Too Many Apple Products: 2020 Edition

Apple Now Sells 7 Different iPhone Models In and On Their Retail and Online Stores
Image via Apple

I made a very similar statement to the one I’m making now around the same time last year. Back then I mainly argued that Apple had way too much variety in their iPhone and iPad lines, a fact that led to a slew of messy naming conventions and a needlessly confused customer base. And I regret to inform you that, unfortunately, this year, it’s gotten even worse. Last week, at their live-streamed special event, Apple announced four completely new iPhone models. That’s the most iPhones they’ve ever released at one time, but the number shouldn’t really come as a surprise to those who have been following Apple trends for the past few years.

This trend of product line expansion began in 2013, the first year that more than one iPhone was launched at once. Back the, this didn’t really seem like an issue, as the iPhone 5s and 5c were easily distinguishable from one another and had two noticeably different markets, the high end and mid range customer bases respectively. But what’s notable with the case of the iPhone 5s and 5c was that it saw the first phones that were truly developed under Tim Cook, and not Steve Jobs, and I think that this shift is really visible when looking at these two phones. The iPhone 5c was really unlike any iPhone that came before it; it had a polycarbonate plastic shell, that, when compared to the anodized aluminum of the 5s felt cheap and almost toy-like in the hands of many, it lacked one of the primary selling points and new features of the 5s: Touch ID, and where the 5s and every iPhone before it focused on the best possible user experience, a fact that meant that the iPhone was usually more expensive than most other phones, the 5c was focused on a completely different target: value. I think the iPhone 5c is really indicative of Tim Cook’s leadership at Apple, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Cook’s Apple takes the approach of trying to get Apple products into more users’ hands through expanding product lines to better fit the most amount users’ needs. And while yes, this means that more people may be inclined to purchase Apple products than before, it also has a negative side-effect for Apple: lack of focus.

The Release of the iPhone 5s and 5c Marked the Beginning of the End of Both Easy to Navigate iPhone Lineups and Intelligent iPhone Naming Conventions
Image via The Verge

Part of what has allowed the iPhone, Mac, iPad, and AirPods to take off in the ways that they have it the shear attention to detail and refinement that Apple puts into them. Where other companies typically look to pumping out more and more products or slapping on more and more gimmicky features to existing ones, Apple has found monumental success through focusing on and refining a comparatively small range of products, as this small number of SKUs affords Apple the ability to give each and every one of them greater focus and attention. However, it seems that Apple, as we progress farther into the Tim Cook Industrial Engineer led era, has begun to neglect this very approach that has garnered them so much success in the past. We once had just one iPhone release per year, with the previous year’s model becoming the “budget” option. This granted Apple the ability to focus on one iPhone per year, while also offering a totally competent option for more budget-conscious customers, without having to divert focus from the main phone. But now, in addition to holding onto this model, Apple introduces a range of new phones each year, with the hopes that each will satisfy a different market, when simply selling the previous years model would be more cost effective for the company in the first place.

Last Year’s iOS Update (iOS 13) was Riddled with Bugs and Required the Most Bug Fixes of Any Major iOS Release ever, as reported by Statista
Image via Statista.com

This approach has a few key negative impacts for Apple. One is the way it diverts focus within Apple, something which is immediately visible when taking a look at recent iOS, iPadOS and MacOS updates, which upon each of their initial latest releases, have been buggy, and even -on occasion- unusable. What’s frustrating about this is Apple could be spending the time and resources they put into making those 3 extra iPhones each year into refining these existing products that will impact consumers on a much greater level. On the consumer side, this division of focus has hurt the common customer as well, who now how as a much harder time choosing between the iPhone SE, iPhone XR, iPhone 11, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max, all of which are on sale in Apple’s retail and online stores right now. This lack of focus has led to subpar internal support for existing products at Apple and massive amounts of confusion for average Apple customers, and the worst part is: it’s completely unnecessary.

