The fact that more than 70-percent of Apple’s bread is buttered by iPhone should tell us something. Apple has perhaps 700-million iOS customers, but only 10-percent of that number are Mac users. Are there ways that Mac users are treated as second class citizens? Yes.
Apps, Developers, Music, Oh My!
The iPhone App Store has more than a million applications and competition for eyeballs and money is such that apps for iPhone and iPad are dramatically less expensive than comparable apps for the Mac. In many cases we Mac users pay more for the same functionality.
Craig Hockenberry thinks even Mac App Store developers are treated like second-class citizens because Apple does not provide the same app development tools for the Mac as it does for iPhone and iPad apps. Apple has opened up iOS and OS X betas to the general public, but if a Mac user wants to write a negative review while using a beta version of OS X El Capitan, they can. That’s not fair, obviously, so why is it prevented on iOS beta versions and not the Mac?
Apple charges Mac app developers the same 30-percent cut it takes for iOS apps, but delivers fewer features for those same developers. The company’s new Apple Music service is heavily featured on iPhone and iPad. The Mac and iTunes? Not so much.
What’s interesting about this disparity and class distinction is the amount of attention iPhone gets vs. other Apple products. Apple has gone through dramatic, gut-wrenching changes since co-founder Steve Jobs returned in 1997. Back then Apple was the Mac. Today, Apple is a hardware company whose revenue and profits are primarily based on iPhone; software and services are an afterthought, and one can argue so is the Mac.
Most Macs sold these days are notebooks, and Apple goes where the money is; expensive, classy, luxurious Mac models with mobility built-in, but traditional Mac models– iMac and Mac Pro– have problems and positioning issues not found in the iPhone line. For example, I have a large desktop iMac with the Retina 5k display. The first display had ghosting issues so it was replaced. The second display now has the same ghosting issues and needs to be replaced. Apple once sold multiple standalone displays for the Mac, but today all that’s available is a lonely and outdated Thunderbolt display that does not compare favorably to competitor offerings despite being twice the price.
MacBook Pro owners with screen issues had to resort to a class action lawsuit to get Apple executives to look up from their iPhones (ostensibly while checking AAPL on the market) long enough to pay attention to a Mac problem the company ignored for a few years. It’s not that the Mac isn’t profitable for Apple. It is. Reports indicate that the Mac, still selling in record numbers, takes home half the PC industry’s profits. It’s just that the Mac isn’t Apple’s future. Mobile devices are the future and that’s where Apple pays attention.
Apple under CEO Tim Cook seems to have become a kinder, gentler Apple than it was under Steve Jobs; the company appears to be more socially aware, and displays a public conscience on social issues. But as Apple and its executive team ages it’s become increasingly clear that there’s a hearing problem that has been identified but not acknowledged.