Is Apple getting too greedy by skimping on specs that degrade the user experience?

“In 1995, two years before his return to the company, Steve Jobs gave a characteristically blunt answer when asked why Apple found itself struggling in the early to mid 1990s,” Ben Lovejoy writes for 9to5Mac. “The issue, he said, was that Apple had gotten greedy.”

What ruined Apple wasn’t growth… They got very greedy. Instead of following the original trajectory of the original vision, which was to make the thing an appliance and get this out there to as many people as possible, they went for profits. They made outlandish profits for about four years… What that cost them was their future. What they should have been doing is making rational profits and going for market share. — Steve Jobs, 1995

“Many of us have expressed dismay at the fact that Apple still, in 2015, sells an iPhone with just 16GB of storage,” Lovejoy writes. “The simple reality is that most of us need local storage, and trying to palm people off with 16GB is simply unreasonable. Apple is offering an iPhone which pretty much guarantees frustration down the line, and there’s absolutely no reason to do so when it could offer a 64GB starting point at the cost of a few bucks less profit.”

“I’m merely suggesting that if Apple were a little less penny-pinching with its specs, were willing to sacrifice maybe $10-20 of profit on an iPhone, perhaps slightly more on a Mac, that would help it retain its premium positioning,” Lovejoy writes. “Even non-techy Apple customers do care that the company’s products Just Work. And nickel-and-diming customers on specs that impact the degree to which products Just Work is, in my view, not a sensible path for Apple to take.”

For the relevant section of the comments by Steve Jobs, skip to the 38:00 mark:
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Much more, including discussion of the SSD component of Apple’s latest iMac Fusion Drives, in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote back on July 4th:

Obviously, 16GB is for a certain target market, one that can live in the iCloud. The problem with that model, however, is that inexperienced buyers and inattentive resellers foist 16GB iPhones on people who really cannot manage to live in the iCloud and therefore could end up hating their iPhone (it won’t update, it’s perpetually packed full and therefore runs poorly, can’t take any photos, can’t download day more apps, etcetera).

Apple needs to ask themselves if the benefits of having a 16GB iPhone (“low” entry price and upselling platform for higher capacity iPhones) are worth the risk of disappointing those who are likely buying their first iPhone. For Apple, the quality of the user experience should always come first.

SEE ALSO:
The true magic of Apple’s 16GB iPhone 6s/Plus – October 12, 2015
Apple, please kill the 16GB iPhone! – July 13, 2015

48 Comments

    1. It should already have been 32 GB for the current entry-level price. A $50 increase in base price for a mere 16 GB increase would be spitting in the faces of Apple fans, because it paints us as suckers who blindly accept anything Apple puts out no matter what.

      As for the argument some make about how some people never use that storage and only just browse the web and maybe use a few light apps, I ask them this: Would you accept a mere 64 GB as the base storage for an entry-level iMac? After all, many people just browse the web with their Macs and never use the 1 TB of data that’s in today’s entry-level iMac, and 64 GB is more than enough for all of Mac OSX, the preinstalled apps, and basic documents.

      What? A desktop is a content creation machine and needs more? Well so is the iPad and to a lesser extent the iPhone, and *they* both still start at 16 GB. So too bad, fork over an extra $100 for the next storage level… 256 GB. Apple’s not a charity and has to make money, you cheapskate.

      /s

      1. True, there’s a thermal issue … but that’s a self-inflicted wound because someone said that they had to slim the iMac’s case by another 3mm.

        As such, it ain’t an acceptable excuse from anyone who,claims to be an Engineer. They should turn in their ASME membership pin.

  1. You can say and think whatever you want. You will find a quote to back it up. Profitable, penny pinching, perfection. It’s go for market share, go for quality, the consumer doesn’t know what it wants until they have it.

    It’s all over the board, be it as it may. The problem, is that too many people put words where they don’t belong or never were.

  2. Is Apple getting too greedy on specs?

    The short answer is YES!

    This is especially true since you can no longer upgrade the specs after you buy your Apple device like you use to. I’m not arguing against Apple’s non upgrade trend, there are big advantages for doing so, just that their price for higher RAM and storage is far too high.

    1. If your computer sucks today, it’s probably because you were a tightwad when it came to laying out initial capital. that’s not Apple’s fault.

      Also, non-upgradable computers mean less things to go wrong and less need for IT doofuses. I fail to see what’s wrong with that.

