Apple is the premium technology gadget maker, right? After all, Apple charges more for a smartphone than any competitor. Ditto for Mac and iPad, right? Maybe premium doesn’t mean what it used to mean.
Apple seems to have created what I will call a ‘fork in the road strategy‘ pertaining to customers. A fork in the road means two choices; one going that way, while the other goes a different way. Apple seems to be moving in the direction of multiple choice marketing.
High And Lower
There does not seem to be a shortage of customers lining up for iPhone X; the latest and greatest iPhone ever with the greatest price tag to match. That’s one direction from the fork in the road. What about the other direction? Here, Apple has broadened the iPhone’s line to include iPhone SE at the bottom with a $349 price tag, then iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, iPhone 7 and 8 Plus, then iPhone 8 and 8 Plus; all at lower than iPhone X prices with an attractive range for anyone who walks toward Apple’s fork in the road.
The strategy is even more apparent with iPad. Turn left, and there’s an iPad model for $329. Go the other direction and the iPad Pro for a similar size comes in at $649. Apple covers the lower end with a remarkably inexpensive iPad and migrates customers to more premium iPad Pro models. Each accessible from a different fork in the road.
Wait. There’s more.
Apple Watch. The fork in the road has a similar spread that must be driving Fitbit and Samsung nuts. Yes, you can veer to the right and spend over $1,000 for an Apple Watch Edition Series 3 in ceramic– starting at $1,299. Or, back up and take the road more followed with a basic Watch Series 1 which retails at $249 but likely comes in less than $200 during the holiday shopping period.
The iPhone’s fork in the road experience means that if you turn right, you get the latest iPhone technology for a premium price, but if you still want an iPhone experience for less, that starts at $349. Got a hankering for an iPad? The fork left is $329 while the fork right to Premiumville can top $1,129.
See? These are excellent examples of a fork in the road marketing strategy that Apple uses to combat less expensive competition while offering a road toward premium products and experience.
What about the Mac?
Apple’s Mac just had the best sales year ever so whatever we may think of Apple ignoring certain models– Mac mini and Mac Pro, I’m looking at you– the fork in the road strategy seems to be working, too.
The aging MacBook Air starts along the left turn in the fork, at $999. Likewise, MacBook is available for $1,229; the same price as the entry level MacBook Pro. Even the entry level iMac has an HD screen for $1,099 while a fully tricked out 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display can top $5,299. That’s a broad spread price range, definitely deserving of a fork in the road.
Apple is all about design– how a product works. That means you get the Apple experience– whether macOS High Sierra or iOS 11– in each major product line. Mac, iPhone, iPad, Watch all have a broad price range that gives customers a distinct choice– a fork in the road strategy that helps Apple grow the customer base and ward off competitors with lesser and less expensive products.