Understanding Apple’s strategy

“The big moves for Apple in 2014 people seem to think ‘Apple’ needs to do are: A TV; a smart watch; a bigger iPhone; [and] a bigger iPad,” Ben Bajarin writes for Tech.pinions.

“Let me just say, don’t be surprised if Apple releases none of these things in 2014,” Bajarin writes. “Pundits and critics will hoot and holler that Apple has gone stale and other non-helpful online banter. Getting to the crux of why pundits errors reveals what I love most about Apple’s strategy.”

“The broad claims that are made about what Apple should do are almost always based around competitive reasons. Folks claim that because Apple’s competition is doing something that Apple should also or they will lose. Yet what I love about Apple’s strategy is that it is never around what the competition is doing,” Bajarin writes. “In fact, Apple’s strategy is best understood within the view that internally they literally believe they have no competition…”

Much more in the full article – recommended – here.


    1. Apple strategy is no choices for users, suck up any stupid shit that Apple makes, dumb down iOS and Mac OS more and more.

      Just the way I like it. People are like sheep and the collective is more important.

      Forward Comrads!

  1. “internally they literally believe they have no competition”

    This is wrong.

    Apple’s quite aware of their competition. The difference is that they don’t feel a need to do something just because a competitor did it. Apple’s products are never about just getting all the boxes checked off.


    1. Toward the end of the article I acknowledge that Apple execs do evaluate competitors strengths and weaknesses but what I point out is that their decisions are not based around this evaluation but rather what is best for their customers.

      SO I agree with you and I made that point in my article.

      1. Thank you for pointing that out. While I was at Apple I reconnected with a long-lost friend who was then at Microsoft. He asked if I wouldn’t like him because he was working for the Evil Empire. I responded that actually that’s now how we view(ed) Microsoft — instead, we largely didn’t think about them as we were totally focused on making great products that would enhance the lives of our customers. The sales teams were full of input about this or that feature or standard that Apple needed to adopt, as they should. But in corporate it was never a “oh my gosh, so and so just released such and such: how are we going to respond?”

        It’s a fundamentally different conversation to ask the design and engineering teams if, for instance, the best way to make a tool available to the user is through a ribbon button or an inspector panel, than it is to require design and engineering to implement a ribbon because that’s how Microsoft does it or because it would aid in switching.

      2. Good article Ben, short and to the point.

        I sent you an email a while back it would have been nice to have had a response. Nonetheless it’s nice that you come here after your article.

        Of course I find it funny that you said ” Getting to the crux of why pundits errors reveals what I love most about Apple’s strategy.”

        I don’t think that’s part of Apple’s strategy, I think it’s journalists and analyst and manipulators that don’t do their research or speculate for a variety of reasons.

        You put love in the first article I came across and you put forward that concept again. That’s the key to it. Apple loves, pure and simple. It’s a great strategy.

  2. Apple doesn’t “compete” against other companies and or products. That has been their mantra, even as far back as the very early 80’s.

    They said it then, “We don’t compete against IBM (or Microsoft)”.

  3. A case could be made whether Apple competes or leads in any market they’ve entered or created. Principles do keep Apple grounded though.

    Strategies, like departments heads, come and go, but principles are forever.

    Apple enters a dysfunctional market and brings the most salient features together in a package with a novel interface and leads everyone out of the morass. That has been my experience since 1997; Apple enters a market and kicks neck.

    One area where they’ve had no competition is, Macintosh.

    Apple created the Mac market and over time made the Mac more PC-like but, the PC world was competing with itself in a race to the bottom over price.

    Since 1984 a Mac would cost you roughly 2500-dollars if you bought peripherals and with the introduction of the latest Mac Pro the price is what you’d expect for a product of its caliber. Not that big a price difference, but imagine what you could have bought using today’s dollars, in 1984?

    This is one of Apple’s principles at work; continue to improve the product while maintaing about the same price.

    This isn’t a strategy, it’s a business principle.

    That’s not to say Apple can’t compete in a subprime market, however my sense is, Apple doesn’t want a customer who’s only loyalty is to the lowest price and not the best value.

