- Apple’s product line has become confusing and overwhelming for customers, with endless iterations of similar devices.
- To simplify the iPad line, Apple could offer an entry-level iPad SE and rebrand the iPad Pro models for better differentiation.
- The AirPods line also has issues, with the high-priced AirPods Max lacking in features compared to the more affordable AirPods Pro 2.
The terms “Apple” and “minimalism” go hand in hand. The company is famous for its “It just works!” approach, through which iDevices work intuitively, and users aren’t expected to overthink when operating them. And, for the most part, this is accurate. Many non-tech-savvy customers buy an iPhone simply because of its (relatively) basic interfaces and lack of confusing complexities. That’s not to mention that the devices themselves feature clean exterior designs that match the simplified software feel.
The problem, however, is that Apple’s product line has become a mess, and some housekeeping is long overdue. When customers visit the company’s online store, they’re welcomed by endless iterations of the same devices, which leaves many of them feeling indecisive.
Final Cut Pro on an M1 iPad Pro
Let’s start with the iPad line. Right now, Apple sells two entry-level tablets, the iPad 9 (2021) and iPad 10 (2022). You then have the mid-rangers, the iPad Mini 6 and iPad Air 5. Lastly, there are two iPad Pro M2 models that offer different display sizes. At first glance, a clueless customer may not be able to tell the difference between these labels. While Pro is obviously a high-end product, there’s no easy way to tell the difference between a vanilla iPad, a Mini iPad, and an Air one.
To simplify the lineup, Apple could offer an entry-level iPad SE, since its SE branding is known for its affordability. Those seeking a middle-range tablet can pick between iPad Mini and iPad, which would offer the same mid-range technology in different build sizes. Finally, it could rebrand the 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models to iPad Pro and iPad Pro Max. By opting for familiar nomenclatures, Apple could strengthen its brands and further popularize them. The more variants and iterations it introduces, the more watered-down they become.
And don’t get me started on the Apple Pencil (USB-C), which has caused confusion among people. The company could’ve matched the compatibility list of the Apple Pencil 1 and discontinued the Lightning variant. Instead, it still sells both as lower-end variants with slight differences that make it hard for users to decide. Worry not, though, as we’ve broken down all three Apple Pencil models to clarify what each does and what the actual differences between them are.
The latest Mac laptops are going through a similar problem. The company discontinued the classic MacBook Pro 13, but still sells its Air counterpart, along with two other Air variants. To simplify the line, the company could go for MacBook Mini and MacBook branding for the 13- and 15-inch Air models. Similarly, the 14- and 16-inch Pro notebooks could adopt the MacBook Pro and MacBook Pro Max labels. And speaking of, the company shouldn’t have put out a MacBook Pro model with the base M3 chip and inferior ports. It’s simply a bad-value product when users can pay more for a proper MacBook Pro, or less for a highly capable MacBook Air. This argument will even be more valid once the MacBook Air M2 gets bumped to M3. The MacBook Pro with the base M3 chip has become an awkward model that doesn’t belong in the MacBook line.
You get it, the iPhone is also going through the same problem. Despite its popularity, Apple killed the Mini iPhone variant, leaving customers with 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch phones, if we’re excluding the iPhone SE. Though, right now, Apple sells four iPhone 15 models, two iPhone 14 models, an iPhone 13, and an iPhone SE. Had the company kept the iPhone 13 Mini around and discontinued the regular one, it would’ve been understandable, since that was the last Mini iPhone. Instead, it kept the regular variant, which is almost identical to the iPhone 14 it still sells.
It would’ve made more sense if Apple killed the iPhone 14 line when the 15 series launched and kept the Mini and regular iPhone 13 models around. But alas, Apple giveth, and Apple taketh away. While no credible rumors point to new Mini iPhones launching anytime soon, if ever, we certainly hope that the company settles for iPhone Mini, iPhone, iPhone Pro, and iPhone Pro Max, along with the budget iPhone SE, down the road.
The AirPods line isn’t as problematic as other products, but there’s still a major issue with it. The AirPods Max cost $550 and are supposedly the highest-end variant, except that the AirPods Pro 2 offer superior ANC, connectivity, IP rating, and charging technology for a fraction of their price. And while some may argue that the AirPods Max launched years before the Pro 2, recent rumors suggest the AirPods Max 2 will launch next year with some of the same outdated audio technology that’s included in the original model. The AirPods Max should either catch up with the Pro or see a notable price drop to justify them.
Beyond the hardware
Apple’s overdue housekeeping tasks don’t exclusively revolve around its hardware. It’s about time the company synchronized the version numbers of its operating systems. Considering that iOS 17, iPadOS 17, watchOS 10, macOS Sonoma 14 share many of the newly introduced features, it would make more sense for them to adopt the same version numbers. This would make it easier for consumers to identity the operating systems running on their devices, along with knowing what cross-platform features are available to them.