Is Apple reverting?

in General Discussion edited January 2014
Remember the old days when Apple had multiple product lines that unecessarily overlapped markets? Remember the old Apple that overextended itself with several different desktop lines, laptop lines and servers, along with multiple configurations with each model? Remember the old Apple which used to have inventory problems, forcing $100, $200 or even $300 rebates on products to clear inventory?

Let us see what we have today. Configurations counted are standard; the ones Apple normally sells through retailers. These configurations are what is in the channel.


Product | # of Configurations

XServer - 2

iMac LCD - 3

iMac CRT - 3

eMac - 2 (1 institutional bulk)

iBook 12" - 2

iBook 14" - 1

PowerBook G4 - 2

PowerMac G4 - 3


Total SKU's 18


Total distinct form factors and models - 8

I hope Apple doesn't overextend themselves like they did in the dark days. It seems they are now since these product lines are unnecessarily diverse.

And I'd just like to ask one question that's burning me up recently.

What the hell happened to the four product matrix?


[ 05-14-2002: Message edited by: Nostradamus ]</p>


  • Reply 1 of 12
    nebagakidnebagakid Posts: 2,692member

    First things first, cut out the CRT iMac and pump up the iceBook with a G4, please god oh god, this needs to happen

    They have their Four products, and then their specialty prodcuts,now, the eMac (for education) and Xserve (for serving and other workstation needs)

    So really, yeah, you see many configurations. yet, under my plans, it would be six different products, with (as it is now) custimization.

    If you are talking about BTO now, the possiblites are endless. One time SJObs talked about how many possiblites there were for customization, it was large i believe.

    ---sorry for spelling, OmniWeb wont correct for me
  • Reply 2 of 12
    buonrottobuonrotto Posts: 6,368member
    <a href=""; target="_blank">My reply</a>

    You're starting to break things down arbitrarily too. Make several lists, one for each major market Apple is catering to: Video, Graphics, Education, Consumer, Science. Products overlap, but the number is manageable for each. Also the G3 iMac probably won't be a round for a whole lot longer. To me, that one product seems the most redundant if however necessary for the time being. Those are kind of a hangnail on the product list. Without it, everything seems pretty clear. At least they don't have the Cube sandwiched in there.

    [ 05-14-2002: Message edited by: BuonRotto ]</p>
  • Reply 3 of 12
    g4dudeg4dude Posts: 1,016member
    The 4 product matrix is dumb. Not enough products. There needs to be 3 laptop lines. The lightweight iBook 12", the Pismo-like PowerBook, and the lightweight TiBook. For Desktops there needs to be a consumer CRT All-in-one, an LCD all-in-one, and a PowerMac for pros. Then there should be the eMac and a tower for education. Then there needs to be the xServe for enterprise. 4 products is no way to keep decent market share.
  • Reply 4 of 12
    The problem in the past, that you're referring to, was that Apple was offering a lot of very similar hardware that was difficult to distinguish. The names were not descriptive (e.g. Perform 5200). Often the numbers on each model were based only on where they were sold (edu channel, Sears).

    No one is going to mistake an iBook for a rackmount server. No one is going to mistake a G4 tower for an eMac.

    Arbitrarily setting a limit on the number of product lines makes no sense at all. As long as each product fills a need, I see no problem with adding to the lineup.

    See <a href=""; target="_blank">all the Performa models.</a>

    We are nowhere near this today.

    [ 05-15-2002: Message edited by: Bozo the Clown ]</p>
  • Reply 5 of 12
    glurxglurx Posts: 1,031member
    [quote]Originally posted by Bozo the Clown:


    Arbitrarily setting a limit on the number of product lines makes no sense at all. As long as each product fills a need, I see no problem with adding to the lineup.


    I second this. Each Apple product line serves a distinct market segment with hardly any overlap.

    [quote] See <a href=""; target="_blank">all the Performa models.</a>

    We are nowhere near this today.


    Not to mention there were simultaneous PowerMac lines. The 61xx series nicely illustrates how nuts this got. There were at least 7-8 different models and nobody I talked to at the time could readily distinguish between them.