Steve Jobs was Notorious for His Successful Reorganization of Apple in the 1990s, a Strategy That Revolved Around a Streamlined Product Lineup Divided into Four Major Categories: Consumer Desktop, Consumer Notebook, Pro Desktop, and Pro Notebook.
Image via The Mac Observer

Apple had a nearly identical problem to the one it has today nearly 25 years ago, where they had far too many products in a lineup that had salespeople needing spreadsheets to understand them and customers confused out of their minds. It took Steve Jobs’ return in 1997 to fix this, where a major focus of his restructuring plan-that completely saved Apple from bankruptcy and formed the foundation for all of Apple’s successes today- was cutting down on the number of products Apple sold, with him eventually slimming it down to just 4 main products: a consumer notebook, a pro notebook, a consumer desktop, and a pro desktop. It was this lineup that gave us the iMac and catapulted Apple out of the red and into being one of the most successful and prolific companies of the early 21st century. This is why its so frustrating when I see Apple making the same mistakes the did 20 to 25 years ago, they’re not just making their products worse, they’re betraying the very values that made them such a successful and such a great company. This focus is what makes Apple so great, it’s what built the foundation for the company to reach the levels of success it has today. And maybe Tim Cook sees this as some sort of scaled growth strategy, an attempt to appease developing markets, but I see it, and like to think know it, as a complete betrayal of Apple’s fundamentals. When Apple loses focus, Apple loses what makes it Apple.

P.S. -I am cognizant of the fact that Apple offers cheaper models to entice people to upgrade with Apple rather than buying devices from third parties, but that doesn’t mean that they need to offer seven different iPhones, they could achieve comparable success in a less resource intense manner by simply offering the previous year’s model and refurbished options for even older models on their website.

The Potential of MagSafe

Last Week, Apple Announced a New Feature for iPhones Called Magsafe, a new way of attaching accesories and chargers to iOS devices.
Image via Apple

Last week, Apple announced its brand new lineup of iPhones, and among things like 5G and the typical iterative camera improvements, one of the biggest, and for me, the most exciting additions they made to the iPhone was MagSafe, a new feature based around a set of magnets that allow users to connect a range of different accesories. So far, these accesories range from cases, wireless chargers, wallets, and a car mount, all of which are either made by Apple or an Apple-registered third party manufacturer, and are, of course, sold seperatley on Apple’s website. On the surface at least, this a logical move for Apple, whose very ethos stems from simplification and streamlining products, an idealogy that pushed them to remove the arrow keys from the Macintosh, the Floppy Drive from the iMac, and, most recently and most notoriously, what caused them to remove the headphone jack from the iPhone. The introuduction of MagSafe seemingly ties directly into the execution of this idealogy, an ideaology rumoured to culminate in the elimination of the lightning port from the iPhone, a move that could be executed as soon as next year. So, at first, MagSafe primarily makes sense from Apple’s perspective as a bridge unto the portless future, in a attempt to make wireless-ism more streamlined, accesibile and glamourous, but while this may be and likely is one of the mainly reasons Apple implemented this feature into the iPhone, I don’t think it’s the only reason and, to me at least, it’s certainly don’t it’s the best realization of this technology.

A Wireless Charger for iPhone and Apple Watch; One of Many Accessories Apple Unveiled Alongside the iPhones That Tout the Features Functionaliy
Image via Apple

To understand the true potential of MagSafe (and just why I’m so excited for it’s inclusion in the new iPhones), you have to take a look all the way back at the original iPhone. A common misconception about the original iPhone is that it came with the App Store. And this is completely understandable, as the App Store is the medium from which we derive most of the utility and entertainment from our iPhones, and through the countless apps it provides, the App Store is one of the main selling points for the iPhone to users. But what is often forgotten is that the iPhone didnt ship with the App Store back when it initially released in 2007, and at the time, there was no way (outside of jailbreaking, that is) for users to build and download new applications for their iPhones. This was because Steve Jobs, when the iPhone was being developed, that webapps would be the main avenue in which iPhone users would access additional functionality beyond the included collection of apps on their devices.

But almost instantly, developers, confined in their developement efforts by the general purpose restrictions of web apps, wanted a software development kit so they could access the true capabilties the iPhone hardware offered. On the other hand, consumers found themselves frusturated by the limited functionality of the included iPhone apps and the lack of optimization found in web apps, and thus began jailbreaking their devices to acquire additional features like new apps that were more fine tuned to the iPhone. Jobs saw this and realized the need for a first party, easy way for developers to create apps, and easy way for consumers to download them to their iPhones. He also knew the iPhone would need something that would keep users coming back, and most importantly, it needed a way for Apple to continue making money from iPhone sales long after the final payment installment was made. And thus, about a year after the unveiling of the original iPhone, Apple announced togehter an iPhone SDK and of course, the App Store we all know, love, and use everyday today.

