Take a moment to look over Apple’s product line. Pay special attention to the Macintosh. On the desktop side we have the Mac mini, iMac, and Mac Pro. On the notebook side we have the MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro, Several models come in more than one screen size. The larger models usually offer better performance. Some models don’t come with a screen. Most models are over a year old.
Now imagine for a minute the word ‘Pro’ disappeared from the Macintosh product line. And let’s assume the Mac Pro and the MacBook Air aren’t long for this world. That leaves us with three desktop form factors the mac mini, the 21.5-inch iMac, and the 27-inch iMac, and three notebook form factors, the 12-inch MacBook, the 13-inch MacBook, and the 15 inch MacBook.
Instead of the two by two product square Steve Jobs introduced in the late 90’s, we now have a two by three product rectangle Tim Cook could unveil as early as next year. The two by three rectangle works for three reasons: First, the rectangle removes clutter from the Macintosh product line. Eliminating redundant models like the MacBook Air, and last year’s MacBook Pro which are only still around to meet a price point. If these models are really big sellers worthy of protection, Apple should rethink it strategy for developing new products.
Second, the rectangle removes ‘Pro’ from customer expectations. Apple has not made a new professional computer since 2012. Sure, there are plenty of Pros are still using and buying Macs, but not the kind of computers you usually attribute to the high-end professional; people who buy computers where performance, expandability, and durability count above all else. Why make professionals upset when you don’t have too? Remove the ‘Pro’ and call the notebooks MacBook.
Third, if you apply the rectangle to the iPhone and iPad product lines it works well. On the iPhone side you have three models, the 4-inch iPhone SE, the 4.7-inch iPhone 7, and the 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus. On the iPad side you have three models, the 7.9-inch iPad mini 4, the 9.7-inch iPad (formally iPad Pro), and the 12.9-inch iPad. Things get even simpler if Apple removes the version numbers from the product names.
If Apple is abandoning the development of the wireless routers and is out of the external display business, they might further simplify their product line. A product rectangle with Good, Better, Best, makes a lot of sense if Apple would stop selling last year’s products.