market will decide if specs/RAM space is enough if competitors offer more making the iPhone increase in RAM. Of course it had low RAM before and its performance still faster then its competitors.
Why do people argue that much? After watching Sir Jobs speak, all these views seems noise, but thank you, it felt really empowering to experience his insight.
If anything, I’d say Apple’s issue is that their product line has become a bit muddled. Apple now offers 5 different iPhones, 5 different iPads, and 3 lines of notebooks. I think the MacBook will eventually supplant the MacBook Air (just like the Air supplanted the original MacBook), but perhaps Apple should cull the iPad line so that’s it’s just the mini 4, Air 2, and Pro. Two different Apple TVs is also confusing.
This is a really great piece, and raises questions about the brand that my wife and I are talking about much more frequently than in the past.
Apple has maintained its greatness in terms of consistency on what it delivers, but how it delivers them is becoming questionable and taking our enjoyment out of using and buying their products.
It’s questionable in the sense that we know Apple offers less usable products with lower functionality as leverage for consumers to “buy up” in order to own something offering the expected level of functionality. It’s an irritating development that is becoming more obvious with each new iteration of “old” products, and non-techy people are becoming increasingly aware of it. An example of this is the new iPad Pro: everything across all Apple products have either Force Touch or 3D Touch, yet the iPad Pro does not: for the next gen products, obviously.
And that’s the essence of what we’re talking about: Apple has gone from having raised the bar on what to expect from a tech company to becoming shamefully obvious on how it’s milking its loyal consumer base. Although it’s not ALL there is to talk about when it comes to Apple, it’s the growing elephant in the room, and while it’s not going to cost them anything overnight, it chips away at their reputation product by product.
And for those of us that enjoy watching what Apple does day-to-day, it’s a bummer.
Right, because since they put it in the watch, the phone, and the trackpads, obviously that means they could easily put it in the huge iPad pro. Oh. Wait.
The iPhone, watch, and trackpad all use different ways to measure the pressure. Apple also designed the glass on the new iPhones to specifically work for 3D Touch. Somehow I think it may not be as simple as Apple just left it out because they want to give that feature next year. Now you can assume that’s why they left it out all you want, and that might be accurate, but really, you have no idea what you’re talking about.
Naturally, one cannot know how Apple makes decisions, and demonstrating inside knowledge isn’t what I’m tackling, nor what I’m talking about. I’m merely addressing examples of how Apple consumers become sceptical of Apple’s business practices.
The basis of the original article questions Apple’s business practices and what the fallout of that might be. Because Apple recently and more frequently offers sub-par products as a means of up-selling, when something like the iPad Pro comes along without a typical feature observers are justified in their scepticism about why that feature isn’t present. It’s not that uncommon for reports to note that Apple is holding back on a feature for a later gen (i.e. eliminating the 16 GB iPhone). So, my point isn’t that I know anything about Apple’s motivations (kind of obvious as Apple’s secrecy speaks for itself), but that the current trend of product releases increases a kind of scepticism concerning Apple products which didn’t formerly exist. I simply used the iPad Pro as a model of that scepticism.
Making things such as the Mac Book smaller by removing peripherals such as the DVD drive and USB ports while charging the same price, is a perfect example of how Apple is getting greedy. Then on top of that, you have to pay for the functionality that was removed if you need it.
DVD drive? LOL. Did you expect the iMac to include VCR drive also? What about ZipDrive?
The point, dummy, is that they are removing features and charging the same price.
So now you resort to name called. Proof that you have no leg to stand on.
Actually those are the perfect example of forward, thinking, of advancing technology, getting rid of the old and getting the new.
Old people do still love their newspapers so I understand some people’s reluctance for advancement.
I am amazed how many people are willing to argue that it’s okay to sell 16GB iPhones or 32GB fusion drives, and even argue that you should buy the more expensive options if you want them. A base model iPhone is around 800$ in Europe. This is one of the most expensive phones on the market. I expect it to be great in all categories and nothing less, and what is it you are telling me: that it is my fault for buying the *cheapest* one?
I buy apple products because I know apple was always about being the best. Selling phones with not enough storage is not being the best. It’s being greedy.
So you expect a BMW to cost the same as a Kia?
The iPhone is the most prestigious phone in the world. Of course its going to cost more than a run of the mill Android.
