At first glance it may seem that Apple does not design, manufacture, and sell many products. Apple CEO Tim Cook brags that all the company’s products would fit on a kitchen table. Maybe so at a basic level, but Apple’s product line is much longer than you might think.
For example, there’s the Mac. That means MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. And the iMac and Mac Pro. Toss in the Mac mini, and all together they won’t take up much space on the kitchen table. Except the MacBook Air comes in two screen sizes, 11-inch and 13-inch, not to mention many variations for CPU, storage, RAM, etc. Ditto for the MacBook Pro line, at 13-inch and 15-inch, respectively. There’s even a MacBook Pro model with a disk drive, and another with an almost defunct SuperDrive.
The iMac line is equally complex, starting with a few inexpensive 21-inch models, a variety of CPU and storage options, a separate line of 27-inch screens, and the high end 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display.
Apple sells only the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, right? Not so fast. The iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c are still around, and each comes in a variety of models based on color and carrier and storage capacity.
The iPod continues to sell, though is relegated to niche status, though not so niche-like with various models in multiple colors– iPod shuffle, iPod nano, iPod touch.
Probably the most convoluted product line on the kitchen table is the iPad. There’s just the new iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3, right? Yeah, except for the fact that the iPad Air and iPad mini 2 and the original iPad mini are still around and still selling, starting at $249, each with options for Wi-Fi only, or Wi-Fi plus Cellular, and in various storage capacities. Apple even promotes the iPad’s various CPUs, from A5 to A7 to A8x.
Good, better, best still lives at Apple in 2014.
Apple’s seemingly limited product line isn’t really limited much at all. Choices abound, though all product models have a similar look, and distinct product segmentation. Starting next year, Apple adds to the line with another single product, the Apple Watch, which, when you start looking at the options for bands and cases, could be an inventory nightmare.
Apple’s product line starts with simplicity, but quickly evolves into an array of options topped among competitors in the marketplace only by Samsung (I’m making a guesstimate; hit samsung.com and you’ll be treated with large graphic displays of the Galaxy line of smartphones– and washers and dryers and refrigerators and notebooks and links to a gazillion other products from TVs to Galaxy Gear to cameras to microwaves; no way all that fits on a kitchen dining table).
There’s not much that’s limited in Apple’s product line.