Understanding Apple’s Hardware Universe

I often feel public commentary on Apple’s hardware makes some flawed assumptions. The general one being that Apple creates hardware products and their goal is every one of their customers should own one. Case in point, the Apple Watch. While an important new category, most of the commentary around the watch makes the assumption it will penetrate deep into the iPhone installed base — now approaching or just recently passed 500m. I like the universe example because the iPhone is Apple’s sun, meaning it is the product, for now, which all other products revolve around.

The iPhone is, for the most part, Apple’s gateway to their ecosystem. It used to be the iPod. It was the halo product that introduced tens of millions of people to the Apple experience. For hundreds of millions of people today, that product is the iPhone. We know from research and data that, once a consumer lets a brand into their life, they are more willing to consider that brand for future purchases. This is why an Apple hardware universe is central. The direction a consumer goes to purchase other tech products as a part of their individual solution is entirely up to them. The key here for Apple is to cover the spectrum of options for that consumer now that they are in their ecosystem. I recently did a study with iPhone owners and asked them what other Apple products they currently own and use. This research was on a global set of consumers, but most were in the US and Europe. Here are the results.

Screen Shot 2015-11-23 at 11.48.20 AM

At a high level, this is an insightful look into the specific penetration of the iPhone base. What is interesting about this data is how it confirms my suspicion of multiple product overlap among a good portion of Apple’s customers. Meaning, one customer does not own just one or two products but generally multiple examples. I know this because this question was a multiple choice question. For example, if we add the total of iPad versions, it comes to over 100%. We know the installed base of iPads only equates to around 35-40% of the total iPhones in use. Which means there is a portion of the iPad user base which owns more than one iPad and there is a portion of consumers who own an iPad and not an iPhone. The former is larger than the latter.

To follow up my suspicion, I also asked respondents to estimate how many Apple products are in active use in their household. While no single number dominated, household ownership of Apple products is fairly spread out.

Screen Shot 2015-11-23 at 3.08.14 PM

When I analyze Apple’s hardware approach, what seems like an expanding product line, which many view as them moving away from their simple set of options, is expanding to cover the diverse needs of a growing user base. Things like the iPad Pro or the Apple Watch are designed to cater to pockets of Apple’s customers. The question we are faced with is, how big the segments are within their base Apple is creating products for. This is a better way to look at their hardware strategy than simply thinking everything they build is intended for every one of their customers. Some categories, like the Watch, may appeal to more people than something like the iPad Pro, but Apple’s goal is to make sure their first party hardware covers the range and evolving needs of their customer base. Essentially, Apple wants their customers to continue to be their customers even as they start looking at other categories.

If Apple can appeal to their own customers for health and fitness rather than lose that customer to Fitbit, then it makes sense for them to offer a product. Or, if Apple wants to make sure they have a product like the iPad Pro to keep those customers from going after products like the Surface, it is wise for them to do so. Similarly with Apple TV, why should Apple let customers go to Chromecast or Amazon Fire TV or Roku if this is a mainstream use case of their customer base? It makes more sense for Apple to offer first-party hardware to cover as many bases as possible. So long as they believe the base is big enough, it is worth covering.

From my math, Apple’s hardware installed base is nearing or over 800m at this point. Keep in mind, this is not a unique user number, as the 500m or so iPhone users is essentially the Apple installed base. The iPhone is Apple’s sun and each of the other hardware categories revolves around it. Even if other products like the Mac or the iPad act as feeders, it is ultimately the iPhone that is the strongest product to bring new customers deep into their ecosystem.

Published by

Ben Bajarin

Ben Bajarin is a Principal Analyst and the head of primary research at Creative Strategies, Inc - An industry analysis, market intelligence and research firm located in Silicon Valley. His primary focus is consumer technology and market trend research and he is responsible for studying over 30 countries. Full Bio

37 thoughts on “Understanding Apple’s Hardware Universe”

  1. Ben,

    The stat given for the recently introduced MacBook is shocking. It’ll surely lap MacBook Air this year and Macbook Pro next year. This might be the most quiet and shocking Apple product intro ever. (And I believe there’s no PC competition to speak of.)

