Is Apple the new Honda?
As Apple has grown from “beleaguered” to a world dominating mega-corp I’ve noticed two threads running through those those that are critical of this. First there are the haters that ignore the sales of the iPhone, iPad et.al. and just say that Brand X is better because it is open or has this feature or that option. The other is that Apple is becoming the new Microsoft; domineering and arrogant. I think both of these are missing the point; reliable and average sells.
Rather than looking at the computer industry lets look at cars. Sure there are exotic products from Lotus or Atom but who sells the most? Honda, Hyundai and Toyota. What’s more the models that sell most are Civics, Corollas, and Elantras. Simple four door boxes that move people. Efficiency, reliability and ease of use sell. People may drool over a high tech Ferrari but if they want to buy high tech odds are they’ll put their money down on a Prius. Normal and reliable outsells exotic.
Look around the home. Sure some companies make wild crystal glass vessel sinks and faucets that operate by touch. At Home Depot though, they stock and sell American Standard and Moen. Oh they might keep a few wilder designs in corners and you can order them but they know that simple, reliable, white porcelain sinks and two handle chrome manual faucets are what the vast majority of weekend handymen will buy. Normal and reliable outsells exotic.
Now look at the Mac. It’s been a high quality, bit of exotica for the “artsy crowd” at least that was the perception. I talked to many people over the years that looked at a Mac, I almost convinced many of them to go with a Mac, but in the end they always went with Windows because that was “normal” and normal outsells exotic.
Apple is selling lots of iProducts not because of the specs and the features. They aren’t selling because of some quasi-religious fandom or because they are ‘sheeple’. They are selling all they can make because Apple is making high tech ‘normal’. Apple produces a good reliable product that fits the needs of most people. There are phones with bigger screens. Apple doesn’t make one but what they make fits the hands and needs of most people. There are devices with more powerful processors. What Apple makes is fast enough with enough battery life for most people. The Android Marketplace has all sorts of software that you won’t find on the AppStore. What Apple has though is good enough and safe enough for most users.
Apple isn’t any more arrogant or bullying than Toyota or American Standard. They got where they are by selling “normal”. Sure they have introduced groundbreaking products, the iPhone and iPad were revolutionary. Apple however made the revolutionary normal. This is what Toyota did with the Prius and Hybrid technology. Sure the Prius was cutting edge but it was cutting edge that a 40 year old mom with three kids could be comfortable with. The iPhone is cutting edge technology that that same mom can be comfortable with. The iPad is cutting edge that that same 40 year old mom can let her 8 year old play with and be comfortable it’ll just work. No Malware, no pop-ups asking for drivers, no problems that will take time to solve. It just works. It’s normal and reliable.
That’s, in my opinion why Apple has done so spectacularly well. They’ve made the exotic, the cutting edge into the simple, reliable, normal solutions. I’d agree that lining up for a phone is a bit odd but no more odd than the millions of people, myself included that bought a 2012 Civic despite it getting panned by the reviewers. It’s not the most exciting car on the road but it just works. It’s the same reason I have an iPad, and an iPod Touch; they just work. It’s why other brands of product will have to go a quantum level better than the comparable iProduct for me to even think of them.
Engineering is a balancing act between all the competing needs. Companies that become dominant understand this and are able to balance competing technologies and needs and put them together in a package that just works. This is what Toyota, American Standard, and Apple have been able to do and why their products are so in demand.[ Edited: 23 September 2012 02:48 PM by geoduck ]
The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of a mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one.
Something can be both artsy and reliable.
“Works of art, in my opinion, are the only objects in the material universe to possess internal order, and that is why, though I don’t believe that only art matters, I do believe in Art for Art’s sake.” E. M. Forster
Those two words differentiate Apple products from others.
15” MBPro, mid 2010, 2.66 GZ i7, 8 GB RAM, 500 GB 7200 HDD
13” MBAir, mid 2012, 2 GZ i7, 8 GB RAM, 512 GB SSD
11” MBAir, mid 2011, 1.8 GZ i7, 4 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD
2 new iPads, 64 GB WiFi/LTE
iPhones 4S, and 5, 64 GB
Great Article !
Apple’s amazing ability to come out with new innovative products and ideas are unparalleled.