Editorial: Apple's use of 'iPhone Pro' is a marketing label, not a personal description

Posted:
in General Discussion edited August 16
Rumors of Apple releasing an 'iPhone Pro' are again sparking debate over who is a Pro user and who is 'just' a consumer. This is a pointless yet damaging argument to have, and always will be.

Mac Pro 2019 in front of an original 1984 ad for the first Macintosh.
Mac Pro 2019 in front of an original 1984 ad for the first Macintosh.


Maybe Apple shouldn't have gone with that line about Macintosh being the computer "for the rest of us." For as good a line as it was, it also drew a line between us and whoever else isn't us. It drew a line between the public and technology workers at the time when there was a very clear delineation, and more firmly dug the trench between consumers and professionals.

It's an entirely imaginary division, subject to occasional gerrymandering, but somehow it's real. And you can see it every single time Apple is even rumored to do anything with the word 'Pro' in it.

The latest is how it is claimed that the company will release an iPhone Pro. With no real details, already it's being argued that Apple is ignoring consumers, and it's somehow also ignoring professionals, and it's really doing everything to everyone.

If it is true that there is going to be an iPhone Pro next month or next year, it means two things and only two things. First, it will be expensive, and second, Apple needed a name.

And that is the extent of it.

Reading too much into a name

A new product is always expensive -- expense is practically synonymous with Apple. And, of course, the company had to come up with a marketing name for it. Names are better than numbers, and this has been complicated over the years by the X=X+1 increment for the iPhone broken by a "S" year, to say nothing of blowing past the "iPhone 9" and skipping the "iPhone 7S"

Beyond how the price will hurt and the name will stick, there is nothing else whatsoever that you can know today. Maybe you can expect that Apple is unlikely to stick it with an old LCD screen or make it the only iPhone without Face ID.

It will only be Pro because Apple has called it that, like every other Pro product. Even if you are a professional phone answerer, you pick it up the same way and you speak into the same microphone.

What you can be, and so what an iPhone Pro could be, is someone who would benefit from features that not everyone would. Good luck thinking of a phone feature only a few people need -- though fixing the omissions in call forwarding would be nice.

Filmmakers might enjoy some extra facility in the camera lens, some people do want to be able to plug their mouse into the phone. We're just getting into areas of baseless speculation -- and unfortunately also judgements.

Someone wanting a mouse for their iPhone is a bit like someone wanting a remote control for their Apple Watch. Unless that person is you, it's hard not to see that as ridiculous. Related to that is possible Apple Pencil support, but we can't imagine Apple wanting you to carry one around in your pants pocket.

Somehow, though, it seems that a great many of us find it hard to see any benefit in anything we don't personally use. And alongside that there's a deeply unfortunate tendency to criticize other people's needs.

Tim Cook looks to see whether anyone's waiting to buy the new Mac Pro. They are.
Tim Cook looks to see whether anyone's waiting to buy the new Mac Pro. They are.


It's common to go beyond lumping people into the "Pro" or consumer label and instead say consumers don't need a better microphone or that they cannot be serious Apple users if they have only an iPhone XR with its LCD screen.

At its most basic, we have that Pro and consumer label, and even that is preposterous.

You might be the kind of video editor for whom the new Mac Pro is barely adequate, but half of your job is writing shot sheets and your professional machine won't break a sweat doing that. Or you might be the kind of person who usually just does web browsing but once a month has to take over the accounts of your family, has to produce a podcast audio series.

We all step between being "Pro" users and not. We step between needing power and actually not really needing it at all.

If we have some need to be considered pro, it's going to be satisfied by what we actually do with the equipment we buy, not how much it cost. If you edit together all the video of your children, it's not going to be a professional feature film just because you used Final Cut Pro X instead of iMovie.

Professionals do a lot with their gear, of course, but the key thing they do is make money using it. If your business demands you use a Apple product for one reason or another, you're a professional Apple user. It does not and it cannot make any difference whatsoever if you're doing it on a 2018 iPad Pro, an original iPad, a refurbished Macintosh SE/30, or an iMac Pro.

The word "Pro" on the box is just a name.

It's not one size fits all

Users don't see "Pro" as just a marketing term or as simple as a product name, though. It's not seen as Apple just breaking up its technology into different price points. Instead, users go crazy and start labelling one person as a pro, and another as a consumer.

When the 2019 Mac Pro was unveiled, there were people who scorned the company for not including some feature they would like.

