What I love about Apple’s Strategy

Ben Bajarin / January 3rd, 2014

I see many headlines cross my twitter stream that say something along the lines of what Apple should do in 2014. I always find these to be entertaining ramblings that never amount to any useful information about Apple’s strategy or yield market insights to back up the writer’s opinion with valid data as to why such a move would make sense to Apple.

In summary, the big moves for Apple in 2014 people seem to think “Apple” needs to do are:

  1. A TV
  2. A smart watch
  3. A bigger iPhone
  4. A bigger iPad

Let me just say, don’t be surprised if Apple releases none of these things in 2014. Pundits and critics will hoot and holler that Apple has gone stale and other non-helpful online banter. Getting to the crux of why pundits errors reveals what I love most about Apple’s strategy.

Apple has customers not competition

The broad claims that are made about what Apple should do are almost always based a round competitive reasons. Folks claim that because Apple’s competition is doing something that Apple should also or they will lose. Yet what I love about Apple’s strategy is that it is never around what the competition is doing. Apple marches to beat of their own drum. This is fundamentally mis-understood by so many. In fact, Apple’s strategy is best understood within the view that internally they literally believe they have no competition ( I personally believe this also but that’s the subject of a much longer essay.) Apple has customers not competition. The decisions they make as a company are not based around what their competition is doing but around what is best for their customers. Like it or not, this is their strategy.

Entering markets simply because perceived competitors do is not Apple’s strategy. If entering a new market is the best way to serve Apple’s customers needs then they will do it but not because someone else is doing it. Execs at Apple may take a deeper look at competitors strengths and weaknesses but I am convinced their strategy is developed and set as if they have no competition. What is good for Apple may not be good for others and vice-versa.

Apple May have a bigger TV strategy up their sleeve. But their efforts will be defined by the needs of their customers not by what their competition is doing. Apple may launch a wearable product of some kind but not because their competion is but because it serves the needs of their customers. The same is true with a bigger iPhone and iPad. All the things Apple does strategically is intended to meet the needs of customers and round out their ecosystem. Trying to think about Apple in the same way of any other tech company is to instantly think about them wrongly. Their strategy is uniquely Apple

It’s bold. Some may call it arrogant. But it works.

Ben Bajarin

Ben Bajarin is a Principal Analyst and the head of primary research 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 and he is responsible for studying over 30 countries. Full Bio
  • Scott Sterling

    How interesting that Apple’s strength (as Tim Cook says, “Our customers love our products”) is exactly Microsoft’s problem (hardly anyone “loves” their products).

    As both a customer and an investor, that’s what I’m going with.

    • Gary Brockie

      In general I hate Microsoft products. Windows itself is the worst. Windows always makes even the smartest user frustrated and feeling stupid.

      I would venture that Xbox is probably their best product in terms of user satisfaction.

    • hannahjs

      And when you love someone (and they love you) you tend to return to them.

      Working with Microsoft for years, for some of us, was akin to a loveless personal relationship. Once a way out was found, there was no thought of leaving the fresh air to return to a stifling cubicle.

      Retention of their customers, attracting switchers, and seducing first-timers, have consistently worked in Apple’s favour. Love, or something very like it, underlies Apple’s pattern of growth.

      • stefnagel

        Did Microsoft ever want love? or just fearful respect?

        • Shawn Dehkhodaei

          They’ve always been about coercion …. getting the CIO or the CTO to sign off on their products …. lobbying the government organizations with bribes so that they would sign their contracts …. it’s always been greedy and sleazy business practices; right from day one !!!

          • klahanas

            “They’ve always been about coercion”
            Yes they were. As contemptible as that is, the App Approval Process on iOS is even worse.

  • actually

    “All the things Apple does strategically is intended to meet the needs of customers.”

    The same can be said of Amazon.

    • Shameer Mulji

      yeah but this article’s not talking about Amazon. It’s talking about Apple.

    • stefnagel

      Maybe. But, as Horace Dediu points out, customers are the ones who actually hand over the cash. Re: Google, its users are not its customers. Google’s customers are advertisers. Re: Amazon, its primary customers are Wall Street stockholders; they have been throwing money at Amazon like drunks at a pole dancer for over a decade. Hmm. More like their pet Frankenstein monster; they get to watch it wreck at will.

      • steve_wildstrom

        No, Wall Street investors are not Amazon’s customers. The fact that Wall St. is happy with Amazon’s profitless existence makes it easier for management–there’s no pressure from angry stockholders and it is easy to use shares as currency in acquisitions, not that Amazon is actually a big acquirer. But Amazon derives no direct benefit from a rising stock price.

        No, I think the fact is that investors are happy with Amazon’s business model in which it, rather than piling up a mountain of cash like Apple, reinvests the bulk of its operating income in growing the business.

        • stefnagel

          Investors are, in fact, customers. Believe it. You can argue they aren’t Amazon’s primary customers. Analogically, nonprofits that succeed understand that donors are customers. Follow the money: Anybody that shows up at your door with a wad of cash is a customer. Separating them from the cash is the core task of a profitable company. If you don’t believe it, ask Bezos. He knows. He’s played Wall Street like a fiddle for a decade.

        • Shawn Dehkhodaei

          I would disagree … The problem is that AMZN is held to a different standard than literally everyone else on the NASDAQ or other exchanges. Amazon is defying the basic tenets of financial solvency and stability. And why is it that Wall Street is making an exception for them? That’s been a mystery to everyone.

          And indeed, if Wall Street punished Amazon in the same way that it does for every other company, then Amazon WOULD NOT be able to sustain their current business model (which is not financially sound).

          Do you think Walmart or BestBuy would survive on Wall Street if they employed the same strategy? No, they wouldn’t. But somehow Amazon gets away with it.

          And their operating income over the past 15 years, averages out to ZERO, so no, they haven’t been investing that into the company; they’ve been issuing shares to their employees and generating cash from selling the shares.

          • steve_wildstrom

            You cannot generate cash by issuing employee stock options or giving incentive stock payments. The accounting doesn’t work. Over the past three years, Amazon had about $12billion in operating cash flow and about $8 billion in cap ex.

  • stefnagel

    I see a chain or of factors behind any Apple product/service: Customer, Creativity, Cost, Content. it’s a molecule, not an atom: C-C-C-C.

    Apple fulfills customer needs, as you write, absolutely. And it meets needs an especially magical, creative way. But Apple knows that reverse engineering will whip out the creative edge within weeks, so it captures technology to buy a year or two during which time competitors cannot get or cannot afford technology at costs Apple can. Finally, Apple fuels its product launches with content. That’s tunes, shows, apps, books. Whoever imagined five years ago that app would become popular, consumer digital media?

    Quite Aristotelian: The four Cs are Aristotle’s four causes: final, formal, material, efficient. Kinda.

    • klahanas

      For the record, C-C-C-C would be a highly unstable molecule. The only thing that would hold it together IS “magic”. 😉

      • stefnagel

        Yep. So it is in life. That’s what makes Apple unique. )

        • klahanas

          And hence the “magic”! 🙂
          Now build me some DNA that way, and I’ll call Stockholm.