    Please, can we have a ‘Rookie of the Year’ report? I think there’s an A10x version in our future, iosBook – more power, same heft, different apps and colors.

    1. “iosBook” – or better yet iBook.

      I’m skeptical that Apple creates an iOS-based laptop. It would contradict this statement by Tim Cook;

      “iPad is the clearest expression of your vision of the future of personal computing.”

      That tells me that Apple is all-in on a touch-based future. I see the iPad Air / Pro getting more capable due to iOS getting more capable and allowing more users to use tablets as their primary PC.

      1. What else was he going to say ? “iPad Pro is da best, yo !” ? “It’s the iOS version of a Galaxy Note” ? “We don’t really believe that product brings anything new except a higher price tag, btw, we’d rather you get this than a Mac because margins” ?

        I think Apple is all-in on getting its customers to buy 2 distinct devices and obsosolete them quickly via lack of ports, expansion, and upgradeability. The most amazing thing is… it works !

        1. “obsosolete them quickly”

          To be fair any technology you buy today is already obsolete. It’s built on technologies created yesterday, not today or tomorrow.

          I prefer your more thoughtful posts, though. But I guess disdain gets more responses and up votes from like minded.


  2. Curious about your panel. Hard to read the scale, but it looks like iPad Pro penetration near 10%, ten days or so after it’s availability, suggests a high “Apple Enthusiast” panel. I don’t think they could have produced enough units yet to make that a global scale representation.

    1. Correct, and given its a pure iPhone owner panel it would skew a little higher. But there were plenty of global respondants.

  3. “I like the universe example because the iPhone is Apple’s sun, meaning it is the product, for now, which all other products revolve around.”

    Ben, your analogy refers to a solar system. The ‘universe’ doesn’t revolve around anything–despite what five-year-old mini humans may say.

    Hey. Don’t thank me. I’m just a humble net citizen and shining a light on the important issues of the day.

    1. The galaxy in my mind includes the broader third party reality. So yes solar system related to just Apple first party stuff, galaxy meaning the broader ecosystem.

  4. I feel like my device profile is slowly changing. I’ve always been someone who wanted the minimum number and type of devices I needed to get the jobs done in a maximum way. And, I’d upgrade only when necessary (computers/tablets when they stopped working well; iPhone every two years.) That’s been an: iPad as my primary computer (fully replaced laptop, partially use at office), Mac mini at office, iPhone, and since April AW. This covers all my needs really well. But, recently I’ve started craving a MacBook and a 5K iMac. And, now an iPad Pro, as well. Why the change? I don’t think it’s my attitude to not owning a bunch of stuff I don’t need. Rather, I think it’s as computing devices become more broadly and deeply engrained in life, the dynamic between what you can do and the specific devices that are best for each of those things expands. It makes sense that there are different devices that are best for 1-2-3 things,

  5. What’s striking to me is that Apple’s ecosystem is becoming deeply fragmented. Not in the same way Android is, with small variations in screen sizes and several backwards-compatible OS versions, but at the core feature level.
    While still officially running the same version of iOS (well, in 66% of the cases https://developer.apple.com/support/app-store/), models differ by very meaningful features: force touch, pen, touch ID, multitasking/windowing support… plus tvOS. That makes the experience from one model to another diverge a lot, more even than from one version of Android to another. And requires at least deep app UI rethinking, if not a complete rewrite.

    Aside from cutomers having to carefully check which model has which feature, devs also must be getting crazy wondering whether to support new features, whether to add them for free to an exiting app (can’t sell updates/upgrads on the AppStore) what to do about the Apple TV…

    But hey, it’s all iOS 9, so we’re OK ^^ Except the 33% who aren’t, and are missing plain old apps that for some reasons are linked to the iOS version (Apple Music, iWatch…) which, I must say, would never happen in Android.

    1. Of course what also would never happen on Android is the majority adoption (both new and already owned devices) of the latest OS on the scale of iOS, thus effectively eliminating this concern. Although I still have iOS 7 on my iPad and haven’t found myself lacking anything with which I use the iPad for.

