Absolute power corrupts absolutely When it comes to the tech world, the absolute power of brands can also have a corrupting influence in how big brands look at their products’ relationship with their user base. Take the case of the recently released new MacBook Pro. It has all the hallmarks of Apple’s cool sheen – its design, attitude-soaked form, and cool marketing. All good. However, it is non-upgradeable. Talk about painting yourself in a corner. In a fast developing highly interchangeable device market, the last thing you want to do is hold yourself out as above and beyond the current trends and the market demand that pushes these trends. By not factoring in a demanded feature – who would not want the opportunity to upgrade one’s machine – Apple might soon prove that its cool persona has gone to its head and has turned into an “I know better than you” arrogant dictator of computing style. While the air of superiority and shtick might play well in a very small cult-like pool of diehard users, given the huge expansion the Apple brand has undergone in recent years, the old “we’re the cool outsider kids who know better” shtick might not play as well on main street as it did in college dorm rooms.
In addition to being non-upgradeable, it is a locked-down machine that packs a nasty punch in the wallet-a starting price tag of $2199. To be fair, the unit does pack the latest in Apple tech wizardry-high density retina display and a beefy 2.3GHz quad core Intel i7 processor with either 86B or 16GB of RAM memory. The arrogance of this configuration is that given the huge price tag, users should have modularity built in. No such luck. In essence, Apple is telling the consumer the old “take it or leave it” line. Consumers readily eat this up when they are forking over $500 for an iPad but when you are looking at a unit that is north of 2 grand, the lack of modularity starts seeming, well, dictatorial and reeks of “I know better than you.” Apple might be letting its press get to its head. And that can only be a bad thing for this company since the market is always driven by the consumer and one key consumer demand is modularity. Considering that the average life cycle of a computer is 12 to 18 months, forking over $2199 seems absurd. No wonder there are grumbles of Mac Pro users, graphics designers mostly, who are wondering if Apple has forgotten about them-the Cupertino CA-based company’s foot soldiers in Apple’s war of marketing cool. Stay tuned.