The Apple Crumble Effect Why no-one is giving Apple a run for its (huge wealth of) money.
Posted 22 August 2011 - 12:40 PM
But in any industry field, from supermarket chains to fashion outlets, I think the market is going to thrive and be a lot more competitive if there is more than one player on the field. And at the moment Apple has the tech market well and truly to itself; a bit like bouncing a ball against a wall and knowing exactly when it's coming back so that you can do it all over again. That's not a game you could possibly ever lose because there's no question of winning. It's already in the bag. And frankly, it's a little boring.
Why are companies like HP, Dell and Samsung so defeatist in their approach to invention and design? Why are they so passive in their marketing and business acumen? Here you have HP being crushed by a proverbial apple crumble, while Google all of a sudden buys Motorola mobility and as for the rest - whatever it is they're up, it's not worthy of note or even in the same league that we've come to expect from Apple's latest offerings.
I'm not complaining that Apple products bore me -far from it. But I would love to see another brand really try to pioneer something exciting, instead of just responding to Apple's creativity and rushing to release a similar version that doesn't ever quite stack up in comparison.
I posted a blog on the Macworld Australia site today from Jason Cross who looks at this situation and outlines exactly why the industry is so disparate. The interesting this is that it hasn't always been thos way. Compa nies used to take risks and conjure a little magic from time to time. For example Cross talks about HP releasing its pocket calculator in 1972, despite the move going against everything that was con sidered practical and safe. So why did they? Because Bill Hewlett wanted it. Simple. The pocket calculator was outlandishly expensive at US$350 (let's consider this cost in the year that it was released), but it was also revolutionary, visionary and transformative. Hewlett knew that and he wanted his company to have their name behind it.
I don't think it's through lack of imagination, expertise or creativity that Apple's competitors are wallowing in their state of dismal product offerings. I think, like Cross, that it is a lack of persistance, drive and sheer passion to bring the world the absolute best in what they do.
Apple is the couturier who pays heed to every stitch, structure and form in what it designs. From function to aesthetic, everything is for a reason. Even when it might defy reason, at times. And similar to clothing design, Apple is continuously at the forefront of the next big thing. Rather than waiting for consumers to offer their two cents, Apple tells us what we need and why we're going to love it. It does this without apologies and we love them for it - as frustrating as that can be at times.
Then, I look to HP and Dell – for example – and any kind of tailoring they do just seems tacky and chain store by comparison.
You can tell a good fabric from one that is two stitches from falling apart. I know which one I would choose. Every time.
I am not, by admission, tech-obsessed. I don't profess to be an expert. But then again the majority of tech consumers are not expert. For me, I enjoy the technology that I use and I love to learn about the things that I don't. And certainly in this wonderful job and working on a site like ours, I am learning bucketloads every minute of the day. But what I am also beginning to realise is that I would like to be inspired by other options, other companies, different products. I also don't think it would hurt Apple to have some serious contenders in this game, because that means that they and everyone else are expanding imagination, capability and design to really present its audiences with a show unlike any other.
Not to mention, that prices would be more regulated and the market place would be more equal and varied and democratic all at the same time.
I'll keep on loving Apple and I'll also continue to buy and use (and cherish) their products. But gee, I am hoping for an upstart company to come along soon and shake this snow globe up a bit and see where the flakes will settle.
While Apple has shown us a dynamic realm of design and possibility, I can't help but wonder if there are others out there and what they might look like?
What do you guys think?
Do you want a more competitive market? Are you a bit confused by the current state of affairs and the distinct lack of input from Apple's 'competitors'?
Would love to hear your thoughts on this!
Posted 22 August 2011 - 01:07 PM
As an example look at the fledgling tablet market, the iPad appears to have won the race already and one of the competitors (HP) has stumbled on the track and been taken off and shot already (excuse the rather poor horse racing analogy!).
