Welcome to our weekend Apple Breakfast column, which includes all the Apple news you missed this week in an easy-to-use roundup. We call it Apple Breakfast because we think it goes nicely with a cup of coffee or tea in the morning, but it’s great if you like to read it during your lunch or dinner hours, too.
False economics for cheap products
I’ve written before on the Weims theory of socioeconomic injustice, which uses the example of leather shoe maintenance to illustrate the surprisingly high costs of being poor. But you probably haven’t heard of the related Cook The Anti-Value Theory, which argues that consumers prefer to buy expensive products over cheap ones and explains much of Apple’s behavior this decade.
Apple products are proverbially expensive: Ask someone outside the industry to describe the iPhone in 10 words or less and the word “cheap” is unlikely to pop up. But for most of its history, the company has still managed to offer decent value, sticking to the old adage that you get what you pay for. Those who can afford an Apple product can expect beautiful design, class-leading build quality and reliability, an intuitive interface, and solid specifications. You pay a premium price, and you get a premium product.
From time to time, Apple has flirted with the other end of the market, hinting that it wants to offer something at a reasonable price. But this never seems to work. The iPhone 5c from 2013 was talked about before its release as just a great budget iPhone seem cheap, and completely fails to deliver on the aspirational side of life that is so much of the iPhone experience. (Our reviewer reported that its design was praised by a toddler, which isn’t quite the certification Apple was looking for.) And the latest iPhone SE line, which started out more promisingly, fizzled out because Apple completely failed to understand what it was all about. The device that people liked.
According to reports, Apple has notified suppliers that there will be no iPhone SE 4 as planned, indicating that the company has decided to abandon the budget smartphone market rather than address the limitations that plague the latest model. It also reportedly last year abandoned the idea of a budget Apple Pencil, which wasn’t going to offer any of the premium features that made the original model (and especially its excellent successor) such a success. Even the popular $329 ninth-generation iPad has been replaced by the $449 tenth-generation iPad in 2022, giving the impression that Apple would rather cannibalize sales of its iPad Air than properly focus on the budget tablet market. .
It makes sense for Apple to prioritize the premium end of the market because that is where it has seen the most success. High-margin premium products can be hugely profitable if your image is right, and image is Apple’s trump suit. On the contrary, a premium brand operating in the budget market may be undermining its image, thus reducing the appeal of its flagship devices. In difficult times, companies return to their core business, and Apple’s core business is expensive high-quality technology.
Which makes it even more confusing when we hear constant rumors of other cheap products. Like the so-called AirPods Lite, which a reliable source says we can expect to pay $99 for in late 2024 or early 2025. Critics believe Apple is frustrated at missing out on potential revenue from budget earbuds and intends to hit that market with a less ambitious device. It still bears the coveted AirPods branding. (Apple already sells Beats Flex for $70, but that’s not quite the same.) Whether the AirPods brand will continue to be desirable after consumers try a discounted model, bereft of high-end features, poorer in sound quality, and more likely to be known. Infected with a flashy design to discern cheap loafers who won’t pay best of all remains to be seen.
Any student of Apple’s history can see that the AirPods Lite are unlikely to be successful. In fact, it seems likely that development will halt before it gets to that point and we’ll instead drop the price of the AirPods 3 when the fourth generation comes out. The real mystery is why history’s most successful maker and seller of premium tech still expects different results.
Trending: Top stories of the week
If Apple wants to have a reality headset To succeed, she probably shouldn’t actually be selling it.
Did Samsung really go full iPhone with Galaxy S23?
The Mac is not suitable for a touch screen. For a MacBook to work with a touch screen, your Mac must be working needs to change.
Since Biden is targeting big tech companies, Apple has been targeted Good reason to feel nervous– and pleased, too.
the Mac Pro It’s meant to be the ultimate Mac. If not, why is it there?
The Apple AR Headset had better be good, because Everything else is doomed.
Small things can make a big difference. We rounded up three small ways Apple could do with an extension Significant impact in 2023.
The rumor mill
for you Next MacBook Pro It can have a touch screen.
New AirPods Max And $99 AirPods are in the pipeline, according to a new report.
the Apple Silicon Mac ProWhen it finally lands, it may be the biggest disappointment in years.
The 15-inch MacBook Air is coming to Save the 2023 Mac lineup.
January 2023 is likely to be a quiet month for Apple, however Big releases looming.
Apple is finally preparing to move on to the best microLED screens In the year 2024.
the iPhone 16 Pro It may contain a dynamic circle instead of an island.
An apple AR headset It may get its own event this spring.
Apple only iPhone SE canceledsources say.
Podcast of the week
What do we expect from Apple in 2023? Well, based on recent reports, it will be all about Apple projecting into AR, VR, a headset, and an operating system to make it all work. The future is near, and we talk about it in this episode of the Macworld Podcast!
You can catch every episode of the Macworld Podcast on Spotify, Soundcloud, the Podcasts app, or our own website.
Software updates, bugs, and problems
the The best feature of iOS 16 What you don’t use will make your iPhone 14 Pro much better.
iOS 17 and macOS 14 may have “less major changes” this year. Which may be good news in reliability front.
And with that, we’re done for the week. If you would like to receive regular news reports, sign up for our newsletters. You can also follow us on Twitter For breaking news stories. See you next Saturday, enjoy the rest of the weekend, and stay tuned.