Apple Suddenly Has a Little Less Shine to It
Folks, I watch what Apple is doing with it's product and service mix reasonably closely.
What we are seeing out of Apple right now from a decision-making standpoint related to iPhone and MacBook Pro paints a picture of an Apple that's willing to stomach a decline in it's near-term trajectory in favor of changing the norms of the industry.
When I saw and tested out the iPhone 7, I immediately was able to make a decision on how to upgrade from my wonder 5s. That answer was to see how the 6s Plus works out for me. It's been a month now and I like the 6s Plus. With the 6s Plus, I get a head phone jack. That's #1. I use a good cheap wired headset for phone calling a lot. And I charge when on the phone. The thought process did not need to be much deeper than that. I also like a home button that's a button even if it's less durable (or is it more durable in some ways with a harder layer of Saffire on top?). And I don't really care if my phone is water resistant -- I have not encountered a water issue across 4 iPhones now. I've got some wired Beats Solo 2 headphones -- love them. Want to be able to enjoy them as I have been.
I think I'm a normal user and I know Apple missed my use case horribly. I don't think I even want wireless Beats Solo headphones at any price but, the less you can afford to transition to new stuff, the worse this picture looks.
Onto the MacBook Pro. I've got the 2015 13 inch MacBook Pro. Purchased about a year ago. Love it. I use the USB all the time. Apple wants to sell me a $56 USB stick now with two styles of USB on it when it's clearly better to sell a USB adapter first, and clearly better to just give a current USB adapter on the MacBook itself. I like the way the 2015 charger connects magnetically -- if it was a good enough idea to spend all that time designing the charging connector and selling us on the idea, is it really a good idea to unwind all of that now?? I use the HDMI port every few weeks and I like not having to dig for some other bit of kit every two weeks -- it adds risk, complexity, effort, and it's just a bother. I want my MacBook Pro to do more so I can do less.
Again, I think I'm a normal user. I know Apple missed my use case horribly.
The iPhone 7 can't even connect to the new MacBook out of the box. Wow. Apple is incompatible with Apple. Is this even possible? Yes.
Here's the kick though -- there is no alternative. Apple could be 1/2 has good as they are and they'd still be the best option out there. Nobody is secure like Apple, not Android, not Windows. Nobody offers the smooth user experience. It's always the software, the software, the software. And the hardware is also solid. Nobody is working as hard to do as many good things in as smart a way as Apple.
Especially not Microsoft or Google. I use Windows at work and I have no love and very very very much dislike for the software Microsoft makes available for PCs. Daily use is painful, coming out of hibernate can take more than 5 minutes, updates either eat your morning or end your day they are so slow. The commitment to the product is what you would expect of a monopoly. The productivity costs related to Windows are staggering globally.
But, I now feel like I own the peak of Apple's offerings. The 6s Plus with a headphone jack and a real home button -- it's superb. The 2015 MacBook Pro with a decent selection of ports, a great screen, and a serviceable keyboard (Apple didn't really have room to make the keys travel less in my view -- key boards are not meant to be looked at). My MacBook is very good.
Apple might look at the user experience by looking inside the back pack of the typical user. What else is Apple making you carry? More dongles? Battery powered headphones that become another thing that can run out of fuel? Yes we can get one device wet now but this the Heschel Walker of trades.
For the first time, I feel like the elite view from Apple is actually becoming too much. But I also think Apple knows exactly what it is doing. At the same time, I can't imagine that an iOS device is really going to replace my MacBook any time soon. I live with a 6S Plus and a iPad Pro and I still use the MacBook most of the time.