Apple seems to have found favor with analysts this week. As Bank of America seeks to show investors that Apple continues to innovate, another Apple analyst has outlined four reasons to believe in Apple’s continued success.
He also argues that the claim once made by Steve Jobs – that the iPhone gave Apple a 5-year head-start on other smartphone brands – is twice as true when it comes to wearables …
In a lengthy Above Avalon post, Neil Cybart opens by suggesting that Apple has once more fallen in love with the iPad and Mac, rather than being mostly focused on the iPhone and wearables.
A few years ago, Apple was most aggressive with products capable of making technology more relevant and personal (iPhone and Apple Watch) […] The Apple Watch and iPhone were Apple’s clear priorities while the iPad, Mac portables, and Mac desktops ended up facing a battle for management attention as if they were located at the end of the rope that was Apple management was pulling.
Apple changed from a “pull” strategy in which some products like the iPad and Mac seemed to be having a hard time keeping up to a push strategy characterized by every major product category moving forward simultaneously. This shift appears to have been born in 2017, which would explain why we are still seeing the initial fruit of the effort. The iPad and Mac product categories have benefited the most from this revised “push” product strategy with more frequent and noteworthy updates.
Second, he says that Apple has an even tighter focus on the user experience.
Instead of defining innovation as either being first or doing something different, Apple looks at innovation as something that improves customers’ lives. A major consequence of this has been software and hardware releases that have prioritized feature quality over quantity. This year’s WWDC came in a full 20% shorter than previous keynotes. While having a digital format helped cut down on the timing due to quicker transitions, no clapping etc., there were also fewer new features announced. However, the features that were announced contained more significance when it comes to pushing the user experience forward.
Third, Apple continues to strengthen the attraction of the ecosystem.
It’s not just about Apple pushing multiple product categories forward at the same time. Instead, it’s about adding cohesiveness and commonality between product categories. Apple is making it easier for people to buy multiple Apple devices. As users move deeper into the Apple ecosystem, satisfaction and loyalty rates stand to go even higher. The end result is that Apple’s billion users aren’t just any billion users. Instead, they are a billion users less likely to use non-Apple devices and services going forward.
Cybart sees huge untapped potential here, as he estimates that about half of all iPhone owners don’t yet own any other Apple devices. I’d add that ARM Macs will be a massive boost to the ecosystem, thanks to Macs being able to run iOS apps.
Finally, he says that Apple doesn’t have any strong competition at present. Samsung has no direction or vision. Google gets excited about what products can do without paying enough attention to the user experience. Amazon bet on smart speakers when it should have bet on wearables. The Microsoft Surface is failing to compete with the iPad except in the corporate market.
He ends by recalling Steve’s comment when launching the iPhone in 2007 that Apple was five years ahead of the competition. He says that turned out to be true and that the gap in wearables is even greater. Apple’s continued success is likely to be even more dramatic in wearables.
Giving Apple a 10-year head start against the competition with wearables may end up giving too much credit to the competition. Excelling in wearables requires a corporate culture, product development process, and business model that few companies other than Apple possess. In many ways, Apple was built to excel in wearables. Apple should probably get used to being its own toughest competitor.
The whole piece is worth reading.
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