And why are you the judge for HUNDREDS of MILLIONS of people if 16GB is enough? I get by with 16GB fine. And so do tens of millions of others.
No we expect our BMW to come with enough power to last more than 1 year… Your argument does not hold. BMW cost more (like iPhones) but do offer more than the average car. What would you say if your BMW came with an AC that only had 50% of the CFM other cars do for the same price? You would wonder why… that’s what people do here.
And about using that argument… BMW aren’t even great cars. I have had 2 and moved on because ther is better value in other places.
Phone internal storage is like seating capacity on a car. You buy the capacity you need. It does not determine the quality of the product.
Crying about the lack of space for a 16GB phone is like crying about a BMW 3 series only fits 5 people not 7. You buy the car that has the capacity you need. Same with a phone.
I know prices in Europe are different from the USA but these were the prices at launch:
Samsung S6 32GB – $650
iPhone 6s 64GB – $750
Do I think paying $100 for the iPhone is worth it? Hell yes.
1984 – Mac $2499 – Apple is GREEDY!!!
1998 – iMac $1299 – Apple is GREEDY!!!!
2001 – first iPod $399 – Apple is GREEDY!!!
2007 – iPhone $399 with contract – Apple is GREEDY!!!
2010 – iPad $499 – Apple is GREEDY!!!
2014 – Watch $349 – Apple is GREEDY!!!
I guess nothing has changed for the haters.
People still expect to get a PREMIUM product at COMMODITY prices. Get real.
You got to pay to get the best. PERIOD.
And nothing has changed for the fanboiz…. fact is that I love Apple.. but I am not blinded by irrational arguments… Look outside your window… competition is everywhere and other companies are making good products…albeit not as good as Apple, hence why I still purchase.
Fanboiz… they are what makes other people hate AAPL…
Excellent article and insights. I agree completely. They may not be doomed, but they are definitely getting greedier and greedier. What Jobs said about getting the products out to as many people as possible is definitely not true today. The 16GB iPhone, as mentioned here, is a joke – in my opinion, Apple should honestly be ashamed of themselves for that product.
The prices do NOT mirror quality anymore. I’m still using my 5s, but all of that about Apple products being superior in quality is honestly bs. My power/sleep button doesn’t work anymore. I had issues with the volume buttons and the silent switch on my iPhone 4 when I had that. I’m losing interest in Apple quickly – even though I’m so used to iOS.
Here’s hoping the Google Ara project picks up soon. I think that is true innovation. it’s brilliant. And so much more sustainable. Only issue will be getting used to Android – but a small price to pay I feel.
I also have a 5s. And it still works perfectly. Learn how to take care of your stuff.
And Jobs wanted to sell things to the masses? How about the iPhone when Jobs sold it for $399 and $599 WITH CONTRACT!!! LOL.
You guys are hilarious who always think Jobs was some kind of angel and sold Apple products for dirt cheap.
IMO, you should switch to Android and see what you are missing.
‘Learn how to take care of your stuff’. How about you don’t comment on shit you don’t know about? No physical damage has occurred to my 5s, I keep it pretty safe on account of how much it cost. Same problem happened to a friend of mine, on his 5. So don’t give me the bullshit about taking care of my stuff.
I never said prices were cheap when Jobs was around. But yes, he wanted to sell to the masses. At least that was his vision. Did he achieve that? No, not according to me. But at least apple wasn’t being stingy and doing bullshit things like soldering RAMS in their laptops (only reason why I still have the 2012 MBP, because it was the last model with no soldering of RAM) or reducing the Fusion drive form 1 TB to 24GB. F***ing joke. People knew they were paying more for Apple products back then, but back then I feel the quality was honestly superior. The RAM issue bugs me the most – their need to control everything. It’s disgusting.
Lastly, your last sentence doesn’t make sense. I already mentioned I like iOS. I don’t want to change. But if Apple continue with this bullshit (especially the 16GB iPhone being the cheapest one), then I think I’ll have no choice but to change. Also, you should check out Google’s ARA project. Its remarkable. The most environmentally sustainable smartphone I’ve seen out there. iPhone or any other smartphone for that matter doesn’t even come close.
Right on Ben. You did forget one thing the $130 premium for a cellular iPad or how the iPad Pro highest priced model be the only one with LTE.
