Why is Apple the only tech company that makes unique products?

Discussion in 'Apple, Inc and Tech Industry' started by mrsir2009, Mar 5, 2011.

  1. mrsir2009 macrumors 604

    mrsir2009

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    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    #1
    Why is Apple the only tech company that makes unique products? All the other big ones seem to just drop in behind Apple after they invent something... Examples:

    •Phones that are designed to simply compete with the iPhone.
    •Pretty much every non-Apple tablet.
    •iMac lookalikes.
    •I've even seem some unibody copy cats...

    Why don't they try and come up with something of their own instead of trying to "make a better Apple product"? Its annoying... :mad:
     
  2. Stella, Mar 5, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2011

    Stella macrumors 604

    Stella

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    #2
    LOL - you make it sound like everyone else just copies Apple: Other companies are inventive, for example, the company behind Kinetic, or Nintendo ( first 3d game system not requiring glasses ), or Amazon for making the first popular ebook reader device, or sony

    Apple are highly visible and of course, they do make innovative products but I wouldn't go as far to say "the only company".
     
  3. v66jack macrumors 6502a

    v66jack

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    May 20, 2009
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    London, UK
    #4
    Apple don't do all that much innovating themselves. They just buy small companies who innovate then sell it as their own.

    It's a bit more complicated than that in reality but generally that's where their stuff comes from.
     
  4. *LTD*, Mar 6, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2011

    *LTD* macrumors G4

    *LTD*

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    #5
    It's Apple's philosophy. It comes down to building priorities around it and executing on them.

    Listen to this guy in the video below. Does he sound like someone who doesn't treat tech as a craft, as an art? This is someone who sounds like he's prepared to make some heavy sacrifices for the sake of perfecting a product. Someone who is prepared to say no to a thousand things, and yes to that one special idea. You wouldn't even believe he's talking about tech but something entirely different.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BY85UiPBAo0

    It's not marketing-speak or hyperbole for the camera. It's an artist speaking about his work. Can you identify with this?

    Apple operates from a completely different place and mindset from everyone else.

    Why?

    Simple. They actually give a damn about the User Experience. They understand that tech is used by PEOPLE, and people have lives to get on with. So . . . simplify, simplify, simplify; cut, cut cut; and then work to perfect what's left over.

    That's the beauty of it. It's very Zen. Perfection - or rather, sublimity - is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing more to take away.

    Why doesn't the competition do this or think this way?

    1) Their priority is to make as much money in as little time as possible and to do it as cheaply as possible.

    2) They're stupid.

    Most of the time, #1 happens because of #2.

    And there is no cure for #2.
     
  5. KnightWRX macrumors Pentium

    KnightWRX

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    #6
    Apple doesn't invent. Apple refines.

    Apple didn't invent anything with the iPhone as an example, it had all been there in the industry, sometimes for years before Apple came to market. They simply packaged it up and marketed it. App stores, SDKs, touch screens, Internet browsers, wifi, etc.. name it and we can find another device/company that did it before Apple.

    That's what Apple does, they tie existing concepts and features together and put them through the marketing grinder to sell it. They are successful at this, sometimes where the pioneers of a particular technology failed.
     
  6. Dagless macrumors Core

    Dagless

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    #7
    Exactly. Apple are just highly visible. Looking around my studio now and scanning through the tools I use at work I see lots of advanced tech that Apple doesn't use;

    Microsoft Kinect, Playstation Move, Bluray, 3D display, Wacom, decent headphones, HD video camera, DSLR.
    Then there's Haptic/tactile feedback for touchscreens and OLED that they could be taking advantage of...
     
  7. mrsir2009 thread starter macrumors 604

    mrsir2009

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    Melbourne, Australia
    #8
    Interesting points here...

    Apple also purposely leaves out things in their devices (iPad, iPhone) so that they can make tons of money off it, release a new device with all the features they left out and make a ton of money off that too...
     
  8. *LTD* macrumors G4

    *LTD*

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    #9
    This is proven. Others react to Apple, change (or attempt to) in response to Apple, sometimes even to the point of having to admit it (i.e., Nokia and Samsung.) Some even design their entire strategy around competing against Apple. That's really saying something. And it is also puts paid the notion that Apple's leadership in this industry is without equal and that there's a good reason their value will surpass that of Exxon Mobil's faster than we think.
     
