Apple Must Kill The MacBook Air – Forbes
In case you missed it, Apple updated the venerable MacBook Air during WWDC. While all the focus was on the iPad Pro and the draw of AR in mobile technology, the laptop picked up the least amount of love possible with a bump on Intel’s fifth generation chipset from 1.6 GHz to 1.8 GHz.
For all the talk of the iPad Pro being able to replace a laptop and be a consumers sole computer, continues to make and sell the very computer system the iPad Pro is designed to replace. It does so with no love or passion for the MacBook Air beyond a derisory update that feels more like ‘these are the only chips we can source on the market’ rather than ‘a tiny increase in specification be a good idea.’
Apple doesn’t believe in the MacBook Air any more. Apple believes it has the functional answer to the MacBook Air in the iPad Pro. So why is the MacBook Air still on sale?
The obvious answer is more than likely financial. The MacBook Air continues to sell in sufficient numbers that it is profitable for Apple. Profit in the short-term is always going to win out. It would be a courageous decision to kill a revenue stream and promote the new idea to the exclusion of the older comfortable scenario.
There was a time when Apple knew how to break this digital gordian knot. The launch of the first solid-state iPod is the perfect example. The iPad Nano was launched in September 2005 in the middle of the golden age of the portable music player. The issue was the iPod Mini. With a 4GB or 6GB microdrive, it had become the worlds most popular digital music player, and arguably one of the most popular electronic products on the market at that time.
And as Steve Jobs launched the iPod Nano, he killed the iPod Mini stone dead in a single keynote.
It didn’t matter that the Mini was the biggest selling iPod, it didn’t matter that it was a recognisable icon around the world. What mattered was moving Apple forward, moving the market forward, and maintaining a white heat of innovation.
In that moment it was clear then what Apple stood for.
In a sense the inability to do the same to the MacBook Air at WWDC 2017 makes it clear what Apple stands for. A company that lacks courage to make the big decision, that will extract every last drop of revenue out of an old warhorse, and a company that no longer places innovation above all else.
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