So how does this pertain to MagSafe, you may ask? Well, I see MagSafe as a sort of “App Store” for iPhone accesories. Much of what makes the app store such a great part of the Apple Ecosystem is its ease of use and accessibility. There’s nothing to worry about in terms of compatibilty, safety, or privacy, and to say it simply, it just works. I think that MagSafe, if executed correctly, has the potential to do the same thing that the App Store did for iPhone apps for iPhone accessories. For years, accessory manufacturers have looked for smarter and easier ways to integrate thier products with iPhones, much in the same way that developers looked for easier ways to harness the iPhone’s functionality and capability when making apps prior to the introduction of the App Store. Now, with MagSafe, accessory makers have an easy way build easy to use, well integrated iPhone accessories, much in the same way that the App Store enabled developers to do the same thing but with Apps.

The App Store As It Was Unveiled Back In 2008 (One Year After the Launch of the iPhone)
Image via Apple

When you take a look back at the app store, part of what made it the success it is the way in which it benifited all parties involved. It allowed developers to more easily create apps for the iPhone, while also giving them a powerful platform to distribute them on, while also giving consumers a safe, fast, and easy way to download apps for their iPhones, it also benifited Apple, as it meant not only that Apple could make money off of iPhone users through App Store and In App Purchases, but it also meant that iPhone users were more likely to hold onto their iPhones and stay in the Apple Ecosystem as that was where the apps they used everyday were. Taking a look at MagSafe today reveals that it offers many of the same benifits to users, accesory manufacturers, and Apple. It gives accesory manufacturers and easy way to create accessories that are more deeply integrated with the Apple ecosystem, and advantage that helps consumers through making iPhone accesories safer (through regualtion from Apple), more compatible, and easier and more seamless to use. Finally, this idea of MagSafe as the App Store for accesories benifits Apple as it helps them to build up the Apple Ecosystem without having to create new products of their own, an idea that is appealing to an Apple working to make more money from exsisting iPhone users in a world where consumers upgrade their phones less often than ever before. This also has the advantage of giving the iPhone more seamlessly integrated, and as a result, more marketable and desireable accesories, with the added benifit of giving Apple the ability to regulate which accessories are made and sold on their store. To conclude, MagSafe holds a lot of potential as a platform for more integrated and easier to use accesories that extentuate the functionality and capabitlies of Apple’s devices, but the execution this vision is entirely relient on a few factors that may be harder to nail down than it seems on paper. MagSafe truly needs great support from third party developers and from Apple itself to flourish, but if those two things can be accomplished, MagSafe has the potential to completely change the way we use our phones, just like the App Store did for software ten years ago.

Standardizing.

We are, to a certain degree, unique, and thus, we demand level of uniquity in the products we use every day. This uniquity reflects our own inner complexities as human beings, it offers a response to our demands and desires, a way for us to be able to purchase products that offer features tailored to our needs. It’s easy to see where companies respond to these demands for uniquity, Apple, for instance, does so by offering a wide range of products in their iPhone line, creating space for models at every price increment with features fine tuned for a variety of different user groups. Even with approaches like this, though, standardization is neccesary, you can’t have 7 billion different iPhones, and thus the line between standardization and uniquity is one that must be carefully walked. It’s a difficult predicament; people want what they want, exactly what they want, or at least they think they do, while at the same time, the same exact people claim to support standardization practices that go against this core desire. Standardization is fine, even great if used within companies, I belive, it’s where standardization moves into vertical integration that flaws arise. Standardization across different firms often leads to poor product execution, as core components aren’t built for an exact purpose, but instead built for general purposes and thus aren’t better for antything. Such is the case with Android, or Windows for that matter, where standardized software destroys user expirences because of incompatible software and hardware designs. Standardization detracts when it limits the expressivness and utility of a given product.

Build Products, Not Companies.