  • DarwinPhish

    Though I generally agree with what you are saying here, there is a flaw in your reasoning (or maybe there is just an issue of semantics). There is a difference between serving existing customers and attracting new customers that you target. I think Apple’s strength is that they have identified their total potential customer base and is focused on trying to serve this group. I also believe Apple thinks it still has lots of opportunities in its targeted markets. On the other hand, there are other customer groups out there that Apple has little or no interest in serving.

    • benbajarin

      I’d propose that by following this strategy, laser focusing on meeting your customers needs, that it is in fact a strategy as well to acquire new customers. Hence the reason the iPod was a halo product to the Apple ecosystem. So I believe the iPad will be as well for a broader computing audience. But it all starts with focusing on customers needs.

      • DarwinPhish

        I was trying to make the distinction between existing customers and customers in general. History is full of businesses that failed despite listening to and serving their customers. Apple take a very customer centric approach but does not limit themselves to just focusing on existing customers.

    • Jay

      Current customers tend to talk about their products. If some are like me they tend to sound excited somewhat like Steve Jobs when introducing a new product. Word of mouth advertising may be slower than traditional advertising but then the tortoise did eventually….

    • Bruce_Mc

      “On the other hand, there are other customer groups out there that Apple has little or no interest in serving.”

      Apple wants to make life better for everyone on earth. This has been true since the company was founded – they have always wanted to make the world a better place to live. I believe there are no limits to who Apple perceives as their customers.

      • Quicksingle

        Apple does not want to make life better for everyone on earth. They deliberately do not go chasing anything but the premium end of the market. For example it is Google, Nokia, Microsoft and others that is introducing the internet to 100`s of millions of people for the first time. Apple has no interest at all in billions of people on earth.

        • Bruce_Mc

          Apple’s philosophy is to change the world for the better. How did Google and Android manufacturers learn how to make low cost phones and tablets that people want? How did Microsoft learn how to make GUI computers? From Apple.

          Making money is important to Apple, seemingly more so than to Google (in the phone and tablet business), Nokia, or Microsoft. Apple won’t sell products that don’t make money, and they won’t sell what they consider to be watered down products. One measure of watered down is how people use their products, and a lot of Android phones get used like dumb phones. No big change is happening there.

          But if Apple can make people happy and make money on a low cost product they will do so. The iPod shuffle is a good example.

          • DarwinPhish

            Your view is clearly US/Western centric. An iPod shuffle is not a low price/low cost product. If you want an example of a low cost (yet still profitable) device that can really make difference to hundreds of billions of people, take a look at something like the Nokia 105.

          • Bruce_Mc

            That Nokia 105 is an amazing device. I agree with you, Apple is not trying to do what that phone is trying to do.

      • DarwinPhish

        Well, they want to but they don’t and there is really no indication they are trying to. Apple’s products are inaccessible to over 80% of the people of the world, many of whom need all the help they can get. At best you can say Apple wants to make great products which help make the lives’ of their customers better.

  • TheEternalEmperor

    Better watch it, Ben. With a title like that, you’ll be accused of being
    1) Angry
    2) Running an Apple propaganda site.

    • benbajarin

      🙂 and to think I took well more than a month off from writing anything specific about Apple the company.

      • Your column is fully on target, Ben. I admired the musings of your Dad during the dot com boom and bust era.
        Clearly you’ve absorbed some of his wisdom 😉

        Your forum is an impressive one, attracting a diverse mix of savvy tech gurus. How refreshing to see opinions emphasized as the core of your site. Thank you for your efforts and keep up the good work!

  • Mauryan

    Apple must enter the medical industry, simplifying things and help reduce cost of medical care. This is the frontier that has been left untouched. In fact, Google too can make a huge contribution in the medical field. With its strength in database, imagine someone whose medical records are available to any doctor or any hospital or paramedic with his approval. Today when people change doctors, the system is so archaic that paper records get transferred by mail and fax, patients lose information on which doctor they say for what, what surgeries they had etc. Sometimes patients hide their medical records which can make diagnosis hard. Having a national level database will help reduce red tape and bureaucracy. It will reduce medical costs tremendously. Apple can focus on the gadgets and Google can focus on the data streamlining and the nation will benefit tremendously from it.

    • klahanas

      “Apple must enter the medical industry”
      If only cancer and heart disease could be cured by “forbidding” them. Of course, I jest.
      On a more serious note, I don’t think Apple has a track record in the required fields to achieve that properly. They had trouble with MobileMe remember? The databases and systems required are more of a Google, or Oracle, or IBM kind of thing.
      Even so, Apple sticks “religiously” to their platform. What do you do about non-iOS device patients? Never mind, don’t answer that… 😉

      • Tderixes

        Que.

    • steve_wildstrom

      Tech companies without a health care background have generally not done at all well when they have tried to enter the market. One reason is that companies such as Apple, Microsoft, and Google lack experience in working in highly regulated industries. A lot of healthcare purchasing is done by third parties, that is, a provider or insurance company makes a purchasing decision on behalf of a patient, and that too is an environment they are not used to. Google and Microsoft both tries to enter the personal health information business and left with their tails between their legs. The Google-backed startup, 23 and Me, has run into serious regulatory problems.

      Bottom line: I don’t think Apple has any intention of getting into health care.

      • Mauryan

        No one knew the impact Apple was going to make in the phone industry. There was no inkling how Blackberry and Nokia would end up within a span of five years after Apple introduced the iPhone. And then the iPad came and pushed the once dominant PC industry to the side. Apple can always make a deep impact in an industry by introducing a product that no one had ever perceived of before. Though a lot of credit is given to Steve Jobs for introducing the iPhone, he was only the face of the company. It was not his idea or creation. Much like Al Gore is credited with the “invention” of the internet, Steve Jobs is portrayed as the genius who invented all these devices. Apple still has those real geniuses who were really responsible for making the iPhone and the iPad. They surely can make a device to make a dent in the medical industry. And then a bigger one. Within five years, Apple can cut huge inroads. There is not much left in the PC/Cell Phone/Tablet arena to improvise radically. All they will do is change the size, curvature, color, pixels, and other software based innovations. Companies like Samsung will take over and grind it down to the bottom. Apple has to move in a new direction. They are already entering the auto industry. I am surprised Apple has not entered the audio receiver / surround sound system yet. They could give a heartache to Bose if they do.

    • Kris

      Health care is one of those industries, like pretty much all industries where if they choose to use their products that’s great. I think Steve Jobs said in one of his All Things D interviews, that they like to sell to end users, and big corporations and government of which the health care industry is part of have people buying the products who aren’t necessarily the ones using them, and they have checklists and regulations and requirements that Apple has no interest in trying to accomodate, and they shouldn’t, we have all seen how this has tied Microsoft’s hands. Apple will make products that could be useful in the health care industry such as the iPad and iPhone have proven to be, and if they get into wearables as Tim Cook has hinted at, those devices could possibly have sensors which could make them useful in the health care industry, and if they choose to buy them then that’s great, but I don’t see them making anything that is specific just to the health care industry, their customer is and has always been the consumer, that being said another thing Steve said in that interview was something along the lines of “we don’t actively go looking for their business but when somebody wants to buy our products we hardly ever say no.”