Anyone who wants to defend Apple still selling 16 GB idevices is a moron Live Photos, higher resolution cameras and other features that take up more storage is not offset by iCloud,Apple Music, app thinning and other things Apple has added. They still make for a poor experience for a first time iPhone buyer. It will drive customers away. The last 2 iOS 9.1 betas were 1.4 GB each.
Apple has always charg d a huge premium for ram and storage. They charge $200 for 16 GB ram upgrade by 32 GB is $600 for the new iMac’s. Four 8 GB memory stocks shouldn’t be 3 times the price as two 8 GB memory sticks. The 24 fusion drives defeats the purpose of the fusion drive.
Instead of going with $100 add to the $1799 base 5k iMac or $1999 for the 1 TB model,I went for the $2299 model with 2 GB fusion and better graphics card. All because of the 24 GB storage of the fusion drive. I got on Amazon and order 16 GB of 1866 ram for $80.
so you are calling the tens of millions of people who buy 16GB iPhones moron’s? Classy.
By the way I only use 9GB on my iPhone 6+ and could easily get away with a using a 16GB phone.
Your problem is your are narrow minded and think everyones use case for the iPhone is the same as yours.
I was calling the people here that defend Apple on still selling 16 GB morons, not the people,purchasing the products.
I only use 1.2 GB of photos 952 MB of music, but still using 38.6 GB of data on my IPad Air 2 and 35 GB on my iPhone 6 Plus. For people with average photo and music usage no way 16 GB is enough.
Add on Live Photos, 12 MP photos, 4K video and other features and that space is ate up faster Apple Music, iCloud,app thinning and other things Apple has done still isn’t enough to make 16 GB a good experience for first time users.
I’m not being narrow minded I’m thinking of the average user. It my use and see that 16 GB makes for a poor experience. The last two io 9.1 beta were each 1.4 GB and would require more space to download. A poll released 2 weeks ago revealed 80% of iPhone users were within 2 GB of their storage capacity.
Let’s not overlook this point: What personally drew me to Apple was the notion that the hardware is top of the line and it works better and more reliably than its competitors. Where this seems to be falling short now is when you consider that they don’t necessarily have a monopoly on good design anymore. Windows as an OS is getting more and more promising (not that Windows was ever really that bad (minus 8 and Vista) if you knew how to use a computer) but companies are beginning to take note and make great hardware. Just look at the Surface book. Innovative and (hopefully) built to last. Apple still holds in terms of having a better app ecosystem on mobile, having hardware that generally works better, and by being an all around better company in terms of support and marketing. Apple has a hold on things that other companies don’t and have a type of hype that can’t be beat at the moment. But if they fail on the level of innovation that they used to dominate in, people are going to get frustrated with them.
The Macbook looks 100x nicer than the SurfaceBook that can’t even shut completely (huge gap).
Apple still makes the nicest hardware by far. But more importantly they make OS and software that’s easy to use and does not get constant attacks from Virus like Windows or compromise your privacy like Android.
Apple still dominates with innovation. Notice how everyone else is still copying Apple. Copying TouchID, copying gold phones, copying smart watches, copying Apple pay, copying hand off, copying 3d touch.
The weird thing could be that Apple *is* in danger of becoming just like every other company. Not because, like before, they became like all the dull and boring PC makers, but because the PC makers are suddenly waking up to Apple’s way of doing things.
How would Steve Jobs have got out of that?
LOL! The surface book is ugly. The top does not even close completely and leaves a huge gap.
Windows OS is still not promising. You still need to install an anti-virus which slows down everything.
You dont need Antivirus because windows defender is great now. Things changed.
Normally I would defend any private corporation’s right to pursue profits, but they need to weigh short-term profits against long term customer retention. Example, Macs have a long shelf life so one I buy today will probably still be in use 5 years from now. I am not about to purchase the new premium Retina 21.5″ iMac which comes standard with a slow 5400 RPM hard drive. That HD was considered slow 4 years ago and will seem that much more out of date in a few more years.
So Apple only sells iMacs with 5400 RPM hard drive?
No, they don’t only sell iMacs with 5400rpm drives but that’s not the issue. The issue is that a premium-priced $1,500 desktop computer, in 2015, comes standard with a 5400rpm drive when really it should come standard with the 1TB Fusion Drive (at the least).
The cost to upgrade to fusion drive is $100. The higher level iMac’s come with fusion drive standard.
You are making a mountain out of a mole hill.