      Of course, with regard to fragmentation, I’ve long been on the side of this not really being a concern to the customer that either Android or iOS proponents bring up. Fragmentation has been a reality for cell phones pretty much from the beginning, so customers are already accustomed. Even with PCs, customers, sometimes in hindsight, had to be aware of “minimum specs” for intended tasks.

      It’s more a PITA for developers, but developers should always think strategically about which features to support. I think it is more of a pain for developers of apps that need/want to be all things for all people.

      And then, just like the PC days where Windows was the obvious choice, they’ll have to decide where the money is. For now it is still in largely iOS. That can change and may yet.

      I think Samsung has been doing the most to leverage their stake in Android the way Apple does in it’s own ecosystem. But what makes Android desirable from a market share standpoint also dilutes the potential for a single vendor other than Google to leverage Android by partnering with other companies.


      1. Except OS versions have nothing to do with it. iOS’s versions
        1- do not magically add features to the hardware, neither for users nor for devs. iOS 9 on a iP5 does not give your force touch.
        2- are required for new software features in a way they aren’t for modular Android. 2013’s Android 4.4 has received Google Services updates to support Pay, Music, Wear,… 2014’s iOS 6 doesn’t support Apple’s equivalents.

        OS versions are the be-all and end-all on iOS, Android is different. Very few people understand that, or they pretend not to.

        1. Well, no hardware is sold without the appropriate OS version (on either platform, really) so hardware features vs OS version is moot.

          And iOS has a higher latest version adoption rate when not even all current Android handsets can update until allowed (if allowed) much less are even all sold with the latest OS. Better than it used to be. But more needs to be done on Android.


          1. You’re saying different hardware features are not fragmentation ? And the corollary, the “same” OS having different capabilities on different devices because of different hardware features isn’t either ?

            So basically, fragmentation is when it’s Android, non-fragmentation it’s when it’s iOS ? Because… nice simple OS version numbers ?

          2. I’ve never considered fragmentation, from the consumer’s perspective, an issue on either platform. As I said, they are used to it with cell phones.

            OS fragmentation on iOS is an easier fix since it is entirely in Apple’s control in terms of version availability. In the Android platform there are far more players who want to say when and if older devices can upgrade than just Google or even the device maker.


          3. My issue with this view is that “fragmentation” doesn’t mean the same thing at all on iOS and Android, because “fragmentation” is simplified to mean “OS version”. The issue with that is “OS” doesn’t encompass the same things at all in iOS and Android. In iOS, it encompasses all low-level (hardware layer), mid-level (OS features) and high-level (apps) features. in Android it doesn’t: you have Pen handling in Android 4.0, Google Pay retrofitted to Android 4.4, …

            Before wondering how easy it would be to fix (if it’s easy to fix, why is it increasing to start with ?), the real issue is: what is it, what does it mean ? OS versions on iOS are a lot more meaningful than on Android. The question is not what OS numbers are in use, but what apps/features the installed parc has access to, especially key ecosystem apps (Pay, Music, …) but also run of the mill end-user apps (mail, browser…).

          4. It’s not… unless you’re a dev and have to work out which features (pen, ftouch, multiwindows,… and now aTV) to support even though they’re available only on a small subset of iOS devices; or if you’re a user and think you’ll get all of iOS’s advertized features on all iOS’s devices ?

          5. But that’s ever the case. A developer has to figure out why they exist and develop accordingly.

            If fragmentation is ever an issue it will show up in consumers choosing not to buy (either platform) or developers not developing for either platform. For a while it was often iOS first or only. I don’t know the statistics these days, but I have no doubt it is far less common.

            So, no, I don’t consider fragmentation enough of an issue to cause more than a temporary annoyance for each platform. Neither Google nor Apple want that for their respective platforms. And if it becomes an issue I have no doubt they each will take measures to ameliorate the problem, as they have.

            edit: Personally I think each platform has more important issues to address.


