“Does Apple suffer by not following their suggestions or their lead?” Somewhere in the answer will be a definition for suffering but it won’t have much to do with Apple’s current state of affairs. Here’s why.
Discipline? Or, Catch Up?
Just between you and me and the fencepost, Apple suffers a bit by being too disciplined at times, but always seems to manage to overcome the problem of being behind trends by redefining the trends it misses.
Remember Rip. Mix. Burn? That was Apple’s answer to the CD burning phenomenon back after the turn of the century. Apple zigged toward DVD playing on the new iMac line, while the world zagged toward CD burning.
Apple caught up by playing from behind, and with both iPod and iTunes managed to capture the entire music industry.
Similarly, Apple missed the early days of the larger smartphones and phablets and was laughed at by industry critics who clearly saw the trend toward larger screens.
How did Apple respond? Not by leading the large screen movement, but, as it did with the music industry, by redefining it. Apple’s iPhone 6 weighed in at 4.7-inches, considered by many to be the sweet spot for a smartphone, and the iPhone 6 Plus came in at 5.5-inches, considered by critics to be the sweet spot for a phablet.
The end result is Apple’s smartphone marketshare is growing while Samsung’s and Android’s worldwide share is decreasing. Clearly, Apple’s adrenaline rush from being behind, and the discipline required to ‘get it right‘ have reaped huge benefits.
So, is Apple simply stubbornly refusing to see and follow the industry trends? Or, is Apple patient and disciplined enough to wait until the trend is clearly defined before entering? It’s probably a little of both, but it’s a tried and true and time honored methodology which has grown the company to an industry giant which, by way of a loyal customer following and well-designed products, has made it the richest of rich tech titans.
I’m sure most of Apple’s competitors would love to suffer how Apple suffers by following trends instead of starting trends.