My showcase article of the week explains "The Grand Unified Theory of Apple Products." The article caught my attention for several reasons.
First, there is a clever use of the term "Grand Unified Theory." This comes from a model of physics that tries to unite the electromagnetic, weak and strong forces of nature. So right away, I was pleased with the terminology when applied, playfully, to Apple.
Image credit: Apple
The real thrust of the article, however, is a discussion of the proliferation of Apple products and how Apple has had to approach its marketing in that light. The author notes that in earlier times, Apple's marketing approach was simpler. Just buy everything. Now, however....
[When] Apple sold a handful of products, it wasn't much of a stretch for a consumer to buy every product category as each had its own unique role. Fast forward five years, and the product dynamic has changed to such a degree that the iPad seems like a redundant device to many people. The space between an iPhone and Mac continues to shrink, and iPad sales are declining. Apple's previous strategy of selling the idea that there was room in our lives for every Apple product category was beginning to come undone. Apple needed a new way of explaining its product line.
In the course of the discussion, the author looks at the collision in the usage models for the iPad Pro and the MacBook Pro, what he calls the "tricky iPad versus Mac debate." However, where it gets really interesting is when the article analyzes Phil Schiller's comments to Steven Levy in terms of each Apple product category.
...there is quite a bit of evidence to suggest that this theory [of Schiller's] actually does a good job of describing Apple's product line. In fact, Schiller's message provides the clearest clue yet as to how Apple management views its product lineup, even more so than the previous product theories put forth with the iPad and Apple Watch introductions.
As with any analysis of this type, there are conclusions that can be drawn and a possible roadmap created. Doing so puts the rumored Apple electric car into perspective and also sheds light on how customers approach their products and how Apple meets the needs of the user with each type of product.
This is a fascinating article that puts Apple into a perspective I haven't seen before. That the author approaches the subject with the precision of a physics professor doesn't hurt either.
Next page: The tech news debris for the week of December 7th. The Ugliest. Apple. Product. Ever.