  4. I, for one, do not like a lot of the strategic changes Cook has made. He’s chasing after Google and Android instead of solving user’s problems. Consider this:

    – Since Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard), more and more iOS crap has been introduced, and the price is now free. But the OS is ugly flat gray, it’s no better, no faster, less intuitive, and is doesn’t functionally do hardly ANYTHING better than back in 2009. Moreover, Apple has abandoned its advertising push to get people to switch away from Windows, so disgruntled Win8 users have no clue what makes the Mac OS superior. Or is it still superior? How would one know? Nobody here appears to be a power Windows user, so you never hear what one OS does better than another. Just religious fervor. So why isn’t Apple telling anyone what makes a Mac better???

    – Cook seems to think iOS is the most important thing. But what a crappy job on the iOS7 interface and colors. Sorry, but I’m firmly in the camp that hates it. It has not “grown on me”. It eats battery life, it’s not as intuitive or legible, and the minor tweaks are not enough to fix the ugliness of the font and white-out. Bad execution and bad style, if not bad strategy,

    – iWork isn’t impressing me at all. It was advertised to be better, but it isn’t. Apple is clearly attempting to re-create Google Docs, which also suck. These, like many of Apple’s software releases, are definitely for amateurs. That explains the price. So why is Apple continuing to piss on the pros who have businesses that integrated Apple into their workflows, only to have Apple ruin or abandon software time after time? Bento/FM? Aperture? FCPX? So many packages aren’t even close to cutting edge. Doesn’t Apple understand that when you release a new version, it has to completely replace the prior version to be usable? How about enterprise users, education, and small business? Dearth of software titles available for the Mac, poor support, and poor pricing from Apple. All Tim seems to want to do is deploy iPads as accessory devices alongside the critical Windows backbone that most companies have had no choice but to adopt in the last decade. Disappointing how Apple refuses to serve these customers with a high-value solution that meets their needs.

    – then there’s the hardware issues. With as much money as Apple has, you’d think it would be capable of doing more than one thing at a time. It seems Cook took several years to bring out the iPhone 5S and a cylindrical Mac Pro. Everything else is stale. The Apple TV is overly locked down and disappointingly slow to evolve. The Mac Mini is long in the tooth. The mid-range Mac tower is nonexistent, the 2012 iMacs were fumbled and, frankly, more style than substance. Each new portable gets less and less user-customizable. At least the Mac Pro almost arrived on time. Did anyone actually plug one in in 2013? But again, I think Apple misread its customers. How is it that Apple doesn’t offer a single-GPU option? Or is Jony busy trying to get Parallax into the Mac OS to so that both GPUs really would be required, and also to piss off the customers who found his lame excuse for 3D-on-the-cheap in iOS7 absolutely pointless? Is Apple attempting to get out of the display business or is the “supply chain genius” really unable to deliver a new display to match the Mac Pro at the same time as the Mac Pro? The success of Intel’s Thunderbolt will make or break the success of the Mac Pro. We will find out in the next few years. So as the new year approaches, will Cook wow anyone with new MacBooks, or is it just going to be an iPhone 6 year?

    Will iOS7 get the makeover it needs to appeal to mature adults? Will the retail chief fix the rudderless strategy of Apple Retail? Will Apple communicate enough to bring stock analysts back to their side? Will Cook continue to cave to NSA pressure or will he prove to Apple users that their personal data is not being data mined just like Google does?

    It’s about time that people started asking Cook more about his “exciting pipeline”, spent less time taking pot shots at Samsung and Microsoft, and started working on true in-house innovation.

    … yeah, speaking of “house”: enjoy that stupid round ring $5 billion house that Tim Cook built. What a colossal waste of money. He could have bough half of Manhattan for that kind of dough. Great strategy there.

    Sorry, I think the stock analysts are correctly downgrading Apple until Cook gives some answers to the obvious holes in the Apple lineup, the late deliveries, the infrequent product updates, lack of true innovation (excepting the iPhone 5S, that is), and really poor public relations.

    Cook gets a C- grade on strategy and execution … which is about what AAPL stock reflects.

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