We Love Our Users

As a result many theories have been written about how Apple appears to have 'gone soft', but the most obvious motivator for its actions is competition. Whereas Apple has never been interested in the so-called 'race to the bottom' of bargain basement products and non-existent profit margins it has become increasingly mass market nonetheless - first with iPods, then amongst smartphones with the iPhone and the iPad looks set to dominate the tablet sector.

Yes Apple fanboys still shout the loudest, but Jobs' rulings show he has become painfully aware of the company's responsibilities to its increasingly broad customer base. Owners of free iPhone bumpers will attest to that and his choice of words in announcing that scheme were particularly contrite:

"We love our users. We really love 'em. And we try very hard to surprise and delight them," he assured. "When you love your customers as much as we do, nothing's off the table... We want to make all of our users happy and if you don't know that about Apple, you don't know Apple."

As such what now seems to be back on the table is a smaller Apple laptop. Pricing will be a headache - the iPad costs up to £700 and a MacBook begins at £849 leaving little room to manoeuvre - but don't expect Apple to go low and make a netbook either, I said the company is increasingly ready to 'compromise' not to give in. What Jobs knows, however, is selling only one truly ultraportable laptop starting at £1,174 does not "surprise and delight".

Of course I may be proved completely wrong, Jobs may return to his despotic best and no MacBook will ever measure less than 13.3in for fear of impinging upon the 'magical' iPad in which case I will happily eat some humble pie. I doubt I'll be reaching for the knife and fork though, because signs suggest Apple is increasingly open to doing what's best for its customers and that means once in awhile not doing solely what's best for Apple...

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