What most struck a chord to me was this quote:
In 2017, it feels to me like we are now well into a “design is how it looks” era, led by Jony Ive. Where new products are designed to look good in a design studio (or on an AppleStore table), and compromises to functionality are far more accepted than they ever used to be.
Which is exactly how I perceive current generation Apple products. Some of the current designs are textbook examples of a product conceived by committee.
Marketing wants the design to look amazing, unique, sleek and modern on retail store tables, with an interesting but otherwise unnecessary new feature intended to wow the masses into purchasing them.
Finance wants them built on a shoestring budget, where the cost of components and manufacturing is kept to an absolute minimum to increase margins.
Design wants the computer to fit their vision, with compact dimensions in numerous finishes to convey an emotion, the perception of a premium product and an air of sophistication and exclusivity, despite being an otherwise mass produced product.
The second to last division consulted is Engineering, who when presented with the specifications set by the preceding departments, are then tasked with fitting the masses of components, supporting hardware and cooling into a compact package. With an expectation set of better performance than previous models, the components are pushed harder, but other components such as battery size and cooling system surface area are reduced. They can't even increase the airflow volume at risk of fan noise becoming an issue. As long as the computer survives the warranty period and then some, it's not perfect, but it is sufficient.
The last group to be consulted? The customers. In the Australian market, most consumers can't even afford them! Apple computer prices are on the increase again after coming down for some time, and if trends continue, and we're almost back into that $4000-5000 territory that wasn't uncommon in the PowerBook G4 Titanium days, not including the now required accessories, cables and adapters needed to gain the same level of mobile connectivity as that PowerBook.
(Sidenote, the Apple 87W USB-C Power Adapter is the same price as the older 85W MagSafe 2 Power Adapter, but doesn't even include the damn USB-C cable in the box - that's an extra $29!)
Perhaps most telling though is whenever I need to write an insurance report for a client these days, and the current model equivalent computer is a MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, I'm often asked if they can instead trade down to a 2015 model or even sometimes a MacBook Air. Consumers used to scramble for the absolute newest computer they could get, almost as though Christmas had come early when the insurance company was paying up, but not anymore. That's saying something.