The Apple Promise To Their Customers

by Ben Bajarin   |   June 12th, 2012

I don’t normally put out an article about another article I have written but for this particular one I wanted to share it. In my weekly column for the tech section of TIME.com I wrote about what I am calling The Apple Promise to Their Customers. The line of thinking which I think is interesting is how Apple is now on an annual cadence for software releases on all their hardware. Each year Apple customers will get new features and new functionality. This is a powerful value proposition.

Here is the article give it a read and I would love to hear any thoughts.

Why Only Apple Can Promise A Better Experience To Customers Every Year

What I want to acknowledge is that some new features Apple brings out exist on other devices. Many can look at one single feature, like Maps for example, and point out that it is not new. I have heard this for years from heavy supporters of other platforms when Apple fans sing the praises of new features that have existed elsewhere for years.

This thinking misses the point because the fact that one single feature exists on another device is irrelevant to the customer who does not have that device. For an iPhone customer the fact that Android has had turn-by-turn navigation for years is an interesting but useless fact. The customer who bought an iPhone most likely knew those features existed on other devices but still choose the iPhone for a host of other reasons. The features and functions that led a consumer to choose an iPhone over other devices were probably less about one or two features but about the whole experience and package. This is why it is significant that Apple every year brings new features and even existing features to their customer base. A feature like turn-by-turn navigation may not have been important enough for a feature for a consumer to not buy an iPhone but now that it is there it sure is nice to have.

It is important to get beyond a feature by feature mindset. It is the combination of many features that make up the total experience with a device. Just because one device may have a feature the iPhone doesn’t, does not mean that device can stack up to the total experience of the iPhone. And some may argue the reverse and that is fine because my point is that it is less about a singular feature and more about many little features working together for the whole experience. If we want to debate devices lets do it on the grounds of the experience not the features.

Second, and I didn’t point this out in my TIME column, let’s not get stuck on mobile with this annual cadence. Apple is now on a yearly cadence with OSX to add new features and functionality to Mac hardware. This is not something we can say of other companies (and I am including service packs in this statement.) Consumers of Mac hardware (and there are a lot and growing fast) can be assured their hardware will get new features and functionality every single year. That is tough to find outside of the Apple ecosystem.

Sorry for writing an article about another article but I wanted to add some additional context.

Here is the link again to my TIME column.

Why Only Apple Can Promise A Better Experience To Customers Every Year

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Ben Bajarin

Ben Bajarin is a Principal Analyst at Creative Strategies, Inc - An industry analysis, market intelligence and research firm located in Silicon Valley. His primary focus is consumer technology and market trend research. He is a husband, father, gadget enthusiast, trend spotter, early adopter and hobby farmer. Full Bio
  • AnnGMorrone
  • Harvey Lubin

    “I have heard this for years from heavy supporters of other platforms when Apple fans sing the praises of new features that have existed elsewhere for years.”

    Apple sometimes comes out with features before the competition (examples: multi-touch gestures, SIRI, etc.) and sometimes they introduce features after competitors (example: turn-by-turn navigation), but in all cases Apple does it better (design, usability, integration, etc.) than the competition.

    This is certainly true of the new Maps app in iOS 6. When you compare it to what is available on other platforms, it is apparent just how much more advanced Apple’s implementation is.

  • mhikl

    I was very impressed with my Mac Molar, the last all-in-one Mac computer prior to the introduction of the iMac and my Pismo. A Power PC, the Molar shipped with Mac OS 8 and continued on with OS updates to Jaguar; the Pismo, Panther. With each of the four OS update they got better in both speed and performance. But all good things come to an end and now, my MacBook, mid 2007, is running Lion, its fourth and last OS.

    Is this the span of OS updates to Apple products? Four upgrades? It sounds good, maybe, but with the interconnection of products through iCloud then the Apple consumer will be expected to purchase new products on a regular basis. Already the first iPad may not be able to take advantage of all that iCloud will soon have to offer. I have just purchased my first Apple tablet, the third generation of the iPad. I will need a new Mac if I am to be able to live in the world of Mountain Lion and iCloud. My iPod touch is a generation late for iCloud. I would like to make an iPhone my next cellular mobile. I want a desktop Mac, the iMac or the mini rather than a notebook, but the latest computers are already a year old so I will wait until the next hardware iterations.

    If what you say about an “Apple Promise to its customers” is indeed true, Ben, and Apple intents to value us is an honest fact, then the company needs to find a way to keep its products current, longer, even if some features may be absent. I can’t share your good feelings about a company that expects me to keep all my Apple products up-to-date, and iCloud interrelated, by having to replace one of them yearly.