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Apple wants to zero in on ‘Pro' segment, but what about the large majority?
In a statement warmly welcomed by us internet folk, Tim Cook recently proclaimed “you will see us do more in the pro area.” In our circles, this is unquestionably good news, as we all foster an insatiable appetite for new innovations, be that on a hardware or software level. More pro is great, however I invariably had to spare a thought for the average, not-so techy Apple customer.
I'm talking about the type of customer that after owning their iPhone 6S for more than a year, still has little concept of what 3D Touch does. Or how about the one that loves their new MacBook, but will gaze at you with a stunned expression when you introduce them to Force Touch on their trackpad. This is by no means meant to sound snarky or patronizing, because as a matter of fact, I don't blame them for not knowing – I blame Apple for failing to take everyone along for the ride due to poor communication.
Shifting up the ‘Pro' a notch in the future sounds great, that said how do you straddle the line between pleasing us tech-warriors and not entirely overwhelming a large majority of users, a majority already only privity to roughly half of the juicy features on their devices? Apple needs to find some cogent answers to this issue, and rather than creating a two-tier system in their hardware sold (labelling only some products ‘Pro'), I contend that software could be the key.
Granted this is anecdotal, but noone around me past the age of 40 (even the ones fairly switched on in the realm of Apple) could reliably point out the location or even use of features such as Markup on iOS or 3D Touch keyboard shortcuts. I would go further out on a limb and wager that many owners of the iPhone 7 Plus know full well about their iPhone's dual lens in terms of cosmetics, though they would struggle to name only one perk of the technology. Contrast this with the other side of the equation, where we have people licking their lips for 4K Apple TVs, beefier MacBooks or something as ostensibly simple as multiple user profiles for iPad.
Reconciling and catering to two segments this disparate is a tough ask. For all the inherent challenges, it is a crucial one, simply because Apple cannot risk to create a bigger rift amongst their customers: pleasing the ‘Pro' customers without consideration for the average Joe is going to deprive the majority of customers of the nifty stuff and eventually frustrate a lot of people that might feel left out.
On the other hand, hampering or slowing down new software or hardware to ensure the lion's share of users can keep up is sure to exile the techy crowd. The dynamic described is sometimes referred to as a rubber band effect, and it is something Apple by all means needs to forestall.