By Andrew Bauer, Company President
A couple of years back I turned 40, which is the age when some lifelong friends have clearly “made it” (whatever that means). Some of them operate in the same fashion as decades past - same sensibilities, same priorities. Others have... changed. They view themselves as belonging to a higher, more privileged class. The latest victim to fall into this dreaded category is my old friend Apple.
Apple turns 40 next month, and has been a consistent presence throughout my life. At age 11, my family’s first computer was the Apple IIC. At age 19, I typed my college papers on my roommate’s Macintosh LCII. At age 28, I bought my last CD and and first iPod in the same month. But, more than just introducing me to cool new stuff, Apple was the friend who had the guts to stand up to stuffy old people and all their nonsense. Apple showed us technology and cool were not mutually exclusive. They busted the status quo and associated themselves with the bold and daring. They explicitly told us that Macintosh was “the computer for the rest of us”.
And then….they “made it”. You know the story - iPod takes off, iPhone takes off, iPad takes off. Which, at first, seemed great, right? Cool, smart visionaries beat lame, old losers - cue closing credits.
Except, my old friend has changed.
The company that originally made its name focusing on kids and education has all but abandoned that critical demographic. By restricting discounts and limiting offerings for cash strapped school districts, Apple products are now an option only for the most fortunate of schools. As a result, Apple’s market share in US K-12 has slipped to only 6% in 2015.
Apple sold out - fine. They abandoned school kids to focus on the needs of rich, high-end clientele. The truly maddening part is that they are now trying to denigrate those that can’t afford their devices!
We previously wrote a letter to Mr. Cook expressing our disappointment regarding his lack of focus on affordable computing. (Irony alert….Tim Cook’s former high school gives up on Macs). But, now, Mr. Schiller has broadly mocked all 600 million people who can’t afford Apple devices as “sad”? He said “These people could really benefit from an iPad Pro.”... “these people”!!? Out of touch is no longer the right word.
I’m sure Apple won’t miss me. Their new friends are wealthier and better looking and travel to nicer places (although, do NOT underestimate 27th Street between 6th and 7th). And those new friends will definitely love those innovative new watch bands. And that’s great for them. But, for me, it is always sort of sad to lose an old friend.