Why Apple isn’t worried about iPad competitors

By Noah | Add a comment | 

In a New York Times article entitled Rivals to the iPad Say This Is the Year, makers of would-be iPad competitors reveal their strategy. Tablet manufacturers “who have discussed their plans say they will both offer specific features that the iPad is lacking, and undercut their competitors on price.” (Emphasis mine.)

Reading this gave me a flashback to almost five years ago, when Samsung released an mp3 player that they hoped would compete with the iPod. It was a good product, and it was doomed to fail. David Pogue nailed it:

The iPod’s competitors have wasted years of opportunity by assuming that they can beat the iPod on features and price alone. They’re wrong.

In fact, at least six factors make the iPod such a hit: cool-looking hardware; a fun-to-use, variable-speed scroll wheel; an ultrasimple software menu; effortless song synchronization with Mac or Windows; seamless, rock-solid integration with an online music store (iTunes); and a universe of accessories. Mess up any aspect of the formula, and your iPod killer is doomed to market-share crumbs.

I predict that history will largely repeat itself. Apple doesn’t win because they provide more features, they win because they provide a more intentional design that results in a better experience. Many other tablets will be sold and loved (my friends love their Samsung Galaxy Tabs), but no device will present a credible threat to the iPad’s market dominance until it offers a similarly intentional, compelling, and coherent experience.

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  1. Yes. I was talking about this with a non-Apple friend once, saying that Apple products are basically luxury computers. (In the sense that they’re designed to provide a luxurious experience.) That’s what most of us are paying the extra money for in the end: the sensation of everything being just right.

    Comment by Sanguinity — January 4, 2011 @ 10:11 am

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  3. My disappointment with Apple is that their products are luxury items with short lifespans.

    Back in 2002 I was given a Dell Digital Jukebox as a present. Since that time I have purchased 4 iPods that all have died, the Dell is still playing its little heart out.

    That same year I purchased a Dell Laptop which we still use today as a test machine that gets pounded daily. 3 years ago I made the switch to Apple to avoid Windows Vista, in that time I have gone through 3 separate Apple machines, the current being a MacBook Pro that might last until the summer.

    When is Apple going to build devices that are robust and give the user their moneys worth? The platform is nice but buying new laptops/MP3 players every 1-2 years is getting old.

    Comment by kevin — January 4, 2011 @ 12:18 pm

  4. Kevin – Your experience has been very different from mine. I’ve owned several Mac laptops, each for 3-4 years, and each was then sold and continued a productive life.

    Comment by Noah — January 4, 2011 @ 1:12 pm

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