Reality television shows are all the rage these days. Of course, it’s TV, so there’s not exactly much reality going on. I can’t handle fake news or reality TV but I do like a good makeover; whether it’s a house, wardrobe, or face, a makeover is a feel good story.
I want to feel good about Apple but the company isn’t making it easy for me these days. Apple needs a makeover. Wait. One is coming already as the company gets ready to inhabit the Steve Jobs Spaceship Campus. The makeover I really want to see is new products.
Lipstick On A Pig
As much as I hate the analogy, lipstick on a pig seems to be the best Apple can do these days. Product Red iPhone. More storage on iPhone SE. Lower price on a fatter iPad. And, a couple of accessories for iPhone (Watch and AirPods, I’m looking at you) seem to be the best that’s come out of Apple in recent years.
Sure, we know what’s coming in June. Apple’s developer conference, WWDC 2017, and that means a new macOS, new iOS, and likely new watchOS and new Apple tvOS. Ho hum. Every year. Same old, same old. Then, later in the summer, we’ll see new iPhones pop up because Apple knows which side of the bread has the butter. The iPhone side.
Meanwhile, the risk averse engineer heading Apple sits on a few hundred billion dollars in cash, lets the company’s engineers spend tens of billions more on R&D efforts, and what we see from all that money and effort in the past six months is an anemic MacBook Pro, a new set of wireless earbuds, a Product Red iPhone, and a lower priced iPad.
What’s missing? The makeover. Apple needs a makeover. Here’s what I would do.
Fatter Trash Can Mac – first, make the trash can Mac Pro a real pro’s machine; a little fatter outside with a little more room inside, Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C, maybe a few more connectors, but upgradable CPU and GPU to go along with easily swappable storage and easy to install RAM options. Was that so hard?
Faster Macs – it’s as if all the Mac engineers and design team came down with a bad case of stock options and decided to leave and run their own startups. Apple needs a new iMac, a new Mac mini, and faster, more powerful Mac notebooks. That was easy, right?
iPad Fever – this entire line has become anemic that a price cut won’t heal. Put some power into these little puppies and don’t worry if a Mac user decides to go in all iPad. Steve Jobs didn’t mind cannibalization. iPad Pro models everywhere. Lower prices. Period. End of story. Keep it simple, you know?
iPhone – good golly, Molly, have you seen the rumor mill list? It’s everything from iPhone 8 to three models to OLED screens with micro-bezels and a $1,000 price tag. What’s wrong with scarring some competitors to crap their pants? Drop the price tag a bit. That will spur demand, wipe out some copy cat competitors, and give Apple some room to raise prices later.
Watch – this, besides a good case with some bounce in it, is my favorite iPhone accessory and it’s time to cut the cord. A standalone Watch; one with Wi-Fi that connects to iCloud for iPhone data, and one with LTE. One of my nephews has a Verizon watch which does phone calls for an extra $10 a month. How hard can it be for Apple to create a standalone, non-tethered Watch?
Apple TV – OK, Apple, I’m willing to buy one more Apple TV. One more. If you can’t make it 4K, fully Siri capable (and not just some search parlor tricks) then I’m not going to buy another one. Apple TV is either a hobby, or it’s a real product. Stop playing footsie with what’s in between.
Apple App Store – If there is a good reason why searching for iPhone, iPad, and Mac apps sucks to high heaven, just tell us. Otherwise, fix it. Search options just suck. Sometimes I can enter an app’s name and not have the app show up anywhere in the top 120 (a full page of Mac apps, for example). Fix it.
One More Thing – the technology world is screaming for leadership and direction; something Apple once excelled at, but seems to have missed the mark in recent years. How about an ARM-powered, Apple-designed A11 CPU in a Mac with a detachable touchscreen and keyboard for less than $1,000? Don’t tell me you can’t put macOS onto ARM. You can. You probably have it running in a skunkworks already. Then, since it’s ARM-based, have it run iPhone apps. Not iPad. iPhone apps. As accessories on the Mac’s screen. I love it. I’ll buy two.
See? That’s a makeover on currently existing models. Pull a Samsung once in awhile and throw some mud on the wall to see what sticks. Hey, Steve Jobs did it with the iPod Hi-Fi, you know? Sure, it was an overpriced stupid device, but that kind of minor failure keeps you humble, you know? Remember the eMac, the sunflower iMac, Thunderbolt displays, Time Capsule, Xserve, hockey puck mouse, iSight camera? All duds. All of them. During Jobs’ era. It’s OK to fail, Tim. It keeps you humble. Then you won’t need such a drastic makeover.