For some, the differences are obvious. Price. Others may place a premium on usability, support, style and design. Allow me to posit that Apple is engaging in class warfare, segregating the discriminating buyer from the great masses who differentiate in different ways.
The More Things Change
The more things change the more they seem to be the same. Back in the day it was Apple vs. IBM. Then it was the Mac vs. DOS and then Windows PCs.
Today it’s iPhone and iPad vs. Android-based smartphones and tablets. In other words, not much has changed in the evolution of class warfare.
At a very basic level there is little to differentiate a Toyota Corolla for $18,000 from a Lexus LS model which starts at about $70,000.
They’re both decent automobiles that carry passengers from point A to point B with a measure of comfort, safety and dependability.
What about iPhones and iPads vs. Android-based smartphones and tablets? That’s a perfect example of capitalistic class warfare, the tension or antagonism which exists due to competing interests.
On the Android front, I see two distinct classes, both discriminating, though one much more so than the other. Android– smartphones or tablets– is more open than Apple’s iOS, more configurable to personal tastes, therefore loved by many who love the flexibility and options.
On the other hand, Android is free for smartphone and tablet makers who manufacture products that are usually less expensive than Apple’s iPhone and iPad, therefore easily adopted by the masses who are price sensitive and less engaged with capability. Price is more important than configurability.
At the other end of the line is the Apple customer, which, like customers of Android or Windows devices, spans the spectrum of modern humans, yet prefers a more elegant, more refined, somewhat more luxurious and trouble-free product.
Apple and the company’s many competitors engage in ongoing class warfare in that they work diligently to segregate and then cater to their respective customer bases, while working to dislodge customers from their competitors. This is a struggle that probably dates back many thousands of years and seems to be ingrained into our behavioral DNA.
We’re discriminating creatures yet we seldom discriminate in exactly the same way and certainly not for the same reasons.
The Prosperous Niche
Somewhere buried into Apple’s corporate DNA is the belief that there are plenty of people who will pay a little more money for products that are designed, built, and used in ways not appreciated by the masses.
Apple’s influence in product design is disproportionate to the company’s marketshare. Likewise, the company’s profits are disproportionate to the number of products sold. And, similarly, customer passion is higher than those of customers who one competing products.
The company simply doesn’t care about legitimate competition because the rule of product differentiation means competitors will usually not tread where Apple treads. That explains why few manufacturers go head-to-head with Apple on features and price. Apple has the panache and benefits from capitalistic class warfare, while the competition does not.