People are blown away that Apple keeps winning while its competitors are floundering. It’s a simple formula.
Make consistently super-high-quality products that work together as part of an ecosystem.
Google and Microsoft have 20X Apple’s losses in the last year.
Other companies are just churning out the latest hardware, which doesn’t maintain consistent design cues, that someone else made, which is not integrated into any sort of long-term vision.
It makes their products utterly forgettable.
Those really are the main components I think:
- Consistently high-quality products
- Products that maintain a consistent design language
- Having them all work together as part of an ecosystem vision
Here’s what I wrote about this in 2017. No, wait. 2007. That’s right, before the iPhone launched.
So the iPhone is getting ready to come out in June and I’m hearing a lot of press about how this phone or that phone is better than it already, and that it’s too late for it to make a splash. I disagree. People keep talking about features, and I think they are missing the point. Sure, there will be many people who don’t get an iPhone because it doesn’t have a certain feature (or 5 certain features), but again — I think there’s something else to this.
I think the iPhone is simply going to be superior (demand-wise) to these other offerings despite lacking features such as 3G, a real keyboard, etc. Look at the music player market; there are a number of other players that are “better” than the iPod, but they don’t have the same feel, the same interface, the same…”I don’t know what” that the iPod has.
Why The iPhone Will Dominate But Not Based on Features/Functionality
Notice that “having the newest features” isn’t anywhere in my list or in that prediction. It doesn’t matter.
You know who else doesn’t have the newest features?
- In-N-Out Burger
- The Four Seasons
Lessons from other industries
I stayed at Four Seasons in Maui recently.
We hadn’t been there since like 2017 or something. When we drove up it looked the same. Smelled the same. All the restaurants were the same. Breakfast was the same. It was nearly identical to the last time we were there.
I was fucking amazed. Then I started thinking about Rolex, and how they only slightly iterate on their designs. The submariner has looked pretty much the same for nearly a century.
What this says to me, in a shouting tone of voice, is that consistency of quality and design is its own feature.
That’s it. That’s the tweet. And Apple isn’t just doing it better than everyone else—they’re basically the only people doing it.
Vision and ecosystem matter too
The other thing Appe is slowly but steadily making progress on is ecosystem.
It’s hard for Google and Amazon to have an ecosystem because they have too many product lines, and fully half of what they put out is garbage. They do make some great stuff though.
The difference is Apple is plodding. Slowly. And towards a vision. Siri is still lagging, no question. It’s way behind Alexa, and even Google, in many voice-related features. And it has been for years and years.
But remember: it’s not the latest features that win this kind of race. It’s consistency and quality. And, anecdatally, I’m seeing a lot more of my tech friends using their HomeKit more in the last year or so. It’s still way behind in features, but the quality and consistency is starting to show promise. Hopefully.
But beyond HomeKit style ecosystems, there’s also just the pure consumer tech side. There’s no better tech combo in the world than an iPhone, an Apple Watch, and a pair of AirPod Pro 2’s. It’s butter. Same with adding in a Macbook. Oh, and an iPad. Oh, and if someone comes over and needs the wireless password, it prompts me to share it with them transparently.
Like I said. Butter.
Admitting that I’m an Apple fanboy—I’ve camped for every iPhone since 2007—I don’t feel that from any other brand. But I honestly wish I did. When I see Google or Amazon do something cool it gets me excited. I want a worthy competitor on the field.
But right now we basically have Apple making great stuff, consistently, that looks and feels the same, and everyone else just throwing shit at the wall.
They’re not actually chasing Apple’s products. They’re chasing something else that Apple has—which they desperately wish they had as well.
- BONUS: I’m old enough to remember when Tim Cook destroyed Apple.