The Apple Philosophy
No matter what person you are, no matter what you believe, everyone must face the cold, hard truth: You can’t please everybody. This is especially true with technology, where the ecosystem is very diverse. Whenever you find a new device or software, there is a 100% chance you will find something (or something missing) that will surely disappoint someone. For perfectionists like Apple, this truth is also their greatest weakness. Now that many companies are beginning to emerge from Apple’s shadow, I thought it was appropriate to look into arguably the most questionable concept in the tech world: The Apple Philosophy.
If you look at most of the Apple products around, you will immediately notice the first of these philosophies: The fewer, the better. This is most evident in Apple’s hardware and OS X, where there is virtually one product per category to rule them all. For example, in contrast to the six versions of Windows Vista (four for Windows 7), there is only one version of Mac OS X. Their belief behind this is that there will always be something one may eventually need. Rather than making someone upgrade to another version of an OS or buy additional software, there is one OS that has everything, so you can immediately take advantage of its features the moment the need arises. While this philosophy works rather well for OS X, it becomes more controversial amongst the Macs, where computer customization has been crucial for selection for the past decade or so. The consequence is that people would have to buy a $2,000 Macbook Pro just to get a notebook with a discrete GPU, when a customization option for, say, a 13-inch model could potentially save several hundreds of dollars. Diversity has been the focal point of Microsoft’s Laptop Hunter Ads, and an idea that Apple should accept in the near future.
The second philosophy of Apple is that of quality, and in turn, price. Apple believes that there should not be any room for failure or any other compromise, which is why their products, while far less problematic than most other computers, carry a hefty price tag. Most people criticize the Mac for its high price on a computer with much lower hardware specs than an equivalently priced PC. While this criticism is relatively true, people tend to forget other factors of pricing, namely built-in software, and build quality. This is also why Apple refuses to compete in the netbook market, believing that Apple should never taint its image as a quality manufacturer by producing netbooks that have weak hardware and inferior build quality. While the prices of Apple’s products are frequently under-fire, many others believe that a sophisticated OS and software and quality that produces high customer satisfaction are worth the price tag. While Apple’s Macs and other products are expensive, it’s because they were meant to be premium items to begin with. It’s like criticizing Porsche for not making a car that is priced like a Chevy. Apple just doesn’t compete in that kind of market.
The last philosophy is also the most criticized, which is that of content. Those that fall in this category are the iPhone and, to an extent, the iPod+iTunes line. While these products are known for certain features, people on scrutinize these products for lacking something they essentially want out of a device. The fact that the iPod lacks a built-in FM Radio, substantial updates (software-wise), and a music subscription service have become focal points for criticism and a marketing factor for competitors. This is also highly evident in the App Store, where apps are usually filtered because either it is useless in the eyes of Apple, it directly competes with a current Apple offering, or the app uses a cellular connection. This kind of “censorship” is frequently under-fire and, once again, these issues will be resolved by yet more incoming competitors. In fact, most competitors sell to people the fact that their products have what Apple’s lack. Once again, this is where Apple falls prey for the inevitable diversity of the tech community. While Apple might deem a feature or service useless, it might be highly coveted by another group of people. It is this mere lack of a certain feature that pulls people away from Apple; a sad truth.
This is only a mere summary of what I think is the way Apple thinks. It is sad to know that Apple can do nothing but expect people to buy their way of thinking, but of course, it just doesn’t work (no pun intended). This is also why competitors can easily make an anti-Apple, where all they have to do is add what Apple lacks and they already have an audience to appeal to. It’s as though Apple is always the one shoveling the snow, experiencing much hardship, while rivals only have to walk the clear path. Though the Apple Philosophy could work back in the old days, in a time where perspective has spliced into many forms, Apple needs to adjust to the times. While Apple doesn’t have to slap itself in the face by compromising its philosophy, it can at least reach out to the audience that currently criticizes them. In other words, Apple can potentially look into that untapped market and see what they can out of it. Though Apple continues to roll out new things that may woo the crowd, the point remains that Apple should be ready to face change, fundamental change. I think it’s about time that Apple make a comeback after years of having their weakness exploited by rivals. If Apple can fill those gaps, even these competitors will have much to live up to.