There is no denying that among the world’s tech giants like Samsung and Microsoft, Apple is indeed the largest tech company in the world with $293.3 billion in sales and $2.3 trillion in market value as of 2021. Now someone might question, “How is Apple this successful and profitable when they release so many versions of the same products?”
This particular question may ring true for many people who’ve bought tech products from Apple’s competitors that are ahead of the curve or offer more to its users. But there are several reasons why Apple has so many similar products AND are still more successful than their competition.
Variety Of Options
The first and most obvious reason behind Apple’s numerous similar products is to provide a wide avenue of choice for both their potential and their invested customers. Whether they’re choosing between different generations of a product line or different versions of the same model, small differences are still big factors in customers’ purchasing decisions.
Let’s quickly look at the latest iPhone, the iPhone 13, and compare two versions of this specific model: the base model and the Pro version. Priced at RM3,899 and RM4,899 respectively, the base model lacks the Pro model’s telephoto lens, various extra camera features, a high refresh rate display and a faster CPU chip.
These differences may not mean much to the average customer but these features are very appealing to those with interest in high-fidelity image and video capture. Meanwhile, the average customer can opt for the latest iPhone without shelling out an extra RM1000 for features irrelevant to them.
Familiarity In Design
Another more salient reason why there are so many similar Apple products is because they're intentionally designed to be similar to one another. Since the inception of the company, Apple’s successes have been driven by following the late Steve Jobs’ design philosophy of simplicity for Apple products.
Apple products’ proprietary operating system, applications and intuitive navigation make it so users can easily navigate any Apple device with little to no trouble. This overall familiarity of Apple products is made doubly effective with the AppleID system, which allows users to share their data such as purchases and files across their Apple devices.
In short, let’s put it this way: if you know your way around an iPad mini, then you’ll likely be instantly familiar with an iPad Pro.
Apple has been developing products for decades snice its founding in the 1970s and is nowadays strongly recognized for their incremental improvements to their products. After all, we’ve come a long way from Apple’s first iPhone in 2007 to the iPhone 13 released last September.
Let’s look at a different example for this point with the improvements on the MacBook Air from the 2017 model to the M1, 2020 model. Where the former made use of an Intel CPU chip, the latter now houses a proprietary Apple chip.
We can also see a jump from the 2017 model to the latest 2020 model in memory (8GB to 16GB), storage (512GB to 2TB), battery life (12 hours to 18 hours) and more. Year after year and model after model, Apple has continued to improve on their product lines with substantial changes that consistently appeal to loyal customers as well as new ones.
For a more subjective but nonetheless relevant reason, the numerous existing iterations of their iPads, iPhones, Macs and assorted accessories are part of Apple’s brand recognition. Over the decades, Apple has developed a massive global audience that is dedicated to Apple as a brand.
They anticipate for and watch Apple’s events and announcements for new products. It is not just standard practice for Apple as a company to release new versions of existing products on an annual basis; it’s what their audience is waiting for.
Potential For Profits
And the last reason of note as to why Apple has sold and continues to sell so many similar products: they always make money. As stated previously, Apple now has a dedicated audience of customers, the most relevant to this topic being those who are willing to buy in on the various versions.
In addition, with the continuing advent of their Apple digital ecosystem made up entirely of Apple products and software, customers from around the world have become invested in whatever Apple sells. In other words, once they’ve bought one or two Apple products, they’ll want to buy more.
To conclude, Apple as a tech company and as a brand has stood to benefit so far from having most, if not all, of their products be so similar to one another. This shouldn't be too surprising; it's Apple after all.