Daring Fireball: Design Quality and Customer Delight as Sustainable Advantages
How do you quantify delight?
The second Apple bear argument comes from those who think Apple has already lost its design and experience advantage — that devices from Samsung, Amazon, Google and whoever else have already equalled or surpassed Apple’s, and at lower prices to boot. To these critics, the nine million people who bought new iPhones in its first weekend simply haven’t woken up yet. Me? I think this second group is wrong about the state of Apple’s design advantages. (Shocking, right?) But I think they’re correct about Apple’s strategic needs. The only way Apple can continue to succeed is the same way they have succeeded for the last 30 years: by producing superior products and experiences to their competitors.
So, as I see it, the first group of Apple bears is wrong about whether design quality can create a sustainable advantage in the phone and tablet markets. The second group is wrong about whether Apple’s products even are superior in design to those of its competitors. These are very different arguments, and largely at odds with each other. But in broad strokes, many of those who are prone to view Apple’s prospects in a negative light — those who, in Horace Dediu’s apt description, view Apple “as a company that is in a perpetual state of free-fall” — lump these two divergent schools of Apple bearism together under the loose umbrella argument that Samsung, LG, et al are going to be the death of the iPhone and iPad. Significant market share for any Android devices is seen — by these observers — as proof of either or both schools of Apple bearism.