3 products that need extra attention from Apple in 2020

When you tell someone that Apple made $90 billion in its most recent quarter, it might sound like the kind of ridiculous number that you throw out there to emphasize a huge, unthinkable quantity—but no, the company literally generated ninety billion dollars in revenue.

It was a banner quarter for the iPhone, Wearables, and Services, all areas that Apple spent a lot of time on in 2019. But as 2020 gets underway, it seems clear that there are other areas that haven’t received a commensurate amount of attention. Places that Apple’s products aren’t performing as well as they could—and not just in a financial sense. No company fires on all cylinders all the time, but with those previously mentioned areas holding their own, perhaps it’s time for Apple to show a little love to a few of its products that have fallen by the wayside.

Home is where the Pod is

What is the HomePod to Apple? In the almost two years since its release, the company still hasn’t quite landed upon an answer. It’s a wireless smart speaker, to be sure, but when it comes to what differentiates it from its competitors from Amazon, Google, and Sonos, there hasn’t been a particularly compelling argument—beyond the fact that as an Apple product, it’s simply better. (An assertion that even numerous HomePod owners, including myself, would challenge.)

If Apple does want to continue down the HomePod road, then the company needs to make some decisions. Is the HomePod simply a premium product? While it started out at a pricey $350, it’s become more and more common to see it floating around the $200-$250 range. Frankly I can’t remember the last time I saw an Apple product with that kind of deep discount.

So perhaps a lower price tag would help. While we’re at it, it might be time for a redesign. One of the biggest frustrations of the HomePod has been its physical usability: you could argue a touchscreen is “simple” but for a company that has prided itself on the way things work, the HomePod’s interface is decidedly opaque. A physical volume control would certainly not go amiss.

In general, what I’m looking for is some sign that Apple remembers the HomePod remains a product in its line-up. Perhaps 2020 will be the year that happens.

Walking and chewing gum

I’ve begun to use my iPad more and more as a portable computing device. For the things I generally need to do every day—email, web browsing, writing—it’s more than sufficient. But that doesn’t mean it couldn’t be improved, and the one place more than any other that it could use some attention is in multitasking.

Daring Fireball’s John Gruber recently elaborated on the failures of the iPad’s multitasking on the tenth anniversary of its release:

Software is where the iPad has gotten lost. iPadOS’s “multitasking” model is far more capable than the iPhone’s, yes, but somehow Apple has painted it into a corner in which it is far less consistent and coherent than the…


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