I don’t think Apple is doooomed (h/t to Brian for the meme) but it’s clear that Apple is losing some of its focus on what its users want in its drive to become a media company rather than a computer company. There’s a lengthy article over at Tech Digest that looks at the current Mac lineup (Mini, iMac, and Pro) and comes away unhappy with the lack of a suitable midrange option. And even the top-end Pro has woefully underpowered graphics in comparison to the rest of the field.
Of course, on the media company front, things aren’t all that rosy from userland either. With the introduction of the anticipated touchscreen Video iPod, Apple has cut the price on the high-end iPhone by a third – $200 (!). Woe unto the early adopters who were tempted by the Apple and adopted early. This is the sort of arseholeish behavior by Apple that makes me, someone who was waiting for exactly the phone-less iPhone device that the touchscreen iPod represents, extremely unlikely to go out on a limb and invest in one.
More and more, it seems like Apple is crafting a “experience” for its users, informing them of what they need and substituting style for substance. And treating it’s users like chumps in the process, under the (probably accurate) assumption that they will come crawling back for more. It’s ironic that Apple’s slogan used to be, “Think Different”. More and more, making the sizable investment in Apple’s hardware means quite the opposite. It isn’t quite Camazotz yet, but then again, everyone on the street does seem to be wearing white earbuds nowadays…
UPDATE 2: don’t miss this column by Cringely. Excerpt:
Steve does things like this because he can. It reaffirms his iron grip over both Apple and Appleâ€™s customers. Itâ€™s a lot about ego and a little about business, though with Steve Jobs they are hard to differentiate.
Here is something very important to remember about Steve Jobs (and probably the only part of this column that will bother him in the least): most of his business moves are still in reaction to having been fired by Apple back in 1985.
It’s a fascinating deconstruction of the whole pricing fiasco and the consequences. Bottom line: Apple milks $75 million extra profit out of its hard-core fanbase. What else are they good for, after all? Read the whole thing.