I just hope that Apple doesn’t feel the need to be greedy with the Apple Watch and allows for the older model bands to work on newer versions down the line. If someone buys those beautiful stainless steel bands for $499 or get an Apple Watch HERMES for over $1000… it would be a shame to be forced into switching the bands.
I’ll offer myself up as an example of your article.
I have a 2011 MacBook Pro which I plan to replace in 2016. I have an iPhone 5S which I will also need to replace in the next year or two.
The 16GB iPhone has me looking at Android. The proprietary soldered on components and crappy fusion drive have me considering building a PC (I was going to look at a 5K iMac or a new MacBook Pro.)
So, Apple is risking my business and my repeat business and my influence in purchases at my work (where I work I am one of two Apple advocates). So, just by being cheap with a few components for a small profit, they may have lost several thousand dollars in 2016 with that impact resonating to my spheres of influence both personally and professionally.
5 years ago I had nothing but praise for Apple, 5 years from now I may not even use one of their products unless something changes.
“And then we have the latest Retina iMacs, where Apple reduced the SSD component of the 1TB Fusion Drive from 128GB to a miserly 24GB.”
Mr Lovejoy: That sentence is EXTREMELY misleading. From reading that sentence it sounds like Apple is charging MORE for less. That is FALSE.
Last year the iMac fusion upgrade was $250 to get 128GB fusion drive.
This year the iMac fusion upgrade is only $100 for 24GB.
So yes you are getting less flash storage for the new fusion drive but it does cost $150 less.
If you want more flash storage you can get the 2TB fusion drive that cost $300 but you get an additional 1TB of hardisc space for $50.
For many the $100 upgrade for 24GB is a much better deal than the 128GB for $250. For most users the most benefit comes from having the OS on the flash drive so start up and opening frequently used programs load almost instantly.
“And then we have the latest Retina iMacs, where Apple reduced the SSD component of the 1TB Fusion Drive from 128GB to a miserly 24GB.”
Mr Lovejoy – That is a very misleading statement you made. You made an error in not disclosing the price of those upgrades.
upgrade to 1TB fusion drive with 128GB – $250
upgrade to 1TB fusion drive with 24GB – $100
upgrade to 2TB fusion drive with 128GB – $300
Please disclose the prices so people can make a smart decision. The way you wrote sounds like last year you could get a 128GB fusion drive for the same price as the 24GB fusion drive this year. That is FALSE. You would have to pay $150 more last year.
The cost of hard drives has fallen significantly, so that’s not a like-for-like comparison.
Their latest products seem a bit like trying to become trendy (thin, light and shiny), rather than offer good functionality for a reasonable premium.
I’m not sure if this is due to greedy investors pushing things around, or a combination of Ive’s conceit and obsessions and profit-oriented product managers.
Take the Apple Watch: this thing is RIDICULOUSLY expensive for what it does. 700-800 euros for the first elegant (i.e. non-sporty) version??? Sure, they have years’ worth of research to write off, but placing a soon-to-be-outdated technology in the premium-timepiece price range is very profit-oriented. When I pay 1000-ish euros on a MECHANICAL wristwatch, this thing is gonna be working flawlessly for AT LEAST 10-15 years, it will still look the part and after that its value isn’t gonna be that bad. The Apple Watch will be totally worthless in 4-5 years AT BEST, IF it still works by then. People are NOT stupid, Tim + Angela. They know that.
Then take the new MACBOOK. They could have taken the Air, shaved off a bit of the bezel (maaaaybe, I’m happy with it as it is) and stuck a retina display in there. NOBODY WOULD HAVE COMPLAINED. But no… they had to go the extra style mile. Stick a cpu that performs as 2011-era Airs did, in 2015, so that they can remove the fan. Remove all USB-A ports and stick a single shiny USB-C port, so that we get to buy 80€ dongles as extras. Sure, it’s VERY light and ultra-portable but buying the 1.3GHz version WILL COST YOU MORE than a souped-up retina MacBook Pro 13 256GB will !!! Did somebody say “profits” ???
So, again Apple seems to be ignoring common sense and functional design and going for the lifestyle-focused rich people. Maybe they know that there’s enough of them to keep them afloat.
But in “premium technology” they seem to be focusing more on the “premium” part, rather than the technology. The market can only take so many fat words from them, so in the end they will be punished. And they seem to be headed that way, as they’re on a path that will lead them to MORE SIMILAR MISTAKES.