      • Mauryan

        May be Apple’s entry can change the way things work. Apple hit the cell phone industry and the music industry and completely changed the way both worked before. And by introducing the tablet, it has shifted the PC industry itself.

        • steve_wildstrom

          Health care compared to personal tech is an aircraft carrier compared to a fishing skiff. It is very hard to move, and the FDA, as 23 and Me learned, is conservative and very slow moving. Apple has had a significant impact at the edges. It has sold and enormous number of iPhones and iPads to docs and many of the most expensive items in the App Store are professional medical apps. There are also a number of hardware add-ons, such as the AliveCor EKG that are regulated Class 2 medical devices.

        • Bruce_Mc

          Structural change of the music industry and phone industry by Apple is minimal. Musicians still must deal with recording companies, which exist much as they did before iTunes came along. Phone users still must deal with carriers, and that relationship hasn’t changed much since the introduction of the iPhone. The Computer industry gets shifted all the time, because it is new. DEC and then Microsoft shifted the industry before Apple did.

          I understand that Health Care does work in some parts of this world. I think you want Apple to fix health care in the United States. That would require taking over the US government, as well as taking on the drug industry and the AMA. It’s not gonna happen, and it is way outside Apple’s core competence.

  • Space Gorilla

    I think we’re going to see at least a year of iteration, maybe more, as Apple continues to increase the power of the ‘engine’ (iPhone/iPad), and then offers computing accessories once the engine is powerful enough.

    • Quicksingle

      I think you mean to say another year of iteration.

      • Space Gorilla

        Yep, I thought that was fairly clear.

  • gavin

    YES YES thanks Ben – great view!

  • Gary Brockie

    Ben…

    You are one of the few analysts that get Apple.

    The chief reason that Apple has fanatically loyal customers is that there products are designed and refined to be the best user experience for the end customer. Apple’s penchant for control is not madness at all. This is one of the tried and true methods Apple uses to insure a premium experience for their customers. Bottom line Apple is all about the end user. Their customers love their products.

    This business culture did work against Apple in terms of market share in the PC dominated world. If Apple marketed the Mac the way the PC was made and marketed Apple might have gained some market share in the PC space. However they would also have lost most of their profits, the hardware business (already the PC business was a commodity business), and their fanatically loyal customers. Even though observers at the time thought Apple was foolish to operate the way they did, Apple’s focus on the user has always been their best strategy. What else should a business focus on besides their customers product experience? What could be more important?

    I just wonder if Microsoft who seems to want to reinvent itself as Apple understands this.

    • Adam Burrell

      This is absolutely one of the most sane takes on Apple I’ve ever seen outside of John Gruber.

    • stefnagel

      In fact, Apple did license its OS to third parties back in the nineties. Jobs ended these agreements when he returned.

      • Makako

        I remember those times. Biggest issue is that the clones were actually hurting Apple. It was expected that cone makers would market the Mac OS to new user bases, but there was no such conditions on the licensing deals.

        This meant that the lazy clone makers just bothered to promote their offerings on existing mac-centric publications, in other words: they were just stealing Apple’s costumers, not making new ones.

        It did not help that Power Computing was making better macs than Apple was, at a lower price at that!

        Since Apple was barely doing any money on the OS, and most their profits came from hardware, this was a very bad thing for them.

  • Jay

    Thank you Ben..Succinctly put.

  • Adam Burrell

    Amen. I’ve said for years that Apple’s entire focus is on its customers and it’s products. Their goal is to enrich lives by building what they believe is the best product experience for their customers. They simply want their products to love their products. If that happens, market success will follow. They don’t run the race with the competition. They challenge themselves.

  • sir1963nz

    These markets “Apple must enter” are from the same people who said Apple must enter the Netbook market, and we all now know how long that market lasted.

    • Bruce_Mc

      A netbook is a step down in price, size, and power from a Notebook computer. It is also a step down in terms of customer happiness. Many netbooks were returned because they did not meet the expectations of those who bought them. Sales people I talked to in stores told me this. They did not like selling Netbooks – they had to warn the customers about the poor performance.

      Apple’s iPad is a step down in price, size and power from a MacBook. It is definitely not a step down in terms of customer happiness. Apple waited to enter the low priced portable computer market until they had something to sell that would make people happy.

      • AhmadZainiChia

        As one writer once put it, Microsoft’s view on their computing products is: “We’ll let you do whatever you want, even if it sucks.” Apple’s is: “No we won’t let you do that, because that would give you a sucky experience.”

        The iPad COULD have a file system, multi-windows, etc. But it would suck, or as you say, reduce the experience.

        The netbook actually was a good idea: a lower powered computer, mainly designed for web and light tasks. It’s successor is the Chromebook; underpowered, and restricted in its usage/features so as to maintain user experience.

        • Bruce_Mc

          I think the Chromebook is designed to make IT directors happy more than it is designed to make users happy. I think it needs more apps and games in order appeal to users. The iPad runs a heck of a lot of apps and games. It may be the least restrictive and easiest to use of any of Apple’s computers.

          • matthewmaurice

            I think the Chromebook is designed to be the most cost effect data acquisition tool for “The Algorithm” and presentation medium for the ads it drives.

  • Ralph C

    fact, Apple’s strategy is best understood within the view that internally they literally believe they have no competition ( I personally believe this also but that’s the subject of a much longer essay.)

    • Ralph C

      Mistakes all around. What I wanted to say is please make an essay about this topic. I would greatly appreciate it.

  • willo

    I would like to believe this, but as a shareholder I also know that they care deeply about increasing revenue and margins as well. They´ll do incremental upgrades along the way to milk as much as possible out of those customers you are referring to even when it might not be the best thing to do.

    Also, I think they are very forward thinking in that they hold back both technology, features and innovation until all pieces are in place for a grand release of a new product category. Why don´t we have App Store on Apple TV? Why is there no SIRI on OSX? These are things they could have easily have implemented, and that would have created value for their customers. But they kept it back, waiting for the right time to do so.

    They could have taken a ton of “shortcuts” to get the iPhone done and released, but they spent 7 years getting it just right. This is planning, patience and excellence to “WOW” users. The next new category won´t be any different, it will feel just right. I have no doubts Apple will release some innovative and brand new product categories in 2014. Not because pundits said so, because Tim Cook said so. And I´m also confident that when they do, disruption will be the name of the game. And as a shareholder, that is all that I care about.

    • klahanas

      “They´ll do incremental upgrades along the way to milk as much as possible out of those customers you are referring to even when it might not be the best thing to do.”

      Bullseye! As a non-stockholder, this is a source of contempt. It’s also the IMO main reason for the poor user upgradability and serviceability of their devices.

      “They could have taken a ton of “shortcuts” to get the iPhone done and released, but they spent 7 years getting it just right.”

      Bullseye again! Damn you’re good! This is also one of the admirable parts about them. Though I do think they could have saved a year in development if they didn’t have to paint the assembly machines white, and other such OCD induced, non-value added activities. Then maybe the first iPhone could have shipped with 3G, cut/paste, and more Bluetooth profiles. But then, see Bullseye #1.