      1. It IS apple’s fault. They’re the ones being the tightwads, not the consumer. The iPhone is a premium product. Premium products should NOT start at 16GB. If you want to make last year’s model 16GB, fine… but the current full-price model should start at 32GB.

      2. Probably 3/4 or more of buyers, especially those without intimate knowledge of what specs mean, always buy the base config of any tech product (or automobile or……).

        That being said, this year’s 16 GB isn’t last year’s 16 GB with a camera whose 12MP sensor (PLUS the live photos feature) takes up much more per snap – and tons more if they happen to shoot any 4K video. So 16 GB on the 6s models is more functionally equivalent to 8 GB on the 6 series. Seriously.

        Apple’s underspecced RAM on base level Macs for decades and generally storage as well (plus if I have it right, they’re still offering a 5400 spinner on a 5K iMac….???).

        When I maxxed out the RAM on my first iBook (Tiger, 1.33 GHz) and put in a 7200 HDD, I went from liking it with fairly strong reservations to loving it.

        And now, if someone makes that mistake, they can’t even upgrade….

        Also, going from 16 to 32 would have a wholesale cost of not $50 (or $25), but more like $5-6 from what I’ve read – and happier owners would make for more buzz that would sell more phones to more and more loyal users over time, increasing profits even if the prices weren’t raised.

        I know margins are sacred at Apple and key to their success, but there are ways within the business (and maybe elsewhere in the device even) to keep them at critical levels without this insufficient storage gambit.

    2. I agree. I am looking at the top end iMac and Apple wants $500 to upgrade to a 512 SSD in the basic configuration. I just put a 480 GB SSD in my mac mini for about $150 (Apple can probably get them cheaper). I can understand charging a premium, but $500 bucks is ridiculous when you are spending $1800 on a new computer.
      I think every computer they sell should come with at least a fusion drive. This probably wouldn’t cost Apple that much and would create a huge boost to the user experience.
      I miss the days of every year or so upgrading the ram, hard drive, etc. (Don’t tell me to buy a PC – I love Macs and Apple)

          1. awww, don’t be a tightwad.
            After all you will also have the privilege of paying lots more for a diminishing supply of electricity, so why not go all out? Drain your bank account!

            No thanks, sticking with my 2004 Nissan Pathfinder that burns (horrors) gasoline, its built like a rock and will be around lock after the electric energy suckers are buried in a landfill.

  3. Apple has always priced to a market segment. If they worked from a cost plus margin basis the prices would be in ,odd increments.

    If you ask for advice in an Apple Store you will be asked about your intended usage and music/photo requirements.

    Music, as we know, is moving to a streaming model and everything else is moving to the cloud.

    If Apple is stingey then it is in the paltry iCloud storage they provide for free. But you can double that with amazon’s free storage or, for $89/yr (in Australia) you can get 1TB and MS Office.

    1. Music is not moving to a streaming model for anyone but broke-ass millennials raised on stolen Napster files. I encourage you to rent all the rap you want as you will be ashamed of it when you grow up.

        1. The compensation given artists under rental is laughable. Of course, if all you want is hacks funding their mouths over a drum track (hip-hop/rap), feel free.

          Real musicians deserve fair compensation and that means purchasing content.

  4. Cheap Shit like Vampire Video in a $1,500 iMac, Soldered in Memory and CPUs in the new Mac Minis are among my bitches with Apple’s current lineup. The new wireless input devices that have wires so Apple can seal out rechargeable batteries os also on the list.

    Some of us do not give a damn about how thin the profile of the new iMac is, but would like to be able to upgrade a video card, install a new internal storage device, add memory and things like that without dropping $3k on the Home Theater PC that is DBA the Mac Pro.

    First Apple trashes the Mac Pro then they seal up the mini and remove the ability to upgrade it after purchase. Some of us would like a nice powerful tower that we can configure to our needs without Jony’s fashion statements and hatred for user access on his designs.

    The Mac is not the biggest part of it’s business, but is essential as all iOS SW is written on Macs.

    It would be nice if Jony would go design a car for Hyundai or something and let us have a utilitarian Mac. In Jobs-speak a truck.

    1. with the number of 5 stars it seems like a lot of people agree with your take on the current Mac Pro and the non upgradable video cards in all the Macs.