Nope. Mechanical Watches don’t run flawlessly for 10-15 years. In fact Rolex suggest you get your watch look at by a jeweler every 3 years. Those visits cost $200-$300. And by 10 years you will be replacing parts that will cost you $500-$1000.
If you are hardup on cash just buy the sport Watch. Stainless Steel premium watches are NOT CHEAP.
As far as the Macbook, many people want PORTABILITY instead of ultimate performance. If you want performance go get a MacPro. I don’t see what so hard to undertand.
I have a $700 Seiko that runs smoothly since 1996 and I wear it every day. Sure, I service it every few years but it still looks the part and works like a charm. I have MILLIONS of similar examples of mechanical timepieces that work years on end and. The more premium mechanical watches often lose very little value, because people know the damn things KEEP WORKING. But perhaps you’re a bit too young to know that.
The Sport Watch? No way man. It looks like a Casio compared to the steel/leather middle-tier Watches. If you know how to dress a bit more smartly, you’re keeping way clear from the Sport edition. The LG Watch Urbane or the Huawei Watch are miles ahead in this department.
With the MacBook, I won’t even bother. Your arguments are far from coherent or logical and seem like the outcome of an obsessed individual. Dare I say “an Apple troll”? Perhaps you could read again what I wrote.
The Watch is an interesting one. I wonder if they released the Apple TV too soon. The Apple Watch hasn’t yet reached the same status that the Mac, iPod, iPhone, iPad have. I was expecting, when they launched it, for it to eventually grow to such a success that when the next new category came along, doubters might say “Sure, the Apple Watch, iPhone and iPad are great… but will [new product here] be as good?”
It’s like Apple haven’t had time to ensure the Watch becomes a part of enough people’s lives that we view it in the same high regard. But then if it was actually genuinely useful it would sell itself. Then again, people doubted the iPod when that first launched, but did they regard it in the same way sceptic members of the public are doubting the Watch now? I just don’t know anymore.
Maybe the biggest thing that’s changed since Steve Jobs left is we don’t have a world class salesman convincing us we need these amazing products. The products are still amazing, but we’re too critical to notice.
I’ll agree with you. But the feeling I get from Apple’s latest moves is that they know their products sell to the more fashion and lifestyle-aware people. And because these people pay like stupid for the latest thing in fashion, Apple execs just rubbed their hands together and decided to steer the company that away, possibly putting real technology aside and focusing to gimmicks like the Heartbeat
you said a mechanical wristwatch works flawlessly for 10-15 years. Thats FALSE. You need to do maintance at least every 3 years. Change parts probably at 5 years. That costs hundreds of dollars. And all it does is tell time. Thats it.
In 4-5 years the Apple watch will still do HUNDREDS of things more than your mechanical watch that has 200 year old technology.
In 4-5 years the Watch will not be functioning, mark my words. It will have died out way sooner than that. I’ve been servicing my Seiko every 4-5 years to the tune of 60-70 euros a pop. Sounds a lot? Or do you reckon Apple will charge you thereabouts if you service your Watch? I also have a 10yo Sector that has only changed batteries so far.
In any case, an 800 euro gadget that’s gonna be dead in likely 3 years or otherwise be worthless by then, is not my idea of a sound investment. Mechanical watches are priced as they are because they are meant to be replaced in a 10-year cycle at least.
Smartwatches are far from mature at the moment, by definition they are meant to be replaced far more frequently, and as such do not justify spending similar sorts of money on them, yet.
I’m in agreement with this article and find other local Mac users feeling similarly. With Apple being the company to beat now it seems it’s competitors are increasingly hungry and willing to step up their design and price/performance ratio. Now that Adobe’s Creative’s suite is cloud based we creatives can mix and match platforms and use the best tools available. Microsoft and some Android handset makers are stepping up. In contrast the iPad Pro seems underwhelming compared to SP4 and the Surface Book at least on paper looks impressive, soon we’ll see how impressive it’ll really be. At least the future looks good for the consumer.
You definitely make an interesting point–a point that I hadn’t thought about before. It does seem that they are trying to increase profits at the expense of customers. I do wonder though, if they are under increased pressure from investors. Still, it’s no excuse. Their primary goal shouldn’t be to make Wall Street happy, it should be to make Uncle Joe or Aunt Carol happy. There’s a big difference.
