The craze for Apple products, despite the fact that Apple has lost its technological leadership, can be compared to a religion. This craze of the unconditional Apple followers is the bequeath Steve Jobs, who can be compared to a messiah, as left Apple with. Steve Jobs has put in place an ASTONISHING marketing trend that all its competitors are trying to duplicate. This article attempts to explain the long queues phenomenon outside Apple Stores for a product like the iPhone 6, which is a catchup product to allow Apple to compete in the large smartphone market.
What I have seen recently (November 2014) at the Aventura shopping mall in Florida, USA, amazed me. There was a long queue, an hour long I would say, to enter the Apple Store. Why would you say? Most probably, because these people wanted to buy a new iPhone 6, one month after its release.
Why use the expression “Apple religion” to explain this phenomenon? It is because the strength of a religion is that you must believe in its doctrine, without asking yourself too many questions, otherwise you are perceived as not having the faith. Since God is the absolute truth, you should believe in his word proclaimed by humans familiar with his word and who propagate his beliefs.
After reading this article you will understand, I hope, why the Apple myth (the Apple religion) currently has nothing to do with the functionality of the Apple products, and all to do with the PERCEPTION people have about the Apple’s products, which are a result of the AMAZING Apple marketing, instituted by Steve Jobs.
What is really special about this new iPhone 6 to generate such enthusiasm?
- It is larger than previous iPhones, with a screen size of roughly 5 to 6 inches. This size is currently the most popular size for high-end smartphones worldwide. A dimension that exists in the market since 2011 with the Samsung Galaxy Note 1, 2, 3 and 4 Series, for example. It took Apple nearly three years to catch up. Is this what’s impressive?
- A screen with a resolution of 1344 x 750 for the iPhone 6 and 1920 x 1080 for the iPhone 6 Plus. The iPhone 6 main competitors, the Samsung Galaxy S5 has a screen resolution of 1920 x 1080 and the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 has a screen resolution of 2560 x 1440. Is this what’s impressive?
- A processor power possibly less than or at the most comparable to its competitors, as assessed by experts. Is this what’s impressive?
- The iPhone 6 finally offers NFC functionality (Near Field Communication) for payments without a credit card. In the fall of 2013, a year before Apple, Android version 4.4 introduced the NFC technology for payments without a credit card on Samsung’s and other devices. Is this what’s impressive?
- An 8-megapixel back camera on the iPhone 6 versus a 16 megapixels back camera on the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, which also offers a wide angle front camera not available on the iPhone 6. Is this what’s impressive?
- An aluminum case, while the trend in the industry in general is for using synthetic materials in the manufacturing of almost everything that surrounds us: airplanes, cars, appliances, etc … Notwithstanding that the Samsung Galaxy 5 meets the IP67 standard which means that it resist dust and water, while the iPhone 6 is not. Is this what’s impressive?
The fact that the new iPhone 6 offers NOTHING really different compared to what is currently available on the market should not surprise anyone who has done its homework and has tried to learn what happened in the smartphone market in recent years.
Therefore, a logical explanation for the Apple craze, in America in particular, is Apple’s AMAZING marketing ability.
In fact, Steve Jobs has created this AMAZING marketing force that can easily be called the Apple religion, which continues to benefit the company in spite of the fact that Apple has not announced any SIGNIFICANT new product since he passed away. Apple was two years ahead in the smartphone and tablet markets for before Steve Jobs’ death. Since then, it has lagged relative to its main competitors and the announcement of the iPhone 6 is a clear proof it is not a technology leader anymore, as you can see above. Read Article 9.2-Apple: from leader to follower-2014-08-13, published in August 2014, which elaborates on this fact.
The smartphones’ components market
Although it is a known fact, few people realize that the smartphone manufacturers, as is the case for the PC manufacturers, buy their smartphones hardware components from the same component suppliers. These generally hold patents for such things as LTE, Bluetooth, GPS … Some of the major components suppliers are:
- Qualcomm, a leading provider of cellular communications circuitry such as for LTE.
- ARM, the leading provider of circuit design intellectual property for processor chips found in a majority of smartphones.
- Samsung, a major supplier of various processors, memory chips and other components…
There are hundreds of suppliers for the majority of the components used in manufacturing smartphones.
Did you know the main reason that allowed Samsung to overtake Apple is because Samsung is both a component supplier and a smartphone manufacturer? Read the following article which explains this further: How Being A Component Manufacturer Helped Samsung In Becoming The Biggest Mobile Phone Brand.
