Apart from some intense font-geekery in the middle section, Gruber's post is an interesting read. (In fact, I'm just jealous that I'm nowhere near anal enough to make the font-related observations he makes.) On Apple's simple product range, he writes:
The most noticeable side-effect of the updated iPod lineup is that it’s been significantly simplified. There are now three main sub-brands: Shuffle, Mini, and regular, each with two sizes. [...]I remember thinking pretty much exactly that when I was looking to buy a PowerBook. Gruber quotes from an interview with Creative Technology (a company that produces MP3 players that compete with the iPod) CEO Sim Wong Hoo, who seems to think the exact opposite is what people want. Of course, he also wonders why Creative can't beat Apple in the marketplace. Gruber gives the example of Creative's ‘Zen Micro’ range, which has a 4, 5 and 6 GB models. “What possible purpose does it serve,” Gruber asks, “to offer a 5 GB model, other than to make it hard to decide which one to buy?” Good question.
It’s a lot easier to decide which iPod to buy today than it was a week ago. The hardest decision might be whether there’s any reason to get a 512 MB Shuffle now that the 1 GB model has been reduced to $129 [...]
This emphasis on a simplified product lineup has been a hallmark of the Jobs 2.0 Administration. For the most part, given a budget and a use case, it’s pretty easy to decide which Mac or which iPod to buy. (The hardest call to make, in my opinion, is between the iBooks and 12” PowerBook.) It seems so easy from the outside, but I suspect it’s very difficult to achieve, as evidenced by the muddied and complicated product lineups at most PC and consumer electronic companies.
For a few weeks now, I've been wanting to buy a new graphics card for my Windows XP-based PC, but I just don't know what to buy. I'm actually at the point where I've offered a friend $50 to do the research and buy the card for me, because the choice is just so overwhelming. I can't even be bothered starting. Last time I checked with him, he couldn't either. It's just too hard. And poor old Sim Wong Hoo thinks that adding things like FM radio tuners and voice recording functions to differentiate Creative's lineup further is the way to go.