By John Gruber
Atoms: We are not selling shoes this time…
Here’s what I think Gruber was trying to say: at Apple, the people making the products are making them for the 99% of users who don’t give a damn about having the absolute latest technology in their phones.
This is not to say they don’t care about their phones, just that they don’t know, or care, what goes on inside them. Chances are, they never will. They have other things they care about: baseball, their child, the Euro. They’re the people who have no idea what LTE means, or how many megapixels the top smartphones can pack into a light sensor. They just want their phone to work, and they want it to work well. Everything else is just icing on the cake.
Close, but not quite what I meant. It’s about priorities. Every mass market phone maker wants 99 percent consumer appeal. The only company I’m aware of that’s building phones for the “one percent” is Vertu and they’re a joke. The question is how? How do you appeal to the sweet spot of the market where most of the money is and most of the people are? Almost every other company than Apple is doing this the same way the computer industry always has: tech specs. Speeds and feeds, gigahertz, megapixels, megabits-per-second. This is why so many people attribute Apple’s success to “marketing” as an explanation of how their products can lead in sales but not in specs.
But they misunderstand what good marketing really is. Here’s how Apple does marketing in a nutshell: Make a great product, then let people know about it. That’s it. Neither aspect of that is easy, but the important thing is it has to happen in that order. It all starts with a great product.
And a great product is defined by the experience of actually using it (including buying it and setting it up) — not by its individual components’ technical specifications.
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