Many of those in marketing will tell you a brand is just about everything a product or company has going for it. Brands come and go, but the good ones constantly are nourished, cultivated, and protected.
Go down the list of major product brands– McDonald’s, IBM, Google, Samsung, Ford, Volkswagen, Apple– they all take a licking and they keep on ticking. Apple has a brand, and so do some of Apple’s products; the Mac, iPhone, iPad, Watch, and other products that come with an Apple logo. What happens when a company does something to damage a brand?
It’s Not Us!
Walk into any Apple Store and you’ll be greeted by a greeter. You can also visit all of Apple’s products on tables carefully placed throughout the store. And, yes, Apple sells plenty of non-Apple products, too.
Once upon a time, Apple sold Apple branded displays for the Mac. No more. After years languishing on the technology vine, Apple killed the Thunderbolt displays just before revolting Mac users would have killed them. Instead, in their place are new 4k and 5k Retina displays made by LG, and manufactured with Apple in mind. It says so on the box and there’s a Mac logo for added proof.
Historically, Apple plays in technology business segments where it can make a difference, carve out a profitable niche, and milk it until the cows come home (I recognize the problems with the mixed metaphors). Remember Apple’s AirPort Wi-Fi products? Say goodbye. Apple doesn’t think it can bring anything to the table that isn’t already there.
Apple branded displays? Displays are a cut-throat industry and just slapping a logo on an LG just isn’t good enough anymore. Why not? As it turns out, those aforementioned LG Retina-capable displays which were brought in to replace Apple’s own branded Thunderbolt displays are defective. The 27-inch LG UltraFine 5K Retina display does not play nice-nice with nearby Wi-Fi routers. Once it was reported online that they had a problem both Apple and LG investigated, then responded with a program to repair, while awaiting newer models which had sufficient shielding to eliminate the Wi-Fi issue.
All the remaining LG UltraFine 5K Retina displays in Apple’s inventory have been pulled and if you want on you’ll have to wait a month or two.
Apple is known as a technology company that sweats the details like no other. In this case, they let LG sweat the details, and as is typical for non-Apple designed accessories, someone forgot to check for nearby interference; you know, like the W-Fi routers we all have near our computers.
Apple is doing the right thing. So is LG. But why can’t our favorite Mac maker have an Apple-designed 5K Retina display (Apple doesn’t build much these days and farms out manufacturing to others who build what Apple designs; including iPhones, iPads, Macs, Watch, et al)?
Apple just doesn’t sell enough external displays these days– for Mac notebooks or Power Mac or power users– to make it worth the company’s efforts to design and get someone else to do the building for a product whose sales go down every year. Go down? We live in a mobile world, folks. Accessories that once were the best and easiest to use– AirPort Wi-Fi routers, I’m looking at you– no longer are and Apple can’t seem to justify the math.
Apple’s Mac brand is no longer all encompassing to include expensive accessories that can be made far less expensively than an Apple designed product. That’s a messy aspect of building, nourishing, cultivating, and protecting a brand.
Yeah, it’s math. It’s also too bad because Apple still received a black eye on this saga.