If Apple was a person, it wouldn’t be one to run to catch a flight and skid to the gate in a sweat. Apple would wander, calm and unhurried. Trying hard is not cool.
But now the company has to scramble to please us picky consumers. What does the effort look like for Apple? It’s an explosion of product options.
Before becoming Apple’s top executive, Tim Cook boasted more than a decade ago that all company products could fit on a table. His point was that Apple has focused on a small number of things done exceptionally well. No flop sweat.
Today, Apple sells eight different iPhone models, including versions released in the last few years. The company offers 10 different Mac computers and five iPad editions. It also sells TV gadgets, wristwatches, fitness and music software, home speakers, several models of headphones and so on.
In a pre-recorded video presentation on Tuesday, Apple will discuss updated versions of some of its products, which no longer fit on a normal table. Apple now needs the United Nations Security Council table to hold everything back.
Apple’s move to YES, MORE is another sign of tech’s transformation from a nerdy niche to providing essential but ordinary consumer products like cars or breakfast cereals. Manufacturers offer a flotilla of options to satisfy any of our potential whims and grab buyers’ attention.
Complexity is a sign that a company can no longer take its customers for granted. He must try to convince us.
It also happened to Ford. There’s an old line from Henry Ford that a customer could have any color of car they wanted “as long as it’s black”. Limited choice was a necessity when assembly-line production was still new, but the quip also showed the power the first Ford Motor Company had over customers. Cars were a novelty and people took whatever they could.
We know consumer products aren’t like that anymore. Today at Ford, you can choose from eight truck models, including a Ford F-150 XLT, F-150 Lariat, F-150 King Ranch, F-150 Platinum and F-150 Tremor. Black is certainly not the only option.
More options are great, but they can also be overwhelming. I bet some new car buyers have a hard time choosing from these Ford trucks. It wasn’t too long ago that I considered buying an Apple TV streaming gadget, and it took a bit of hunting to figure out the differences between the options the company was selling. I didn’t buy anything.
Note: Maybe we don’t need Apple product infomercials at all, like Tuesday’s?
These staged presentations of what looks like the 32nd version of an iPad made a little more sense when the technology was confined to a shiny thing in a box aimed primarily at the 1% of diehards. But now technology is everything and for everyone. And increasingly, it’s more useful when you don’t notice everything. This includes the smart software that tricks us into reading only important emails or spotting a faulty factory assembly line before it breaks down.
Go wild. What I mean is that having choices is mostly good for us. But it’s also weird for Apple. The company is a genius at product segmentation, marketing and pricing strategies, but tends to act like it’s just making awesome products and – oops, where are those huge piles of money coming from? Nobody wants to be a make an effort.
Apple has managed to preserve the image of being exclusive and cool while selling one of the most used products on the planet. Smartphones and many other technologies in our lives are both extremely useful necessities and completely Ordinary. It’s high time to stop treating the companies behind them like wizards.
Apple now almost has the range of product options what Cheerios does. That should demystify the business a bit.
Russia’s digital isolationism: Russia has passed a law that forbids calling its war on Ukraine a war, and it has blocked Facebook and stifled other foreign websites and apps. My colleagues Adam Satariano and Valerie Hopkins write about the end of all remnants of independent online news and political expression in Russia.
Related: Ukrainian refugees entering a Polish train station were greeted by telephone company volunteers distribution of data cards for smartphones so they can contact relatives or find accommodation, reports Bloomberg News from the Polish border. (Subscription may be required.)
What if Amazon’s warehouses were in space? My colleague Dai Wakabayashi visited the young rocket enthusiasts who pursue a long-term idea of stowing products in space and then parachuting them back to Earth.
A eulogy for Amazon bookstores: “Shoppers browsed through items as varied as a plush baby shark, a Lite-Brite, Funko figures, a micro USB, game consoles, a smart fitness scale, a Wi-Fi router and scissors. food. There was no, as far as I know, a kitchen sinkwrites Todd Bishop in GeekWire.
Hugs to that
The Canadian Space Agency wants to know: Does this satellite image look like a stretching cat? (I first saw this in MIT Technology Review newsletter.)
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