The argument goes like this: Mac Pro doesn't have feature X, and I want feature X, so the Mac Pro is not really for professionals.

In reality, the furthest that argument could reasonably go is much simpler: Mac Pro doesn't have a feature I need, therefore it's not for me, and I need to look elsewhere.

And here we go again with the rumors about an "iPhone Pro."

There is some blinkered, self-absorbed facet of humans that gets people disparaging a machine and everyone who buys it because it doesn't happen to suit them. Unfortunately, there is a significant amount of overlap with this group with the folks who believe the Mac Pro should be twice as powerful and come with ten times better specifications -- but cost less than a Mac mini.

You can't help people like that, and there will always be plenty of them. There is one thing you can do, and it's actually what a professional would do.

Rather than argue about whether the machine has Pro in the title or not, rather than wound people for what they choose to buy -- or, worse, what they can afford to buy -- we can look at the work. Look at what we need to accomplish, and then at which Mac, iOS, Windows, or Android device will serve us the best.

He only had an Apple Lisa. Are you telling us Steve Jobs wasn't a pro user?
He only had an Apple Lisa. Are you telling us Steve Jobs wasn't a pro user?


All a real pro wants is to deliver the best work they can, and the name of the tool they use is irrelevant.

Let's change this

Whoever we are, and whatever we do, Apple gear empowers us. That's really what the line about "the rest of us" meant back in 1984.

It meant that computers were no longer going to be for technology experts in lab coats, they were going to be for us to do our jobs. Regardless of what those jobs are, regardless of which particular machine we elect or can afford to buy, the gear gives us what we need to get the work done.

As the new iPhone range comes out, as Apple releases more new Macs and iPads and AirPods and HomePods, let's see the word 'Pro' for what it is. All it is, and all it has ever been, is a marketing term that Apple applies to the higher end of its product lineup. And, it and is that makes it easier to tell the Apple Store which one you want.

After all, if there is an iPhone Pro and you buy it, it's going to be because its benefits are worth the price to you. If there's an iPhone Pro and instead you decide to buy a used iPhone 6S, it will be for precisely the same reason. If you buy a 2019 Mac Pro, it is entirely and completely and exclusively for the reason that you need it. Nothing else.

There is no one true "Pro" group. Saying or implying that there is based on a product feature set is ludicrous. There is just "the rest of us."


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muthuk_vanalingampscooter63jdwlolliver
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 54
    I think "iPhone Robber Baron" seems appropriate. 
    antoniofonseca
  • Reply 2 of 54
    spice-boy said:
    I think "iPhone Robber Baron" seems appropriate. 
    Silly. If you have alternatives, you are not being “robbed”.
    StrangeDaysnapoleon_phoneapartracerhomie3pscooter63lolliverwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 3 of 54
    NemWanNemWan Posts: 118member
    It's not Consumer vs Pro, apparently it's Air vs. Pro. For a while Apple seemed to be planning to kill the Air name in both the iPad and Mac lines, but it came back with a vengeance. Now I wouldn't be surprised if we have iPhone Air and iPhone Pro.
    edited August 16 lolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 54
    This sounds like something written by marketing to justify the iPhone Pro product name.  I’m not a fan...it’s not as bad as AT&T 5GE, but it would make “Pro” meaningless.
    dysamoriaantoniofonsecamacgui
  • Reply 5 of 54
    macguimacgui Posts: 1,464member
    There is no one true "Pro" group. Saying or implying that there is based on a product feature set is ludicrous. There is just "the rest of us."

    The company that cried 'Pro' too many times. 'This is the new 2019 Mac Pro, and this time we really mean it!'

    I am a fan of things Apple and hope it/they aren't so stupid as to name a phone with 'Pro' as a prefix or suffix. Because that would be far more ludicrous, more pointless and more damaging than any of these 'what's a pro' arguments could ever be.