    2. I’d say that historically, Apple doesn’t really care too much about backwards compatibility, fragmentation, etc. Instead, they just try to push forward.

      Reducing fragmentation is not a goal in and of itself. Instead, reducing fragmentation is important only to the extent that it helps Apple and their developers move forward with new technologies and ideas.

      Therefore, I think that holding back features to prevent fragmentation does not make any sense for Apple. That would be like the tail wagging the dog. They would happily fragment rather than wait. The fact that Apple customers update their OS and their devices ensures that time alone will sort out the problems. Developers might be annoyed, but it’s part of their job to delight customers with support for new features, and if they aren’t really serious about their job, they can just ignore.

      Having said that, I’m sure that Apple does devote resources to ensure that the applications that utilise new hardware are still at least usable on old devices. I’m guess though that the priority is much lower.

      1. Agreed. It’s just strange this semi-irrelevant topic has been beaten to death in Android’s case, but never pops up in Apple’s.

        I also think that because the iPhone looms so large in Apple’s business, everything non-iPhone is pretty much a sideshow.

        One thing though: if we’re moving into more of a consolidation phase, which I think we are (iOS and Android are pretty much at par features-wise, if only from frantically copying of each other and not always for the best, and features innovation seems stalled), issues such as versatility, consistency and interoperability might start to matter more. Then again, it seems the one thing that matters ever more is shininess. Even android reviews are still devoting inordinate space to the devices’ looks… when 75% end up in a case, and 17% of iPhones have a cracked screen -maybe they should be less cute but sturdier.

        1. I honestly think that if we are moving into the consolidation phase, and if Apple cannot do anything about it, then Apple will surely go back to the dark ages, like they were in in the 1990s.

          If consolidation happens (in the way that you define consolidation, not necessarily in the sense of OEM mergers), then the whole market will commoditise and Apple will no longer be able to maintain its premium positioning.

          Apple will surely die.

          I am especially wary of the discussion that Apple is somehow immune because it has a great user experience and/or that it has a strong luxury appeal. In the tech world, I believe that you have to be the best in terms of features, performance and ease-of-use to survive. And if the incremental technical/usability benefits of owning an iPhone cease to matter to consumers anymore, then the market including the iPhone will commoditise. Apple will cease to be able to command premium prices.

          Versatility, consistency and interoperability are significant, but they only get you so far, and in a Moore’s law world where you need to double every few years, only going so far isn’t going to cut it.

          So, even as the market matures and the features more or less become comparable, at least superficially, Apple’s challenge is to keep the ball moving forward. If innovation in the market is stagnating, then it is in Apple’s strong interests to do something about it, and to get innovation happening again. Of course, it would be better if the innovation was Apple only, but even if premium Android copied it a few months later, it would be much better than stagnation. I strongly believe that this is a life or death issue for Apple.

          So if you see the market stagnating, that’s a strong, life-threatening warning sign for Apple.

          Personally, I see it the other way. I see CPU/GPU performance still increasing, network performance improving and a lot more opportunities on the horizon. For example, I want an iPad that allows my kids to easily make Pixar-level animations; that would truly spark their imaginations. I want Siri to be able to understand me without connecting to the network. I want to create great illustrations without having to use a bloody Pencil or my fingers even. I want to be able to program without having to spend hours staring at my code. I want to see the recent rush to learn programming end up being as futile as learning the Japanese abacus, as computers learn to program themselves. I see a lot of opportunities for innovation, and as an Apple fan, I want to see Apple continue to push the limits.

          I don’t want Apple to be luxury. That’s so disgusting.

          1. First, face it, a good part of Apple’s appeal is luxury. The proof is in the Rose Gold. And the bill for it.

            We’ve already got a clear pattern about what happens moving forward: same as for PCs: it’s been a while since we’ve been able to do anything new with them. There’s been improvements at the margins (USB, SSDs and HW video decoding ? ) but we’re not doing anything on our PCs that we weren’t doing 10 years ago. They did get more mobile.

