What is interesting about how Apple works vs. how competitors work should be obvious. Apple seldom is the first mover into a new form of technology product. Instead, when Apple enters an arena, it sets the direction that everyone else follows.
Let me explain.
Cheap R & D
Back in 2001 when Apple launched the iPad there were dozens of portable music players already on the market and they had a number of things in common. First, they didn’t store much music. Most people carried around a huge case with dozens of CDs. Second, the players themselves sucked; they bulky and had poor battery life.
Apple’s iPod was one of the first new products under Steve Jobs’ second reign and it featured a very small hard disk drive, could hold a thousand songs, and it fit into a pocket. Firewire was the connector of choice and it was only for Mac customers, yes, but it didn’t take long for Apple to nudge the bar forward with iterative changes.
The iPod was a huge hit and the predecessor for iPhone. What do all smartphones look like these days? iPhones. What do all tablets look like? iPads. What do all notebooks look like? Macs. Now we see the same thing from one of China’s premier copycat companies.
A Watch lookalike from Xiaomi. What’s it called? Mi Watch.
Few Chinese technology companies have been so blatant about copying from Apple. Remember the Mi Pad? Guess what it looked like? Xiaomi’s Android-based smartphones even have a skin that looks like iOS. For iPhone X’s iconic Notch, Xiaomi copied the Notch, the glass on the back, and similar wallpaper.
Why does Apple get copied by manufacturers in countries with no intellectual property laws? Probably because they can get away with it. In China and elsewhere. Do don’t see too many Xiaomi products in the U.S., right?
I wonder why?
What does this look like?
Also, copying Apple’s look and feel gives a cheaper knockoff version a sense of luxury, style, and elegance that would take an R&D expenditure beyond lunch money to figure out. Why devote millions or even billions to R&D when all it really takes is a few minutes to decide to copy what Apple built already.
Who needs R&D when copying Apple is free?