    That would be handing haters more 'emperor has no clothes' ammo, and virtually shouting 'ignore that man behind the curtain!' Not to mention it would be a real insult to Apple users.

    antoniofonseca
  • Reply 6 of 54
    macguimacgui Posts: 1,464member
    This sounds like something written by marketing to justify the iPhone Pro product name.  I’m not a fan...it’s not as bad as AT&T 5GE, but it would make “Pro” meaningless.
    This article attempts to do just that.
    antoniofonseca
  • Reply 7 of 54
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 8,569member
    spice-boy said:
    I think "iPhone Robber Baron" seems appropriate. 
    Nonsense. Nobody said you have to buy the buy the top-tier offering. They sell plenty of models for many budgets. A friend recently bought a new 7 and is happy with it. I can afford the top-tier, and with the interest-free loan payment plan, find it quite affordable -- it's the price of two beers a week. I think two beers a week is reasonable, so I think having an excellent pocket computer tool for the same price is also reasonable.
    gilly33lolliverwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 8 of 54
    Good grief people taking this way too seriously.  Rationality left the building long ago.  People today are just too damned self-important and sensitive.  Grow a pair for God sakes.
    StrangeDaysSpamSandwichapplesnorangesGG1thtpscooter63Japheygilly33johnbsiriuswatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 54
    NemWan said:
    It's not Consumer vs Pro, apparently it's Air vs. Pro. For a while Apple seemed to be planning to kill the Air name in both the iPad and Mac lines, but it came back with a vengeance. Now I wouldn't be surprised if we have iPhone Air and iPhone Pro.
    An iPhone Air & iPhone Pro...that would be terrible.

    What would Apple do for the Air model, shave of 1/10 of the weight and 1/10 of the size?  And, you get 9/10 of the power? 
  • Reply 10 of 54
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 8,569member
    This sounds like something written by marketing to justify the iPhone Pro product name.  I’m not a fan...it’s not as bad as AT&T 5GE, but it would make “Pro” meaningless.
    Then you must be new to Apple or not paying attention. Use of the term "pro" is a marketing distinguisher from their other offerings, and always has been. Better equipped, better spec'd, better offering, etc. Recently in the case of iPads and MacBooks, and also going back quite a ways to the old Mac Pro. Plenty of us had them just because they were beefier machines. That's all it ever meant. 

    Queue the outrage. 
    randominternetpersonpscooter63radarthekatlolliverwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 11 of 54
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 2,283member
    This article uses a lot of words to point the finger at customers. That’s not where the blame for any of this lies. The blame lies on Apple and ONLY on Apple. This editorial is excusing Apple’s irrational marketing and trying to redirect the blame back at customers.

    And no, the 2019 Mac Pro isn’t being criticized for lacking professional features. It’s being criticized because Apple has gone way too far with the “pro” price gouging. It’s being criticized for dramatically cutting out most of the Mac Pro’s actual existing (and historic) market and focusing only on entities like Disney studios (who, let’s face it, will probably just go for less expensive and less proprietary PC clones).

    As a result, this editorial just comes off as a verbose marketing piece. Try again.
    antoniofonsecamacgui
  • Reply 12 of 54
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 4,198member
    I have no issue with Pro vs non-Pro from a marketing perspective. 

    I'm not sure if something like Max and Pro should go together though as suggested by the recent 'Max Pro' rumour. That looks overloaded to me.

    NemWan, iPhone Air sounds nice. An SE substitute maybe?
    muthuk_vanalingambigtds
  • Reply 13 of 54
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 8,569member

    This sounds like something written by marketing to justify the iPhone Pro product name.  I’m not a fan...it’s not as bad as AT&T 5GE, but it would make “Pro” meaningless.
    It reads like marketing, doesn't it? I think it's pointless to write statements in an article while they are opinions. The author clearly isn't a journalist.
    After over 7,000 posts to this site, what part of your analytical brain failed to see, read, or comprehend what the "EDITORIAL" tag means? Newsflash -- an editorial IS an opinion, dur. Pick up your local newspaper, it will have an entire section dedicated to editorial opinion columns.
    edited August 16 randominternetpersonradarthekatgilly33johnbsiriuslolliverwatto_cobrafastasleep
  • Reply 14 of 54
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,875administrator
    Point 1: We don't take money from Apple, at all. This is not a marketing piece. Re-read the commenting guidelines. Further comments suggesting that it is marketing will be deleted, as per the commenting guidelines.

    Point 2: This is an editorial. It is clearly labeled as such. By definition, it has opinions. if you don't want to read opinions, skip the pieces labeled "Editorial." This is a pretty easy association.