Apple is the only stock i’ve ever heavily invested in because its a company that I know very well (thanks to reading 9to5 every day). I sold all of my stock after the iPhone 6s because to me it seems that Apple is now only money focused. Their Beats acquisition showed me this. Beats headphones have a HUGE profit margin and are not the most quality product. Its is the job of a CEO to make money, not to be a visionary. They have no more visionary. In the short run they are focused on profit and in the long run they are doomed. SELL YOUR STOCK NOW BEFORE ITS TOO LATE!! …question is, what do I invest in now? Or rather WHO? Elon?
Funny you sold your stock. Bad move. We will see $150-$170 in a matter of months. I feel sorry that you sold for $110
It seems likely that the Beats acquisition was more for the personnels (Jimmy Iovine) and the streaming music business then the headphone line. I think there was an article on that here as well.
I agree with you here. I think you’ve hit on an interesting point. Lately, it feels like Apple is suffering from being a public company. They could do some more interesting things if they served only customers, not shareholders. For example, if they made a little less money as you said, so they could release a better product.
It feels like they’re squeezing out tech. For example, it felt like they held back on processor/RAM upgrades with the iPhone 6, because they knew the large screen/new design would sell. Now, it feels like to trump the competition, the iPhone could do with a thinner bezel and a much better screen (Dave 2D on YouTube mentioned how the screens are weak compared to Samsung phones. Not trying to be an Apple hater – I’m typing this on a MacBook Pro and I got an iPhone 6S Plus on launch day). I wonder if they’re inhibited because they have to report numbers so much. Year over year. They spend millions on R&D. Make their execs millionaires. Build beautiful retail stores around the world. They have money left over, after running all their business. Yet, God forbid the profit falls from the year before. Or they sell 9 million iPhones this year, when they sold 10 million last year. If they do that, the shareholders will have a fit and Tim Cook – though clearly an able leader, could get kicked out by the Board.
In my mind – and please, forgive my ignorance: I’m sure there’s legal and other reasons why this isn’t actually feasible – Apple should completely ignore their shareholders, and they shouldn’t hide the fact they don’t give a shit about their stock price. Focus on consumer products. Up the specs of their Macs. Simply the lineup so they’re only selling their latest and greatest products (Not so there’s loads of iPads at different price points). If the profits tumble so their business is in danger, that’s bad. If their stock price falls, that isn’t bad. Either the stock price will recover anyway, or it will really crash and burn, and when the stock price falls low enough, they can buy themselves off the market.
Sorry for the typos and grammar nightmares – it’s 11.30pm and I’ve been up since 5am.
A lot of it has to do with Marketing . Put a celebrity with their product and you could sell an “okay” product to the masses . At the end of the day, what Apple is selling is still better quality than what Microsoft shoves their OS into… or allows their OS to be on.
Microsoft and Samsung spend way more on marketing than Apple.
Nice article Ben.
Steve’s comment and video do not apply here since it is a totally different company. At that time he was not a great business guy. He still had stuff to learn fro Pixar. The focus now is primarily on products which is not what Steve saw decades ago. He kept the Mac running low features for years but they served the needs of buyers. He did say that if we don’t like the iPhone it is very simple , “then don’t buy it”.
I have been using Apple stuff off and on since late 80’s and I am not a loyal customer. They sell to me.
As a tech fan, it’s uncomfortable to know they’re blatantly cutting corners in areas that can hugely improve user experience with little cost. I totally would pay extra money for the beautiful design of the new MacBook, I would pay extra money for the responsive Touch ID, for the beautiful retina displays on MacBooks, but it is annoying to have to pay $200 for 48GB of extra flash storage… Charge people extra for new technology, Apple’s got plenty of it, don’t overcharge for old technology everyone knows to be cheap, there’s no justification for it… People are willing to pay extra money for proprietary, innovative technology. Flash storage isn’t one of them. Period.
I currently have an iphone 5, i dont like the design of the iphone 6, BUT i would have updated to the 6S this year for 3D touch if i didnt feel cheated by that 16GB entry model. you cant screw your customers so obviously as a premium brand.
And thats the core of the problem: Premium brand + Premium prices + cutting corners = customers looking elsewhere
Add discounting of Aperture and replacement with not working photos…
The “cable is not certified and may not work on this iphone” drives me f**king nuts and is a perfect example of them getting too greedy.