            I think phones are getting to that point where the form factor and needs limit the impact of those kinds of improvements. Maybe there’s still unforeseen innovations to come, but those usually come from Android or 3rd parties, and there’s nothing on that horizon apart from even bigger phones. There’s a reason why Apple are heavily working the luxury, intensification (getting more $$ from existing customers), and lock-in angles, and alternate markets.

          2. Well except for the fact that they soon made Rose Gold and Gold aluminium versions so the colour is no longer really exclusive. You could flash around your real Gold watch, but most people would think you got the aluminium (unless they knew you were a snob already).

            As I said, I don’t really see the new iPhone improvements from a luxury angle. I think the better camera is genuinely useful, and especially in low light conditions, especially when you want to fill in with just the right amount of flash, the iPhone camera could still use a lot of improvement. There is still much more to do around the camera. I also think that user interfaces that help us get more information quickly are useful. Android widgets were a step in this direction and so is Force touch, but I still have to hunt around my home screen to launch an app and that hurts.

            As I said, I’m looking forward to at least 10x more CPU/GPU power and more memory, if that’s what’s needed for a fully local Siri speech recognition and Pixar-quality rendering.

            I’m really, really hoping for more. And as I said, Apple is dead if they stop advancing.

            Apple’s appeal is partially luxury, but if they allow that to be the main appeal, they die.

          3. But that’s the thing: the camera on iPhones used to be class-leading, it no longer is, and isn’t anywhere near the podium either. Same for the screen. The battery never was. Durability is horrendous (a recent study in France found that 17% of iPhones *currently in use* have a cracked screen). Apple are slowing down on features because they know it’s not what their customers choose them for: it’s rose gold, whether real or fake.

            And the new Apple TV can’t even play the 4K videos the new iPhones are able to shoot, a clear sign we’re nearing “irrelevant” performance (and that Apple has a well-planned upgrade treadmill).

            Apart from Widgets, Android has smart launchers that switch home screens depending on location and/or time; others that let you draw a letter (or other squiggle) on the home screen to launch an app; and always the basic functionality to remove scarcely-used apps (including non-removable ones) from all home pages and into an alphabetical “installed apps” backlist; and a sticky expandable and/or slideable or fixed drawer of key apps that persists across all home screens. Lots of Innovations for Apple to grace its users with in the next couple of years; but they’ll only be innovations within the Apple bubble.

            I think there’s a point of diminishing returns too. I love offline stuff, but I m’ not expecting to be able to download The Google to my phone anytime soon. I’m happy with maps and OS voice commands: the rest is too random to be cacheable. And I’m not doing pixar-level stuff on my PC, and see no need for it on my phone. IT companies keep hoping VR and AR will be the next CPU cycles gluttons… 3D wasn’t it for screens, not sure AR/VR will work much better for CPUs.

          4. The camera is still top tier, but it is a game and not really a deal breaker feature for any camera, really, IMHO. I don’t know anyone who has expressed disappointment in any camera on their phones.

            I don’t think hardware “specs” are really going to keep any phone premium at this point. What I mean is, at this point the speeds and feeds argument is mostly moot. No one can have a major advantage for long. The aesthetics angle is all that is left for broad market appeal. Apple is the only company with a very specific aesthetic philosophy and that will keep them with a slight advantage in that regard.

            But I don’t think the device, at this point, is were the innovation and advantage will come. It is with things like Healthkit, Homekit, Researchkit, initiatives with companies like IBM, and all the other vertical projects that make use of iPhone and their other devices. I am not up on it, but I am sure Google/Android must have their own equivalents.

            None of that is as splashy as physical design. But what the devices are used for beyond phones and iPods is pretty much the only place left to go until the next big thing. Larger or smaller screens, more pixel counts, whatever, that kind of stuff is pointless in and of itself. What you do with it is what’s left.


          5. I know many people who complain about their phone’s camera, but at lower price points. To start with, me: that was a conscious choice since I wanted a 6″ phone, but darn the camera in the original Huawei Ascend Mate was a downgrade from my Galaxy Note’s, especially next to my iBrother’s iP4S pics. Then my sister’s family: they all go for $150-ish phones, their main, scratch that, their only complaint, are the cameras. But when contracts are $20 for unlimited everything and $3 for unlimited voice/texts (and then you tether to the main phone for data), it’s hard to shell out $700 on a flagship.

