Apple and the Great SKU Problem

I know I list problem solver as a skill in my Linkedin profile but this one’s a doozey and has been bugging me for a while now.

Apple has too many iPads.

I know it is considered sacred to not criticize all things Apple but I really believe they just aren’t doing the right thing here. Ok so hear me out…

Ever since the iPad was introduced, there have been two many over lapping iOS devices and too many choices. I know that choice is a good thing but in this case there is just too much.

Try this scenario for instance. A person, (how about Alex, sounds like a good name right?), walks into an Apple Store, presumably to replace one of those still in use old PC laptops that Apple says folks are hanging on to. Also remember Apple loves to remind us how 50% percent of all visitors to the Apple Store are new to Apple purchasers. So Alex has heard of these iPads, maybe even has a friend of two who has shown them one or let them used it before. Alex likes to look around first so politely tells the front store greeter this and then walks over to the iPad table. Alex is then presented with this lovely graphic, or at least the real world equivalent of one.

Screen Shot 2016-04-10 at 8.37.43 AMRight away, Alex has five models to choose from. Apple thought of this though and offers a handy Compare button on their website. I can only hope the employees in the store have an equivalent.

However this is the comparison…

Screen Shot 2016-04-10 at 8.40.26 AM

Not exactly inspiring now is it? I see one big, two mediums, and two smalls all with the same back. Looks like it’s also in some different shades of color as well. Watching my kids watch Sesame street and I know how this game is played. Aah Aah Aah, I love to count. 1, 2, 3, … 14, 15. 15 options for iPads.

But wait, there’s more!

Alex decides to check the tech specs because hey, more numbers means it’s better right?

Screen Shot 2016-04-10 at 8.45.27 AM

Or maybe not. In fact, on the website, Alex has to scroll through 16 more comparison sections. SIXTEEN, holy buckets people. On capacity and price alone there are 25 more options. And of course not all color options are available on all configurations.

Hang on a second here, let me go ask my NASA scientist wife to do some of those white board calculations and I’ll get back to you.

Ok I’m back and we calculate there are a total of 77 Apple SKU’s in this one product category alone.

Know I am no expert here but I am pretty sure our friend Alex would but like WTF Apple? You are supposed to be the easy company. Hey I know Alex, maybe like a responsible American citizen, you set aside a specific budget for this lovely new iPad and went to shop based on price. You will see there are prices ranging from $269 all the way up to $1229. So since this is your first iPad, maybe you decide you want to be a little on the simpler side and you decide $399 is what you saw in an advertisement and thats what your friend said he spent on one. This is going to be so easy now. Just give me the iPad that costs $399.

Oh. Wait.

There are three models that are $399. Oh for frak’s sake.

Ok so everyone now see’s that maybe Apple isn’t making this easy on anyone. Maybe they could do better. Being the problem solver that I am, here is my solution.

Apple should have three SKU’s. Yeah thats right you head me. I said three and I mean three.

I present to you the new and improved Apple iPad line up.

iPad s, iPad m, and iPad L. Yup, we all know what small medium and large means. Hell we buy clothes this way, french fries this way, and even Apple has always been a fan of the good, better, best model.

The iPad s.

This is what was the iPad mini 4.

The iPad m.

This is what was the new iPad Pro 9.7 inch

The iPad L,

This is what was the new iPad Pro 12 inch.

All iPads should be have cellular. All iPads should have all the same stuff in general. All the same size 64 GB space, all in silver or space grey only, just pick one Apple. They make more money of the colored cases and keyboard cases anyways. They should all have the same chip, the same general battery life, the same quality display, cameras, Touch ID, Apple Pay etc. Software is software, it naturally should also all have the same features.

And here is the kicker, they should all only be a fixed price difference for the display difference. I’d vote for $399, $549, $699.

And ok so you want a super, whiz bang, all the features model. Fine, Apple can add one more SKU and make a 12 inch with 256 GB and some slightly faster chip and make it rose gold (or better yet, ProductRED) for all I care. Have it automatically come with the keyboard and mouse and what have you. Sell it for $999 and be done with it.

So thats it. Four SKUs. No more of this 77 choices thing. What do you think? Doesn’t three, okay now four, choices make for a lot simpler experience. I’m sure that first time customer Alex would love it and I know I would.

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