Great article and very much on point. Expect 1GB RAM on iPhone 6 and earlier was more a technical decision than a cost-saving one. Since adding more RAM means more battery consumed to manage that memory and hold that charge. So thats pretty much OK.
Secondly, a smaller SSD also means slower speeds as well. Also the fusion drives don’t come standard. They cost a $100 over the standard 1TB HDD. That means $100 for 24GB SSD. Outrageous!
Or worse still, here in Australia where they have upped all our prices by 11% last week, we are now being charged $160AUD for a 24GB SSD for the Fusion upgrade.
The latest 64GB iPhone has almost always been $1050 AUD. Not this year. It’s $1229 AUD.
And then the 21.5″ iMac they just released no longer has user upgradable RAM. Its all soldered in now so you are forced to pay Apples insanely high RAM prices. To upgrade to 16GB across the iMac range, they are asking $320 AUD for the extra 8GB. When for less than $200 AUD you can buy 2 x 8GB sticks.
I could go on but its just too depressing. . .
Example – the mid-range i5 21.5″ iMac that I bought in 2014, was slower than the mid-range model (i3) that I bought in 2010, and it was more expensive.
That earlier model had a 7200rpm drive, a dedicated graphics card, and a DVD drive, and I later upped the RAM to 16gb.
I’ll admit I don’t miss the DVD drive, but that 5400rpm drive and integrated graphics is noticeably slower for real world tasks, and I can’t upgrade the memory.
The only reason I can see, is that Apple want to maintain a profit margin at the expense of user experience (and make the iMac thinner of course).
This is something I wrote a while back, but never managed to publish (I had this idea for a website and what not). Anyway, here it is:
I did not know Steve Jobs, but I think I can relate to him in many ways. And I’m not only talking about Bob Dylan, fruitarian diet and Zen Buddhism. Steve seemed to value perfection and so do I. He wasn’t in it for the money – he wanted to create something good and change the world.
Walter Isaacson wrote in Steve Jobs’ biography that Steve announced that the goal of Apple was to ‘’make great products, not make money.’’ Has Apple forgotten this?
Why is it that Apple only gives us 5 GB of free storage on iCloud? Isn’t this a rather desperate move to force us into purchasing additional space? After all, 5 GB is hardly enough these days, especially if you use more than one iOS device.
Both Google and Microsoft offer 15 GB of free storage for their customers. If you choose to use Google Photos, you will get unlimited storage for your photos (although they might be resized if you try to upload too high-res images). Furthermore, I happen to get 40 GB of free storage from Microsoft’s OneDrive because of various bonuses (such as loyalty). Although Kim Dotcom’s MEGA is no Google or Microsoft, they do offer 50 GB of free storage. Fllickr (owned by Yahoo) offers 1 TB of storage.
Apple and their 5 GB sound like a silly joke when compared to the other tech giants. There is so much frustration among Apple’s customers over this. Many are constantly complaining. Is saving a few bucks really worth all those negative feelings? Why not just give the customers the same 15 GB he or she would get from Google or Microsoft? After all, we are spending a great deal of money for all the Apple products.
Apple might argue that unlike Google and Microsoft, they do not have access to their customers’ files nor would they sell any information they might be able collect. However, this is not the case for MEGA. After what happened to Kim Dotcom’s last company, his current one is solely based on the idea that MEGA has no way of knowing what is stored on their servers. And yet they are able to offer 50 GB of free storage.
For the past few years I have had a rather radical idea for how the iCloud storage system might be changed. I have not done the math, so it is just a thought. What if Apple gave each of their customers the exact same amount of free storage as it was on their purchased device? Say you purchase a new 64 GB iPhone 6S and upon activating the phone, you automatically get 64 GB of free storage for your iCloud account too. You buy a 128 GB iPad and they will add 128 GB. And this is yours to keep even if you resell the phone. Now, I do not know what happens to the next guy. Perhaps he is limited to the free 5 GB (or 15 or whatever that is), as the initial storage was already reclaimed by the first owner. But it does seem like an interesting idea. Not only will it put tremendous pressure on Google and Microsoft, it will most likely boost the sale of Apple’s devices too. Why would you buy an Android phone if you have to spend money on purchasing additional storage from Google Drive? Just get an iPhone and your problem is solved!
