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Author Topic: Why Apple is winning.  (Read 1466 times)
perkiset
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« on: October 31, 2010, 11:15:21 PM »

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "Perk's an idiot. This should be in the Apple board."

Heh. Wrong. In fact, this post has precious little to do with Apple.

Tonight I was reading an article in EWeek about how the new breed of tablets are going to kill Apple because they have faster processors. More RAM. A USB port.

Suddenly, I realized just how vastly stupid that argument is.

Since I've had my iPad I've put it into the hands of probably hundreds of people. I have never once been asked, "Where's the USB port?" I've never been questioned about RAM. Or processor. Or the graphics card. Ever.

People are amazed that they can connect to their stuff. My stuff. Movies. Music. My entire document repository (between PinkHat and me, weighing in at around 100G), my NetFlix queue. Both my physical desktop (Mac) and my Windows 7 desktop that lives in my cloud. Pandora.

Manufacturers would have us believe that the current battle is over the device. I assert that the current battle is about connection. Apple gets it, most others don't (At least at the moment). Honestly I could give a damn about what processor is in my Pad. It will never be my primary device. My money has been spent creating an awesome machine that lives in the cloud and I can get to it and utilize it from any interface I choose, from anywhere in the world. Why do I want to put more processor or even, frankly, storage in my hands? I don't care if I have (that movie) locally or in the my movie closet - I just want to see it when I want to see it. More processor means more weight, and more likelihood that I'll have to pull the device out for the TSA goons to XRay it. More weight means my shoulders hurt more at the end of a trip.

In this case, the manufacturers pushing that it's about a faster processor are like the labels telling me that music is about the media. Your black vinyl is no longer any good. You now need streaming black magnetic tape. No, silver platters. No, silver platters that are more dense. Manufacturers are yet again assuming that people want more resolution (HD Audio) rather than convenience (thousands of songs on my MP3 player). They are WRONG. Numbers bear this out in a huge way.

Now I'm not going to even remotely deny that Apple doesn't want us to purchase the new iPad Q1 next year - or even that they are not MONSTROUSLY amazing marketers. But this is not about brand or marketing. It's about the fact that I only see Apple as really grasping what the future looks like, and building towards it. Android, as an OS is an amazing piece that could really assist in taking us there. But the manufacturers that are making use of it are going to fail miserably because they'll make it about the port that Apple doesn't have, as opposed to making my connection to my stuff so much better. I think we can all assume that all vendors want us to buy their stuff. Lots. But going past the Buy Me point, my question is, Buy What And Why?

Almost every article I read is about how someone is an Apple killer because they have wrapped up the thing that Apple missed (more speed, more storage, more ports, different vendor blah blah blah) as opposed to grasping what Apple really has - JohnQ public really could give a shit about all of that. Some will because they like to quote stats. Or connect their penis size to their engine/processor size. WGAF. The future is where I have a slim piece of connectivity that gives me everything I want. We've already seen it in a big way: the web is HARDLY comparable to a local application. Not even by a long shot. In fact, HTML5 is only JUST NOW beginning to bring to browsers what we have expected from our desktops since Windows 3.1!!! Yet people put up with it because it gives them what they want. Google provides them a quick easy way to satisfy ANY question they have, right here right now.

And the iPad is similar. And Apple gets it. That's why they are winning and that's why they are probably laughing really hard at the competitors that will try to make it about a USB port. Because at the end of the day, people will feel really let down that they have a USB port but shitty interaction with their own stuff. I honestly, HONESTLY hope that a real competitor comes up and pushes Apple. But ATM, I don't see anyone even getting in the same ballpark. So this is really not about Apple per se, so much as it's about their vision and about how misguided other manufacturers currently are. FFS, they even have a brilliant, open OS that they could do it with (Android). And yet they persist. Windows 7 mobile might be a real effort, and Microsoft will have an opportunity to control the experience ... but I don't think they have the traction at the moment to be really compelling.

Its going to be an interesting decade.
« Last Edit: October 31, 2010, 11:19:53 PM by perkiset » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2010, 01:41:17 AM »

You are 100% correct that this post does not directly concern apple, it concerns marketing.
In a nutshell, perception is reality. You do not have to create the best product, people just have to think it is the best product Smiley.
This has been demonstrated time and time again.
The past is littered with tons of better products that died out due to poor marketing. studebaker,oswarp etc.

Problem is that apple is not "winning" everywhere. In fact in some places apple is actually losing if not dead last.
Apple is playing damage control, but you can see things like philippines iphone/ipad sales below forecast,japan,korea,china,malaysia,india same story.
Typical american arrogance is to poo poo that, think that the world is 1980 and USA is still king, these countries are of no importance etc.

