March 30, 2012
The death of Steve Jobs has not quelled the passion of the loyal Apple enthusiasts. The new iPad orders has exceeded supply and the rest of the CES ecosystem continues to play catch up.
It also makes me wonder what the magic is that Apple has with its products. For most of my friends the answer is "It just works".
Tight integration of hardware and software is only part of the answer since companies like Sony have delivered this in the past, but it lacked the intuitive experience Apple provides.
So the answer comes back to simplicity in function and design. That simplicity comes at a cost for those of us who do things other than listen, read and watch.
However, the listen, read and watch is something we all do and its here that I believe Apple has its greatest asset.
It's the power of story. Apple is like the Harry Potter series when it comes to people's passions. The users feel like they are part of a community, which is fairly odd, since the products are more isolating in nature.
Products like the Kindle and the Nook should have the same amount of passion in theory, but when I check in the market place these products are marginalized.
With Apple people say I have an iPad and this is what I am reading.
No one says, I have a Kindle they say, I am reading this via a Kindle or a Nook.
In other words people have bought into being part of Apple's ecosystem.
Now comes the next question?
Can a Google, Microsoft, or Samsung enlist the same kind of passion?
I believe the answer is yes, but the path is unclear.
Microsoft has done more good in this world than any of the other companies and yet it gets continually beaten for being a bad boy. Perhaps Skype can build a community around them.
Google continues to be everyone's favorite search engine, and maybe Google+ will build a community, but so far it feels very noisy.
Samsung is a giant and I think have of my TVs come from them, but I have never thought that I need to contact them.
What's my point? The point is the power of story has been lost in these companies.
Mark Zuckerburg may be thanking his lucky stars for the Social Network movie, since it has done a better job in expressing the core value than Facebook does on its site.
I am not sure that translates into Facebooks products. Like Apple the words expressed are primary to Facebook. "I'll post it on Facebook", however we are more segmented in our reach.
The power of story now embedded in its users. The world of Soap operas is being destroyed by Facebook. Why watch General Hospital, when you can see the drama unfold around your family and friends?
It maybe Mark finds a tight way to integrate postings, but in someways its just like Angry Birds. I have a hard time believing tight hardware integration makes a difference.
Historically passions wane, in Apple's case it has come and gone and is now back again in full fury. They deserve a lot of credit.
I just wish I could feel passionate about it.
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