We are selfish creatures. Naturally, we are preprogrammed as living beings to put ourselves before all else, mainly as a survival method. Nowhere else is this statement more true than in the golden land of opportunity itself: Silicon Valley. And it’s this selfishness, this self obsession that is so intertwined with the very idea of the 21st century tech industry that has been holding back for the past 20 years. The startup as an idea is the direct result of the successes that were Microsoft, Apple, and to some extent, Amazon and Google. These firms laid the foundation for the current Silicon Valley landscape, but modern firms have built upon them in a completely incorrect way. Instead of trying to build upon these previous successes, Silicon Valley has decided to attempt to replicate them, a decision that has in effect set us back about ten years in terms of technological growth and adoption, all because of one idea: the startup. I mean, you really can’t blame people. No one wants to be the Scott Forstall or Andy Rubin, everyone wants to be the Steve Jobs or the Bill Gates or Jeff Bezos. No one wants to just build a product, everyone wants to build a company around their product. And it’s this sad truth that is holding back Silicon Valley, as most of the time, the fundamental ideas behind a startup’s product are great ones, but startups, despite hundreds of millions to billions in VC funding, fail on the execution of these ideas. either due to lack of capital, or more likely, lack of experience. For a place that demands an understanding of the fundamental fragility of an idea, it sure seems like companies fail on the execution of an idea a whole lot. So if you’re thinking of starting a company, whether it be a small business or startup, just consider this: pitch your idea as a product to a major company before you pitch it to VCs. While it may seem contradictory at first, these companies will understand the fragility of an idea more than any Unicorn seeking VC will, they will give you tenfold the resources any budget conscious VC will, and most importantly, they will give you the time you need to realize your idea’s full potential, because, in most cases at least, they can subsidize the costs of your idea with the product lines they’re already finding success in, where a VC in the same position will do everything in his or her power to find an exit strategy to make his or her money back. If all you can come up with is a go to market strategy and a sound product-market fit, well, that’s great, but if you don’t have any long term growth strategy, then I would strongly consider pitching your idea as the foundation for a product to a company rather than a startup to VCs. And if the former strategy fails, and no company will invest the required resources into your vision, well then go to VCs, the chances of the company taking your idea is pretty slim, as, as I said before, any company with the ability and insight to see the value in your idea will also understand its fragility, and thus the need for you to be on board. It really can’t hurt to pitch your idea to a company first, even if they don’t pick you up, they’ll likely provide you with valuable outside insight and market information that you would be hard-pressed to acquire before. Always remember: Before Steve Wozniak started Apple to build the Apple 1, he pitched the idea to HP, and even today they’re lightyears behind the folks over at 1 Infinite Loop. So, to sum it all up, Silicon Valley needs to stop taking notoriety over capability and even though you think you’re a Steve Jobs, you’re probably a Scott Forstall, so start acting like it, start owning it. Stop building shitty companies, start building great products.

No One Cares About the HomePod.

Normally, new product releases from Apple are met with an unprecedented degree of fanfare, so much so that even before a given product is announced people are already hyped and enthusiastic about it. And this is true when you look at almost every product in Apple’s lineup, every product except one: the HomePod. I consider, and and I’m sure that at least some considerable amount of people share this consideration, the HomePod as to be Apple’s greatest failure of the past 10 years. Even when compared to the setbacks that were the failing MacBook keyboards, the slow as all hell Mac Pro, or the so called slowing down of iPhones, none of these can hold a candle to the flop that was the HomePod. Why? Well it’s not because of what the HomePod is, but what it could have been. The HomePod, on its own, is a pretty respectable piece of hardware. It has an amazing sound, it looks beautiful in almost any location in your home, and it’s probably the best at being a speaker of all of the smart speakers on the market. But being a great speaker also happens to be just about the only thing the HomePod is good at. When compared to other devices in its category, like the Google Home or like the Amazon Echo, the HomePod doesn’t come off as that smart at all, and all of the flaws that stop it from reaching its full potential stem one root issue: price. When you boil it down, the HomePod just does not do enough to warrant its hefty price tag. What Apple needs to do to make the HomePod succeed, even if it means cutting down on audio quality, is to cut the price of the HomePod and market. I want a really great smart speaker that I know won’t listen to me, most people do and would pay good money for one, and the HomePod can fill that role, Apple just needs to get people to care about it.