I think the main thing that keeps Apple going is the whole "it just works" design principle. A new user should not have to open a manual or read a setup document to be able to use their new tech device, they should be able to take it out of the wrapping (and that is another thing that Apple take pride in - even the packaging is exceptionally well thought out), turn it on and begin to use it. With Apple devices they can do this because the user interface is intuitive and doesn't need any explanation - it just does what it should.
I love Apple gear and if I had the money would be more than happy to own everything that they put out, but the simple fact of the matter is that I can't. But even with this the 2008 iMac that I have still does everything I need to it do, and most of what I want it to do - yes it takes a little longer and it's only a a 20" screen but it does the job.
I guess we all have a "bucket list" and one of the items on mine is a wild dream to one day meet Steve Jobs and congratulate him on his products, his vision and his leadership. Rumor has it that he can be a very difficult person to work with as he expects the same excellence and innovation out of every employee that he posses himself, and that it a tall order but if you are in an environment where you can be given the opportunity to excel then surely he would be more inclined to? (some more Items on my bucket list would be to be on Mythbusters (Hmm. Kari Byron... swoon as a guest and to appear to Top Gear and be allowed to drive around the track after being appropriately schooled by 'the stig') - but I'm getting off topic here.
If another company could be as innovative and produce good that are of as high quality as Apples then my allegiance might change, but at this point in time I can't see that happening any time soon. In all honesty I think the only company that would be able to give Apple a run for it's money might be Google, especially given their recent Motorola acquisition.
Anyway that's my 2c worth...
It is worth noting here that I am a tech junkie, I have loved technology and computers ever since I saw my very first computer in approx 1980/81 when we visited family friends who had brought their family a computer for Christmas. It was a 'Dick Smith System 80' , with a built in tape cassette that plugged into the TV and they were typing in this strange language from a computer magazine and getting it do things. In this case a lunar lander type game in chunky graphics where you could move left and right with the arrow keys and tap the space bar to put the thrusters on. The objective of the game was to avoid the lunar surface and land your lunar lander safely on the landing pad. This is a clear memory to me even today and so began my obsession with computers.
It is kind of scary looking back now and realising how many years of my life I have been using computers as a hobby and I have been working in IT for almost 20 years now as well!
Posted 22 August 2011 - 01:27 PM
I think you might be right about Google being the stand alone competitor at this stage. I just think it's a sad state of affairs to have these other companies capable but unwilling to offer us something...else.
20 years in tech – that's a huge feat! Congrats
Posted 22 August 2011 - 01:30 PM
Yes almost 20 years working in IT, and over 30 years using computers... damn that makes me feel old! I guess I am lucky though I can turn my hand to almost anything IT related, software, hardware, network, programming, design etc. as I have done a little but of everything for so long.
Posted 22 August 2011 - 04:39 PM
Personally I see a lot of hard fought and long term fundamental elements to Apple just being dropped away. Elements that they relied on to create the halo effect. Just as they were long term to create them, I think the side effect of dropping them will take a while to be really noticed, and once they are noticed they will be hard to turn around.
I love my Apple products, but as a professional user I see them heading in a direction that doesn't hold much hope for me.
Apple doesn't really want to compete in markets any more - they want to dominate. If it gets to a position where they are just competing then it gets a bit hard and boring, and they either drop it totally (Xserve), or innovate it in a new direction (FCPX) effectively trying to create a new market that has no competitors yet so they can dominate. I get that, its just business, but if you see competition driving Apple to improve current products then I don't think its they way they are going. It will more drive them to create a new device you didn't know you needed (and of course, you didn't until they invented it)
This might have benefits and be fun for consumers, it creates lots of new shiny toys, and if it dies or is replaced after a year or two you just buy the latest version and start again. Its not so much fun in other markets.
Posted 22 August 2011 - 07:24 PM
You can't beat those years of experience and working with products through trends and inventions.
Thanks , I just wish I had taken the time to get qualified much earlier on in the time I have been working in IT.
