Ben Bajarin: Antiquated thinking is the root of most bad Apple analysis

“As many of the modern critiques of things like Disruption Theory and Adoption Theory have shown, the industry has changed and changed fast,” Ben Bajarin writes for Tech.pinions. “Many business theories, once the fundamental foundation for thinking about the technology industry, were created in an era very different from the one we live in today. It is also this outdated thinking that is the root of most bad analysis of Apple. While some of the fundamentals of theories of old remain helpful, the takeaways and modern applications of them are not as black and white as most believe.”

In a comment to readers below his article, Bajarin writes, “Apple will never be disrupted for the same reason $15 jeans will not disrupt $200 jeans. What’s interesting is the size of humans on the planet willing to spend on a more expensive smartphone due to superior user experience… Will Google get disrupted or obsoleted? I suggest the latter.”

Much more in the full article – recommendedhere.

MacDailyNews Take: Ben hits the nail squarely on the head.


  1. I wouldn’t say that it’s antiquated thinking, more a lack of thinking.

    Apple has launched a number of innovations ( iMac, iPod, MacBook air, iPhone, iPad, iTunes, Apple retail stores ) in recent years and we always see the same pattern. The new product is ridiculed for not being like it’s rivals, pundits line up to explain why it won’t succeed, then it succeeds beyond most people’s wildest dreams and everybody else tries to what Apple has done.

    I’m prepared to concede that of it had only happened once or twice it could be written off as a fluke, but when there’s a whole string of consecutive successes over more than a decade, even Apple’s sternest critic must concede that Apple must be doing something right.

    1. Yeh. “Antiquated thinking” is not enough to explain the stupid regurgitation of the same nonsense over and over and over, against that string of successes.

      1. The problem isn’t that analysts can’t think, it ids that US Universities tell them what to think, based on models that are decades, maybe centuries old.

        I would say that MBA programs, and the practitioners they churn out are still treated the digital age as purveyors of commodity hardware. They do not see see the value in the software that makes the hardware valuable.

        Bajarin is absolutely spot on, “it is … this outdated thinking that is the root of most bad analysis of Apple.”

    2. The trouble is, the narrow-vision critics fall back to saying that Apple’s success must be due to marketing and cult-like thinking, rather than doing something right.

      1. Marketing and cult-like thinking might just plausibly have explained sales in the early days when numbers were very much smaller. 75 million sold iPhones in one quarter cannot be dismissed in such a trite fashion. Apple are clearly doing something very right and their customers keep coming back for more.

        It may be hard for some commentators to understand that delighting your customer could be a great business proposition, but it’s what Apple has been doing for many years and it’s why Apple’s customers are so loyal.

    3. The real cause is not antiquated thinking or lack of thinking. It’s what analysts (experts in a particular industry) know. They know their respective industry. Therefore, they expect Apple, operating in any particular industry, to conform to the norms of that industry.

      Apple does not. On purpose. It’s part of their strategy. Whereas most companies see something successful and try to copy it, Apple usually does the opposite. They create the thing that the competition copies.

      Here’s Apple’s usual strategy… Identify a promising new market. Design a desirable product and customer experience that is impossible (or very difficult) for the competition to replicate. Guarantee success by building on previous successes. If those conditions do not exist, do NOT release the product until they do.

      For example, Apple Watch cannot be replicated by competitors, because no one else has iPhone and its highly unified platform. There is no equivalent smartphone/platform. Success is guaranteed, because the existing customer base with compatible iPhones is HUGE (and getting HUGE-er); a large enough percentage of that customer base will adopt Apple Watch to sell it in the tens of millions.

      Analysts were calling for Apple to release a low-cost (sub $500) MacBook, to counter “netbooks.” That would be the right “industry move.” But Apple’s answer to netbooks was iPad. Something very difficult for the competition to replicate, because only Apple has iOS and its “ecosystem,” made large and successful by iPhone, a previous success. That existing user base for iPhone (and Mac) guaranteed success.

      And there’s Apple TV. Why did Steve Jobs described it as “just a hobby”? Because in this case, Apple did not follow the usual strategy, yet released a new product in a new market. Apple has not released the long-rumored complete Apple TV (which would NOT be a “hobby”), because Apple has not found the “angle” that guarantees success. It may never be released. Any other company would have moved ahead and released the product, as shown by the “smart TV” products that have NOT been successful.

