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How the old products Apple keeps around are crucial to its success

www.macworld.com
5 min read
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Why would Apple keep what could be considered outdated products in its lineup? They actually play important marketing roles.
This past week saw a slew of fancy new devices from Apple: iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watches. But as significant as the latest models in the company's lineup are, you may have also raised an eyebrow to see a few devices that not only aren't brand new but are, in fact, a few years old.

Apple has developed a strategy over the last few years of keeping its older products around, for a variety of reasons. It's a bit puzzling at times, as those products often end up looking like eyesores when put up against the company's current lineup, and yet they stick around—sometimes for years. (Remember the MacBook Pro that had an optical drive? Or the 21-inch non-Retina iMac?)

It's hard to argue with results. Apple's sales performance has been staggering in the last decade, and while we don't know how these older devices impact the bottom line, they remain an important part of the company's sales strategy nonetheless.

Nine lives

With the newest update to the iPad mini, Apple's tablet lineup has firmly moved into the modern era exemplified by the iPad Pro and iPad Air: smaller bezels, a home button-less design, flat sides.

All except, that is, the unadorned, vanilla iPad. Apple's steadfastly stuck to its…shall we say "classic" design, with a Home button, large bezels on two sides, and curved edges. If it seems like the look screams 2013, well, you wouldn't be wrong: from the outside, you could be excused for mistaking it for the original iPad Air from…2013.

There's a very good reason that the ninth-generation iPad is still in the lineup, and it's all about cost. Not just the $329 price point ($299 for education customers), which makes this the most affordable iPad around, but also in terms of what it costs Apple to produce it. As I just said, the design is largely the same as one that Apple has been making for more than eight years, which means that the manufacturing processes are well established and thoroughly tested, allowing…
Dan Moren
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