Having no qualifications makes job hunting rather difficult so that is why I have finally decided to get off my backside and study for my CCNA so that I can get back to working in the networking area, an area that holds a great deal of interest to me.
A jack of all trades yet master of none doesn't make me a very sought after individual but hopefully after a few months study using the material that arrived today from Amazon.com will change that and let me get a better paying job so that 27' iMac might not be such a pipe-dream any more (sorry for the off topic post!)
Posted 22 August 2011 - 07:50 PM
If gates, had the brains to build hardware to complement the software, we wouldn't even be having this discussion, apple would be still playing catch up.
But of course that's all history now, the real innovative war, is now between google and apple, with google taking over motorola, we will finally see some truly ground breaking technology coming out, and this will grow some real legs, when the boys at google, finally get the bigger picture and work out selling android to completing companies is Not how you make money.
They will close the door on android within 6 months, and unless you buy a motorola phone, you won't get android... At this point, you will see google branded set top tv boxes (basically apple tv units) running android, within 2 years, you will see chrome ( the operating system) coming out for PCs.
And then Yes, google branded hardware to complement it, at this point will have a true titanic battle, between the two super heavy weights, of the IT industry.
Posted 22 August 2011 - 07:57 PM
Coming through uni and being tech savvy, having your life and ideas channeled by the technology that's out there at the time your studying, the first place you would be looking for work would be at the forefront of that technology, would you not? Or one that's close to it.
So here we have, say 4 major players with many other companies in the back ground, Apple with all there smarts are building a spaceship to house their young and inspired, well educated, technical staff. One could only surmise that to gain entry you would have to be in the top 1% of the worlds technical population
his feeders are pulling staff from the best universities, he has PhD's looking for the new bodies as they come through.
What's going to come out of the spaceship? Lots of brilliant ideas, products that we now probably only dream of. Mr Jobs has / is building our technical future.
Now I am going to take the rubbish out and clean the toilet, my thesis is finished....
Posted 23 August 2011 - 08:00 AM
Not too many years ago I heard that said of Microsoft.
Apple presently are nothing more than a manufacturer of consumer goods which rely on their operation on third party software for which it gets a huge margin. If we could foresee the next move, we'd all be fantastically successful investors, but we can't.
You may have a point about no one trying to catch Apple Ken, but there is already someone out there slowly working on an idea which will make anything starting with an "i" look decidedly like last year's technology. When it comes along, we'll all be tired of Apple and it's monopolistic ways and scurry off to take the next big thing.
Posted 23 August 2011 - 07:40 PM
I don't think Apple will become complacent because of a lack of innovative competition...... I think they will always innovate and push the boundaries....that's what they have done since the beginning of time.
Now people are saying Apple is streets ahead of the competition...they are the innovators, they are the most valuable company in the world.......
Now go into the centre of the CBD in Sydney, Melbourne wherever...walk into any office and take a look around at what computers people are using.........you guessed it PCs.....
So if Apple are ahead of the competition, why does the majority of the business world use PCs?????
So there has to be a distinction here....Apple are ahead of the competition in innovation....not penetration.
So Microsoft is still the leader in the OS, and the PC market is still the leader in what the majority of people use in business and unfortunately home computers.
So then how are Apple streets ahead......???
They are streets ahead in innovation.....and let's hope one day they take over the entire PC market so we can get rid of Windows and crappy PCs for good!!!!!!!!
Posted 24 August 2011 - 11:24 AM
Posted 28 January 2012 - 12:52 PM
Maybe the other big names in the industry simply don't know how to employ or retain or properly utilise the right people for the job. Clearly Apple does and that's why it works.
No modern device is really the effort of one person there would be hundreds if not thousands of 'backroom boys' working out how to bring a dream into a device people want to buy and use.
Had HP or Microsoft or just about any other name you care to think of gotton the right people at the right time and with a sound business model then I beleive they could just as easily have been the current top dog.