  9. Melrose Suspended

    Melrose

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    Dec 12, 2007
    #10
    I think this is the key point for this argument. Apple, true, did not introduce the first touch screen phone. However, they blew the lid off the touchscreen phone market when introducing the iPhone.

    They didn't make the first portable music player with the iPod - but they refined what was there, gave it a good interface and changed the way the world transports and listens to music.

    They didn't invent tablet computing - but still they made the iPad and spread a once-dead market segment wide open.

    It's not that they invent, though they certainly are innovative, so much as they refine concepts that are already there. And as far as people saying, "everybody copies Apple!" there is more truth to that than you might think - building a tablet computer isn't necessarily copying Apple so much as jumping on the bandwagon once Apple invigorates the market. In that sense, they copy Apple. They ignore a market before because they cannot tap it successfully; Apple does, so then they jump in with drastically similar features.

    Apple has single-handedly plowed many technological roads; the roads were already there, but Apple more or less opened them up.
     
  10. *LTD* macrumors G4

    *LTD*

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    #11
    Yep. Apple takes ideas that others managed to half-ass and makes them beautiful, usable and desirable. Good enough for me. Good enough for record-breaking quarters, too. And all accomplished with a closed, tightly-controlled ecosystem. Correction . . . all accomplished because of a closed, tightly-controlled ecosystem.
     
  11. KnightWRX macrumors Pentium

    KnightWRX

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    #12
    One problem I see with Apple though is once they have their successful recipe, they tend to stagnate on it. That's when the competition gets the jump, starts innovating themselves and pushes ahead.

    Android OS has gone through many changes and many people are now starting to feel iOS is getting dated. Android was first with true multi-tasking (iOS still lacks it even though it doesn't kill batteries on Android phones), copy/paste, augmented reality apps and they've implemented a much better notification system than Apple's near useless "block everything you're doing to answer this question".

    Look at the MacBook Air, Rev A. They launched it, then basically forgot about it until the Rev D model which is now one of their top sellers. Will they stagnate there too ? A lot of people thought that "the future of Macbooks!" would actually translate in a few changes to other Macbook lines. It didn't. Look at the Mac Mini.

    With the iPod, they were lucky that devices like PMPs were already very limited. As long as they played music, who cares what else they do. In computers, smartphones and now tablets, there is much more room for competitors to leap frog Apple and we're already seeing it as far as smartphones go. The once mighty iPhone is now finding its spot in the industry, comfortably sitting at #3 or #4.
     
  12. *LTD* macrumors G4

    *LTD*

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    #13
    No they don't. They just attempt to copy (often badly), then license universally and flood the market with a lot junk that includes a ton of different models at very low price points.
     
  13. roadbloc macrumors G3

    roadbloc

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    #14
    The scary thing is is that you actually believe this nonsense.
     
  14. Melrose, Mar 6, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2011

    Melrose Suspended

    Melrose

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    #15
    I think you're missing the forest for the trees. Offering near-identical features on cheap-quality devices has happened. LTD can be fanboyishly irritating (no offense) but the point stands - he didn't say there were no high-end handsets from the competition, he said companies flood the market with cheap electronics... which they do.
     
  15. Liquorpuki macrumors 68020

    Liquorpuki

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    City of Angels
    #17
    You know... tech consists of much more than just smartphones and personal computers

    Look at mobile gaming. Apple being in the market is actually screwing it up
     
  16. notjustjay, Mar 6, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2011

    notjustjay macrumors 603

    notjustjay

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    Location:
    Canada, eh?
    #18
    I think there are a lot of factors at play here.

    One is that virtually every other company not only has to compete with Apple, but with each other. So they have to cram the most features and specs they can into a product, while making as cheap as they possibly can, in order to stay competitive.

    For example, take a MacBook Pro, and find ways to make it cheaper: Well, we can replace the unibody aluminum with a plastic shell. We could remove the backlit keyboard. We could replace the glass touchpad with a cheaper part. Take out the Firewire port. Hey, look what's left: a cheap laptop. Everyone tries to get it cheaper and cheaper so they can outsell the other guys. Meanwhile, Apple puts in whatever they want and charges whatever they want, because they've built themselves up a position where they know people will still go ahead and pay it.

