It’s time for Apple to simplify its product line-up (again)

When Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997, he drastically simplified the product line-up. It’s time for the company to do the same again.

Upon Job’s return, Apple was selling a dozen versions of the Mac. His strategy was to produce only four products: one desktop and one portable device aimed at both consumers and professionals. 

That precise strategy won’t work today because Apple has more product categories, but the principal — a streamlined product line with more focus on quality and innovation — is still relevant. Here’s what I propose:

The Mac. The Mac line-up will follow Jobs’ vision. There will be one desktop for professionals (the Mac Pro) and one for consumers (the iMac). Under this scenario, the Mac mini will disappear. Of course, Apple could ditch the Mac Pro AND Mac mini (which I think will, unfortunately, happen) and offer an “iMac Pro” (state-of-the-art specs and more expandability than current models) and an “iMac.”

The laptop line would ditch the MacBook Air and offer the “MacBook” and “MacBook Pro.” Of course, the desktop and laptops would be continue to be offered in different sizes.

When it comes to the iPad, the Air and mini would disappear. There would simply be the “iPad Pro” and the “iPad.” Again, each class of product would be available in different sizes.

I can’t see any sense in having an “iPhone Pro.” In my scenario, there would be the iPhone 7/8/9/etc. and the iPhone SE (the smaller, lower priced model).

The Apple Watch would ditch the Series 1/Series 2 designation and simply be the Apple Watch 3, Apple Watch 4, etc. Ditto for the Apple TV (although I’d love to see an Apple TV DVR.

Those are my ideas for simplifying Apple’s product line-up. What would you change?

As for an Apple Car, I don’t think the company should get into the auto-making business. But that’s an article for another day.