iPhone and iPad competitors are never going to beat Apple at their own game
"iPhone and iPad competitors are never going to beat Apple at their own game."
Well he is right. What Apple do well, they do really well. That seems like a bit of a round about statement. But you can see this fact playing in the way Apple hold certain niches in the market. For example 70% of all Enterprise phones in the US are iPhones. Nice!
Another fun fact is, even Mr Apple himself Steve Jobs is always harbouring on about how Apple have everyone’s credit card numbers. Well he does. If you have an Apple ID account and you purchase from iTunes or the App Store, this means “he” has your number. This is important. I myself purchase all of the show on the net, but only Apple and Amazon have my details.
Apple have key patents, one-in-lifetime personnel like Steve Jobs and Jony Ive, solid relationships with key media companies, and an integrated ecosystem of stores, apps, applications, and hardware. They are an imposing competitor.
Apple’s business model for its iStores is genius. Most companies “write-off” the expense of a branch store as important for marketing, whether the store makes a profit or not. They just cash cow these broke stores from other streams to make sure they have a presence. Not Apple.
Apple makes their business model “business green” for its iStores. The Apple iStores has a business ecosystem going on that integrates them into the consumer mall and high street with perfect location so as to ensure they make optimal profit. This is just one aspect.
But here is the cruncher for Apple:
But Apple also has some weak spots which a canny competitor should be able to exploit to make compelling products that Apple won’t be able to duplicate or directly compete with.
1. Apple doesn’t do social well on a large scale. Ping? Game Center? Please. Social applications don’t seem to be in Apple’s DNA…their best applications are still single-player or 2/3/4-player. Someone should figure out how to leverage Facebook’s social graph to make the phone/app/gaming/music/video experience significantly better than on the iPhone/iPad and then partner exclusively with Facebook to make it happen. The Facebook Fone would be a massive hit if done right.
Rumour on the street is that Facebook.com are closer to having this come about than we think. But I am unsure of how much more the author here is expecting there for be in terms of Social Networking experience. Third party development that sells on the App Store are catering for this rather nicely I feel.
This all being said, it is probably just me, and that I am easily satisfied with the current situation. I still do feel that there is a market here that Apple are missing but I am not sure of it significance to a competitor.
2. Apple can’t do the cloud either. Mobile Me has been around since January 2000 (when it was called iTools) and the service is still not as compelling as newcomer Dropbox. iPods, iPhones, and iPads are still very much tethered to plain-old desktop/laptop computers and iTunes…there’s an opportunity here for a better way.
I am a CLOUD JUNKIE. I am a evangelical SaaS, PaaS, DaaS etc. You name it. Dropbox is such a simple tool and yet it is far better than anything Apple can come up with here. Mobile Me, the first time I tried it I cringed the whole way into setting it up. Than it failed me a couple of times (or perhaps I failed it). The short of it all is that somebody else has got cloud technology down way better than Apple but there is nothing integrated hard enough into the computer, tablet and smartphone market yet.
3. iTunes is getting long in the tooth. The cloud and social are the two Apple weaknesses, but iTunes is showing its age and over the years has become a bloated collection of functionalities…music store, video store, app store, mobile device manager, “social” network, and, oh, by the way, you can also use it to play your music. Spotify, Pandora, and Rd.io point the way to a different approach.
"A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse!” Replace “a horse” with “anything but iTunes” and imagine me a Richard unhorsed on the field at the climax of the battle, and crying out for salvation. Rd.io is a piece of powerful yet simple genius and yet Apple, the prophet of “clean lines” and efficient power cannot grasp their complete lack and age when it comes to iTunes. Is Apple not the computer builder for the media man?
4. I can’t remember if this is my own theory or I read about this on Daring Fireball or something, but the Apple products & services that Apple does well are the ones that Steve Jobs uses (or cares about) and the ones he doesn’t use/care about are less good (or just plain bad).
Harsh? Who cares, the author has knocked the ball out of the park here with this one. Think about Garage Band, iMovie and Keynote. They are simply brilliant. It is clear that Steve loves to Keynote. He uses its power every time he graces the world with his ‘latest and greatest’. But look at iCal and you get so frustrated especially when you used to use the Microsoft version too. Steve Jobs clears does not make his own appointments.
Where ever Steve Jobs passion lies the rest will suffer. Social and Cloud technology is just that for Apple. Jobs has little or no interest in cloud computing and you can see it in the fruit of this Apple (horrible pun!).
But at the end of the day, it is the end of the day! Apple are awesome at what they do. That is what matters. competitors seems to be trying to hit Apple where it hurts. But where it hurts Apple is guarded with reinforced kevlar. That is, Apple are so good at what they are good at and to back them up they are super cash rich. So they would simply squeeze a good competitor out of business if they wanted to with low prices. But for now they do not need to do this. Apple are just so good they can keep their prices on the high end of the length.
Competitors need to get Apple where Apple is being naive. And even then, are the competitors going to get the brain washed loyal customers that Apple has. I for one am WELL brain washed and won’t sell my Apple ridden soul to anyone else.