    Point 3: This is not just on Apple, but it is on self-entitled users as well. The piece is pretty clear about that. Fortunately, most of you can see that. This piece is for those of you that can't, which is about a perfect overlap to the ones that start most of the fights here about it.
    edited August 16 muthuk_vanalingamlarryjwpscooter63radarthekatgilly33lolliverwatto_cobrafastasleepFileMakerFeller
  • Reply 15 of 54
    You can pretty much replace "Pro" with "more expensive with greater capabilities" - Apple doesn't segregate their products into consumer and enterprise client lines, which is a good thing. Pros who are offended at being placed in a bucket along with the rest of us plebs should just chill and go buy their storage from EMC.
    lolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 54

    I'm sorry, but given Apple's direction in recent years, anything, including names and nomenclatures, lends themselves to justifying the increasingly expensive pricing.

    Apple's current business model is that of luxury brands. There is no difference here whether the product is a computer, phone or a watch band.

    Here's how it works: the luxury-brand companies sell a leather purse for the price of a car to people who want to imitate the rich and give the same purse to really wealthy people to consolidate status.

    We saw this clearly happening at the time of the Apple Watch release. And we see today, with each product release, Apple giving influencers units for free so they can use and evangelize about the wonders and status that these products provide.

    The watch was the test balloon. Bringing this expertise to Apple was the role given to Angela. And the instrumentation was done by Jony, turning the products into decorative objects (see the Butterfly keyboard and end of the utility product lines, like routers and monitors).

    The next step was to stop advertising the sales volume of any product to focus solely on profit. Then we had an average 30% price increase for just about everything from products to AppleCare services. The stores have also been converted into high-end boutiques.

    The transition from product company to luxury product company has been achieved. The current administration assumes this status openly and without any embarrassment.

    Therefore it is important to understand that any action within Apple, including the adoption of nomenclature for products and services, nowadays will always be to reinforce and refine the luxury brand perception.

    edited August 16 spice-boyapplesnorangesmobirdcanukstormjohnbsiriusgatorguyFileMakerFeller
  • Reply 17 of 54
    While this is amusing to discuss bad product names... it does bring up an important question.

    What is Apple going to do to differentiate its product lines?

    Let’s say in 2020 Apple releases 5G, and all new iPhones are OLED (as rumored).  Obviously, the low/mid/high priced phones are running the same OS.  Why would anyone pay for the high end iPhone?  Same OLED, 5G, Processor... Does “high end” just get you more space?  Are you going to pay up for a slightly better camera?

    This is why I’m imagining only 2 new models for 2020.  You got your standard sized model and the Max... (LOL... Air and Pro)

    What Apple could do is put more RAM in the Max model, a better camera, and a + version of the processor.  More real estate makes it possible...

    The Max becomes the “Pro” model?  Apple would have some work to do in marketing...  The people that buy the latest and greatest (status buyers) might not want a large phone... but you can’t physically cram more power into a smaller phone.
  • Reply 18 of 54
    This sounds like something written by marketing to justify the iPhone Pro product name.  I’m not a fan...it’s not as bad as AT&T 5GE, but it would make “Pro” meaningless.
    It reads like marketing, doesn't it? I think it's pointless to write statements in an article while they are opinions. The author clearly isn't a journalist.

    Phil, editorials are opinion pieces.  That's why this piece is labeled "Editorial".  Not only is it labeled editorial, it points it out twice, back-to-back.  It's really hard to disparage the author when you, as the reader, seem not to know what it is you're reading.  

    On topic:  Good opinion piece... and not just because it aligns with my opinions about "Pro".  I like how it looks at the psychology of fandom and our strange need to justify everything... to the point of illogical declarations like this from the 1st article about the rumored iPhone Pro: 
    "One that may utulize pen hevily, high refresh screen, 3D camera scanning, pro pics and higher price of course. And who knows what else. My guesses. Naming seems reasonable as current is bit confusing."  
    That post simply list current phone features as a justification for the Pro moniker.   As I said before, Pro is typically a marketing designation of more powerful or feature rich version that costs more.  Think Toyota Tacoma TRD.  You've got a regular Taco TRD Sport.  Upgraded TRD Off-Road.  Top grade TRD Pro.  Each more feature rich.  Each more expensive. None specifically for professional work.  Heh, most probably spend time in mall parking lots.  Pro is just marketing.
    gilly33johnbsirius
  • Reply 19 of 54
    knowitallknowitall Posts: 1,450member
    A pro is a pro is a pro you know.
  • Reply 20 of 54
    crowleycrowley Posts: 6,018member
    Ugh, so you saw some people arguing on a forum so decided to write a thousand self-righteous words from a pulpit about how they're stupid?  Not a good discussion piece.
    chemengin1dysamoria
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