Originally Posted by ConradJoe
People like you don't bring in enough profit for a huge company like Apple to care much about your desires. They are focused like a laser on the lowest common denominator mass market consumer these days, and they are making record profits.
Know what you mean, but this type of comment is becoming almost a "meme," or part of the "conventional wisdom" on Apple Forums, and is worth clarifying, because any following "therefore......" is bound to miss its mark.
Your second conclusion (record profits) is, of course, correct, however the first is mis-stated.
Apple is not
"focused like a laser on the lowest common denominator mass market consumer these days." That's the low-margin, dubious-quality, corner-cutting niche left to the Dells, HPs and Acers et al.
in the PC worlds and a raft of Droid cloners in the tablet and phone markets. Those are the companies at each others' throats all fighting to serve the majority of the people of my acquaintance, who, with little brand loyalty, only know they want a computer or smart phone ("for a good price"), and who once they have one, and the bare minimum of programs to do what they need, pretty much cease buying anything for the device until it dies.
Apple's true "laser-like focus" is rather on dominating the markets for the world's "aspirational" middle to upper middle and above consumers, prosumers (and kinda are/wanna-be/think they are prosumers and pros). This may be a somewhat smaller niche than the "LDC" group - but probably gives Apple a target of a billion and half to two billion potential customers. Who are also much more likely to keep adding programs, accessories, OS upgrades, etc. to their machines after they buy 'em.
And since this group has more money to spend, more education, more time to research their more major purchases, etc., they're more willing to factor quality, form factor and design, user experience, "ecosystems," ease of use, TCO, and so forth into their buying decisions. And to spend more for their machines - even though part of the cost includes a higher mark-up - than in the frantic, churning commodity markets.
So for one thing, THAT's a major reason Apple's making record profits.
In computers, that "90% of the $1000 and above market" is a particularly telling stat. Meanwhile, in the iPad world, errr, the tablet space, even if the Kindle Fire is about to catch on fire, it'll be by being sold as a low-margin to loss-leader "razor" that will pay off by helping Amazon sell Amazon.com "blades" (programs, content and general A.com shopping), not in and of itself.
So it's a key distinction. For one thing it also helps indicate whether Apple will totally abandon some of the "creative pros" and other true geek believers who sustained it through it darkest days. I conclude that since they're NOT focused on the bottom-feeding market, and with the prosumer and pro niches being somewhat indistinguishable, pro and pro-ish configs are likely to be with us for some time, as long as they can contribute meaningfully to the bottom line.
And give those who start off at the bottom rung of the Apple tree ladder plenty of rungs to grow up through.
And for as long as Apple can remain a company focused on a slowly growing, but still manageable number of SKU's, research efforts and not accumulate too many "buggy-whip" corners and departments within its structure.
And... ...that's their laser-like focus. And an important lens to look through when you're making predictions about "what's next" for the company's product lines.