Five Simple Moves Apple Could Make to Improve its Position.

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Apple as a company is doing great. Profits are way up, notebook sales are way up, and the iPod continues to dominate the portable music player market. However it could be even better. Apple's consumer desktops haven't seen the same growth as their portable brethren. Apple, for all the amazing things it does, also has an unfortunate knack for keeping itself down by boneheaded decisions. The aim of this article is to suggest five things Apple could to to help its position. These moves are meant to be things that Apple could realistically make without much effort that would improve the viability of the Mac platform.



1) Include iWork on all new Macs



\tUntil last January I could not remember the last time a consumer PC shipped without a basic productivity suite. Apple unfortunately broke that streak. I don't know Apple's reasoning behind not including iWork or Appleworks with new Macs. It could be a feeble attempt to get another $80 out of the buyer, it could be iWork not being finished, or it could be some misguided ideal that the word processor and spreadsheet are somehow obsolete for the average computer user, the point is it weakens Apple's position. Buyers on the fence are not likely to buy a Mac or recommend one if they know they or their kids aren't able to so much as type a report. Yes, they can download NeoOffice, but doesn't that completely fly in the face of Apple's out of the box and go philosophy? iWork isn't perfect, but it is better than the nothing Apple includes now.



2) Make Macs more available.



\tHewlett Packard has one major advantage over Apple: availability. In the windows world, checking out the latest hardware is only as far away as your nearest Wal-Mart, Circuit City, Best Buy, or office supply chain. It is quite easy to see what you get before plunking down the cash. For the Mac it isn't quite that simple these days. In most cases, you have to travel hours to your nearest major metropolitan mall, try to find a parking spot, and then wait in line until the overworked Apple store employees can help you. Most long time Mac users find this inconvenient. Switchers, especially those who are not as affluent might find this to be a deal breaker. Apple has two options here: they can either go with full chain distribution with Best Buy and Circuit City or they can add Apple stores for regional coverage. These regional stores may be less profitable than those in major malls, but it would leave the Mac sales out of the hands of Best Buy Salesmen.



3) Acquire Elgato Systems and systems and integrate their products.



\tCompared to Windows MediaCenter Edition 2005, Front Row and iLife has one glaring deficiency, the lack of a PVR program. While this is mostly likely to protect iTunes TV show sales, it does more harm than good. Apple could rectify this quite easily by purchasing Elgato systems and its EyeTV line. In terms of full integration with existing software, Elgato has done much of the work. Apple would just have to complete the connections. In addition, Elgato offers quality hardware products to match the software. This purchase would instantly make the iMac a very attractive media center PC and perhaps, even a replacement for the television as well.



4) Acquire Transgaming Technologies or the Cider software.

\t

\tIf Apple is to become a bigger player on the consumer front, they must address the problem of computer gaming. Even in the edutainment and family markets Apple comes up way short. If little Johnny wants to play Half Life and it he can't play it on an iMac, the family isn't getting a Mac. A potential holy grail has been discovered and its name is Cider. Cider allows PC games to be ported to the Mac easily while retaining a single code base with only a small performance hit. In real world terms, this could amount to Mac versions shipping in box with the PC versions. While there was a lot of skepticism at first, reports from very credible individuals say it works exactly as advertised. There are two problems: number one, it's only applicable to Intel Macs. That can be rectified by time and new blood from the PC ranks. The second is a little more complicated. The rights to Cider rest in the hands of a small company called Transgaming Technologies. Since they are small, their fees have to be able to cover development costs. Apple, on the other hand, could afford to practically give away cider in order to gain something far more valuable, hardware sales. Like Elgato, Transgaming could be a relatively inexpensive acquisition.



5) Return display pricing to reality.

\t

\tApple makes top notch displays to match its computers. However, their ludicrous prices make them nearly impossible to justify for all but the most die hard Mac user. To put this in perspective Apple's 20?, 23?, and 30? displays are $699, $999, and $1999. While not as stylish by any means, Dell offers nearly the exact same displays at $289, $799, and $1499. The $799 model offers the newer 24-inch panel Same one that's used in the iMac by the way While some up premium is to be expected, $400 in the 20? and $500 in the 30? are excessive even for Apple. If Apple were to reduce their prices to say $349, $899, and $1599 Apple would find themselves selling quite a few more displays.



