Name a critical and noteworthy difference between Apple and any of its many competitors. Expensive price tags? Check. Usability? OK. Attention to privacy and security? Sure. Far better than Google. Style and flare? Uh huh. Apple Stores? Of course.
What else? When I picked up Apple Watch Series 4 at the downtown Chicago Apple Store I was struck by something you won’t find when shopping Google, Samsung, Dell, HP, or even Amazon. The human touch. People.
Touch Me, Baby
That personal touch, among the aforementioned items, actually segregates Apple from the riffraff of retail. You pay for it in higher prices, but it’s there and not anywhere else on the same scale. As highly touted as Google’s new Pixel 3 camera is, have you ever met a Google employee? Yet, at any Apple Store you can get free classes on how to better utilize an iPhone’s camera; or, just about any Apple product.
Doesn’t Microsoft have their stores, too? Uh huh. And they’re populated by more Microsoft employees than customers. That’s exactly the opposite at an Apple Store, and still it can be a challenge to get some attention without waiting a few minutes in line.
My Apple associate when I picked up my Watch order has been working for Apple for 12 years; part time. Although I didn’t need much help, I had a few questions and she was ready and willing to assist. One question stumped her, but a nearby associate knew the answer.
Apple’s Genius Bar is much maligned by geeks and members of the technorati elite politburo, but where do you get Samsung devices fixed? Or, anything made by Google? Or, even Dell, or HP, or Lenovo, or Motorola?
Two other newsworthy items made it to headlines in the past few weeks and they both speak to a personal human touch that Apple Inc. has that you’re not likely to find with Google’s mostly absent leadership or Facebook’s robotic founder, Mark Zuckerberg.
Apple CEO Tim Cook brought to the fore a 21st century version of President Dwight Eisenhower’s famous ‘military industrial complex‘ speech from the last century. Cook took aim at Google and Facebook and decried the growing threat of the ‘data-industrial complex.’
Our own information is being weaponized against us with military efficiency… We shouldn’t sugar-coat the consequences. This is surveillance. And these stockpiles of personal data only serve to enrich the companies that collect them.
If differentiation is a key component of product marketing, Apple differentiates itself clearly with a human touch not found in the competition. The New York Times ran a piece on this same approach elsewhere at Apple.
Apple’s Radical Approach to News: Humans Over Machines
Humans, not algorithms. Apple’s News app has more than 90-million regular readers. I like it better than Flipboard or Google News because it’s not glaring with machine learning errors, and more resembles a very large digital newspaper. That requires a human touch. That’s how Apple differentiates the company, its products and services, and the brand from competitors.
Read it and weep Google, Facebook, Amazon, Samsung, and Microsoft. Humans matter to humans. Algorithms do not. Just remember that you’re paying the Apple Tax so you can be touched by humans.