    4. Pioneers are rarely lauded before the fact of their new success & turn of paradigm moving the needle forward, and analysts and critics only look dumbfounded and done in by their own miserable & doofusy lack of imagination, or complete misread & misunderstanding of the market and Apple in particular.

      Then the analysts move on to their next classic specious bluff & blunder hoping no one’s keeping score or notices their abject incompetence – but, heh, we are & do.

  2. Antiquated thinking? No doubt. But also:

    – Lazy thinking
    – Technology ignorance
    – Hit whoring
    – August Effect… whenever
    – MBA for a crap business school
    – Psychopathy
    – Did I mention lazy?

    One fact for which I have some sympathy: It takes a lot of work and a freakish mind (I say to myself) to keep up with the daily changes in technology. If you don’t have the bent for it, if it bores you or you can’t comprehend it or just don’t give a rat’s, your writing will make it clear that you’re NOT keeping up! You’ve got to be obsessed. 😀

  3. “Antiquated thinking is the root of most bad Apple analysis”
    And very bad services too.
    I’m stuck with many problems with my bank because they only allow operations via internet explorer (no webkit browser) and their mobile application is for android only.
    Can you believe those Idio^$$^&?

    1. i can’t believe you are still with them,,,,, oh wait, that was not fair……
      get away and get a life
      tell them why
      rub it in, HTML5 is not that big a deal to port
      apple is a high dollar customer driver,
      they will not change until it smacks them that they are losing the creame of the crop

  4. Much of it is paid for lies. Wall street stock manipulation.
    The leaches are no longer happy with a 10% return in 6 months to a year. They want double that in a week.
    The only way is to force stock prices down on artificial bad news, then wait for it to pop back up.

  5. alanaudio hits it on the head, it’s more a lack of thinking. The theories that Ben Bajarin mentions, the Diffusion of innovations (Adoption Theory) came around 1962 courtesy of Everett Rogers while the disruption theory (disruptive technologies) were introduced in his 1995. These ideas are based on the concept of the theory, an idea that goes back to the day of Aristotle. That theoretical idea has lasted a good long time and has been a powerful tool for the advancement of human kind.

    Analysts appear to forget a place of analyst, specifically as one of the steps of scientific method, another antiquated idea that is standing the test of time. It involves 1. Question, 2. Hypothesis, 3. Prediction, 4. Experiment and 5. Analysis (not in any particular order). I don’t see much of this with the say the barrage of news from the media about the Apple car and the comment from Tim Cook about hearing the rumors and not commenting leads me to believe that there is no firm data available, no facts. This doesn’t stop the media from falling over each other about going on ad nauseum about an Apple car.

    Without the data it’s speculation and that speculation can go wild but to what purpose. What’s the intent of the modern day tech media, to help advance lives or to serve their own purpose, to justify their existence and profit or a pawn to control the masses? Who is to say that it’s simply to get hits, make money for the media? Those are relevant questions for me. It would be easy to generate a hypothesis that the media main drive is to advance humanity or conversely to full fill it’s own self serving purposes of making money or it is a tool to control the masses. It would be easy to review the track record on the plethora of jouranalists that report on Apple regularly. One could also experiment on the process by releasing false rumors. This is something no doubt that Apple has done, to track source leaks. It would then be a valid approach to track and analyze the results of such news releases, comparing how they would hold up against time and compare this to the personal gain of the writer or the news outlet. There are charts on those analysts that predict Apple’s quarterly results, and their accuracy over time can be measured.

    Predictions: The answers to the relevant questions:

    -Is modern day tech analysis accurate? No it’s mostly speculative.
    -Is modern day analysis intended to advance humanity: Not directly.
    -Is modern day analysis intended to make money and is self serving: Yes.
    -Is modern day analysis to control the masses?: Yes, follow the money.

    These are predictions, I don’t have the hard data, the crunched number so I could be wrong. There is something though that couples with thinking, (antiquated or not) and that’s instinct and intuition. My intuition tells me, that the common modern day analysis is out for the money, self interest (ego boosting being one of them). Bring out the facts to prove me wrong.

    Null hypotheses.

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