      • jfutral

        “‘They´ll do incremental upgrades’

        Bullseye! As a non-stockholder, this is a source of contempt. It’s also IMO the main reason for the poor user upgradability and serviceability of their devices.”

        OK, I’ll bite. What company doesn’t do incremental upgrades? If you feel the upgrades are deliberately incremental to “milk” customers, what do you have to support this accusation? In the computer industry we often vilify companies who try to get everything perfect resulting in a delayed release. But then we vilify companies for releasing hardware and/or software with bugs or other issues that only time and use can really refine.

        “Everyone wants a magical solution to their problems, but everyone refuses to believe in magic.”

        As a business decision it is a long held axiom that “conquest” marketing and customer generation is far more expensive and difficult than generating revenue from customers who already do business with you. As a stockholder, I prefer this more efficient focus from Apple vs the notion of “churn”, which is sadly the only option the cell phone carriers feel is left at their disposal (as opposed to just delivering better services and support than their competition). A company that focuses on _their_ customer is most concerned with _their_ customer’s happiness and satisfaction. Apple clearly demonstrates how this is win-win for both Apple and Apple’s customers, IMHO.

        I remember a MUG meeting where Guy Kawasaki was demoing some software (Emailer, I think). One guy in the meeting kept asking these deep, esoteric questions about the software’s capabilities. It really got to the point of absurdity. Guy eventually said “You shouldn’t buy this software. You won’t be happy.” Recognizing which customer is important to you as a business is something most failed businesses did not figure out.

        Joe

        • klahanas

          I wasn’t serving bait, but I appreciate you taking it.
          They all deserve contempt, to varying degrees. Case in point, I just read today that MS slipped a slightly updated CPU in my Surface Pro 2. Guess what? It’s going back to be exchanged and perhaps replaced. Am I punishing MS? Not necessarily, but they did push out a product before it was ready (hence the upgrade) a short time (defined arbitrarily as less than a year) after launch. I’m out for MY interests.
          In the iPhone example, there was no copy/paste, no Bluetooth stack for external keyboards (or allowance for someone to code one), no 3G. Cut/Paste? I don’t know… ’80’s graphical environments had them. 3G? Feature phones had it. No permission to write whatever you want? Unheard of at the time. Meanwhile, the “aura” was that they didn’t ship until it was ready. Those were pretty glaring omissions. And they were indeed omissions, the updates didn’t improve them, they made them possible. Printing with an iPad? Heck if DOS could do it… How long did that take?

          • jfutral

            I guess, then, the unasked or at least unanswered question is, ready for what?

            What is funny about your Surface example is I can’t think of any other industry that is expected to replace or upgrade a product after a newer version or version with an incremental upgrade is released. I’m not sure why one would think the computer industry should be held to other standards. Obviously, YMVs.

            I’m not a big fan of “point by point” responses. They get too cumbersome and awkward. And yet, here I am. 😀

            Regarding 3G, in addition to my “edited to add” point, I do a lot of traveling and did even more when the first iPhone was released. Nothing was missing by not including 3G then. There weren’t that many places that offered 3G and those that did the service was spotty at best. Feature phones offering 3G was fine because it didn’t actually add any value since there wasn’t really anything a feature phone needed 3G for anyway, so many people (such as myself) turned it off to save battery. Besides, at the time 3G was not that much faster than the 2.5G that was around. So maybe they could have released the first iPhone with 3g (assuming no one would sue them and there would be no significant battery suck-age), 3G service was not ready for iPhone.

            As for copy and paste. Who did have it? WindowsCE or whatever the smartphone version of Windows was called at the time) may have had it, but it was so miserable to try to use Word or Excel on my wife’s HTC Windows phone it didn’t matter. So I believe Apple when they said they were still working out a viable implementation of C,C&P in a touch UI.

            Bluetooth keyboard and printing—since I don’t use my iPhone and iPad in a way that requires an external keyboard (or any other bluetooth accessory), that’s a non-issue for me. But I do use my iPhone and iPad in a way that replaces the need for a printer. With mobile computing we are closer to at least a “less paper” office if not a a paper-less office. I think (again, my opinion and not everyone—anyone?—will feel the same) someone who needs to print from an iPad or iPhone is missing the point. But legacy is a hard habit to break. Comparing any mobile OS to DOS is also missing the point, IMO. How many mobile devices are you using with DOS?

            So, conversely to your experiences, my interests as a customer are being largely served, which makes me a satisfied customer, even as someone who used to revel in the techno-minutia of computer technology, build my own websites, squeeze as much power and life from a computer as I could, write my own databases and my own little utilities. I have less desire and patience for those things these days. I hate having to tweak things in Terminal, too. I figure if everyone else has done their job well, I’ll never have to enter Terminal mode. Sadly, that is not always the case.

            Always a pleasure conversing with you, @klahanas:disqus.

            Joe

          • klahanas

            Since my last post, I saw that my exchange period on the Surface has expired. Darn it! 🙂
            If you upgrade something that soon, it is justification for exchange. Apple did it with a $100 credit when they improved an iPhone after upgrading it in like a month. I forget which one.
            Point by point is cumbersome, but sometimes it’s just cleaner. Especially when having good discourse with someone such as you.
            I get the 3G coverage (LTE today) was spotty, but when it did arrive the capability was there. These aren’t intended to be disposable items, where you need to buy a new one because your song library grew, or because 3G became more deployed. To their credit, they’ve gotten better at this by building more in (multiple radios for instance). But everything, especially PC’s have gotten less serviceable and upgradable. The way you buy it is the way it stays (more or less). I do hold computing devices to higher standards that a toaster, or even a gaming system.
            As for my comparison with desktop OS’s…
            Here we had a brand new OS with desktop like functionality (Post-PC?), running on CPU’s that were at least on a par with the ’80’s versions. Missing from the desktop like functionality were the things I mention.
            Indeed, it’s always a pleasure here as well.

          • Sam

            The $100 credit was not because they improved the device, it was because they dropped the price of the 8GB version by $200 shortly after launch.

            On the 3G point: 3G in 2007 was a mess. Connectivity was patchy, if available at all, and speeds weren’t what they would come to be. The networks that had the iPhone at the time did not have great 3G networks, so having the functionality was not a big point – remember, it was AT&T in the US, O2 in the UK, etc ONLY.

          • klahanas

            Thanks for the refresher on the situation. Why not $200 then?

            I appreciate the 3G point. But there were 3G phones on the market then. Many of them, and there was a 3G rollout. In fact, they launched the iPhone in 2007 and the iPhone 3G in 2008, so they knew what was coming. Textbook built in obsolescence.

          • Space Gorilla

            Here’s the thing though, which you don’t seem to be aware of, you’re not a customer Apple wants. It’s as if you need a truck, but you spend all your time looking at cars and bitching about how terrible they are. Just go buy a truck. Apple’s products/ecosystem/platform/etc aren’t bad. They’re just not what you need.

          • klahanas

            “you’re not a customer Apple wants”

            Sorry, I’ve been conditioned that companies vie for the consumer, not the other way around. I feel slighted 🙁
            At this price tier, I for one, will not let them off the hook for not being more inclusive of users of all demands.