Oh, actually I had another paragraph, but this wasn’t written out very well. Basically I had another thought about why Apple might want to increase the amount of free storage. I’m not an expert or anything, but wouldn’t it technically be possible to store your website on these cloud-based storage sites? Say I have 128 GB of free storage from iCloud. Apple could make it possible for me to use iCloud Drive (or some new app – iCloud Server or smth) as the virtual server for all my domains. I happen to own a few domain names and the cost of renting a virtual server is quite high (when compared to the domain name). Can you imagine the advantage that Apple could get by doing so? It would put tremendous pressure to all those companies who rent out virtual servers. Surely Google would copy that, but Apple would be there first.
Awesome article! I am a big Apple fan, but I totally agree with what the author presents here. I just wonder if they (Apple) will realise about this sooner than later.
It is great to see someone actually put their hand under the stone. Great article hope it wont be flooded with brain washed apple fans they are the one who actually damage the brand by supporting everything even its wrong.
Good article. I would have love to have seen the inclusion of optional pricing in this article. On the new iMac for example the RAM Upgrade price from 8GB to 16 GB is 240,- Euro, when the actual price (for the end customer that is) is just 40,- Euro. That is fine if it is user replaceable, but that of course is not the case with most machines and with Apple making it increasingly more difficult for the end user, one is forced to order everything they want in the beginning. With every byte and hertz Apple is taking it’s customers to the cleaners.
You won’t see 16GB in iPhone 7 next year. I’m pretty sure of it.
Yup. I bought launch day iPhones 6 years in a row. Not this year.
Has this piece set some kind of record for the number of comments? Wow!
Pretty much, I think!
I totally agree on the sentiment of this article, and have been lamenting on Apple’s profit-driving strategies for the past few years.
Most of their product releases this year confirms this – release a ‘starting from’ price, but hiding the real price most people will fork out due to upgrading (iMac’s default 5400 rpm drives – a 16GB iPhone (actually, less, since they don’t account for the space iOS takes up)).
Also, has Jony Ive lost the sense of practicality in his world renound product design? Just look at the design desicions being made – Lightning port on the bottom of the Magic Mouse 2, using Lightning port in the first place in both the iPhones and peripherals when USB-C debuted in MacBook, the fact that the said MacBook only has one of them, and charging a heck of a lot for their ‘Magic’ peripherals.
Lastly, the MacPro hasn’t been updated since its debut in 2013.
You only have to look at what Microsoft is doing with its tight integreation of Windows across small and large devices, X-Box, and Surface families to see where the next wave of innovation lies.
Exactly. Without SJ, there is no ‘table thumper’ at Apple. Someone to critique their product designs prior to completion. To see ‘what’s next’ and so on. Re the MacBook, it’s worst flaws is the unusable keyboard that subjects the fingers to much hurt. I bought a MacBook Pro 13″ instead to get the last of the almost usable keyboards with some decent amount of travel. And it has the ‘T’ shaped arrow cluster that is way more ergonomic than the recent rend of a rectangular block of arrow keys. Horrible!
And yup, Microsoft are on a roll. I’m switching to a Surface Pro 4 (fully loaded) soon as the budget allows. The OS is not relevant any more with the cloud. I run Adobe CC, which will be the same if not better on Windows (v buggy on OS X), and ALL my content and files are in Google Drive or Dropbox, nothing in Apple’s ecosystem any more. Pity, as their hardware is very well made.
*Worst flaw *Recent trend
Lots of wit and insights. Greatly written.
I don’t necessarily agree that the 16G model should go altogether, but perhaps introducing a lower pricing tier for it might be a logical move for Apple. I’m actually more shocked by the 5400 RPM drive offering on the 4K iMac, which is really medieval at this point. And the SSD drive options are indeed way overpriced.
Uhm, my comment on this very site just a few days ago said the very same thing and received a lot of ‘likes’. Did I trigger something inside 9to5mac? Related, just yesterday I saw an iPad Mini 2 or 3 in a shop display and it had an error message on the screen that implied it could not be upgraded to iOS 9 due to lack of memory and the user (store!) should remove some apps. The fact an iPad that ONLY had Apple’s official demo apps on it would report this is embarrassing.
I have a 32GB Nexus 5 (Mk1) and the phone would not function today with 16GB the second I started to record some video or download a large game.
And lets not get started on the abortion that was the iPhone 5c 8GB! What a con to ONLY sell that model, which was the only entry point for people into iOS. It was unusable. Penny pinching indeed Apple!