Three things Apple needs to do in the next few years even if it doesn’t want to

Love it or hate it, Apple is the king of mobile technology at least for now. But, as a Blizzard character tells us, no king reigns forever. Of course, it will take a lot to dethrone the Cupertino company. But there was a similar sentiment about Nokia in the past, and we all know how many Nokia reviews we’re publishing in 2023. Indeed, there’s no shortage of examples of spectacular tech company failures, and (almost) all of them start out in much the same way – with complacency. Unfortunately, the latter has started to take root in Apple but, for better or for worse, hasn’t done any real damage yet. However, that hardly means it doesn’t have the potential to do so.

This is exactly why I decided to write this article. In the following paragraphs, I’ll list three big problems Apple needs to address as soon as possible, because they’re ticking away and waiting to explode. And no one knows how much time is left before they are gone. Spreading them will likely be painful, but the explosion could be lethal.

The iPhone: Why the Pro, Max, Ultra Approach Should Be Fixed

The first glaring problem is the lack of proper differentiation between the different iPhones in Apple’s portfolio. By this I mean that the strengths of the high-end models are decided somewhat arbitrarily and Cupertino deliberately keeps a number of features to allow the Pro models to shine. At this point, it’s comical to see a $900 iPhone 14 Plus with a 60Hz display in 2023 and 1/4 the megapixel count of the iPhone 14 Pro, which costs just $100 more and comes with the new design. Dynamic Island. I’m not implying that Apple should simply ship all the high-end specs to its vanilla iPhones, but surely there’s a better way to decide what counts as Pro features.

Alternatively, Cupertino should seriously consider putting non-Pro iPhones on a semi-annual update cycle. There’s a reason a new iPhone SE is released every two years. If you intentionally want to make the latest features exclusive to the most premium devices in your lineup, why bother releasing an update halfway through?

In short, Apple should (1) give Pro, Pro Max (or Ultra) iPhones significant strengths that live up to their name, (2) adjust the price of vanilla models, or (3) change the refresh cycle . Only proper range differentiation will ensure that every consumer has a choice as close to the ideal as possible, increasing customer satisfaction and maximizing market share – two things one can never have enough of.

The iPad: Do justice to the M chip

Barring the surge in popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic, tablets appear to be a dying breed. Unfortunately, Apple is the manufacturer that should primarily be held responsible for this in light of the company’s key role in the evolution of the form factor.

Despite having the best hardware around, the iPad Pro range is perceived by many as a glorified iPhone 10+, with all the limitations that entails. Apple is holding back the potential of the form factor through iPadOS, because it refuses to make it a meaningful alternative to the MacBook. The upshot: The iPad is, at best, a tertiary device that you use alongside your smartphone and laptop.

The thing is, there are very few users willing to buy the entire Apple ecosystem (aside from the students who frequent Starbucks, that is). Also, the vast majority of people who end up buying an iPad only upgrade when their old device becomes unusable. There is simply too little incentive to use the iPad for anything beyond media consumption and education, which naturally impacts purchasing patterns.

Frankly, the iPad doesn’t need to be running MacOS to be more attractive to professionals. There is undoubtedly a better middle ground than what iPadOS currently offers, and Apple needs to explore it. Only by allowing the iPad Pro to at least partially reach its potential can the entire iPad lineup be corrected.

Currently, almost anything you can do on Apple’s de facto flagship, you can do on the iPad Air M1. And that’s not how you get people to spend more than $1000 on a tablet. No one will profit more from restoring the form factor to its former glory than Apple.

The Apple Ecosystem: Giving Up Anti-Competitive Practices

I have dedicated many articles to Apple, many underhanded tactics, which allow it to dominate the technology market. They are not only a major source of frustration for users, but also the reason why Cupertino has repeatedly been criticized by lawmakers around the world. Much like an obsessive partner with trust issues, Apple thinks that if it doesn’t lock users into its ecosystem, they’ll leave.

Spoiler alert: They won’t. In fact, given how much Apple stands to lose by failing to comply with regulations, sticking to past methods could prove more costly in the long run. First, anti-competitive practices are a double-edged sword and no one knows when Apple might find themselves receiving them. Just because Apple is in an advantageous position now, doesn’t mean that situation can’t change in the future.

Secondly, Apple products are of sufficient value as-is. If anything, one of their biggest drawbacks is precisely the fact that they come with caveats from the Apple ecosystem. Removing the lighting port won’t dissuade people from buying AirPods. Implementing sideloading will not prevent users from downloading apps from the App Store. Enabling cross-platform support for iMessage will only get more people to use it, especially outside the US.

If Apple continues to bet that it will continue to disrupt the rules of the market with impunity, it’s only a matter of time before someone tries to find a better way to do it and beats Cupertino at its own game. Even if that doesn’t happen, losing access to the company’s second most important market (namely the European Single Market) is a very real possibility that could have serious consequences.

Conclusions: too good to fail

From today’s perspective, it seems that Apple’s position at the top of the tech world is impossible to challenge. I guess Blackberry felt just as confident before Steve Jobs introduced the first iPhone.

A little extra profit accrued through suboptimal devices pales in comparison to what can be gained from the launch of yet another best-in-class product. If Apple is to continue to reign, it must learn to lose a battle to win the war.

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