Is Steve Jobs smarter? Is he just more detail-oriented or does it come down to simply managing a small stable of products with a laser-focus on usability. This is what I thought about as I read this blog post (some profanity included) which tears apart the Pre for being full of problems and most importantly being too slow to be useful. This entry came from an obvious Pre fan and that is why it is so scary and important that Palm deal with the problems mentioned. I should mention I do know a few happy Pre users and I don’t see enough of them around to confirm the problems mentioned in the above post. Still, the device is obviously not the iPhone killer some thought it would be. Far from it.
I have followed Palm for many years. They invented the useful handheld computing space and they were a decade ahead of the game. At some point they became exceedingly arrogant – approaching them at trade shows was a painful experience as I recall. They had a high-flying stock and were a Wall Street darling for a while. Did the success just go to the management’s head?
Over the years, many people at the organization have come and go and some of Apple’s top people have come from Palm. But you have to wonder, why is the magic of Apple so tough to duplicate? After all, these top people seem to be doing better at Apple than they did at Palm. Is it management? Culture? Is it years of getting kicked in the teeth by Bill Gates that built immense character?
Perhaps the most simplistic answer to Apple’s success is focusing on a few items and making sure the products the company develops are really different and better than what is on the market.
You could argue that in many ways, the Pre is better than an iPhone as it has an easier programming interface, a keyboard, allows multitasking, etc. But the Pre feels clumsy when you pick it up. It is a cool looking device and almost as slick as an iPhone at first glance but it is obviously something Apple wouldn’t let out its door. So too with the new Droid from Motorola… Apple wouldn’t produce it. I haven’t even used the phone but a glance at the photo and you realize no one has “thought different” as Apple’s marketing tells us.
If Apple made cars – would anything on the street today measure up? Probably not. Why is that the case and why aren’t more companies learning from Apple?
I wonder, would Apple’s competitors – or any company for that matter be better off if they just didn’t release their products until they were able to confidently answer the question affirmatively, would Apple let something like this out their door?