          • Space Gorilla

            You just don’t get it. Well run businesses don’t seek to satisfy “users of all demands” (as you put it). They select a target market and they go after it and seek to serve that segment well.

            Your problem, which is well-established in numerous comments, is that you have an emotional reaction to Apple, you “feel slighted”. Yes, yes, you’ll say that was a joke, but it really wasn’t. You’re angry with Apple. You can’t possibly offer any good analysis when your bias is so strong.

          • klahanas

            We’ve already ascertained my annoyance (contempt?) at Apple. I’m also a customer of over $10K of “stuff”. That makes me a legitimate critic. I had put my money where my mouth is.

            I also strive to report factual information to support my POV. Where I urge for a more “inclusive” Apple, which incidentally such inclusion and flexibility are also the roots of this industry, you prefer an “exclusive” one. I repeatedly tell you that they are not mutually incompatible, yet you prefer we all just accept the “Apple Way”. As substantiation, all you have to offer is that people voted with their wallets. Well I don’t roll that way, that’s group think, and I can think for myself. By the way, far more people voted with their money elsewhere. So what? Did you ever see me offer that argument? It’s just as invalid.

          • Space Gorilla

            Nah, I don’t play silly games. And there’s far more than three things I think Apple needs to work on. I want a better iCloud, I want waaaaay more space on iCloud, I want a better Apple TV, I want better user management on iOS devices, I want larger screen iOS devices, I want Siri on my iMac, the list goes on and on. No company/system/platform/etc is perfect. But I don’t feel the need to piss and moan about imagined slights and first world problems. Waaaaah, this Apple device isn’t ‘open’ enough, boooo hoooooo.

            Apple has a strong financial incentive to make me happy. They’re not a bunch of arrogant jerks out to get me, that point of view is ridiculous. On the whole Apple’s products help me get things done and deliver far more value than the cost of those products. I’ve never found that there was an “Apple Way”, I’ve always done whatever I needed to do with my Apple products and not once have I felt limited.

            Also, you don’t “strive to report factual information” and you are not a “legitimate critic”. Your comments are full of bias and negativity. You are not capable of offering useful analysis, by your own admission.

            You seem unable to grasp the concept that maybe, just maybe, people like me buy Apple products because they work well and deliver value. I am not being fooled by marketing, I am not being sucked in by Apple’s evil plan, I am not hypnotized, I am not stupid, I am not participating in group think, I am not trying to be fashionable, I am not ‘insert one of your other reasons why consumers buy Apple products’.

            Meh, why do I bother? You’ll never grok this.

          • klahanas

            Where have I admitted I can’t give useful analysis?

            Kudos on you list. The part you can’t grok, is some of us want to make a good machine better on our terms, budget, and timetable. This is to what we’ve become accustomed since having computers. It’s relegation is not innovative. I repeat, price has a lot to do with it.

            Fact: iOS is easy to use.
            Fact: You have to buy a new device to have more memory.
            Fact: You can’t buy from other sources. Leads to censorship of the platform.
            Fact: You can develop, buy, or run just any application you may want.
            Fact: Latest model laptops are COMPLETELY non-upgradable.
            Fact: Most poorly user-upgradable and user maintainable desktops.

            These are facts. My “emotions” have no influence over them.

          • Space Gorilla

            I understand what you want in a computing device. That’s great for you, do what works for you. But you’re not going to get that device from Apple. At some level you must understand this.

            All those ‘facts’ you list, those are all reasons I like Apple products. I want a simple appliance that gets the job done. I’m not interested in upgrading the device, I don’t want to futz with it or hack it or make it more open, I’ve never once run into ‘censorship of the platform’, I don’t want the platform/apps to be a free for all, I want curation and control.

            The simpler the better. The more abstraction of the computer the better. But I understand that this doesn’t work for you, it’s not at all what you want. That’s just the way it is. The things I want are different from the things you want. The difference is you think the things you want are the ‘right way’, somehow morally superior, which is why you’re mad at Apple, you feel contempt for Apple, you feel annoyed by them, you feel Apple is arrogant. All because they do not offer what you want. Do you have any idea how silly that is?

            Your emotions do actually influence your ‘facts’. You present the last five ‘facts’ as negative features, because *for you* those are features you don’t want or like, you care about those features, a great deal. That’s an emotional response on your part.

          • klahanas

            I do think we’re getting somewhere, you and I. At no point in my arguments do I deny your preference of simplicity. Nowhere do I suggest, less impose, that you should shop anywhere but the App Store. Nor do I in any way deny Apple’s right to carry whatever they want in their store. I object that other stores aren’t allowed, and that such a barrier is even open for discussion. An OWNER of a device should be able to use it, and shop, where they see fit.

            What you are supporting is an exclusionary position, that does not have to impact you at all. At Apple’s premium prices I’m not even suggesting that they should charge more. They should include it as part of the value proposition. Yet you, just as passionately (as me) support the notion that users such as myself ‘shouldn’t’ have what we traditionally had from computing devices. That perplexes me. What do you care?

            My facts are expressed in the negative because main principles of people that are from democracies, and from the basic tenants of personal computing, freedom is good. I acknowledge making that assumption. It’s absence is a negative.

            Being exclusionary is one of the hallmarks of arrogance.

          • Space Gorilla

            “Yet you, just as passionately (as me) support the notion that users such as myself ‘shouldn’t’ have what we traditionally had from computing devices on our Apple devices. That perplexes me.”

            It perplexes you because I never said it. I pointed out the reality of Apple’s approach to computing, which works for many, but not for some. Again, you’re basically mad that the four wheel drive tractor you bought can’t be used to commute to work every day.

            “My facts are expressed in the negative because main principles of people that are from democracies, and from the basic tenants of personal computing, freedom is good.”

            Freedom is an illusion, there’s always a boundary somewhere. At least you acknowledge that you’re making an assumption here. Now, because Apple’s approach to computing works for me there is no absence of freedom. But because you’ve run into things you want to do with an Apple device but cannot, you interpret that as an absence of freedom. Surely you must see that this could apply to almost any product in any market at any time. Freedom is contextual.

            “Being exclusionary is one of the hallmarks of arrogance.”

            Then welcome to the arrogant club, since simply being alive in the first world is incredibly exclusionary. This is one of the things that fascinates me about the anti-Apple crowd, all the moaning about closed, exclusionary systems, limits on freedom, etc, etc. And yet outside of computing nerdery you’re using lots of closed, exclusionary systems, and everyone seems fine with that.

            “If Apple did ship upgradable versions of products in each category, you wouldn’t believe how fast I would shut up.”

            No you wouldn’t, you’re an ideologue who admits to having a strong bias. There can be no intelligent or useful discussion with you. My only goal here was to expose your bias, which I’ve done.

          • klahanas

            You’ve exposed something I have never hidden.

            “Freedom is contextual”
            Exactly! And in the context of computing, Apple is less free than others, because they are totally controlling.

          • Space Gorilla

            So going back, you’ve just answered your own question: “Where have I admitted I can’t give useful analysis?”

