How does Apple manage to stand out and differentiate its hardware from a world seemingly filled with knock-offs, look-a-likes, and competition which makes much the same thing for much less?
Hardware Is Hard
Differentiation remains one of the hallmarks of product marketing and few technology gadget makers do a better job of that than Apple. Samsung relies on Google’s Android, so even premium Galaxy models run much the same software as cheaper Android smartphones.
Apple seems to take differentiation to a, well, different level. Apple’s hardware– iPhone, iPad, Watch, et al– do not run software from Android or whatever else is vying for attention. The Mac remains easily differentiated from Windows PC hardware by macOS Mojave. Apple’s hardware is different than competition, and where it’s not, Apple’s operating system software and built-in suite of Apple-branded apps remains a key differentiator.
Maren Estrada pointed out what should be obvious but is not:
The iPhone 6 Plus is still better than half the phones out there
That may account for the iPhone’s recent dip in sales. Customers are holding onto their smartphones longer, and that means fewer upgrades to newer devices.
Most Android smartphones and the few remaining flip-phones or pocket phones have less competition from Apple’s latest and greatest than from older iPhones.
What is perhaps even more impressive is the fact that the iPhone 6 Plus even to this day is still better than half the phones out there right now, and it still runs Apple’s latest iOS 12 software!
We have to understand, even with all the noise about how much money Apple makes with its growing Services business, the Apple is a hardware company. That five year old iPhone 6 and 6 Plus still run the latest iOS. Try that on an Android phone.
StatCounter shows that Android has almost 75-percent marketshare, while Apple’s iOS is less than 25-percent share, but that does not tell the tale of older smartphones which run Android OS from years ago. StatCounter latest version, Android Pie, has less than 5-percent share of all smartphones, while with Apple’s iOS, about 90-percent of all iPhone and iPad customers will have upgraded before the newest version hits the streets.
What does that mean?
Apple’s hardware is so good that even older models from many years back can run the latest macOS and iOS, which increases their resale value which then helps reduce the overall cost of usage from the original price.
Apple hardware that lasts longer than competitors and software that works on older hardware keeps us from upgrading as frequently as Apple might want. That’s a great strategy that Windows PC makers and Android smartphone and tablet makers cannot achieve.