Is Apple Conning Consumers?

by Chris Howard Oct 29, 2008

You can argue many things about Apple under the direction of the reincarnated Steve Jobs, but one thing that is clear is that Apple is always cutting technology before its reached its use-by date. Apple likes to force its customers along technology paths long before they are ready.

Floppy disk anyone? Remember the kerfuffle when the original iMacs shipped without floppy disks? Folks just weren't ready for that change but they begrudgingly accepted it. However, on PCs floppy drives lived on for many more years.

Apple likes to tell us "it's what consumers want". Consumers, consumer, consumers! That's what it's all about. Makes me wonder who these "sumers" are and why Apple is trying to con them.

Who uses every feature on their Mac daily? Who uses all the features of OS X? I haven't used Automator in ages, and I don't think it's overly used by consumers, so why not drop it, Apple? It's obviously just a waste of disk space since the majority of consumers aren't using it.  Kinda like that FireWire port - a waste of space since the majority of consumers don't use it.

However, as many rants on Apple discussion boards and many other forums attest, there is still a large number of folks in the MacBook market segment who are quite dependent on Firewire. But they mustn't be consumers, or maybe they're just not easily conned.

And unlike the floppy drive, which we could buy an external one if needed, there's no such alternative for Firewire users.

I'm also surprised Apple didn't replace that Firewire port on the MacBook with another USB port. How much do these things add to the end cost of the machine?! Is it really that much that Apple can't spare one?

Think about USB devices: printers, iPods/iPhones, external hard drives, card readers, DV cams, TV tuners, flash drives, graphics tablets, etc, etc.

Consider that list and consider you only get two USB ports. Let's see, one for the TimeMachine drive and one for the printer... oh dear, I'll have to get rid of my iPhone, DV cam, flash drive etc.

The Apple-droids will say monotonally say "Get a hub". You know, for the sake of just one more USB port, if I had a new MacBook I could manage without a hub. (By the way, on desktop Macs, that requirement is four, since one's automatically gone to your keyboard and mouse.)

At least the Firewire port catered for an external HDD, my DV cam and my old iPod, thus lightening the load on my USB ports. And of course, Firewire supports daisy chaining.

Before these new MacBooks, I was right on the verge of deciding it was time to invest in a MacBook. The lack of Firewire and my owning and using several Firewire devices has thrown a spanner in the works.

As much as I'd like a new MacBook Pro, they are way too expensive to consider. So it's either a Windows laptop (laughs hysterically), or a second hand MacBook Pro.

I did actually go and look at HP's site to see what the Windows world offered. I ran - figuratively speaking - screaming from there, clutching my aching head after less than a minute. There's so many options and configurations it'll make your brain explode. (A few years back I wrote a piece where I'd calculated that on a single Dell PC, Dell offered something like a trillion possible configurations. Now there's an ad for the "I'm a Mac" ad writers!)

It really made me appreciate Apple's simplified product line. However, with decisions like the removal of Firewire, those consumer and professional prouct lines are becoming too distinct from each other. Apple, we need a little overlap because not all pros are rolling in the money. Some folks are pro-sumers.

I am also concerned that all next generation consumer Macs will see the disappearance of Firewire. Maybe within six months, all those of us still reliant on Firewire will be buying (begrudgingly) MacBook Pros or Mac Pros.

Or Windows PCs. (Laughs hysterically again.)

Or start trawling eBay for good secondhand iMacs.

Because, Apple can try to con sumers as much as it likes, but some of us sumers really do want to keep using Firewire for a few more years.


  • In one paragraph, you complain about the price of the MacBook Pro. In another paragraph you wonder whether the extra Pro features missing from the MacBook affect the price.

    I guess that’s why they call the new journalism “rants”.

    Steve W had this to say on Oct 29, 2008 Posts: 10
  • Take a look at this article:

    I think you will find most of your above arguments either refuted or good justifications as to why the decisions made by Apple are as they are.

    You seem to be forgetting that dropping the floppy drive was a good choice. I can’t remember the last time I touched one.

    Not having the complexity available as in the PC world is a good thing.

    You have need of firewire, looks like the new macbook model isn’t for you. It’s a fine addition for many people, and especially the market of PC switchers who will more than likely be relying on firewire.