            You admit you are an ideologue with a strong bias. That’s why you are unable to provide useful analysis. You can provide tons of analysis, but because it is based in dogma and bias, it isn’t good or useful. It’s mostly nonsense.

            You’ve misunderstood “Freedom is contextual”. The context is the user’s needs. There is an argument to be made that Apple’s products are actually more free and less exclusionary, but there’s no way you’d be able to see that through your cloud of bias so I’m certainly not wasting time explaining it. Maybe someone else would like to do that for you. I can’t continue to waste time talking to an ideologue.

          • klahanas

            When we first discussed, a few months ago, you said that I would be doing all my computing on a tablet, but I just wasn’t aware of that yet. Talk about presumptuous! Perhaps idealistic?
            Anyway, let me express my gratitude.
            You do what you do, I’ll do what I do. Live and let live.
            Be well.

          • TheEternalEmperor

            Yep.

          • Wait, what? You’re basing your “argument” on a phone that was released 6 years ago? By a company that had never done a phone before? In a form-factor that had been unheard of at the time of unveiling?

            Even Android didn’t get consistent copy-pasting capabilities until two versions after it’s original release. And neither did Windows Phone, AFAIK.

            But no, it’s only Apple which does bad things and all other guys release perfect products right from the start :-

            What Apple releases is usually perfectly useable right from the start without many of the features that haters like you deem “must-haves”. When these “must-haves” do arrive, they are usually polished, work out of the box and provide great experience for both users and developers.

          • klahanas

            The topic was a bout “milking” the customer. The first iPhone could have just as readily shipped with 3G, or gasp, shipped the following year, since they did that anyway. The iPhone 3G was a much more current and complete product than the original iPhone.

          • Or, they could’ve waited 7 years and release an even more current complete iPhone 5s right away, since they did that anyway :-

            Oh. And I don’t hear you complain about Android which didn’t get consistent copy-pasting capabilities until two versions after it’s original release.

          • klahanas

            Your 7 years vs. my 1? Your suggestion would certainly be more consistent with their position of “when it’s ready”.
            Or they could have included a 3G radio from the start.

            I don’t stick up for Android. I’m a fan of the sport, not a team. By the time I became aware of Android, they already had it. And 3G.

          • > Your 7 years vs. my 1?

            No, I’m just taking your absurd “arguments” to the limit

            > Or they could have included a 3G radio from the start.

            If you re-read above, the arguments for not including it are there, you just chose to ignore them.

            > By the time I became aware of Android, they already had it.

            So, basically, you’re saying “if I don’t know about it, it doesn’t exist”. That’s not being a fan. That’s being ignorant.

            > Personally dumped the iPhone completely when the App Store Policies got established and their repercussions known

            Yeah, yeah. Repercussions. Whatever these repercussions are.

          • klahanas

            When feature phones of the day had 3G and the first iPhone didn’t, that was lame.
            One year later, it did. Buy a new one. That’s called milking.
            If Android didn’t have cut/paste, also lame.
            Repercussions? At the time you not only couldn’t get Flash, but Google Voice as well. What you did gain was an IT department (or overlord if you prefer). If you like that it’s a benefit, if you don’t it’s a repercussion.

          • > When feature phones of the day had 3G and the first iPhone didn’t, that was lame.

            I can only quote myself here: “You’re basing your “argument” on a phone that was released 6 years ago? By a company that had never done a phone before? In a form-factor that had been unheard of at the time of unveiling?”

            > One year later, it did. Buy a new one. That’s called milking.

            And then a year later it got more features. And a year later it got even more features. And then a year ago even more features. So, according to your thinking, Apple should’ve waited 7 years and release an even more current complete iPhone 5s right away, since they did that anyway.

            And no, no one makes you buy a new phone every year. You can easily wait out your 2-year contract and then switch to an even better version for almost no cost.

            And yes, in 2008 T-Mobile just launched it’s 3G network for instance. And AT&T’s coverage was spotty at best. But that argument has already been brought up, and you chose to completely ignore it.

          • klahanas

            The fact of the matter remains. From a cellular technology point of view, the original iPhone was obsolete when it shipped. One year later it was made current.

          • > The fact of the matter remains.

            Only if you ignore any other facts.

          • klahanas

            This fact stands alone. To get 3G you needed to buy another iPhone… I hear what you’re saying about the network, the phone should have been able to grow with it. It was only a very short time before the network came up to speed. Within the contract time of the device.

          • > This fact stands alone.

            No, it does not

            > To get 3G you needed to buy another iPhone…

            To get any enhancement in any other iPhone version, you need to buy that iPhone version. THE HORROR!

            Oh, I know. The should’ve waited 7 years and should’ve released an LTE phone directly, skipping 3G. Because you need to buy another iPhone to get LTE. THE HORROR!

            > It was only a very short time before the network came up to speed.

            In 2008 it still covered only a very small fraction of the States: http://www.businessinsider.com/att/att-3g-network-map-right

            In 2009, that is *two years* after the original iPhone, coverage was more or less complete: http://appadvice.com/appnn/2009/11/the-truth-about-verizons-3g-coverage

            And — SURPRISE! — in 2009 contracts for the original iPhone were expiring and you could switch to 3G or 3Gs if you so desired.

            Besides, no one was forcing you to buy an iPhone, and it was clear that a 3G version was on the way.

            But let’s just ignore all the facts and focus only on the one fact that 3G version came out a year after 2G version, and let’s interpret it as we see fit, shall we?

          • klahanas

            I griping precisely because the 3G version came out one year after the 2G version. There should never have been a 2G version. But if you want to use the new capabilities of your network, buy it again! That’s milking.

          • > I’m griping precisely because the 3G version came out one year after the 2G version.

            You are griping exactly because you choose to ignore any other fact. Following your logic, they should’ve never released the 3G version, because they ended up releasing the LTE version. “if you want to use the new capabilities of your network, buy it again!”

            I see you didn’t even bother to look at the links I provided. In order to “use the new capabilities of the network” you would have to wait until 2009. Prior to that you’d be stuck in edge in 99% of the cases. But, as I previously stated, you just choose to ignore this particular fact.

            > That’s milking. And it’s not the only example.

            Yeah, right. If you choose to be as ignorant as you are, then no wonder everything looks like milking to you.

          • klahanas

            The part of my logic which your missing, is that the LTE version lagged by six years. That’s outside the useful life of the device.

          • I’m not missing it. I’m just following it. Why release iPhone 4s, when you relase iPhone 5 with LTE a year later? “if you want to use the new capabilities of your network, buy it again! That’s milking.”!!! :-

            And, once again, you choose to completely ignore:

            – the fact that 3G was basically non-existent in the US at the time when original iPhone was released
            – the fact that no one made you buy the original iPhone
            – the fact that 3G coverage was still bad when iPhone 3G came out
            – the fact that no one made you upgrade to the new version as soon as it came out
            – the fact that 3G coverage was ok only by the time 3Gs came out
            – the fact that by that time the original contract would expire and you could switch to 3Gs, skipping 3G completely (what happens now for basically every iPhone version, you buy a contract, you skip a version, you upgrade to a next one)
            – the fact that AT&T still had issues with quality of service in its 3G network even by the time 3Gs came out

          • klahanas

            -3G was existent, and present, even on some feature “flip phones”. Did you miss that? At the time I had a Samsung Blackjack, that was 3G. A Nokis Symbian phone before that.
            -I got the original iPhone for my daughter. My first iPhone was the 3G.
            -3G Coverage improved during the lifetime of the phone. And the 3G was able to handle that. Here’s where you and I get stuck.

