How Apple Could Fix Its Confusing Product Lineup

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Recently Apple launched a new 10.5-inch iPad Air and a fifth-generation iPad mini. They’re both great devices with up-to-date specs, Apple Pencil support, laminated displays and the iPad Air even has a Smart Connector for keyboard support; however, bringing back the iPad Air into the lineup means that Apple now has four iPads for sale.

That includes the 9.5-inch iPad, the iPad mini, a 10.5-inch iPad Air and the iPad Pro in two different flavors; the 11-inch and 12.9-inch. And each of these iPads come with multiple storage and color options, as well as the ability to add cellular connectivity.

With Apple adding many new products over the past few years, the product lineup has started to become a little confusing, and it can sometimes be difficult for the average user to know which device truly fits their needs. But what can be done to simplify their lineup? Apple should take note and implement how car companies divide up their models and trims.

When you think of a car you think of its make and model. For example, the Ford Mustang. Ford is the make and Mustang is the model. But you also have the trim. The trim level encompasses the special features that make each Mustang on the road different from one another. Most Mustangs look similar, however, each trim level has different components and features that make them unique. And Apple should use this strategy across its entire lineup.

So let’s apply this to Apple products. Apple is the make, iPad is the model, and then we would have the trim. One thing Apple could do to make their product line consistent and easy to understand is to have the same trims across the board. Three trims should be enough: mini, Air and Pro.

iPad mini would, of course, be the smallest device of the group. The Air would be the middle-of-the-road feature set, that would be good enough for most users, and the Pro would be the heavy-lifter designed for professionals. With that, the Pro would stay with two size screens because professionals are usually the ones with a wider range of needs. The desktop line-up would be the exception to the rule, but more on that later.

Here’s what Apple’s lineup (with a streamlined naming scheme) could look like.

  • iPhone: mini (SE), Air (XR), Pro (XS and XS Max)
  • iPad: mini (mini), Air (iPad), Pro (Pro 11″ and 12.9″)
  • MacBook: mini (MacBook), Air (Air), Pro (Pro 13″ and 15″)
  • Desktop: mini (mini), iMac (21″ and 27″) Pro (Pro)

As you can see, Apple isn’t too far off. However, Apple has been pretty consistent with upgrades to its products as of late, and with each update, the company’s lineup becomes more complicated. So let’s make it simple.

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