It’s time to talk about quadrants.
No, don’t get up. Those of us who have been Apple customers since the iPhone and even before the iPod — when dirt wasn’t even new, it was just a hypothetical substance theorized only in cutting-edge research papers — Steve Jobs rationalized Apple’s product lineup by implementing a quadrant. which consists of four squares, as quadrants usually have. The squares were defined by the Desktop/Laptop and Consumer/Pro attributes, making it easy for people to know which devices were right for them.
This was in response to Apple’s product offerings before its return, which were more like the periodic table as interpreted by MC Escher, with bland product names like Centris and Performa telling you little to nothing about who should consider buying them. “My politics is Centris, but I’m really looking for a machine with some Performance. Um, I think I’ll just get a Dell.”
Steve made it so that anyone can figure out which Mac to buy without thinking too much about it. When you’re on the brink of bankruptcy, you don’t want to make it difficult for people to buy your products.
Apple is clearly not on the brink of bankruptcy. If anything, the company is about to exit Apple. (The Macalope doesn’t know what that means.) Options are, of course, good. So why not more options? Because what is not good is confusion. And last week’s iPad announcements offered quite a bit of both. Taken individually, the 2022 iPads are all very nice devices. But if one of them ambushed you in a dark alley, good luck getting him out of a lineup.
You used to have your small iPad (mini), your older but cheaper iPad (the, uh, iPad), your light but pretty powerful iPad (Air), and your professional iPads (Pro). Now you have your small iPad (mini), your older but cheaper iPad (9th generation iPad), your newer and still somewhat cheap iPad (10th generation iPad), your barely lighter iPad (the iPad Air is 461 grams while the iPad is 477 grams) and your pros (Pro). The 9th generation iPad has an A13 chip, the 10th generation an A14 and the mini an A15. If that’s confusing, remember the mnemonic Only Nancy Mumbles, for New Years, mini. Now the iPad Air has an M1 chip, while the Pros have both M2s. Oh, also the Air is only five grams lighter than the 11-inch iPad Pro, practically indistinguishable, but… Air. The Air also has a single rear camera like the mini, the old iPad, and the new cheap iPad. The two Pros have hella cameras, bro.
Are you still at the Macalope?
If so, can you tell him where he is because he is? lost. And he hasn’t even mentioned the keyboards yet.
It’s not just iPads that have gotten a little confusing. Take Apple Silicon. You have your M1 and your M2. That is easy to understand. The M is for Mac (except when in an iPad) and 2 comes after 1. Easy peasy. Pro is for professionals. Duh. Max is apparently for people who are light Lake professional? Maybe it’s the way they dress, maybe it’s the way they behave in the office. We do not know. It’s clearly not for “maximum”, as Apple also has the Ultra, which is for people who are just “all that”.
At least that’s how the Apple Watch Ultra is positioned, so the Macalope assumes it’s the same.
Let’s talk about iPhones. Let’s not actually do that. The Macalope’s head already hurts and you get the general idea.
Maybe we’re just in a transition phase. Perhaps it will all make more sense if Apple ditches the 9th generation iPad and moves the 10th generation to that price. One line of iPads that generally all look the same, but differ in price and performance. However, right now it can be quite a challenge to tell someone which iPad or iPhone to buy.
Apple’s Centrisification hurt the company when it was already flat. Apple is clearly in a different position right now, so it can afford to do whatever it wants. But a more rationalized product range would have made it easier for the Macalope to answer questions this Thanksgiving.