Apple Focuses on Adding Value to Our Lives - Competitors Don’t

| Editorial

When the corporate need for wealth, fueled by pervasive advertising, outstrips the funds and time of customers, there is technological pushback. That's when customers start looking more carefully at the concept of value, and that's why they love Apple.

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The customer base of funds available for tech products is not infinite. Wages are not rising as fast as companies need to grow, and that's causing, it seems, customer behavior to change.

The Great Pushback

I read a lot to keep up with current affairs, and what I think I'm seeing is a mild technological pushback. The relentless creation of demand, via advertising, is overwhelming people. In turn, they are turning to things of stronger value, like Apple products and turning away from things that don't contribute to their lives in a valuable way.

The pushback against Google Glass is one example. Whether it's justified or not, Glass is perceived as all that's wrong with modern society: rich techno-geeks spying on every day people. In this story, a bicyclist jeers at a BBC journalist wearing Glass: "It’ll never catch on."

Another example is cord cutting.  While not yet pervasive, it gets a lot of press because of its everyman allure. If one can save money and acquire entertainment on one's own terms, it's a win. Denying the cable or satellite company just feels so good.

Banking on Apple

When I think of the things Apple provides, they are not always excessively flashy, but they are fundamental to human lives. The iPad delivered millions from the tyranny of PCs and Windows. Apple appears to have a strong interest in helping us monitor our health and fitness thanks to persistent leaks about the iWatch. Apple has always focused on the positive aspects of life: music, FaceTime and family, movies of our children, photo albums, and the security of our computing devices. Despite recent spin.,Android remains a strong and viable target. Not so much with the iPhone.

Nowadays, Apple is even paying dividends on its stock, a stock that's about to become a lot more accessible to everyday people thanks to the announced 7-1 stock split. Dividends are something real and valuable that a person can take to the bank.

Apple retail stores are always crowded, but not because people have a materialistic obsession with geek toys. They are there, in my experience, because they know they can find elegant solutions to their life problems that have real value.

Companies that compete against Apple have a tough time providing value the way Apple does. In my opinion, Samsung's ultimate goal is to one-up Apple, at any cost, in financial success by mimicking Apple's products. Google's ultimate goal is to wedge past our privacy so that it can sell advertising. Microsoft's ultimate goal has been to ensure the prolonged success of Windows and Office, and it has built hardware to promote that agenda, not to delight customers.

Apple, on the other hand, understands that not every technology that can be created has value. That's why Steve Jobs, and now Tim Cook, have said "No!" to a lot of gadgeteering.

Next: Authentic Value

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Comments

Þorvarður Bergmann Kjartansson

Wow… I have so much I’d like to say but I feel like whatever I’d say, people will gang up on me and call me names. Like a fanboy or something.

skipaq

Nothing wrong with being a fan. Once again John provides good insight on a difficult set of features to quantify. Looking ahead to more of the value products Apple is working on. And yes the dividend is a nice little bonus for us each quarter.

wab95

John:

To your two clever tricks, I would add ‘specs’ to ‘features’, such as competitors providing a camera with more megapixels than that on the iPhone.

Whether or not the savvy consumer articulates this to themselves, they recognise that features and specs, however impressive on paper, either seldom make an appreciable difference in device performance, and even when they do, still fail to provide a whole solution to the end user’s problem. The end user is still left to themselves to figure out how to solve, for example, the integration of their digital data across all devices, or how to harden their system against malware and theft. What tech experienced consumers are looking for are solutions to common problems, and not a geek-fest of features and specs, however impressive.

This has been one of the more common complaints I have heard from people who have switched from another product to an Apple solution.

geoduck

and turning away from things that don’t contribute to their lives in a valuable way.

A good insight. Speaking for myself I always look at what a product will do for me rather than if it is trendy, is it popular, is it ‘in’ right now. It’s a balance between benefits and costs. Not just monitory but overall; what do I need to do to maintain, carry around, and support, the product. It’s why I have always owned Macs; I was spending my days fixing Windows systems so I sure as heck did not want to do that at home. Macs just needed less support.

Interestingly the question of if a device would contribute in a meaningful way is also why I don’t own an iPhone. I carry around an iPad instead. I nearly don’t need to carry a phone at alI as I get maybe two calls a month on my four year old LG phone. For roughly the same money as an iPhone I got a bigger screen on a system that will run iPhone apps and more. I have Skype and FaceTime and Messaging, and e-mail, and such on a screen that’s easy to read. Not to mention the work and game apps that run on it too. My work, home, and everywhere else I haunt has WiFi so connectivity is not an issue. The phone I do have is on a minimal month to month service with no data so it’s dirt cheap.

Cost/Benefit wins again.

mrmwebmax

+

Another way that Apple adds value is TCO. Apple products simply last longer and have longer serviceable lives than competitors’ products. I think this is especially true with Macs vs Windows machines.

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