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  • For many people, Apple is a confusing company:

  • On one hand, it's an unquestionable success - creating and then dominating entire categories

  • of products, and making more money than any other business in the world.

  • By far.

  • But somehow it also seems unable to understand its customers: removing features we love,

  • neglecting its own products, and making bizarre trade-offs we never asked for.

  • So how can the world's most profitable company also be so foolish?

  • Many would say they can afford these mistakes because of their exceptional marketing.

  • Others see them as disorganized and distracted, really only coasting on earlier success.

  • These feelings are everywhere on the internet, and frankly, they're understandable.

  • By being such a secretive company, they sacrifice the chance to explain themselves, leaving

  • us to speculate from the outside.

  • But theories like these only raise more questions: If the goal is simply marketing to maximize

  • profit, why focus on so few products?

  • They should be using their brand to sell anything and everything, like Samsung.

  • And why remove things like the headphone jack?

  • These are very deliberate decisions, yet they guarantee far more negative press than they

  • make in sales of adapters.

  • Foolish as they sound, there must be some kind of strategy here, it would take a miracle

  • for a truly dysfunctional company to be this successful for this long.

  • Which makes sense: companies this big aren't driven so much by individual employees as

  • institutional principles.

  • So, you may hate their strategy, think they're overpriced, and disagree with every decision

  • they make, but by no means are they careless or arbitrary.

  • The only way to make sense of all this - to understand their success, predict their future,

  • and even explain their mistakes is to figure out how they think.

  • And just three principles are enough to explain almost everything.

  • This is The Grand Theory of Apple.

  • Apple is treated as a technology company,

  • and anything else would seem ridiculous.

  • But it would also be ridiculous to say its goals are anything like other technology companies.

  • Their business may involve transistors and resistors, but from their perspective, this

  • is only incidental.

  • Technology is actually the enemy - a distraction, a source of confusion.

  • In the ideal world, no-one cares about RAM, or even knows they're using a computer:

  • they're just drawing, or reading, or talking.

  • This may sound idealistic, but consider how much it explains:

  • It's why they're obsessed with making devices thin, light, and minimalistic.

  • Removing ports, bezels, and even buttons.

  • It also favors some devices over others.

  • Because from their perspective, each device is fundamentally competing in the same category.

  • Which their executive Phil Schiller said quite openly:

  • The job of the watch is so you don't need to pick up your phone as often,

  • The job of the phone is to do more and more things such that maybe you don't need your

  • iPad,

  • The job of the iPad is to be so powerful and capable that you never need a notebook,

  • The job of the notebook is to make it so you never need a desktop

  • Each device has the goal of moving in this direction of smaller, less confusing technology

  • by making it's more bulky, confusing neighbor obsolete.

  • They've been so slow to update desktops because, well, they're the furthest from

  • their vision of what a computer should be.

  • There's a huge group of fans and customers who think Apple has changed, that they're

  • now obsessed with making devices thinner at whatever cost.

  • But this was always the goal, it's just now becoming technically possible to do so.

  • And their products may overlap with competitors now, but make no mistake: the second it's

  • possible to remove what they see as an unnecessary distraction, they will.

  • And as it becomes easier to do so, they're going to look less and less like a technology

  • company at all.

  • When Steve Jobs came back to the company in 1997, it was a mess: they were

  • selling a million different products with no clear strategy.

  • So he simplified the entire company into one simple chart.

  • They would make only one computer for each market, but it would be really good.

  • They've grown much bigger since then and they've had to expand that strategy.

  • But compared to their competitors, they're still extremely focused, to the point of leaving

  • money on the table.

  • Their brand alone they could sell just about anything, but they choose very selectively

  • where to focus their attention.

  • Even a good idea is not enough to justify their making it - they have to believe it's

  • huge.

  • This constant fear of over-complicating things is what allows them to put so much time and

  • so many resources into every project.

  • They're able to plan years and years ahead this way, investing in features that won't

  • see the light of day until far into the future.

  • And if they decide something no longer justifies their time and attention, you wake up and

  • poof, it's gone.

  • Someday that will be the iPhone.

  • It's not that Apple doesn't listen to feedback,

  • or even sometimes ask for it, but ultimately, they consider their judgement more important

  • than yours.

  • This may seem incredibly stupid, but it's actually the biggest key to their success,

  • because without it, they could've only been successful once.

  • Many companies create a very successful product, but they milk it for as long as possible by

  • giving whatever customers ask for.

  • After Microsoft created Windows, they did exactly this.

  • They're obviously doing just fine, but it meant they weren't ready when the smartphone

  • took off.

  • Apple does just the opposite, they're constantly trying to compete with themselves.

  • Any other company would kill for the success of the iPod, but Apple killed the iPod, with

  • the iPhone.

  • No one product lasts forever, so while it hurts to kill your own success, it's necessary

  • to stay on top in the long term.

  • This means not listening to your customers asking for a better iPod, and instead creating

  • what they don't even know they want.

  • This can be a really tough pill to swallow, especially in more tangible forms - the removal

  • the floppy drive, CD drive, the old charger, home button, headphone jack, and USB-A.

  • People were angry, often for good reason: these seem like needless sources of frustration.

  • And you can bet Apple knows this.

  • But they also know they're powerful enough to survive these transitions.

  • They can afford to lose some customers and receive some negative PR.

  • Because the up-side is HUGE.

  • Journalists write that these changes are signs of a problem, but the only true danger is

  • if they stop.

  • When they start listening to customers, they lose the chance to make the next big thing.

  • When the iPhone is released, they'll still be focused on improving the iPod.

  • Because, frankly, you and I aren't going to ask for the next big thing, we don't

  • know what it is.

  • But Apple has to.

  • To them, part of their job, the service they offer, is sayingNo, we're not going

  • to give you what you think you want

  • And again, this can be incredibly frustrating, sometimes they've just wrong.

  • The iPhone was late to the big phone market because for the longest time, they thought

  • they knew better than we did.

  • And this mentality can also create a bit ofinsensitivity.

  • But it's a risk they have to take, because more often than not, ignoring the customer

  • has really paid-off.

  • A good theory not only makes sense of the past but also makes testable

  • predictions about the future.

  • So if these principles really are at the heart of Apple's thinking, we can expect some

  • specific outcomes.

  • Firstly, if Apple is motivated more by these values than pure profits, we can expect them

  • to keep making sacrifices that anger consumers.

  • They'll keep investing in the Mac until a point where they think the alternative is

  • better, whether that be a more powerful iPad, a hybrid device, or something completely different.

  • Before consumers are truly ready, they'll pull the plug on perfectly profitable devices

  • to push towards the goal of smaller, less complicated technology.

  • And right now as we speak, somewhere in California Apple is working on something designed to

  • kill their current bestsellers.

  • Something designed to make their own business obsolete.

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The Grand Theory of Apple

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    up1217home   に公開 2019 年 09 月 08 日
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