The Mythos of Apple

I just read an article about the potential disaster that could be a google home entertainment device. There’s always going to be tons of speculation around companies the size of google and Apple entering new markets. It’s fun to imagine what is possible and I get that, but what irked me about this piece was the continual trope that gets laid out about Apple products which is that they are amazing products from day one. Apple makes great products, and as much as people like to think I despise everything about Apple, I still believe they do innovate. What I don’t believe is they are the magic makers everyone claims they are. They are not the same as every company clearly, but they do follow some of the same practices.

In this article about google entering the consumer hardware industry they compare the supposed strengths of Apple consumer electronics to what google has done in the past, particularly google tv, and their gen 1 honeycomb tablets. Here is the thing, there is no question that the first iteration of google tv, and many many many, of the gen 1 tablets left much to be desired. In addition there is no question that in some respects google is playing catch up but from those points the author leaps to this:

Shipping finished products that customers love? Apple products are designed with the customer experience top of mind — Steve Jobs famously said that Apple doesn’t listen to customers first, it figures out what they should want and then goes and builds that. Google is infamous for releasing half-finished products like Music and Google TV, slapping a beta label on them, then gradually improving them over time. That works fine with free Internet services. It does not work with products that you’re trying to sell for hundreds of dollars. (Need evidence? Spend an hour with an Androidtablet that hasn’t been updated to Ice Cream Sandwich.)

The first generation ipod was mac only, only used firewire, and had no itunes music management software. It didn’t get support for windows until gen 2, and didn’t get full usb support until gen 4. Obviously it set the stage for everything that followed it but it was far from finished. As for the first Apple phone, it was an abysmal flop. Oh you’re thinking of the iphone, no I’m talking about the Apple branded Motorola rokr. You can try to split hairs and say that is not an Apple phone, but it was launched by Apple, at an Apple press event and had deep integration in itunes. Name another non-apple product that received that kind of treatment. Even still the beloved iphone didn’t have any apps until the iphone 3G was release. And don’t even get me started on the still unfinished from even Apple’s perspective Apple TV.

Apple clearly pushes the industry forward in many ways. The original imac was the first device to get rid of floppy drives which, while derided at the time, was a necessary break from the past. There is just so much Apple washing in our tech media that it denies the innovation by other tech companies who always get accused of ripping off Apple. Innovations like universal search was pioneered by Palm on the Pre, the notification bar and voice search were introduced on Android. These were adopted by Apple in revisions to much critical acclaim but they are still adaptations of features that appeared on other innovative platforms that the press took as Apple creations. The point is every company does this, they test new products in markets and iterate to make them commercially viable. Contrary to what they want you to believe Apple really doesn’t think different.

1 comment for “The Mythos of Apple

  1. February 10, 2012 at 5:09 pm


Leave a Reply