    The product matrix was necessary to get people to focus on what was urgent and critical for Apple to survive. We're past that now.
  • Reply 6 of 12
    powerdocpowerdoc Posts: 8,123member
    Yea : there is no need anymore for a product matrix, there is need for differents products fitting exactly the differents markets. I think it's almost the case of the moment.

    the four case product matrix is dead.
  • Reply 7 of 12
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,354member
    Well the main difference is that back then each Motherboard required different design and ASICS. With the UMA(Unified Mainboard Architecture) that Apple uses now they get economies of scale in production. I think the Quadrant Matrix is limiting. Apple needs Professional and Consumer offerings as well as Education. I think they're just fine.

    Another problem is you're counting 3 LCD iMacs when the only difference is ancillary equipment included. It's trivial to replace a CDRW with a Combo drive so it's nothing to have multiple options. That's the key in a BTO plan. Start out with a decent base and let the consumer decide on step up features.
  • Reply 8 of 12
    bodhibodhi Posts: 1,424member
    When was it stated that things would be in a 4 product matrix and no more? Things change, times change, I don't think Apple really cares if things fall into a 4 product, 6 product, 3 product matrix as long as things are working.
  • Reply 9 of 12
    matsumatsu Posts: 6,558member
    It's amazing how people can turn a relatively brief moment of marketing spin into the company modus operandi. Then again, these same people turned Kormac's erroneous bullshit into verified insider info. Clearly, those who insist on the 4 product matrix, or otherwise paranoically fret over breaching it, have some kind of Jungian obsession with mandalas, or otherwise have no concept at all.
  • Reply 10 of 12
    thttht Posts: 4,710member
    <strong>Originally posted by Nostradamus:

    What the hell happened to the four product matrix?


    Hmmm... I'll add to hmurchison's comments. If you look at it from an architecture overview:


    New northbridge and new soutbridge = Xserve

    UniNorth + KeyLargo + Snapper Audio = eMac

    = Powerbook G4

    UniNorth + KeyLargo + Tumbler Audio = Power Mac G4

    Pangea + Tumbler Audio = UniNorth and KeyLargo in one package

    = iMac G4

    = iBook

    Pangea + Screamer Audio = iMac G3


    That's about 2 total architectures, and one of them, the Xserve, is brand new. So Apple is basically using the same parts for every machine they ship, and from a supply standpoint, they shouldn't have any supply problems within their domain. The rest is just soldering different resistors, and making sure they buy from the right suppliers.
  • Reply 11 of 12
    digixdigix Posts: 109member
    Four type of products:

    - Portable consumer

    - Portable professional

    - Desktop consumer

    - Desktop professional

    The four products today:

    - Portable consumer

    / 12" iBook

    / 14" iBook

    / iPod

    - Portable professional

    / PowerBook G4

    - Desktop consumer

    / LCD iMac

    / CRT iMac

    / education only eMac

    - Desktop professional

    / PowerMac G4

    / Xserve

    The four products thing still exist, but like a tree with four main branches, it wouldn't hurt for those main branches to have some branches on their own.
  • Reply 12 of 12
    mingming Posts: 41member
    The old line was confusing. Should I get a 603e or 604e? Should I get Apple or PowerComputing or Umax or Motorolla? Which of the Performas work best for me? PPC or stick with 68040?

    But now, apple has extreme differentiation, in fact I'd say the differentiation between Apple products themselves are more distinct than even between different PC manufacturers. Guess which machine teachers who need desktops for their students will get? Apple even writes (e for Education) on their website just for the dumber ones who want to get Xserves with serial dumb terminals onto each students' desks. Not that I think there are people that dumb, but Apple's got that covered just in case .

    A hypothetical system administrator walks into an Apple Store and thinks: "I need highly redundant servers, but I'm confused whether to get the Xserve or the eMac, maybe an iBook would work? Maybe the iBook?" Not very likely is it? But just in case there are people so dumb as to not be able to differentiate between the eMac and the XServe and want to try and stick 2 iBooks into 1U in their racks, or maybe stack eMacs into a huge pyramid for serving purposes (who needs rectangular racks when you can have pyramids?), Apple has made it difficult for non-education to get eMacs and called the XServe the XServe.

    Now who thinks Apple is reverting?

    [ 05-18-2002: Message edited by: Ming ]</p>
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