            I agree with you about specs at the high end: Naofumi notwithstanding, we’ve reached a plateau. At the low end, there’s still some trickle-down to benefit from, especially cameras. Also, I’m puzzled by the lack of “battery revolt”. Apple is not the only one with not-full-day batteries, this makes no sense. Features-wise, there might still be some headroom: water-proofing, wireless charging, …

            Apple’s aesthetic philosophy is not that distinctive, it’s lifted straight from HTC’s earlier designs. Apple is great at claiming ownership of stuff they didn’t come up with though ^^ See picture.

            Agree also that new applications (payments, health, home automation, security…) is probably where the action is at. I’m curious if success will reward more collaborative efforts, or a single breakthrough product/service. I don’t think any of that will explode like smartphones did though, precisely because it’s not a one-device-solves-it-all market but more of a collaborative situation; and the benefits are less clear than smartphones’.

          6. That’s funny. I think it was Brian Hall, here or maybe on his blog, (I can’t remember) who said it was a copy of Apple’s aesthetic. Actually I would call the HTC more a copy of Samsung, but that’s just me. Especially its face.

            Apple is fairly strict in adhering to its design philosophy. For instance Apple has, even in the Apple PC and Mac beginnings, avoided square corners on its hardware and software interface such as buttons and windows. I have no doubt others can, from time to time, adopt similar aesthetics, whether following or on their own.

            My point is more that Apple has a very specific Modern design philosophy it adheres to regardless of the competition and has done so since the 80s, primarily in either of the Jobs eras (when it comes to hardware especially). I don’t know of any other tech company other than MS and Windows with such a prominent guide post, at least not as evidenced in the history of their released products.

            I could not predict the HTC One from their Sense. But Apple’s iPhone is fairly consistent with the possible exception of the back of the 3/3s, although the face maintained Apple’s design choices.

            I do think this is an advantage as it provides a coherent image brand the same way Coca Cola’s bottle design does for them. Which, I think, is as important to a physical product maker as the company logo.


          7. Frankly, between plastic (original fluorescent iMac, iPhone C, early macbooks…), glass (iPhones), metal (iPhones, imacs, air)…Apple’s industrial design has been all over the place. Ditto the interface, skeuomorphic then flat-abstract.. Maybe all had rounded corners. Who didn’t ?
            Apple do strive to make their designs distinctive; I’d say that because they know their customers want to show their iToys (clue: backlit Apple logo on laptops’ lids). But they’re not particularly stable, nor, in my opinion, good: a glass phone, now slippery ones… just striving to be 1- noticeable 2- trendy.

          8. As silly as it may seem now, I do recall many designer forums filled with arguments over rounded corner buttons and windows of Mac OS vs square cornered buttons and windows in Windows.

            For Jobs it was always from the user perspective. So much so he had to be talked into putting the Apple logo on MacBooks upside right when the lid is open vs upside right for the user when closed.

            Do a search for Mac 512 face-on shots compared to pretty much every Jobs era device. They will all have that same overall design. Even the video display real estate, until recently, had rounded corners. It is always in the details, where a lot of other companies don’t pay attention.

            The differences you cite show two things, one how much flexibility and variation a Modern minimalist design philosophy actually does allow.

            Two, how the skeuomorphic preference of Jobs was an anomaly in his over-all aesthetic by most design standards.

            I agree with noticeable and will add ‘distinctive’. Any company that wants to sell products wants their products to be noticeable and distinctive. Some put more thought into it than others. Apple being a prime example. That’s why I think Apple has the edge.


          9. “For Jobs it was always from the user perspective. So much so he had to be talked into putting the Apple logo on MacBooks upside right when the lid is open vs upside right for the user when closed.”.

