Stop the Noiz

How Does Apple Maintain Laser Focus with 40+ Products?

Frank Fox - 2012.08.15 - Tip Jar

I was clearing off my desktop at work when I came across this old Dilbert cartoon. The Boss talks about how the company has 25 focus areas for the next year. Asok replies that no company would be dumb enough to have that many different areas of focus.

I'd kept the cartoon because my own company sometimes has too many areas that it wants to focus on.

Apple's laser-like focus on qualityThen the truth hit me that having many critical projects is just a part of being in business. Even Apple with its "laser-focus" must have a bunch of products that it has to focus on every year.

So I stopped by Wikipedia for information on Apple's products. I reorganized the information into a simple list and counted the number of products.

Apple's Product List

5 Computer Categories (not including all the possible options)

  1. Mac mini
  2. iMac
  3. Mac Pro
  4. MacBook Pro
  5. MacBook Air

8 Computer Accessories (not including cables and connectors)

  1. AirPort
  2. Time Capsule
  3. Thunderbolt Display
  4. Magic Mouse
  5. Magic Trackpad
  6. Wireless Keyboard
  7. Apple Battery Charger
  8. Apple USB SuperDrive

4 iPod Products (not including cases, cables, etc.)

  1. iPod shuffle
  2. iPod nano
  3. iPod classic
  4. iPod touch

3 Other Devices

  1. iPad
  2. iPhone
  3. Apple TV

16 Software Products (not including the many free programs that come with MacOS X, e.g. Calculator, TextEdit, Preview, iDVD, etc.)

  1. OS X Mountain Lion
  2. iMovie
  3. iPhoto
  4. GarageBand
  5. Keynote
  6. Pages
  7. Numbers
  8. iTunes
  9. QuickTime
  10. Safari
  11. OS X Server
  12. Apple Remote Desktop
  13. Aperture
  14. Final Cut Pro
  15. Logic Pro
  16. Motion

4 Internet Stores and Services

  1. iTunes
  2. App Store
  3. Mac App Store
  4. iCloud

Apple has at least 40 products that it has to focus on that need to be updated regularly. This doesn't include the iPad Smart Case or the latest "Red" iPhone bumper for the iPhone 4 and 4S. These are one-off development accessories, but someone had to focus their time to develop them.

Big companies (like Apple) have a lot of products, but they have thousands of people (about 47,000 employees) to handle the focus on so many products at the same time. Even with thousands of employees, not every product is updated each year. Apple cannot ignore any for too long, or people will complain.

Other Apple business that gets honorable mention: retail stores, online stores, iAds for mobile advertising, Boot Camp, Apple Developer Program, Xcode, the annual Worldwide Developer Conference, and support for various open source and standards development. Imagine what would happen if Apple lost its focus with this many important products and businesses to manage.

It would become another Microsoft. LEM

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