            -Thanks for pointing out that the 4S was milking it too.

          • > 3G was existent, and present, even on some feature “flip phones”. Did you miss that?

            I did not. What you choose to completely ignore is that 3G *coverage* was almost non-existent. I even supplied you with links to 3G coverage maps at that time which you… decided to completely ignore.

            So, I’m so tired by now of you ignoring every fact that doesn’t fit your perfect little world of Apple-hating, so I decided to unilaterally end this conversation.

            Good bye

          • jfutral

            Not wanting to see some great and valid points lost in an intense interchange, I think a good article to read about Apple is right here at http://techpinions.com/a-sneak-peek-at-a-super-secret-apple-product-plan/24924. I think this article came out before you started frequenting this blog (which I still contend is one of the best).

            I think this does a great job of explaining why a “speed and feed” type spec like 3G or LTE is not on the forefront of Apple’s “must include” list when it is as young as it was with the 1G and 4s iPhones respectively. I think you’ve been in technology long enough to understand the axiom that, if you want reliability at least enough to avoid constant frustration, NEVER adopt v1 of any technology, hardware or software.

            Could Apple have waited a year for iPhone? Probably. But for both consumers and technology companies alike, at some point you have to pony up. There is always going to be something better and faster, smaller or bigger, whatever, just months/weeks/hours/seconds from now. One can’t wait indefinitely. You have to put it out for customers to buy and you have to buy it when you need it. Waiting is often “death”. In the long run we are dead. For better or worse, decisions have to be made. If iPhone ended up a flop (like Ballmer, Rim, Nokia, and Verizon all thought it would be), having 3G wouldn’t have matter one whit.

            This is why I don’t think “milking” ever entered their minds with the decisions they made about product deployments in general and specifically the 1G and 4s iPhones.

            I could be wrong.

            Joe

          • klahanas

            You’re ever the gentleman, but I disagree with you on this. When we have a premium product, that’s priced accordingly, IMO it should be state of the art. In this one (critically important) regard, 3G, the original iPhone wasn’t even current. Call me old fashioned, but these are not products one buys every day. Premium products have longevity. Here’s a device which encouraged the use of more data, at a speed which was a generation behind. To me, that’s wrong.

            Again, it’s not the only incident. I keep harping on this because I was also stuck with a MBP with only USB2 or FW, when the previous generation had an Expresscard at least. USB3 and eSATA were ubiquitous already. If I spend $2200-$2300 on a device, I demand state of the art…and style. You may say it was my oversight. It was. I took it for granted because the immediate prior year’s model had the slot. I took it back the next day, and was told there would be a $300+ restocking fee. No other device has ever left me more disappointed and “wanting”.

            You could imagine the chuckles I get when I remember how chastised I was about USB3 and eSATA. Some of these very same people are now gushing (correctly) about Thunderbolt. There’s a word for these people, but I won’t use it here…:-)

          • jfutral

            To be fair, all technology is obsolete when it ships. But in the market place 3G was still nascent at the time. Many feature phones at the time may have had 3G but not all, and even fewer smartphones, and probably for the same reasons the iPhone didn’t.

            One reason I remember from an article a long time ago was that first round of chipsets were battery suckers. Apple waited for the next iteration of a more efficient chipset. That seems wise to me. I also recall ATT was pushing HSDC (2.5G) more than 3g at the time. And since ATT was Apple’s partner…

            Hindsight isn’t always as 20/20 as we would like to think.

            Joe

          • klahanas

            What you say about AT&T is true. I’m certainly not going to be making excuses for them, but rolling out a new network is a colossal endeavor. Nonetheless, it had arrived, and was growing. This premium device, at premium pricing, with a mandatory data plan, was not ready for a network that was growing during the expected lifetime of the device. Battery issues due to a poor chipset? There are ways to do that without milking.

            a) Wait (probably six months)
            b) Make it big enough for a heartier battery. The 3G was bigger, as it turned out.

            It’s not an isolated incident anyway. When you go on a music spending spree, and fill your device, you need to buy a new one. That’s milking. During the same timeframe Apple removed upgradability via Expresscard from the MBP. Users were stuck with FW and USB2. When USB3 finally arrived on OSX devices, guess what… buy a new Mac. That’s milking.

            When your hardware design is so rigid, and not anticipatory of features that are likely to become prevalent during the device’s useful lifetime, milking is inevitable.

            This most certainly “enhanced shareholder value”, no question. Users shouldn’t be “rooting” for that.

          • jfutral

            This is where we have two different definitions of “premium”. To you premium is the most, the longest list of features, useful or not. To me premium is the best, even if the list is shorter. The finest restaurants in the world have some of the shortest menus. If the biggest complaint is lack of 3G for the first iPhone, to me that is a minor quibble compared with everything else Apple brought to smartphones with iPhone.

            As for “obsolete”, my daughter got at least another 3 years use out of that iPhone after I handed it down to her. If that is “milking” from obsolescence then Apple has a strange way of going about that.

            It is interesting that (and I bring this up because this is my world) we have the same discussions in the arts. For some, the most creative environment for an artist is one with the least restrictions or restraints (The MacArthur Genius Grant is about helping an artist create without the pressures of everyday life). For others, it is precisely those restraints and restrictions that put us at our most creative. The book _Green eggs and ham_ was written as a challenge to write a book using only 50 words. But then, try writing _Infinite Jest_ with just 50 words.

            Both views and approaches are valid.

            Joe

          • klahanas

            I so get where you’re coming from regarding the arts. I agree and appreciate it. There’s no discussing “premium” without price entering the equation. These are not disposable items. I do want the longest list of features, done elegantly, and that work. That’s where Apple’s competition falls short, and a more “open” Apple could do even better (in my eyes anyway).

            To your very point, make it elegant AND just as versatile (as competing devices) as a design constraint.

            I also don’t want to take away from the original iPhone, that it trail blazed a better paradigm of how a smartphone should be. As I often find myself vis a vis Apple, however, “they giveth and they taketh away”.

            I like your restaurant example, I’ve used one before as well. It applies more to the rigidity of the platform. I can go to a fine restaurant, order my meal, and choose whether I salt it, pepper it, add ketchup, or steak sauce, or horseradish on my ice cream. I own it. You, being a reasonable person, would say that I’m destroying the “experience” the chef prepared for me. Me, being an unreasonable person, believes that the chef fulfilled their obligation to me upon presentation. Henceforth I own it and will eat it as I please. I don’t want the chef “up in my shorts”.

          • jfutral

            ” I can go to a fine restaurant, order my meal, and choose whether I salt it, pepper it, add ketchup, or steak sauce, or horseradish on my ice cream. I own it.”