    Amazon still has the last generation Macbooks for sale as new.

    Apple is in competition with itself. They’ve drop highly successful products in the past. The iPod nano was dropped when it was their #1 selling product.

    I think this article will be laughed at in about 2 years.

    Christopher L. Jorgensen had this to say on Oct 29, 2008 Posts: 1
  • “I ran - figuratively speaking - screaming from there, clutching my aching head after less than a minute. There’s so many options and configurations it’ll make your brain explode.”

    Emm… what? The HP and Dell websites, while more complex that the Apple Store can (and has been) used by my mother. You can select pre-configured models, or customise it to your exact requirements. So you can choose exactly what you want.

    -First, you can select the type of laptop you want - from low-end to high-end, with the base prices shown, and a small blurb telling you some marketing stuff:

    -After that they are sorted by screen size. You then generally have a choice between a few pre-configured models, or you can click customise, and build it yourself.

    -If you choose not to customise, then you’re set, pay for it, and that’s it.
    -If you choose to customise - you can select your processor, harddrive, memory, screen type etc, whether you want a webcam/bluetooth/wireless and lots of others. You DON’T need to do this, but you can if you want. Therefore, you can get your nice Firewire port if needed.

    If choosing what type of processor you want makes your brain explode, I wouldn’t really call you a “pro-sumer”. You complain about Apple not giving you choices, and then you laugh at HP for giving you these choices…

    And finally, what a great “I’m a Mac” ad that would be. “Hi, I’m a Mac, and you have two choices if you buy me. If you don’t like either of them, then it’s your problem, not mine.” PC: “I’m a PC, I don’t try to dictate or tell you what it is you want, you can choose yourself.” GENIUS!

    bob-bob had this to say on Oct 29, 2008 Posts: 12
  • You present a partial story to support your conclusion and portray something that is not true.  All my Mac keyboards have 2 USB ports on them so there is a net gain of one.

    Aquia33 had this to say on Oct 29, 2008 Posts: 2
  • PS: and my mouse is wireless

    Aquia33 had this to say on Oct 29, 2008 Posts: 2
  • Please name a car, TV, lawn mower, refrigerator, or cell phone where (1) you use every feature, and (2) it doesn’t change over time. Or any other product for that matter that isn’t agricultural. There’s an affectation by many writers that this is all Really Important Stuff. It isn’t. It’s a product. Buy it or buy something else or buy nothing.

    Jim Stead had this to say on Oct 29, 2008 Posts: 10
  • “The Apple-droids will say monotonally…”

    Mac hating creep.

    “Apple can try to con sumers as much as it likes,...”
    How are they con-ing you creep? They told you no FW port. If you don’t like, don’t buy.

    zato3 had this to say on Oct 29, 2008 Posts: 26
  • In your article you state, “Consider that list and consider you only get two USB ports. Let’s see, one for the TimeMachine drive and one for the printer… oh dear, I’ll have to get rid of my iPhone, DV cam, flash drive etc.” Time machine is the program, the hardware is Time Capsule which uses WiFi to connect with your computer, not USB. Do you really have your iPhone, DV cam, flash drives plugged in all the time when you are at home or on the road? If I remember correctly, at the time Apple discontinued the floppy drive the only files you could get on a 1.4 megabyte disk was word processing or one digital photograph.

    sidw had this to say on Oct 30, 2008 Posts: 1
  • Wow, another comical article. I’ll give you this, you’re consistent.

    insertclevernamehere had this to say on Oct 30, 2008 Posts: 8
  • Now, If I were able to buy a FW adapter over USB2 then…oh never mind. I guess no new shiny Macbook for me this time. :(

    For those arguing the abandonment of the floppy drive, don’t go there.That was nothing compared to this. Abandoning Firewire is like Apple saying “Screw You. Go Buy a Macbook Pro” to its very devoted yet lightly endowed artists, musicians, photographers in all of us.

    Steve and Apple, if you can only hear and see yourselves in the mirror, you are starting to act and sound like the beginning of a monopolist jerk.

    Money (and loads of it) does corrupt every sane being one or another.

    Robomac had this to say on Oct 31, 2008 Posts: 846
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