Since Apple is busy re-arranging deck chairs rather than actually making a new product, the least they can do is fix their wacked-out product naming scheme. While Apple is tidying meaningless things like removing commas and the word “Store” from Apple store names, perhaps it should pay more attention to its product lines?
Apple Watch, iPhone SE, iPad Air 2, iPad Pro; it’s just a mess. Whatever happened to Steve Jobs’ simple desktop/portable vs consumer/professional grid? It’s time to bring it back. Ok, so let me fix it for you Apple.
First, let’s take a look at some naming trends. Apple has slowly been testing the waters of changing its product lines to use the symbol/word ‘[Product].’ It started with tv. Then Watch. The ‘i’ in things like iPhoto, i.e., now simply Photos, has slowly been deprecated. Part of the move may stem from all the trademark problems Apple’s had around the world.
Putting an “Apple” or “” in front of some other word is going to make its getting trademarks much easier as it clearly owns those marks world-wide. So one wonders, should/will Apple eject the ‘i’ in the iPhone and iMac?
OK, so first, Steve Jobs’s product grid clearly needs to be expanded. Consumer/Pro splits still make sense—even if Apple is abandoning Pros (and vice versa as a result.) One can hope Apple will come to its senses and give Pros what they’ve been pining for. But in addition to desktop/laptop categories of yore, we now have tablets and phones.
Proposed Apple Product Grid
Accordingly, behold my proposed new Apple product grid:
Let’s start with phones. Apple’s current lineup includes iPhone SE, iPhone, and iPhone Plus; a stupid, uninformative mess. We can clean this up with a simple template: Phone [ScreenSize] (ModelYear). Get rid of the ‘i’ since it’s tough to protect that mark globally, and replace it with the .
Currently, there are no Phone “Pro” models, but I’ll suggest a pro line that has double the memory, double the battery, double the thickness (if need be), and any extra features that can make use of the extra space (e.g., optical stabilization, double lenses, etc.) can be slotted in (e.g., the blue text).
iPad can follow the same format. The “Air” moniker is nugatory. Originally it served as some middle ground for Macs in the transition away from MacBook Pros to models without removable media (e.g., DVD drives). That transition is complete.
The “Air” nomenclature was picked up, seemingly haphazardly, for iPads. It’s time to dump it. If there are to be two iPad product lines, let’s follow the old Steve Jobs consumer/pro product schema. The current iPad mini and Air models can make up the Pad consumer line, and the Pad Pro line can have pencil support, double the memory and other special features in the future.
The “Air” line needs to die; it serves no purpose. There just needs to be a new 14” MacBook to take place of the 13” MacBook Air. And above that we can slot in MacBook Pro 13” and 15” models.
This is a bit more of a mess as we have two consumer machines: an all-in-one iMac, and the Mac mini (i.e., a headless machine). And we have just one (headless) pro machine, the Mac Pro.
So first, the new trashcan Mac Pro has failed many creatives. It is a glorified Mac mini Pro at best, and needs to go the way of the Cube. In its place, we need a real Mac Pro that offers professionals more expansion with at least some slots to upgrade video, solid state memory, and RAM. I’m calling it the Mac Pro (’16).
The Mac mini can continue to be consumer headless Mac. The “i” in the iMac can go, and it can just be the “Mac.” It’s the bread and butter Mac, and the 21” and 24” (with 4k display) consumer level Macs can have fewer upgradeable features, lower resolution displays, and 4 or less cores.
As for the 27” Mac (with 5k display), it has already become a somewhat Pro-level machine, so we might as well beef it up even more with upgradeable RAM, an upgradeable SSD slot. While we’re at it, offer Xeon level processors with 6 or more cores—making this a good option for pros that want an all-in-one. Believe it or not, others already have Xeon all-in-one offerings.
Get Back To Work
Now that Apple is done planting trees in its stores, fixing punctuation, and creating new titles for the same old jobs, perhaps they can get back to actually making and shipping some new products. Hopefully Apple’s recent housekeeping is the end of a transition that will bring more coherently named and more regularly released product offerings.