The Android licensees think that today – but throwing out lots of mediocre products isn’t the passport to success. The lucrative end of the mobile device market is a product culture, and it pays to put more of your wood behind one arrow, or just a few arrows; the more you make, the less distinctive each one is. Android doesn’t really do anything to encourage the development and marketing of distinctive products, must-have phones that people talk about in the pub.
I agree. Where are the people who love their Android phones who aren’t computer geeks. Non-geek iPhone and BlackBerry lovers are everywhere.
Apple has always excelled at getting innovative tech out of the hands of geeks and into the hands of the large middle. First with the Apple II, then the Mac, then the Mac Portable, the iMac, the iPod, The iPhone, and the iPad. While arguments can be made that Apple was not the first to create some of these types of devices or to incorporate the technology, they were often the first ones to figure out how to move the technology out of the geek community and into a much larger one.
This is one reason Apple is such a funny fish when it comes to things like how the media treats them. There are really two types of media that covers Apple – the tech media which services the geeks and the mainstream media which services that vast middle.
When Apple comes up with something new, the tech media almost always responds with something along the lines of “Well, that is not new at all. I hand built something better and cheaper yesterday.” While the mainstream media responds with “Why is the world to we need something like that? It does not provide anything we need.”
The people that Apple does satisfy – early adopters and thought leaders – buy up all the new items but really do not have a devoted media that caters to them. So the media almost always writes the wrong narrative – with a few exceptions.
We are seeing similar stuff now with the Android narratives that are in the wind. For me, the thing to remember is that Apple is totally focussed on its customers and their experience. That is how it makes money. It is critical that the hardware create an experience that generates an emotional attachment because that sells more stuff.
Google makes money by ads. The type of hardware and the customer experience is secondary to finding ways to get eyeballs for its ads. They would be happy if everything was a cheap commodity because that means more eyeballs.
The customer experience is not on the mind of the wireless carriers – we have ample evidence to see that is a small part of any concern they have.
Apple drives the market and drives what we expect to see from hardware. When anyone else tries, they often failed. MS tried to drive Tablet computers for 5 years. No growth. Blackberry had smartphones for several years. Only a small percentage of people were willing to pay the high prices.
Just as the computer desktop looked like the Mac, just as laptops looked like the Mac Portable, just as MP3 players look like the iPod, just as smartphones look like the iPhone and just like tablet computers look like the iPad.
Without Apple, we would have a lot of mediocre products for the masses or really fancy products that only geeks used. Only Apple has been able to bridge that gap again and again and again.
It looks like on September 1 we will find out if I need to add another again to the last sentence.