      I wrote this some time back :

      —–

      “Some people like the current Mac lineup which is fine but some others have other other needs so I suggest:

      1) for people who need a Mac Pro with more internal expansion etc. Apple should make a Mac Pro CLASSIC (like they had an iPod Classic for many years). It should have the newest subsystems and plenty of internal expansion options like the old Mac Pro , have a ‘box shape’ (only make it lighter).

      2) a Mid Tower mac.
      This should be between the Mac Mini at $500 and the Mac Pro at $3000.
      (a Mac ‘Pro’ with 256 GB standard drive is not a Pro setup but a giant iPod, to get the current Mac Pro up to speed you need to spend like $4000)
      Have one multicore workstation processor, upgradable RAM , upgradable video card. Fast subsystem.

      This will attract many PC switchers who want to keep their old monitors.
      More Mac users = More developers = more good software.

      NOTE : 1) and 2) cost almost NOTHING in R&D costs (as most components will be standard) and will be very cheap for Apple to build.

      3) ADVERTISE the Macs. No serious Mac campaigns since Mac/PC guy ads (66 different ads in 4 years) more than half a decade a ago.

      again : “More Mac users = More developers = more good software.”

      ——

    2. Couldn’t agree more. I hope someone at Apple is reading this. A 21″ iMac with soldered memory is a travesty. It’s one thing to buy a low end machine not knowing what your use requirements may end up being. At least you used to be able to drop in more RAM and bigger/faster drives. It’s terrible to condemn a customer to poor initial buying decision, especially since most computer users have a reasonable expectation to have the ability beef up a machine after original purchase.

  5. I don’t mind the hardware specs. I just want it to work. But that promise of just working is turning into a fail.

    I want great software by Apple back (iPhoto vs Photos for example)

    My wife and I need to go to workshops now to learn how to use new OSX and associated apps. However, Buffalo Apple Store is low on workshops.

    What are we to do?

    1. Photos is better than iPhoto, and has already been improved since its introduction. I expect it to improve even further. It’s not unlike FCP, which was introduced crippled in comparison to the older FCP. It has seen significant changes since then, and those that didn’t bail on it are finding the new version advantageous in many ways.

      1. Photos is better than iPhoto? Well, for certain creative definitions of “better”, that case can be made.

        Unfortunately, Photos fails miserably at being an organizer tool, and that’s what the iPhoto fans are upset about. That Photos now has some editing plug-ins does not resolve that shortcoming.

        Furthermore, it has been a year and it still smells of Betaware – that’s a big “FU!” to your customers: it wasn’t ready so it should have never, ever, ever shipped as a forced-upon replacement.

        Customer delight has failed….again.

      2. As much as we want Photos to be a great new Apple software, no one at Apple can explain why imported photos and/or videos, that are supposed to be placed in the pictures folder under the Photos file of the internal HDD, are immediately deleted once you delete them from your iOS device. iCloud doesn’t recognize that the internal HDD has nothing to do with the cloud.

        In other words, nothing on the HDD should be deleted, unless the user does it his/her self. Nothing virtual should ever have access to anything physical. That’s why it’s called virtual. It’s only there to mask. Not expose.

        I have personally lost over 400 GB of raw video footage, shot with my iPhone 4, 5, & 6 Plus, and my iPad 3. These are the perfect shooting devices to capture great video, if you know what you’re doing, and hate lug around extremely excessive amounts of traditional camera equipment. The only good thing about losing the videos is: they were almost all just try and error shoots. I’m the videographer for my church. And, I’ve enjoyed teaching myself how to manipulate the usage of compact and convenient video devices, plus making FCP do what I want it to do, while in Post-Production.

        So, as I stated earlier, Photos should no way, have the right to delete a file I didn’t authorize it to. That’s something iPhoto would never do. And, I really don’t see much difference in iPhoto and Photos. Besides the headache(s).

  6. The iMac is an even more egregious example of skimping on quality to maximize profts. How else can Apple justify their decision to keep putting outmoded 5400rpm laptop drives in these otherwise cutting-edge desktop machines? All iMac models can be ordered with SSD’s instead, but Apple sells them for twice their market value. Ditto for exra RAM.

  7. I can’t recommend Apple to friends at the moment. The macbook is too underpowered – regardless of its very high price. The macbook air now has one of the worst screens of all laptops. The macbook pro is too much for a consumer notebook.

    Similarly, the iMac is hugely expensive for the spec, the iMac mini is crippled.

    I don’t know for whom Apple is now making computers. Perhaps the millionaires now buying the Hermes watches.

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