Understanding Apple’s endgame

Whenever you bring up Apple or any of its products, the conversation inevitably goes to market share. So much so that it seems clear to me that some people believe that Apple thinks about market share when it releases products. I don’t believe that at all. I believe Apple’s endgame is to make the best product it can. That’s it. Everything else — profit, market share and sales — come because of that.

Making the best product has many complicated aspects to it. You have to think about usability, functionality, design and thousands of details in each one of those categories. Apple thinks of them all and addresses them before a product comes to market.

There are basically two ways to bring a product to market:

  1. Look at the successful product in a market and copy that product so your company can share a piece of that pie. The pie being market share and money.

  2. Look at the successful products in a market and understand that they are not fulfilling the needs of users. You then focus on user frustrations and problems, and you fix those. The end result is a new product that people will want to buy.

Option one gives consumers a choice. However, option two gives users a new way to integrate technology to make their lives better. There’s a huge difference.

People talk about competition and how its healthy in an open market. I believe that to be true. However, what we have now in the technology market is not competition, it’s copying.

Competition is when a company looks at a product or market and comes up with something radically different than what is currently being offered. It’s up to them to convince consumers that what they have will help solve a problem and make things easier for them.

Sadly, that doesn’t happen very often. What we see more of these days is copying. Samsung sees the iPad and copies it as best it can to steal market share and money away from Apple.

Technology companies these days are scared to death to make a product that varies too far from Apple does because they fear being left behind. Some companies even go so far as to say that Apple’s inventions were inevitable — if that’s the case why weren’t they done before?

Why did it take Apple to enter the MP3 player market with the iPod to change the way people thought of those devices? The same thing happened with the iPhone and again with the iPad.

In each case, Apple’s competitors copied those products as closely as they could, without bringing the wrath of Apple’s legal team. That didn’t always work.

Clearly Apple takes option two when developing its products. After the success of the iPod, I believe that Apple knew it had a really good chance to dominate the smartphone market and there was no question at all that it would dominate the tablet market.

That trend won’t change. If Apple enters a market, I think it knows the product is different enough from the beginning that others will follow.

Apple is not motivated by the same things that drive other companies. Market share and profits are a result of making great products. To do that, you can only have that one singular focus.