It’s hammer time at Apple. The company is swinging Thor’s Hammer at competitors and the end result will not be pretty. If differentiation is a key to product marketing success, Apple’s competitors are about to feel the wrath of Thor.
We can argue all day and all night about Apple’s prices, Apple’s naming schemes, Apple’s closed platforms, and how Apple Inc compares to any Windows PC maker, Android smartphone maker, or Google or Microsoft, but there is one thing nobody can argue with.
Sticky. Money. Machine.
Apple knows how to make money by giving customers what they want, right? Almost. Don’t we all want lower prices on Mac, iPhone, and iPad? Don’t we want lower prices on Apple Watch and AirPods? A lower price on AppleCare+, Apple News+, and Apple TV+ would be nice, too.
The desire for lower prices is universal. Every other maker of hardware and software faces the same issue. What Apple does to its one billion or so customers is insidious and almost imperceptible.
Apple is a sticky money machine.
Stick? Yes. Once you become an Apple customer the company makes the life of owning an Apple product far better than competitors; Apple Genius Bar for support (ever talked to a Samsung, Google, Dell or HP customer?), Apple associates for help and training, and a range of useful techno-gadgets that work well together– so well they’re called Apple’s Walled Garden ecosystem.
No, nobody else that competes with Apple has anything like that, and the stickiness is growing. How so?
Messages is a vastly superior text platform than SMS text messages on Android. Handoff works far better than anything else on Windows and Android. Apple Pay and Apple Watch? Perfectly sticky accessories to iPhone’s nearly 1-billion owners. In the past year, Apple has added to the stickiness that each customer can experience.
It isn’t just events in Calendar, or people in Contacts, but Apple extends sticky to Notes and Reminders in iCloud, free Microsoft Office-like apps in Pages, Numbers, and Keynote. Even apps are sticky. App subscriptions you pay by the month, including Apple’s homegrown variety– Apple News+, Apple Arcade, and soon Apple TV+. You won’t find that kind of Disneyesque walled garden ecosystem on Windows or Android.
Apple claims to bring in 100-million to 200-million new customers to the company every year. Do the math. Apple has well over 1-billion customers that account for most of the Windows PC revenue and profits, most of the tablet industry’s revenue profits, even more of the smartphone industry’s revenue and profits, and yet where are Apple’s fastest-growing revenue streams?
Services and Wearables; two categories where Apple shines brightly and competitors have a dim flashlight with dying batteries.
Look at the product line. $329 iPad. $449 iPhone 8. $199 Apple Watch. $650 for an iPhone-Watch combo? Take that, Android. Bundled Apple TV+ subscription for a new Apple purchase. Apple Arcade– playable only on Apple hardware; Apple is a hardware company– an affordable $4.99 a month with a family plan.
Every product has an individual value proposition. Apple’s products have a collective value proposition absolutely not available in a comparison form on Android or Windows. As this ecosystem grows and as the customer base grows and both continue to suck the revenue and profits from their respective product industry segment, this does not bode well for the competition.
Indeed, we are witnessing a low motion Thor’s Hammer in strke mode.