The Problem With Consumer Grade Cloud Computing

It seems that everyday the idea of cloud computing for consumer markets gets closer and closer to being a reality. With more and more applications like game streaming services such as Google’s Stadia or Amazon’s recently announced Project Luna coming to market and finding success, it seems safe to say that cloud computing is more ready than ever before for mass adoption and poised to overtake traditional native powered systems within a few years. But these recent efforts don’t mark the first time the industry has made a major push towards consumer facing cloud computing as a replacement for native hardware. Since as early as the mid 1990s, where companies like Oracle and even Apple were experimenting with concepts like thin clients and web computers, the idea of replacing traditional laptops and desktops running off of native processors and memory with cloud based computing and storage alternatives has been a popular one, and ever since, companies have gradually been working towards this consumer grade cloud computing future that they dream of. And it’s obvious why. You don’t need to look any farther than your smartphone to recognize the benefits of the cloud on our experiences with tech. Innovations like cloud storage and synchronization have eliminated major ease of use and accessibility hurdles and streamlined user experiences immeasurably. Cloud integration brings major inarguable benefits to manufacturers as well, thus explaining the push for its development. These benefits are mainly headlined by an enabling of cheaper entry prices followed (and largely subsidized) by recurring revenue. A shining example of this is music streaming, which has completely revolutionized the way we access and enjoy digital music, as we no longer have to buy all of the music we want to listen to, and can instead access all of it and more for a much lower monthly fee, which companies would rather charge anyway due to the ever lucrative prospective of guaranteed revenue streams and the opportunities for stable growth they afford. So on the surface, cloud computing seems better for the user experience than what we already have, but the truth is that it’s much more complicated than that. Even when you peel all the layers of issues surrounding consumer facing cloud computing that have prevented its widespread rollout and adoption in the past, issues like intolerable latency, the constant need for network connectivity, and of course, the ever present question of privacy, all issues that we have either solved or are deep into solving, there is still one drawback of cloud computing that we may never be able to quell, despite all of our efforts, connection. It’s the same flaw that arises with the boom of recurring revenue services, the issue of owning things. With all of our computers, and, in most cases, our phones, today, there is an indisputable fact that we own them. Part of what makes us love devices we use everyday- and as extension of that- the companies that make them, is how we customize them, connect with them, and in a way, make them our own. Steve Jobs understood this connection, and was able to manipulate with industry leading design and marketing to build a strong foundation for Apple’s products, a foundation adopted by countless firms both in and out of the tech industry today. It’s already difficult enough to establish connections with products that become obsolete within a span of a few years, but I believe that fully removing the components inside of them, and effectively making them subscription based devices that we don’t really own would fully sever our connection to our tech and deal an unforeseen blow to user experience. At the end of the day, the thing that separates the computer from 2001: A Space Odyssey that’s in your nightmares and the computer that’s in your pocket or sitting on your desk or in the ad that you can’t stop thinking of getting is the connection that is present in the former and absent in the latter, and without computers we own, we can’t have computers we love.

The Importance of the Computer.

Part of the problem with stating the importance of the computer is that its importance has been stated so many times that it would seem easy to overstate it. But in fact, I feel that the computer is of much greater significance to our world and our future than many care to realize, and that level of importance will only grow as time goes on. One flaw I see in people’s perception of the computer is their equation to the computer as another invention among the ranks of the automobile or the modern firearm, but this is an oversimplified statement, you see, the computer has gone much farther as a contribution to our society and promises to contribute further with periodic advancements that build upon the technological foundation it put in place. What makes the computer different and so much more important to our society going further than these aforementioned examples is its nature as an invention. Most of what we consider the “most important inventions in history”, inventions like guns, cars, planes, iron lungs, penicillin, and the lot, are alike in their nature of being tools or means of survival, extensions of our physical bodies, tools with practical applications and necessary ones at that, sure, but tools that share the same physical limitations and ceilings of the arms they extend. Take the bicycle for example, a pertinent invention and a crucial technological step in our development as a society through its ability to move us faster, farther, and less effort. The bicycle is the perfect example when clarifying the stark contrast between the computer and the majority of other inventions it is so often erroneously thrown in with, as the bicycle as a concept is almost deceptively simple in the way it serves as the shining example of an extenuation of our physical abilities. At the most basic levels, the bicycle and the computer are quite similar in their natures as extenuations of our abilities, but when you zoom out and look at the much larger picture, the difference between the computer and the bicycle is found in what abilities they extenuate. Steve Jobs called the computer the bicycle of the mind, and this is perhaps the most detailed and simultaneously the most vague explanation of the computer as a concept ever put to words. I think Jobs was right in the fact that the computer is like a bicycle, in its potential to extenuate our mental abilities in the same way a bicycle extenuates our physical abilities, but I feel that even he, in spite of all of his abilities to see things as a part of the bigger picture, may not have seen the true potential and importance of the computer. I would go as far as to say that the only invention, if you could call it that, that holds a candle to the computer is spoken language, but it even that lacks the key characteristic that makes the computer as important as it is. What makes the computer so special isn’t even the presence of something, but the absence of it: a limit. From the transistor level all the way to the top, every aspect of the computer embodies limitless possibility. From a certain point of view, its not even the computer itself that makes it so important, but everything that it enables, all the tiny ways it informs our choices as a society. The computer, as an extension of our minds marks a key evolution for the human race, one on a scale not seen since we stopped roaming as nomadic tribes and settled down as agrarian societies. The computer marks the end of the “survival” phase of the human race, no longer limited by our weak physical abilities, through the computer and everything it enables, we, as a race, have evolved, shedding our past weaknesses stemming from physical limitations, and adopting more powerful tools for the mind. The computer marks a change in focus for humanity, one from surviving to thriving, and in this newest human evolution can be found the true importance of the computer.