    Also, because of the tight competition, companies are afraid to take risks. Remember when the USB por had just been introduced? This was a real chicken and egg situation for PC makers. No PC maker wants to be the first to switch to all USB ports because (a) it will cost more money to put the new ports into the board, and (b) they know it will annoy customers who will have to buy all peripherals. Customers will simply buy the competing brand because it's cheaper. Now, someone eventually sells a PC with both USB and PS/2 ports so you can slowly start the upgrade trend, but it's slow for all the above reasons.

    Same for the floppy drive: nobody wants to be the first to ship without one. It would be seen as being "too different" and cause lost sales to the competition.

    Then comes Apple with the iMac and its all-USB ports and no floppy. You want an iMac? You're getting USB. You're getting no floppy drive. There's simply no choice about it. There's no competition, either, and Apple is already known for being more expensive so that's not even a factor. Apple decides they want to push the standard forward, and frankly you have no real choice about it (if you intend to stick to Apple).

    Then the market opens up (for USB) or perception changes (it's OK to not have a floppy drive) or Apple defines something cool that people copycat, and in all cases Apple's marketing engine claims credit for changing the industry. Repeat something enough times and everyone starts to believe it...

    And, to be honest, there's also lots of confirmation bias going on.
     
  17. zenio macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2011
    #19
    Yes, it's Apples highly erratic priorities that are puzzling.

    Their extreme hypocrisy and superiority complex that causes them to go into denial in so many cases.

    They stonewall and refuse to operate in a candid & open way with customers. Instead they practice silently hiding as many of their issues as possible.

    Apples one true area of brilliance is their masterful art of marketing. In the finest example of typical American deceptive advertising, Apple describes their products as "magical & revolutionary".

    What a crock.

    They can't or won't even build a cool running MBP, after years on the market.

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1105643
     
  18. KnightWRX macrumors Pentium

    KnightWRX

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    Quebec, Canada
    #20
    Preserving backwards compatibility has nothing to do with taking risks. It's just plain nice and doesn't hurt forward compatibility. Motherboards, to this day, still have PS/2 ports. Does it hurt anybody ? No. But that guy with his keyboard from 1995 he just loves and takes care of is pretty happy.

    Same with the floppy drive. Apple removed it from the iMac because it would "hurt" the design. PCs didn't remove it because frankly, what are you going to do with those 3 1/2" holes in the case anyhow ? And while manufacturers did finally stop shipping them, guess what is on motherboards these days ? FDD connector headers. Yep, still there and ready to read all those little Sony invented disks, or even those big ass 5 1/4" really floppies. Does it hurt anyone ? No, it's a 0.01$ part.

    Windows 98 did more for USB adoption than the limited run Apple had with its original iMac. Common sense removed floppy drives a lot more than Apple forced it with the iMac, and a lot later too.

    Some of you need to open up your boundaries a little beyond what Apple does.
     
  19. Synthion macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2011
    #21
    Apple isn't the origin of all their ideas, some, but not all. Look at it this way.
    __________
    __________ |__________|
    IDEA-------->|___APPLE__|--------------> Product
    ___________|__________|
     
  20. *LTD* macrumors G4

    *LTD*

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    #22
    I'm sorry the market and the industry hasn't responded the way you would have liked.
     
  21. Melrose Suspended

    Melrose

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    #23
    You really think that many people are that stupid and brainwashed? :eek:
     
  22. notjustjay, Mar 7, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2011

    notjustjay macrumors 603

    notjustjay

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    Sep 19, 2003
    Location:
    Canada, eh?
    #24
    Perhaps. You may well be right. But the point was that Apple was the first to seriously use USB and the first to remove floppy drives -- so they get to take the credit for "being innovative", and when everyone else follows suit, whether they were actually being copycats or for whatever other reason, they get credit for "being the leader" and "everyone copies them".

    Apple can market however they like, but if the product itself doesn't stand up to the marketing, the product will fail. Plain and simple. Apple has not been without a few failures because they were poorly designed or poorly priced products that no amount of marketing could rescue them from (the G4 Cube, for example).

    I bought an iPad, not because someone told me it was "magical and revolutionary" but because I tried it out in the store and could easily see myself using it far more than the netbook that it replaced. It was well designed, highly functional, and extremely practical for what I needed to do. The price was, well, Apple, meaning it cost twice as much as a netbook, but all told it was, and continues to be, a product that suited my needs.
     
  23. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

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    St. Louis, MO
    #25
    Yes, and you don't have to look too far to find examples of that ;)
     

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