            How does that have anything to do with the user ? That’s litterally facing away from the user. It’s advertising, and has 0 user impact, and what little user impact it has is negative (upside-down when closed, some cost to add that shiny logo…). I’m of opinion the visible labels are in bad taste (backlit labels even more so), and that if companies want to advertise on me they should pay me for it, not the opposite :-p

          10. Your advertising negative was Jobs’s point as well. The only person he wanted to see the logo properly was the user as they opened the laptop, not everyone else. Your opinion on user impact is entirely irrelevant.


          11. The interesting thing is that finding apps is a nuisance, but not enough for me to spend time rearranging my apps. I am certainly not annoyed enough to hunt down smart launchers or remember a squiggle. I’m just hoping that Apple could make it easier without me having to do anything; I’m lazy.

            I think the important point is whether we are at a point of diminishing returns. I agree that some people might feel that way, but personally no, I don’t think returns are diminishing at all. I think we’re just getting started and the current state is only a warm-up. A warm-up not only for Apple and OEMs, but for the developers and consumers who will think of new imaginative ways to use new features. We are still to see tablets/computers in full use in classrooms, helping them to learn not only reading/writing/presentations but also music, art, storytelling, and natural science. I remember many decades ago when reading books or learning stuff at school, I failed to understand a lot of important concepts. I failed to understand the significance of the magnificent Thailand temples which could only be fully appreciated with a large photo book, but which our textbooks only included small black & white captions. I failed to understand paintings because it was not immersive to just stare at small photos. I had trouble with thermodynamics, physical chemistry and the concept of entropy because I had difficulty envisioning the molecules bumping around. Tablets, VR and AR all have the potential to change all this.

            I’m super excited in the future, and as I said, that’s why I think Apple will thrive. Not because it is a disgusting luxury.

          12. 2 things:

            1- I don’t find luxury disgusting, just irrelevant and so a distraction because you start caring about the thing itself more than about what you do with it. Mountains o’ Things ^^

            2- The jury’s still out on whether IT helps with education, especially the critical 3 Rs + socialization early education. You can buy a lot of nice posters, good teachers, and A/V equipment with the $500×20 it takes to equip all pupils with iPads, plus a mystery sum (in the millions) to create the apps and content, assuming someone does know how to do that. Then there’s animating & supervising the course, maintaining the HW and SW… For now it appears to be mostly an expensive private school gimmick.

          13. Your correct about the jury still being out on whether IT helps with education. I’m sure that this would certainly be the case if you measure education by how well children can read and write, or how quickly they can do math. Or how well they can answer questions from a textbook.

            But that’s not really the fun part is it? For me, education is about having a good mental model of the world (with some important details) and having the means to learn more, communicate more. For this, I’m pretty sure that games even are contributing greatly.

            I agree with luxury being irrelevant for the most part, and indeed for most people. The problem, and the disgusting part, is when people suddenly pounce upon the idea of luxury to explain something that they have trouble understanding. They treat luxury as a magic allure to explain why anybody would buy something that is superficially lacking in features but very pricy. They use luxury to assume that a certain company is immune from otherwise powerful market forces. They stop trying to refine their mental model of why people buy stuff, and become lazy in their though process. I find that way of thinking is disgusting.

          14. Education is complicated.
            1- The 3Rs trump everything. It’s frightening the amount of kids even in developped countries who never get that down. More advanced topics, culture… are nice, but probably not the key issue.
            2- It’s not down to brain capacitiy. Motivation and circumstances have a huge impact. My sister teaches 6-7yo (starting to write/read) in a socially mixed town in France… there’s a huge amount of dysfunctional stuff, kids having nowhere but the toilet to study, and worse, and not so much linked to income. I’m not sure tablets help with that as much as safe times and places and interlocutors.

            As for luxury, I see it as just the mainstream way of looking for a group to belong to, same as goths, skaters, punks, bourgeois, religious, intellectual, hipster… with “the rich famous and beautiful” as the reference group. That is a basic human need, there’s no avoiding it. doesn’t mean we can’t speak up about it though. If a company manages to become identified with a way a life/aspirations, it’s probably sensible for them to milk that to death ?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *