Opinion pieces & commentary Overview Updated March 22, 2017

Opinion pieces & commentary

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290 Opinion pieces & commentary stories

December 2010 - March 2017

OpinionOpinion pieces are intended to provide interesting perspective on an Apple-related topic, and to be an entertaining read. They represent the opinions of their authors, and not of the site as a whole: this is the reason we don’t label them as editorials.

We use the ‘Opinion’ prefix for longer pieces, and ‘Comment’ for shorter pieces that may be making just a single observation.

We fully encourage discussion and debate on opinion pieces, and you are of course welcome to strongly disagree with both the author and other commenters. All we ask is that you apply the golden rule to your interactions: treat others as you’d wish to be treated. In particular, debate the topic not the person – it’s absolutely fine to say that you think someone is completely wrong because x, y and z; it’s not ok to call their views idiotic.

That said, we love to hear your thoughts and views, and really appreciate those who take the time to give their considered opinions.

Opinion Stories March 22

AAPL: 141.42

Stock Chart

If anyone had asked you to describe Apple’s pricing strategy in a sentence, this would – until recently – have been extremely easy to do. Apple aims to sell premium products at high margins to upmarket demographics. The company had shown almost no interest in more affordable products pitched to those on tighter budgets.

But Apple has long recognized that you need a way of building your long-term customer base, and one good way to do that is to get them when they’re young. Apple has made considerable efforts over the years to get its computers into schools and colleges, and to make them more affordable to students through its education discount.

The MacBook Air line too has been priced at a level where it is just about affordable for those who would otherwise buy cheaper Windows laptops – again, in no small part because Apple wants to attract younger buyers whose lifetime value to the company will be substantial.

But as one analyst recently observed, there is now evidence that Apple is aiming to offer lower pricing across a broader range of products. Yesterday’s announcement of a low-cost 9.7-inch iPad was a good example of that new approach …

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Opinion Stories March 20

AAPL: 141.46

Stock Chart
Google couldn't make Glass look cool – could Apple do better?
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We’ve now heard more than one report that, while Apple has augmented reality plans for the iPhone, it is also planning to make some smart glasses further down the line. This is the product category made famous – or perhaps infamous – by Google Glass.

There are two undeniable facts about Google Glass. First, it’s cool technology. Second, it’s decidedly uncool to be seen wearing them. It was that latter fact that led to Google abandoning plans to pitch them as a consumer device and to target them instead at enterprise applications, like giving engineers hands-free access to manuals while repairing equipment.

Now, Apple is a master of taking once-geeky technology and making it cool. It did that with the iPod – turning a rather techy product category into the coolest product on the planet at the time – and of course with the iPhone. Previous smartphones were techy-looking things controlled by a keyboard and stylus, the iPhone was a friendly device that had mass-market appeal.

But could even Apple make smart glasses cool … ?

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Opinion Stories March 13

AAPL: 139.20

Stock Chart
Samsung's Galaxy Edge design (left); iPhone 6/6s/7/Plus design (right)
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Seemingly conflicting reports on the iPhone 8 screen have been causing confusion, some earlier reports describing a curved screen, while Business Insider notes that some analysts expect a flat display.

A large number of reports have suggested that the screen on that new device will be curved but an increasing number of iPhone watchers believe it will actually be flat.

The apparent contradictions may, however, be down to little more than semantics …

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Opinion Stories March 7

AAPL: 139.52

Stock Chart

I wrote an opinion piece last year speculating on Apple’s plans for its 2017 iPad line-up. A couple of factors led me to suspect that Apple may be planning to drop the iPad mini.

First, there was the fact that the starting price for the iPad mini 4 is exactly the same as for the iPad Air 2: $399. You’d already have to have a very strong preference for the smaller form-factor to want to shell out the same cash for the mini – especially given that you could combine phone and small tablet functionality by buying the Plus model iPhone.

Second, a KGI report suggesting that the 10.5-inch model would be the successor to the current 9.7-inch iPad Pro, while the new 9.7-inch model would be a low-cost model. That made it seem possible that Apple might be targeting an even lower price than $399, putting further pressure on the mini.

And now, consistent rumors of what we can expect from the iPhone 8 give a third reason to wonder whether the iPad mini has a future …

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Opinion Stories March 3

AAPL: 139.78

Stock Chart

Apple has an interesting tightrope to walk when it comes to entry-level products. While you and I may choose Apple products because we like the UI, the ecosystem and the designs, a large chunk of the company’s customer base automatically buys Apple simply because it is seen as the most premium brand. They may not know the specific benefits of Apple products, but they are – to quote an old ad slogan for a lager – reassuringly expensive. If they cost more, they must be better.

Indeed, in many markets, being seen with an iPhone, iPad or Mac bestows social status for that very reason, making them aspirational products.

Apple cannot afford to dent that premium image by offering low-end products, but at the same time it needs to bring in new customers to maintain growth. So far, its approach to doing this has seemed to me to be smart. But offering a 32GB iPhone 6 as an entry level iPhone in 2017? That I’m not so sure about …

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Opinion Stories February 28

AAPL: 143.80

Stock Chart

With Apple widely expected to embed a fingerprint reader into the display of the iPhone 8, the company has patented a number of different technologies it could use to accomplish this.

One approach would limit fingerprint recognition to the bottom section of the display, meaning that authenticating a fingerprint would have to be a deliberate step, as it is with today’s Touch ID sensor. But a patented granted today would allow a fingerprint to be recognized anywhere on the screen, with Apple specifically arguing that authentication could then be completely automatic …

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