Unlike the vast majority of its rivals on different markets, Apple keeps its product lines very narrow and simple. Some say it limits their choice, other see this as a benefit since they essentially get the premium capabilities across the whole product line. Tim Cook, chief executive officer of Apple, said in an interview that the company will keep this approach going forward.
“We know that we can only do a few things great. […] That is a part of our base principle, that we will only do a few things. We will only do things where we can make a significant contribution. I do not mean financially. I mean some significant contribution to the society at large. You know, we want to really enrich people’s lives at the end of the day, not just make money. Making money might be a byproduct, but it is not our North Star,” said Tim Cook in an interview with BusinessWeek.
Back in the nineties, Apple only offer Macintosh personal computers and from time to time attempted to roll-out devices that were supposed to change the market, but never did. When Steve Jobs rejoined the company in 1998, he scrapped the majority of insignificant products to concentrate on Macs and later on the revolutionary iPod personal digital media player.
Since the early 2000s, Apple has greatly expanded its product line in general and each product line in particular. All the major products that the company makes can be put on one table. This allows the firm not only to create well-thought designs, but also to make products cost efficiently thanks to the fact that they are very similar to each other.
“Well, we have few. You could almost place every product that we [make] on this table. I mean, if you really look at it, we have four iPods. We have two main iPhones. We have two iPads, and we have a few Macs. That’s it,” added Mr. Cook.
Many industry experts believe that lean product line is something that other hardware companies have to learn from Apple. Compact product line greatly simplifies the choice for end-users and allows Apple to offer leading-edge capabilities on both entry-level and high-end products.