From the time I wrote the Apple, Comeback... article to today, we have seen some interesting events. Apple has been in the news a bit, and we should take a look at what is happening. I do believe that my previous article was successful in many ways. I can only try to carry and improve that achievement with this article.
In the article, one of my goals was to grab the attention of the official Apple Staff. I wanted to get them to not only read the article, but to act on it. It was quite clear that the official Apple Staff did indeed read the article, and in good numbers too. But, did they act on the words I wrote?
One of the topics I addressed was the education market and how Apple should improve there. It's an important market, so time and energy should be used on it. Recently, Apple has worked up some new education deals where new G4's and 17 inch displays are bundled. When educators buy these in numbers greater than five, they save hundreds of dollars on each system. It's certainly a start for Apple in marketing for education.
I devoted some space to the prices of the Mac line. I stated that the iMacs were good in price, and we saw no change there. I hinted that the PowerBooks were high in price; a few weeks later, we saw $200 mail in rebates appear for PowerBooks. Interesting it is, but certainly not conclusive. I also felt that the G4 Cube should be marketed at $200 less. For this, we noticed a $300 mail in rebate when purchased with a monitor. Similar rebates apply to the other Power Macs, but I did not target these in my article.
The Key Lime iBook was something I questioned since it was only being sold though the Apple Store. Now it's available through resellers. At that same time, I hit the issue of physical Apple Stores in the country. I discussed my concern that smaller resellers will be threatened and that Apple should work out a fair deal with them. Some time after I wrote that, Apple purchased a building in Palo Alto. It would be clear that this building is for a store of some sort. What Apple failed to do is to tell the resellers. Instead, they heard the news through the media and became a bit upset.
Do you see some interesting similarities in what I wrote and what later happened? I suppose some of it could be simply coincidence. However, let's remember that a bunch of Apple employees read my article. Could they have actually discussed my concerns and acted on them? It just doesn't seem Apple like, to listen to people and hear their input. Although Apple did accept comments from Mac OS X Beta buyers. Apple offered them a form to complete and turn in. Could this actually be a sign of a turning point for Apple? I wanted Apple to change, and now perhaps it is.
While I'm here and maybe since more of the Apple Staff will read this article, why not include more advise for Apple? The education market could use some help with obtaining new Mac equipment. Yes, the current education deal is gladly welcomed, but let's not stop there. It will only be in effect for about three more weeks, then what? Apple should target some media exposure towards the educators. Tell them how the Macs can improve their operations. Stir up an interest for Macs in the education field.
Also, we really need to break this 500 Mhz barrier. Motorola has designed some faster chips, but we're not seeing them offered in the latest Macs. If Motorola can't provide faster chips for fewer dollars right now, apply some pressure. But it's more likely that Apple just doens't want to sell faster chips in their Power Macs right now. It would cost Apple more money to do this, and it would make the G3 line look so much slower. Put a price cut or rebate into effect now and maybe the units will move so that nobody is left with old G4 units when the faster machines are marketed. We can still see resellers with older G4's which have still not sold, despite their price cut. Apple has landed in a situation which they didn't think of, and pulling out of it is more difficult since everyday they sink a bit more. If Apple continues for several months by just offering a rebate on the Power Macs, profits will be much smaller and sales will be much slower. Apple could boost the Power Macs' power and new units sales would be faster. The problem is that the old units would sit around and not sell. Apple would need to cut the price down to the point of almost no profit and quickly move those units. It would only cause more pain if the older units remained for sale for several months after introduction of more powerful machines. This is the same mess that Apple is in now. It's a really complex and difficult situation for Apple and the consumers.
Another thing is the means by which Apple or its marketing agency targets potential customers. Are those ads on TV really conveying the point of the Mac and its power? Perhaps some of them are; they hit the DV part quite well. But if I see these ads, they only appear on one channel, at one specific time. What about the millions of other people that watch a different channel? And of those people that actually see the ad, are they the real target auidience? What about the people that might be interested in an iBook, a PowerBook, or a G4? The iMac and sometimes the Cube get hammered heavily if the ads appear. The TV ads just seem a bit off. Perhaps some of that exposure could be shifted and put in other forms of advertising. This could allow for new customers and new sales.
Hopefully we will see solutions pop up to the problems that we face. Maybe the issues I presented will be faced by Apple, as so many of them were in my last article. (Remember, if you're from Apple and you read this, don't be afraid to spread the word.) We should all be aware and curious as to what will happen in the future for Apple.
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