What is the iPad?

God, I’m so tired of asking myself this. It’s been ten whole years since the first iPad came out, and this question hasn’t gotten any easier to answer, in fact, in some ways, it’s gotten harder to. At first, even before the it was formally unveiled, many thought the iPad -or whatever they thought the iPad was, was going to be the evolution of the computer, and in some ways this notion is true, but that fact isn’t necessarily apparent today, and it certainly wasn’t apparent right after the iPad was unveiled. The public’s initial response to the iPad came as shock to Apple, but it shouldn’t have been so unexpected. Prior to its release, the iPad was easily the most hyped up and speculated upon product Apple has ever put out. Hot off the success of the iPhone just a few years prior, rumors and theories were rampant about what the iPad-the name of which was at the time unknown and one of the mostly widely speculated parts of the device- was going to be, with many well versed industry veterans claiming it would completely revolutionize personal computers and the way we used them on a scale unseen since the introduction of the Macintosh. One famous account from the Wall Street Journal even went as far as to say “The last time people were this excited about a tablet it had some commandments written on it”, a perfect summary of the sheer excitement leading up to the iPad’s introduction. Of course, all of this hype led to some amount of disappointment when the iPad turned out to be completely different from what everyone was expecting it to be, with many seeing the final product as a glorified oversized iPhone good for nothing besides reading the New York Times while sitting on the toilet, and, just like with the notion that the iPad would be the future of the computer, this notion was also partly correct. Despite this initial sourness, though, the 1st generation iPad went on to sell incredibly well, shattering critics’ expectations and cementing the device as a success among the likes of the iPhone and Mac before it, but this didn’t mean that said critics were wrong in their critiques, as, at least at first, the main purpose of the iPad from the very first keynote that introduced it seemed to be content consumption. With each any every new iPad release, Apple has made several improvements to the device to further its potential as a tool for creators, with the introduction of the iPad 2 and its heavy focus on creative professional tools like iMovie and GarageBand, they’ve tried to shift the narrative of the iPad as a device for creation, a narrative furthered by things like the Apple Pencil, all in the name of developing the iPad as a tool for creation, rather than a medium for consumption, Over time, the iPad has grown and developed as a product, but at the same time, it’s true role in the tech zeitgeist hasn’t become any more clear, and the question of what the iPad is hasn’t gotten any easier to answer? But why even ask the question “What is an iPad?” in the first place? Well, I ask the question because I think that, without an answer to the question, the iPad can’t really reach its full potential, because if people don’t know what the iPad is, they’ll never understand it, and then they won’t buy it, and developers won’t understand its capability as a platform, and then they won’t build the apps the iPad needs to reach its true potential as a product. So then, what is an iPad? Is it really the next evolution of the personal computer, is it a tool for creators, or is it just a media consumption device. Well, the truth is that its all of these things, and while that at first may sound like I’m being hypocritical what with my earlier criticism of blanket statements and all, this belief is one I hold true, and one I think not only rings true to the mythos of the iPad, but that is also very true to the idea of the computer itself. The whole entire idea of the computer stems from the fact that you get out of one what you put in it, an idea penned by Charles Babbage before the something even close to what we consider a computer today was invented, but nonetheless one that rings true throughout history and one that pertains more to the iPad than perhaps any other computing device ever. In the context of this “garbage in, garbage out” idea of computing, the iPad is the distillation of the computer in the sense that, it is whatever you make of it. If you use your iPad to read the New York Times on the toilet, then that’s what the iPad is, if you use it to run your spreadsheets and attend zoom meetings, then that’s what the iPad is, and if you use the iPad as your main computer, than that’s what the iPad is. So back to the question within a question: Why even bother asking?, well I ask because I think that, fundamentally, the iPad is the most important product that Apple makes, it is completely unrivaled by every other computer, yes, including the Mac, in terms of raw potential, and the iPhone, while it is without a doubt Apple’s most successful and impactful product, it’s limited in where it can go, and it’s time in the spotlight is fleeting, along with the smartphone as a whole. You see, the problem with the iPad isn’t with the device itself, but how Apple markets it. They’re so close to getting people to fully comprehend the power of the iPad as a device, and with each iteration, they get a little bit closer towards getting the world to understand the iPad, but they’re not quite there yet, and they may never be. But until then, we’ll have to keep raising the question: what is the iPad?