Humans are interesting creatures. We love our Top 10 lists, love the underdog, and hate whoever or whatever is on top of the world this week. Apple was much loved when it was the underdog technology company, but as the richest technology company, well, not so much. Nowhere does such prejudice rear an ugly head but among the members of the technorati elite politburo who seem to relish peeing all over Apple’s shiny logo whenever the opportunity presents itself.
Here are a couple of recent examples and the numbers behind the scenes. Will Rebranding Save The iPad? Probably Not is written by an avowed Mac user for a publication which conjures facts from a magic lamp. The premise itself is simple. Nothing will save the iPad, including Apple’s new rebranding of iPad Air 2 to iPad Pro (9.7-inch version) which should be introduced later this month.
I’ll be the first to admit that Apple’s branding has become a little scattered and confused as of late. Terms such as “Air,” and “mini,” and “Pro” are being strewn about enthusiastically, but it’s hard for a consumer to really get a grip on what the differences actually are.
Technology is in a constant state of flux, a continual dynamic of change, and that includes brands associated with any product. iPad Air 2 or iPad Pro? iPad mini 4 or whatever? The individual model names matter less than plain old iPad, the Kleenex of 21st century tablets, and it’s Apple iPad business which is under assault?
Or, is it?
Granted, iPad sales have been on a decline for a couple of years and for a variety of reasons but don’t forget the numbers. Only Apple divulges the number of iPads sold each quarter and each year. Everything else is just a guesstimate. It’s likely that every company that makes an iPad tablet knockoff would trade their CEO and largest investor to get Apple’s iPad marketshare and profits.
The iPad isn’t going anywhere, but Apple doesn’t want to get down in the dirt with the likes of Samsung, Lenovo, Xiaomi, and others which ship products but have no profits to count at the end of the day. That means Apple will take the high road, as it almost always has, and the iPad line will get more power, more features, more capability, and, as it always has, be the most used tablet line on planet earth.
That brings me to another set of numbers regarding yet another Apple product which has received some criticism here and there. Strategy Analytics, a company seemingly known more for imagination than research, says Google’s Chromecast is the leader in the digital media streaming segment, topping even Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and others. Where does one find those numbers? Even Apple doesn’t say how many Apple TV units are sold each quarter, so the marketshare percentages quoted by Strategy Analytics cannot be from factual knowledge of real numbers because no other technology company divulges their sales numbers, either. In other words, devoid of factual numbers, the company makes up guesstimates instead.
In the real world, real numbers are hard to come by, and without real numbers, researchers take a best guess, wherein best guess also means make something up to fit a predetermined scenario. Anything that bashes Apple gets headlines.
Another example is the recent success Microsoft has had with their Surface tablet and notebook line. Now, remember, the Surface tablet is really a notebook running full-fledged Windows on a fat, heavy screened device, sans a keyboard (usually extra cost). Members of the technorati elite politburo point to the Surface as a big success for Microsoft. Maybe so, but comparisons of anything Surface (other than the Surface Pro notebook which compares to a MacBook Pro) is fraudulent at best. The iPad defines 21st century tablets. The Surface is a cheap Windows notebook sans the keyboard. They are not the same. Regardless, if the Surface line was selling so well then why doesn’t Microsoft publish how many have been sold?
And, finally, if we’re dealing with guesstimates then how is it that most guesstimates say Apple’s Watch sold many times more units than Microsoft’s Surface devices, yet the latter is a success and the former is a failed product?
Wherever possible, stick with real numbers, and, for better or worse, Apple should get extra points for divulging the Mac, iPhone, and iPad numbers every quarter.