Historically, nickel and dime was used to describe a small amount of money, particularly associated with a store which sold inexpensive items. Nickel and dime became a verb phrase which meant to accumulate in small amounts, or to take away in small amounts. Here’s what it means for Apple’s future.
With apologies to Keye Luke, it should be obvious to all that Apple’s fortunes are tied to leveraged and incremental– nickel and dime– steps toward the future.
Just look at how Apple’s products, from Mac to iPhone to iPad, all work together with a sense of harmony and even a similar look and feel.
Step by step Apple has added new functions to OS X and iOS so they appear more coherent and share files and data seamlessly, while sharing functionality, too.
Handoff. Continuity. App Stores. Launchpad. Airdrop. Notification Center. Sharing box. iCloud Drive. Even Apple apps have a similar uniformity, functionality, and look on all devices. Here’s a quick view at additional nickel and dime issues where Apple needs to improve integration.
More Macs – Even Apple says the Mac has fewer users than the iPad– by about 150 million customers. The only way to spur more Mac sales, even though they’re selling at record levels, is with lower prices. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for a newer, faster, thinner, Retina display MacBook Air– for less.
iPad Muscle – If ever there was a product that an immediate, instant, unqualified success, it was the iPad. In the first few years iPad grew faster than the iPhone. But sales have softened, dropped, and in need of some pzaz– something dazzling, and more RAM, Touch ID, Retina display, and faster CPU and graphics are just not enough. Where’s that built-in facial recognition, voice recognition security we need? A Siri who interacts automatically? And a keyboard?
Instant, Auto OS Updates – Nobody updates an OS better than Apple, but even our favorite Cupertino, CA tech company struggles with success. 16GB iPads and iPhones struggle to get the latest iOS 8. Yes, plug said iPhone and iPad into a Mac or PC and do it the old fashioned way, but can’t Apple fix this so ‘it just works?‘ It works OK with apps.
Supply And Demand – It never fails that Apple introduces a new product and getting it the same day is still something of a pipe dream. iMac with 5k Retina display? Long wait. iPhone 6 models? Long wait. iPad Air 2 models? Yes, I had to wait to get the model I wanted. Yes, Apple is selling everything it can make as fast as it can be made, but isn’t selling as fast as demand. That’s always been an Apple problem. Not much has changed under Tim Cook.
Broader, Smaller Product Line – Alright, this may seem like a paradox, something of a contradiction, but hear me out. Instead of pushing last year’s iPhone 5s as an entry level device, why not slap a new case on it, call it the iPhone 6 mini. Then, change the iPhone 6 to iPhone 6 Air. See? Three iPhone models. Easy peasy. While we’re at it, let’s reduce the iPad line. iPad Plus, iPad Air, iPad mini– and forget those mind-numbing numbers.
Wait! What? There’s More! – Now my laundry list. iCloud Drive needs more competitive pricing. Apple IDs are a mess. I have one for iTunes (to share apps and media with family), one for Messages which does not allow me to buy extra iCloud Drive storage. Why can’t Apple figure out a way to combine Apple IDs? Removable Apple Watch is an idea that needs to see the light of day. $350 is the starting point for a watch that will be outdated in two years. Let me keep the case and watch band and swap out the insides every year or two. I’ll pay for that.
Oh, Apple, and while you’re busy adding nickels and dimes to Mac, iPhone, and iPad functionality, how about tossing in some real change for Apple TV?