A good book to read is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Post-American_World
Unlike other books which are either "pro american" or "anti american" this book attempts to take the middle road.
The best statement he makes is that USA is not going down, but the rest of the world is rising up.
What are the implications of this. Already Asia,India (is india part of asia), and south america have more middle class people (in real earnings) then USA and Europe combined. What took britain 300 years to do, USA 150 years, Japan 50 years, China has done in 20.
In 10 years the middle class of asia will be 2x the size of the west. This is the market apple is losing.

Another big thing is culture. I have talked about this before, but Mr Zakaria in his book describes it far better then me.
Myth/Religion affects how cultures see things. Compare Christianity/Islam/Judism vs Hinduism/Buddism.
Judism which is the basis of all western religion. One "God" who is omni-potent and if you do not do what he saids, you go to hell.
Compare this to Hinduism. An infinite number of gods. Each "god" has its own way "beliefs". Best one I ever saw was a hindu who followed jesus. How you get to the better life there is a zillion paths.

When you see the "cultural" thing. You can see why USA has failed miserably in Asia.
Apple is using "western/american" marketing techniques that fail in Asia.
What is good advertising in USA, is shitty advertising in asia and will actually cost you sales.
I posted that Coca Cola propaganda film for philippines (1950 era) here a while back.
Examine it, how does it differ from Coke ads in USA from the same period.

"Cults" exist is asia, but no one really takes them serious including the members Smiley.
People here change their religion in the same way they change their clothes.
So this is why the "apple cult" fails in asia.
Food is the best example. Constantly they want to eat different things, try new things etc.
A casual meal has 3-4 dishes.

So Apple is "winning" in "America", but what is causing them to "win" in "America" will cause them to lose in "Asia".
Unless Apple changes its tactics they will become part of a pool that is relatively speaking getting smaller and smaller.

Anyway Perks good post. Valid points for the "american" market.
Not to say most asian's care about USB ports any more then american's do.
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« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2010, 12:14:41 PM »

There's a foundational issue with this line of thinking, imo.  Winning can only be compared to losing.  You're only either one or the other.  Apple competitors may miss large chunks of the market by not understanding the tremendous value of simplicity, consistency and best-in-class usability.  Apple may lose large chunks of the market to an ever-expanding base of tech-savvy customers who do in fact know that a certain port would be useful for them, or perhaps choose a more open platform for ideological reasons - and yes,  some feel that RAM++ = Penis++.

Yet the current market distribution and profit picture along with future predictions of same seem far less important to me than the degree in which these technologies are genuinely empowering and liberating, for all people, leveraging a long tail business model as opposed to steep entry fees and/or lengthy, misleading, predatory contracts.  I believe Apple and the current heavyweights of Android (Verizon, etc.) aren't scoring very high in this category.  The "winner" of the battle for elite technology choices enjoyed mostly by the fortunate few seems an uninteresting game to follow 

Leveraging technology to actually expand the playing field, such as offering PaaS solutions that enable small businesses to compete in their core areas competency without becoming amateur IT professionals just to keep pace with the rest of the world, is perhaps more interesting, again imho Smiley

Credit to Apple for also making the lives of complete non-technologists easier.  And Jesus Christ, I was just given an iPod Nano for hard work I did on a project at my company.  Dear Lord, you're relentless...
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perkiset
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« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2010, 12:44:57 PM »

Actually i think we a on the exact same page.

You are SPOT ON IMO about the future being about clouded apps, interconnectivity and empowerment. That's my point as well. There will be some folks that want a USB on their portable. Some may want more RAM. But the majority of people want to easily get their email and browse the web. The technical specifications of the device are considerably less important than effects and ramifications of the device.

My thought here, which lead to the hyperbolic Apple Is Winning title, is that the notion that a USB port fundamentally changes my experience is reaching, to say the least. Almost nothing I do on my pad is "local" - it's a cloud device. So when manufacturers really grasp that i want faster connectivity to my stuff or your service, they'll really start getting me.

Largest area Apple is failing and there's room to kill? Content subscription. Apple is MASSIVELY fucking up by making me purchase another version of Time every week/month rather than working a deal so that I can subscribe and be done with it. If I could subscribe to my content it'd be over. As it is, wired or time or vanity fair or popsci or whatever is a total luxury purchase and is not something I'll regularly spend on because its hugely overpriced when I KNOW that it should actually be less expensive than a printed version. Amazon is in pole position here with their new 70-30 split mechanism for periodical subscriptions.

iPod nano, eh? Do you like it? Do you have a watch band for it?   
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« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2010, 01:08:50 PM »

The iPod Nano is an amazing device.  Perhaps because it feels much like an iPad and also like an iPhone yet is the size of a geek watch, it seems miraculous.  It does, however, present me with the age old Apple quandary: it absolutely requires iTunes to be of any use. iTunes blows in Windows (imo). Therefore, much like the iPad and iPhone, it's value is dramatically improved when synched to a Mac.

That said, it still is totally amazing to have that power in such an amazingly compact form factor.  Hope I don't accidentally leave it in a pocket and find it in the dryer broken someday!  That watchband sounds like a cool idea.
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