I don't suppose any company ever made money by consolidating its products, which is why we have proliferation in models, lines, and categories of virtually everything. But it strikes me that I now own and maintain four lines of products from Apple, and I probably only need one.
One that doesn't exist yet.
My four devices range from the largest and least portable to the smallest and most portable: a 27" iMac desktop computer, a MacBook Air laptop, an iPad Air tablet, and an iPhone 6+ smartphone. The cost of these assets is very significant (to me at least). And it hasn't escaped my notice that there's a fair amount of overlap in the functions of each of these devices with the one(s) next to it in the progression.
So naturally I think about how these four devices might look if they were consolidated into three, or two, or even one.
Even if the "thinking" is mere imagining.
Probably my least favorite device of the four—the laptop—is the one I need the most, because I need to have my computer with me when I travel.
And the most overlap is between the iPhone and the iPad. Of the two, the iPhone does more and is more critical, because it's a phone and gets cellular reception nearly anywhere. But my favorite device of the four is the least necessary—the iPad. I like reading on the 6+, but of course the iPad is much better for that, and I love the large touchscreen and its abilities as a photo viewer. My iPad is my e-reader. And my pal.
I think I could probably get by with a "super tablet." See what you think: I imagine an iPad of the future with sufficient power that I could use it as a desktop computer with the addition of a keyboard and mouse or trackpad—and which also works as a phone. (The iPad does work as a phone as long as I'm within Wi-Fi range.) Of course it would be much less portable than a pocketable phone, but maybe we'll be using our watches for mobile communication by then!
Power users of smartphones or laptops wouldn't be satisfied with such a compromise, but I think I would be.
The easiest way to pare down the number of devices with existing products would be to simplify to the MacBook Air and the iPhone 6+. While that would be workable, I'd really miss the large calibrated screen of my iMac and I'm sure I'd miss my iPad. I'm quite attached to the iPad...if I could have only one device and didn't have to take practical concerns into considerations, that would be the one.
And of course, as a hypothetical future device, a super-tablet would also be the best, most natural basis for a super-camera, the multi-lens computational photography camera that I suspect will one day surpass everything we have now.
Of course Apple might not like the "one device" idea nearly as much as I do. I'm sure the company would rather keep me as a customer for four separate lines of devices, all of which need to be updated regularly. When a company gets it hand into your wallet as effectively as Apple's gotten in mine, it makes sense that they wouldn't want to withdraw it voluntarily.
I'm looking forward to the possibility, in the future, of having just one device to replace the four I use now. I think it's possible. Even if it's not likely.
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