            Maybe! One thing one notices at fine restaurants is the absence of table top seasonings, i.e., no salt and pepper! And I have heard, though never been to one myself, of restaurants that will ask you to leave if you ask for ketchup or steak sauce. 😀

            Joe

          • klahanas

            Indeed. We have a litany of common adjectives for such establishments. 🙂

  • poke

    I like to say that competition in opt-in. You opt in by building your company around the utilitarian culture of “speeds and feeds.” A company like Samsung designs, builds and sells products based on a market-defined spec sheet. That spec sheet is like a contract with customers saying, “Continue buying from us unless somebody else can do these things better.” This isn’t just about what gets written on the box or in marketing material, it pervades the whole company from top to bottom. Their definition of a product is what meets a set of market-defined needs. Ignore all this (which is easier said than done) and you get to sell into a market of your own creation.

    The problem is that this utilitarian culture is shared by most analysts, tech pundits and business theorists, so they’re blind to how Apple operates. This is why their predictions and suggestions tend to be laughably inadequate.

  • dr.no

    Having seen emails of Eddy Cue and Phil Schiller
    from the Samsung and Amazon trial contradicting
    your statement that Apple doesn’t care about competition.

    Apple has also known to announce just in time of
    the competition announcement. prime example
    being Macbook Pro 13 price reduced 100 less
    than Google’s Pixel being introduced the very next day.
    Several Microsoft announcement being undercut for many
    years.

    • benbajarin

      Never said they didn’t care just that their strategic planning is not influenced by the competition. Apple is not operating with their head in the sand. And as those trials point out they care very much when those who try to compete with them steal the things they are doing which are successful in the market.

      As I point out Apple is focused in their customers not whoever people believe are their competition.

      • Scott Sterling

        Ben, as you say, Apple is in a very pleasant business: make the very best products you can to please those who want to be their customers, and that’s enough.

      • dr.no

        So When Apple removes SyncServices whereas
        iTunes refuses to sync calendar and Contacts
        is customercentric by forcing all your private data
        to iCloud at the same time mouth off about NSA spying
        on their customer.
        Windows version syncs just fine because Apple doesn’t care
        that competitors are using its services to get customer data there.

        People like you are all quite about this and other anti security moves by Apple.

        Nothing shows Pure Fear that when Phir Schiller bad mouth
        Android virus problem just before Samsung S4 was announced because Apple had nothing to grab the news cycle.

        • TheEternalEmperor

          Clean up your post: bad grammar, spelling and punctuation makes for a tough read. Focus more on those items and less on paranoia.

          • marcoselmalo

            His post might even contain legitimate criticism, but I don’t have the inclination to decode it.

      • graphex

        Apple
        has
        no
        competition
        period.

        Not Dell. Not HP. Not Samsung. Not Nokia. Not Microsoft. Not Rim/Blackberry. Not Google. Not Sony. Not Asus/Lenovo/Acer. Not Intel. Not Amazon. Not anyone but themselves.

  • Neil Anderson

    Apple has integrity.

  • Perfect. I’ve been saying the same thing for years. No other company does what Apple does. There are companies that compete with individual Apple products, but no single company competes with Apple.

  • aardman

    Two companies with excellent products and service that I remain a customer by choice and urge friends and family to try them (but with an honest assessment of what might disappoint them): Apple and T-Mobile.

    One company that I hate so much my spleen bursts just thinking of it but I have no other choice so I remain a customer: Comcast.

    I would venture that anyone who likes their cable provider is the CEO thereof.

  • Notafanboysir

    Apple has customers… Efforts defined by needs of their customers. You are wrong. Steve Jobs once said that if You ask your customer what it wants he ll say a bigger pc. Oh and what about dropping floppydisks and cddrives etc. Apple is not defined by needs of their customer. Because it is very hard for customer to look outside their box. Apple strategy is making great products and the customer Will Come.

    • Shawn Dehkhodaei

      Well, Ben is saying pretty much the same thing; I think you misunderstood his point. He’s saying Apple will do what’s best for their customers ‘IN THEIR VIEW’ …. of course they’re never going to ask their customers what they want. But they will think of something that will complement the existing user base, and have a hook to bring in new users. Indeed, that’s been the path they’ve been on for the past 10 years.

  • normm

    It’s interesting that the growth of the iPhone in the US over the past four years, according to trends noted recently at http://www.asymco.com/2013/12/13/how-many-americans-will-be-using-an-iphone/ (post for Dec 13), is exactly as if it has no competition! Penetration of the overall cell phone market, divided by non-penetration, is growing at a constant exponential rate, and at exactly the same rate as overall smartphone penetration of the cell phone market, just following a few years later. This means iPhone growth is independent of what its competitors are doing. They have no competition.

  • Apple had to license the OS to catch up with Microsoft, too. Forget the fact that it lost memory on every machine, which Microsoft did emphatically not do. The slide towards bankruptcy was greased by the geniuses who nearly ruined it. Yes, Jobs was a a visionary, but he was especially visionary because he had some simple beliefs. It seems, however, that he was smart enough not to copy Windows’ business. The way to leap over Microsoft was selling a lot of iPods and iPhones and iPads, meanwhile developing a numnber of stable designs for the iMac, the MacBooks and the mini and Pro. In fact, they went where Windows couldn’t go, and extended them. First they ridiculed, then then copied, then they copied some more.

  • Makako

    I am going to say I am split here. For one, I am annoyed at the tech press that wants apple to do another product just because it’s good for their page views, that’s the sad truth there. Won’t go deeper than that because that annoys me.

    But… there is actually truth that Apple NEEDS to do more. I just switched from my beloved iPhone to a Lumia phone, because Apple refused to ship a bigger phone. I have come to love this new phone. Even if I didn’t love it to the extreme I do, I would have 2 years now to get so used to it I may never accept leaving the platform behind.

    “Apple has customers, no competition” is really a fallacy. I am an example of how apple does not “have” customers. Apple customers can as easily move away to another platform. You may have noticed the bestselling android phones are large screen phones. Apple cannot keep just relying on the tiny screen of the iPhone 5. The iPhone IS in a competitive market and they do need to compete. They are losing customers simply because of the size of their screens. Apple should know better, they never stuck to a single iPod line, they always had a huge array of models to fit many different needs. A big fat classic for the DJ, a compact slim one for the person on the go, a shuffle for the entry level budgets and a touch for the PDA-like experience.

    With iPhones, the best differentiator so far is the 5C. Where is the Big iPod Classic of iPhones? Where is the Nano of the iPhone line? (That may be the “iWatch”.)

    For me it’s too late. But to be honest, I don’t want to see Apple fail.

    • jfutral

      Personally, I want to see a return of the 3.5″ iPhone. I love my 5, but the larger screen is on the almost too large side of perfect for one handed use, which is how I use my phone the most.

      Joe

  • Crystal

    Samsung has the highest market share in the smart phone market. HP is the leader in the PC market. Google leads the tablet market and Microsoft leads the OS market. Apple has several competitors who are market leaders. Apple does not have a sustainable competitive advantage. Human taste and preference are subject to change. When a majority of your users are purchasing your products, because it’s the end thing you need to rethink your strategy.

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