There is a Vampire Sucking on Steve Jobs Neck Right Now:
It’s the truth and the PC industry has been living off Apple releases for years. Literally leeching off the products and efforts by Apple. What’s ironic is Apple is not even the first to bring these products to market; usually the PC industry is first. Somehow when Apple releases a product it brings credibility to that type of product and paves the way for others. This is clearly the case with mp3 players, small-form-factor computers, streamlined laptops, and now most recently tablet PCs.
That’s right: Apple is nowhere near the first to bring tablet computing to consumers. Long before Steve Jobs had even heard the name iPad, Lenovo, Toshiba, Fujitsu, and others offered just such a product. Though, it could be argued that Apple made a similar venture into this product category with the Newton many years ago and is just now coming back to this product type. In either case the tablet PC has been around for a long time, so why is it just now that consumers are taking tablet computing seriously? Why is it that media attention is finally being focused on products like the JooJoo tablet? More to the point, how is it that Apple products have a legitimizing effect for their PC equivalents?
Well for one, Apple has put the time, research, and development into doing it right. Consumers recognize a quality product when they see it, and Apple is not known for releasing low quality products. Even now with the iPad released, the subsequent vampiric flood of tablet PC computers on the market are doing it wrong. It seems the PC market is doomed to under-achievement for the simple fact that they act as vampires and don’t give their products anywhere near as much forethought as Apple does. A simple look at the design and execution of the iPad and you too will draw that conclusion.
In contrast, the PC industry has seemed to adopt a strategy of releasing cheap products to make a quick profit before rapidly moving on to the release of their next product. Long term investments or refinement of a product line has not traditionally been a hallmark of the PC industry. In those rare cases where a manufacturer has invested the time to create a higher end product, it still did so in a half-hearted manner thus resulting in lackluster sales.
Take, for example, the Dell Adamo laptop PC. Upon first look it seems Dell took its design cues straight from Apple and included features that consumers might actually want. The Adamo has a sleek and slim design with aluminum casing and refined touches. A winner, right? So where is the flaw, you ask? Easy: a simple look at the specifications and performance of the product reveals that it’s not really a usable product. A low-end processor, poor battery life with its non-removable battery, and a very high price make a deadly product combination. Put the nail in the coffin – “he’s dead, Jim.” I’m not saying that the Adamo has a bad cosmetic design but usability and performance win every time.
This is why Apple products shine and why they will continue to win the hearts and dollars of consumers in growing numbers. Apple products work and they work well; this alone would win many consumers but Apple has gone the extra mile to complete their recipe for success and executed a near flawless design of their products. To summarize, Apple products look great and work great. With that combination, consumers are willing to pay a premium for the product. None of this is really a secret or should come as a major revelation to the PC industry, so why haven’t they caught on and starting doing the same thing? Again the answer is simple: they are vampires.
Think of your classic horror movie by Boris Karloff or your favorite vampire flick; they all had two things in common. There was a victim and there was a culprit; in this case the culprit is a parasite. Parasites find it easier to go through life letting the host do the work for them. R&D is expensive, as is refinement of a product, testing, collecting feedback, evaluation, making sure your consumers’ needs are met and exceeded. Why go through all that trouble when you can let your host (Apple) release a product that is excellent and then you can simply make a lot of cheap knock-offs and collect on all those people who don’t want to pay the premium for the real McCoy? Seems like a philosophy that has worked for the PC industry for years.
Right about now you’re thinking I’m a Mac fan or a PC hater; you would be wrong. In fact, I unfortunately don’t own an Apple laptop or desktop. I simply have a growing respect for a good product and the ability to recognize one when I see one. I have attended CES (Consumer Electronics Show) and Computex for many years now and I always get excited when I see a product with lots of potential. Unfortunately more often than not I am let down by those same products when I actually get to play with them. I am to the point that I refuse to buy a product before I play with it and thoroughly do my homework on the product. I am also a big fan of going into a store and putting my hands on products. I find that when I see a product in person, pick it up, and play with it, a lot changes. I may or may not buy that product in the store as opposed to online, but I always insist on seeing a product in person before I buy. So what does this have to do with the Vampire that is the PC industry?
Consumers need to broaden their horizons, especially businesses and higher education. I’m not advocating for Apple here; what I’m saying is that consumers need to insist on better-made products. For those companies that continue to release cheaply made, poorly implemented products, I say “Stick a Steak in their Blood Sucking Hearts!” This applies to laptops, desktops, computer products, and right on down to your cell phone, your car, and that AOL e-mail address you covet so much. (I swear I received close to 500 of those CD’s and still can’t believe there are people who use them.) If you don’t insist on a good product then you won’t get a good product. Until the PC industry changes from parasite to real flesh-and-blood entity dedicated to producing products that have had some considerable time invested into them, they will never be able to match Apple. I hope I get to see that happen, or my next article will be titled “How my PC forced me to buy a Mac.”