\tWhile these suggestions would not guarantee Mac sales, they would take away many of the road blocks potential switchers may face. The ball is now in Apple's court to listen.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 8
    jabohnjabohn Posts: 556member
    I echo point number 5 most of all. I purchased a 20 inch Cinema Display knowing of the premium I'd have to pay for the beautifully designed hardware. What made it really sting was 3 months later the price came down $200. (I paid $999 Canadian, now they're $799.)
  • Reply 2 of 8
    The cheaper Dell displays does not use a S-IPS panel, so that price comparison is unfair. I believe that there are a more expensive 20" Dell that matches more closely to the ACD. But prices are too high, I agree. Most people who are not using it for professional work is likely to get a cheap TN or MVA display instead.
  • Reply 3 of 8
    I agree with #2, and have a proposition for that problem.

    I think the important thing to address is to expose people to the Mac. Most people have adapted to the stereotype that Macs are evil and don't offer the things they can get on a PC.

    To change this, at your local Walmart and Target and Best Buys, setup a Mac Mini, iMac, and Mac Book display with a certified Mac Expert (no Pro machines). However, the store will not carry an inventory. Instead, kiosks can be setup nearby that direct them to the Apple store or a terminal that guides them through the build process of their Mac. Once the build is finished, they can pay for it at the store or online using a code to give credit to the store where it was purchased from, and the customer can either have the option of having it directly shipped to them or to the store for local pick-up.

    These booths should only be placed where PC sales are offered and/or in demand.



    #5: I've stressed this many times that Apple should offer more competitive pricing on their displays to customers who are buying a Mac. In the BTO process when you select a monitor to go with your Mac, the pricing should be discounted. If buying seperately, then maybe maintain the current pricing. This should offer an incentive to the consumer to buy a Mac when looking at monitors, or buy their monitors when buying a Mac.

    It's a win-win, and they need to do this now.
  • Reply 4 of 8
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SoopaDrive


    I agree with #2, and have a proposition for that problem.

    I think the important thing to address is to expose people to the Mac. Most people have adapted to the stereotype that Macs are evil and don't offer the things they can get on a PC.

    To change this, at your local Walmart and Target and Best Buys, setup a Mac Mini, iMac, and Mac Book display with a certified Mac Expert (no Pro machines). However, the store will not carry an inventory. Instead, kiosks can be setup nearby that direct them to the Apple store or a terminal that guides them through the build process of their Mac. Once the build is finished, they can pay for it at the store or online using a code to give credit to the store where it was purchased from, and the customer can either have the option of having it directly shipped to them or to the store for local pick-up.

    These booths should only be placed where PC sales are offered and/or in demand.



    Good idea, but nobody is going to let Apple set up a kiosk in their store in order to sell computer for Apple's store. It might work with Malls though.
  • Reply 5 of 8
    chuckerchucker Posts: 5,089member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by BenRoethig


    Until last January I could not remember the last time a consumer PC shipped without a basic productivity suite. Apple unfortunately broke that streak. I don't know Apple's reasoning behind not including iWork or Appleworks with new Macs. It could be a feeble attempt to get another $80 out of the buyer, it could be iWork not being finished, or it could be some misguided ideal that the word processor and spreadsheet are somehow obsolete for the average computer user, the point is it weakens Apple's position. Buyers on the fence are not likely to buy a Mac or recommend one if they know they or their kids aren't able to so much as type a report. Yes, they can download NeoOffice, but doesn't that completely fly in the face of Apple's out of the box and go philosophy? iWork isn't perfect, but it is better than the nothing Apple includes now.



    I think they stopped shipping AppleWorks because they couldn't be bothered to make that old thing Intel-native, and they have yet to start shipping iWork because it simply isn't complete by any means.



    Jobs has probably been extremely unhappy with the iWork team. It seems to me that the spreadsheet was supposed to be done by '06.
  • Reply 6 of 8
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by BenRoethig


    Good idea, but nobody is going to let Apple set up a kiosk in their store in order to sell computer for Apple's store. It might work with Malls though.



    Not unless as I mentioned, the store gets a profit from it.
  • Reply 7 of 8
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SoopaDrive


    Not unless as I mentioned, the store gets a profit from it.



    It would have to be equal to the cut they get through normal retail channels.
  • Reply 8 of 8
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by BenRoethig


    It would have to be equal to the cut they get through normal retail channels.



    ... which is next to nothing.
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