Apple’s Grand Unified Theory of Products Has a Beautiful Explanation

| Particle Debris

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.

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John - I very much appreciated your most recent “Particle Debris”, especially that excellent article “The Grand Unified Theory of Apple Products.’!


I’m quite sad to say I feel compelled to take extreme exception to EVERYTHING you said about Apple’s new iPhone
6/s Smart Battery Case.  I gave my reasons for this refutation of your position in my Comment to Bryan’s article about it 2 days ago:

When Lee Dronick said (in his Comment to Bryan Chaffin’s 12/10 TMO article, “Tim Cook Says the ‘Hump’ Makes Apple’s Smart Case Easier to Put on:
That is what I was thinking, that the hump would help with the grip.’

I responded to him in my comment:
“YES!!!  That was exactly what I was hoping/praying-to-the-mothership for when I first saw this announcement;  I was immediately imagining that the hump might at last allow my humongous & hopelessly cumbersome iPhone 6 to at last be capable of being used one-handed “by anyone with my very normal-sized hands (thumbtip-to-pinkietip span: 7.3” - surely, at or above the US national average). 

If so, the then next question (for which I am still bating my breath) is, “Will an iPhone 6s case also work on my iPhone 6?”

So, I therefore can’t see how you could possibly be more utterly & wrong-headedly mistaken when you said, ‘Personally, I think the ugliness trumps any explanation for the design justification.’

That “hump” could potentially be the salvation of my hypertrophy-crippled & severely usage-disabled iPhone 6 (monstrosity), if it actually does provide enough grip to at last permit one-handed usage of it.  If it could do only that, It would be worth the $99regardless of whether or not the battery worked (or even if it had no battery at all).


Doesn’t 4K TV create a bigger obstacle to steaming video due to much larger file sizes? And needing more bandwidth, etc?

If so, isn’t 4K TV a scam to keep US consumers paying up to 10 times as much for (cable) TV as Europeans?


Are people buying 4K TVs because they want 4K or is it because they need a TV and the sales clerk steered them to a 4K model?

I continue to be skeptical about 4K TV.  They will take over from 1080 alright but only because the manufacturers, in an effort to shore up margins, will stop selling the lower resolution.

4K TV is like the SACD and DVD-Audio formats:  Better than the current standard but not good or compelling enough to convince customers to adopt it.

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