Apple’s MacBook Trouble is a Cautionary Tale – Barron’s
Apple might want to pay attention to how its products have performed in some recent rankings — especially ahead of its next iPhone launch.
Just a few days after Microsoft’s Surface beat out the iPad in J.D. Power’s tablet customer satisfaction survey, Apple’s MacBook line tied for fifth place in Laptop Mag’s annual rankings of laptop brands.
The Macbook had occupied the top spot since Laptop Mag started its rankings in 2010. The publication blamed Apple’s “modest review scores, expensive products and lack of ports” for the big drop.
This isn’t the first bit of ratings trouble for the latest MacBook Pro. Consumer Reports initially pulled its recommendation for the new laptop, pushing Apple to make a software tweak related to battery life. Consumer Reports restored its recommendation soon after.
Consumers have been relatively patient with Apple in the past as it forced them to buy brand new accessories after the company changed ports, all for the sake of innovation. Apple loyalists begrudgingly bought Lightning cords, then Lightning headphone adapters, and seemed willing to put up with these extra costs on top of already expensive products in order to have the best Apple experience.
The latest MacBook Pros only have USB-C ports, which means dongles and more dongles. The change also means older MacBook power adapters can’t be used for the new computers. Apple isn’t exactly going out of its way to smooth the transition — in a rather galling example of forced accessory buying, an extra power adapter for the 13” MacBook Pro costs $69. And that only gets you the “brick.” A USB-C charging cable will set you back another $19.
It’s rumored that the upcoming iPhone 8 might switch to a USB-C port or a “Smart Connector” that would enable wireless charging and connected VR accessories. While wireless charging sounds good, it would probably mean even more accessories to buy (for a phone that could cost upwards of $1,000).
Innovation is great, but Apple has competition on that front. As the company prices out the next generation of iPhones — and its accessories — Apple would be wise to see the latest MacBook rankings as a cautionary tale.
Big Picture: Apple’s MacBooks tumbled in Laptop Mag’s new ranking, due to “modest review scores, expensive products and a lack of ports.”