I’m writing this blog from my new 15” MacBook Pro. My beloved 17” laptop died and could not be resuscitated. It turns out that, even though you spend twice as much for an Apple computer as you do for a similarly configured PC, Apple won’t repair it if it’s more than a few years old. They make you buy a new one.
I wrote a blog post about a year ago bemoaning Apple and its incessant and shameless push to ply more money out of its customers’ pockets. So why am I writing another post to levy the same charge yet again and, yet, buy another one of its products? Because when the laptop that is the center of your work universe dies you need to get up and running fast. I admit it. I bought a new MacBook.
The new MacBook’s are very light and easy to carry. That’s the good news. The bad news: The optical drive – gone. The Thunderbolt port – gone. The way-cool magnetic power cord – gone. The SD card drive – gone. The audio input port – gone. The Terabyte hard drive—gone. The keyboard with the perfect touch—gone. In their place are 4 USB-C ports. Supposedly they are the future of connectivity but try to find a portable drive or smart watch or whatever that connects via USB-C. You can’t. Or try typing a sentence on the new keyboard without hitting the wrong key. You can’t.
You don’t get to be a trillion-dollar company by being nice. But is it necessary to be a cynical, hypocrite—to perch yourself on a soapbox and tell the world that you are holier than thou? I am referring to CEO Tim Cook’s October 24, 2018 speech in which he blasted his giant tech rivals, on the world stage, Google and Facebook, for sharing their users’ personal data. Facebook doesn’t charge astronomical prices for its products. In fact, it’s free. But it has to make money somewhere, so it sells ads and with ads go personal data. Nothing is free. Over 85% of Apple’s nearly trillion-dollar business model is based on selling hardware. That 15% consists of iTunes, Apple Care, Apple Pay and cloud service. And let’s not forget that Apple collects about $9 billion from Google in exchange for putting Google’s Chrome web browser on Apple’s products.
About that 15%. It’s up over 30% over 2017. That’s due in large part to the growth of Apples’s cloud service, aka iCloud. Apple replaced its 1 TByte hard drives standard on older Macs with teensy weensy 250 GByte solid state drives (SSD’s). If you, like me and the rest of the world, try to upgrade computers you simply can’t fit all your data into a quarter of the size you once had. Burt fear not. Apple is more than happy to set you up with iCloud storage. The only problem is that only 5 Gbytes of it is free. More will cost you dearly. Microsoft has its cloud service, One Drive. But buy only one license of Office and the former Evil Empire gives you 1 Tbyte free. That’s 250 times the space of iCloud. Not a day goes by when I don’t get multiple pop-up reminders on my iPhone and MacBook that my iCloud is full, and I need to upgrade. I didn’t choose iCloud—at least not knowingly. Fortunately, Microsoft came to the rescue. It’s OneDrive App is free and easy to configure. I still have most of that 90% of that 1 TByte left over. Thank you former Evil Empire.
I almost forgot… I wrote a FileMaker database 8 years ago to run our production. It cost about $200 for two software seats. FileMaker today is $900 for five users for ONE year. Over eight years that’s an increase from $500 to $4500. Guess who owns FileMaker?
No company can reign on top forever. Not GM, not Kodak, not Toys R Us, not Blockbuster and not Apple. One hallmark of companies that have grown fat and lazy is that they rely on their market dominance to raise prices and expect that people will cough up the dough. In 2018 Apple raised the prices of all of its products 20 to 25%. That’s 10 to 13 times the rate of inflation for products that are only incrementally better than they were in 2017.