Minimalism, especially when it comes to ports is one of the reasons Apple computers and phones were more like artwork than electronics. They really took the best ideas of B&O and brought them to the mass market. Who doesn’t recall using the Apple iOS keyboards devoid of a delete key for the first time and thinking, hey, maybe Apple is right… We really don’t need this thing after all.
This worked for the company… We thought we needed replaceable laptop and phone batteries… We were wrong. We thought our phones needed memory card slots… We were wrong. Apparently we wanted to spend hundreds of dollars on overpriced Apple memory instead.
This sales tactic which we refer to as a trick for the sake of headline brevity was a reliable winner for the company for many years.
Apple however seems to have gone too far with the new line of laptops that have just one USB-C port for, everything.
Worse, they took away a power cord which was very useful – magnetic and quick release, in case you tripped on it. Now, users have to carry around a device, almost the size of a phone just to get back the connectors they really need in a laptop. In addition, Apple decided to do something which in our view is even less intelligent.
The Microsoft Surface line shows us people do want touch enabled on their laptops.
Here is the irony… We want touch on our laptops because Apple got us used to touching devices via the iPhone and iPad.
For them to decide that the laptop doesn’t need touch is bizarre, especially after they trained us to use and love touch on so many devices.
But they didn’t give up on touch completely – they added a touch bar on the keyboard for no apparent reason at all.
Some will say the screen is too far on a laptop to need touch. We give them that… You probably don’t want touch as your primary input mechanism on a laptop. But is a touch bar located at the base of the screen that much more ergonomic??
For two stupid moves at once, the market rewarded the company with a five-year low in marketshare.
Despite being the runaway smartphone leader, despite having the competitive Galaxy Note 7 literally blow up in user’s faces, they still were able to lose share to the PC.
Put another way… They likely had even more traffic in their stores as a result of Samsung’s mistakes.
It’s almost unforgiveable to cede marketshare in such an environment.
Apple can fix these issues quickly by adding touch to the screens, getting rid of the touch bar. Perhaps they can blame Steve Jobs or hell, maybe even Russia. We seem to blame everything else on Russia these days.
Apple still has the best distribution network of any PC vendor and they have steady traffic in their stores. If they can manage to not screw up too much more, they should be able to get their laptop sales back up and gain on the PC.
PS: In another piece I am sure we’ll delve into the loss of the headset jack on the company’s latest phones.