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Article: Five Products Apple Shouldn’t Stop Making

by on September 18, 2012

Sam Grobart for Businessweek thinks Apple should nix Safari, Game Center, Pages, Numbers, and Mission Control/Launchpad/Dashboard to focus its efforts on more important products, but misses the point:

So there are five things that Apple could probably shut down and no one would really notice. And they shouldn’t do it just to be more efficient: Every hour that Apple employees spend on these products is an hour they could spend on something that really deserves their attention. I even have a suggestion: iTunes. While I agree with him that iTunes needs work (this was published before last week’s event), I think each of the above products serve a purpose:

  • Safari: It’s the default browser for all Apple products, and the WebKit foundation is open source (also used by Chrome and every browser view in iOS). Although it’s market share is small, Safari is important because it gives Apple control of its own browser.
  • Game Center: As everyone has said, it’s like Xbox Live for iOS, and now Mac—the problem is that many developers haven’t been taking advantage of it because they want you to use their own system. Some have, and it’s great—you can initiate multiplayer games and keep track of scores and achievements.
  • Pages/Numbers: They’re about 3½ years old, but they serve the purpose of being an inexpensive, yet Microsoft Office-compatible productivity suite. The iOS versions are so cheap that it’s almost foolish not to get them “just because”.
  • Mission Control/Launchpad/Dashboard: Grobart argues that these are different views of your desktop, but they all are separate tools for different purposes. Mission Control is actually quite useful once you fit it into your workflow, while Launchpad is great for quick access to apps that you only use sometimes. I do agree that Dashboard could die and few would miss it, but it’s not exactly a resource-sucker for Apple.

At this point, there’s probably a few things I think Apple could rework or combine, but I think a lot of unnecessary fat has already been trimmed. One could argue the older models that are sold as low-end (iPhone 4, 4S, 4th-generation iPod touch, iPad 2) or the non-Retina MacBook Pros, but even those are beneficial for Apple’s profits right now.

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