Did you know that Samsung is the sole supplier of Apple’s A7 chips (processor and graphic circuits) that are used in the iPhone 5S, iPad Mini Retina and iPad Air? Did you know that Samsung provides 40% of the A8 chips for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus?
Could another explanation for the Apple products’ popularity be Apple’s legendary ease of use: myth or reality?
It is totally true that Apple has always developed very user-friendly products. This has always been one of Apple’s strengths. We remember that Steve Jobs, in the early 80’s, invented the concept of using icons that were much more user friendly than the previous coded instructions. Since then, the use of icons has been adopted by the industry as the preferred navigation feature.
One of the strengths of the first iPhone, versus the competition at the time, was ease of use. Today’s iPhone are still user friendly. On the other hand, the industry has evolved greatly. If you have read section 9.2-Apple: from leader to follower-2014-08-13 you know that the smartphone’s and tablet’s functionality, and therefore their ease of use, mainly comes mainly from their operating system. You also know that Apple’s iOS operating system was outperformed during 2013-14, according to a majority of experts, by Google’s Android operating system with the release of version 4.4 KitKat and now Version 5 Lollipop.
Nowadays, comparing the user friendliness between Apple’s iOS and Android is like trying to split a hair into four. Both are very user friendly because the good ideas of one were adopted by the other and vice versa. Some say that Android is now more user-friendly because it is far more customizable by the user, as presented earlier. Read article 08.3-Customize and configure your Android Kit Kat 4.4.2 devices to suit your needs-2014-07-29 which shows how to customize devices using Android KitKat 4.4.2 and the more recent versions. This is by far the most viewed article on this website.
It is certain that a user who masters one of operating systems’ technologies, either iOS or Android, will find its technology more user-friendly than the other because he masters one and does not know the other, since using the other technology requires learning.
This is why I recommend, in many articles on this website, to stay with the technology you know best because the biggest investment made by anyone in technology is the time dedicated to learn this technology. This applies especially to people of a certain age, because youngsters learn and retain new technology much easier and faster.
The purpose of this article is not to make you change technology, but for you to understand Apple’s crowd drawing phenomenon for a catchup product like the iPhone 6. Perhaps with what I just said above, I answered my own question. In fact, maybe the Apple fans, who did not want to change technology, waited a long time for Apple products to catchup to the Samsung products and this is why they are rushing to Apple Stores as they do right now. Who knows?
If you’re young or young at heart and are willing to make the time investment to learn another technology that you consider more advanced, here are some helpful tips:
- If you’ve always worked on Apple computers and are considering converting to Windows, or vice versa, think twice. The design philosophy between the iOS and Windows operating systems is quite different. This may turn out to be a very frustrating experience.
- If you’ve always worked on Windows computers and are using an iOS smartphone or tablet because they came out on the market first, switching to an Android product will be easier. Indeed, the Windows and Android operating systems philosophies are more compatible; therefore, the operation of an Android product will seem more natural and user friendly, in my opinion.
- If you master iOS or Android, it will be easier for you to go from one to the other. As mentioned before, smartphones and tablets, whether iOS or Android, offer many similar features. Furthermore, you can greatly simplify your efforts if you use guides such as: Switch to Android or Move content from your Android phone to iPhone.
- If you want to compare the iPhone 6 and the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 before making a decision, listen to the following YouTube: iPhone 6 Plus vs Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Full In-Depth Comparison and 50+ Tips and Tricks for Samsung Galaxy Note 4. The viewing this last YouTube will demonstrates the customizability of Android on the Galaxy Note 4 to make it super user friendly, since, once configured, your device will specifically behave according to your personal preferences and requirements.
Steve Jobs’ strengths and legacy
In my opinion, Steve Jobs was a genius and a visionary in many domains. He had a unique ability to identify brilliant ideas from the people around him or people he knew. He was able to visualize revolutionary products that people had not thought about before. Examples:
- Put music on a tiny device you can listen to anywhere, like the iPod.
- While BlackBerry dominated and dictated the commercial market, he created a general purpose smartphone with a touch screen and capable of accessing the internet anywhere, with the iPhone smartphone.
- Provide the same functionality on larger devices with the iPad tablet.
Steve Jobs has created an on stage presentation style to introduce its new products, possibly as impressive and convincing as the presentation of the 10 Commandments by Moses on the mountain. This presentation style and format is now used by ALL Apple’s competitors who would very much like to create their own religion, but they don’t have Steve Jobs’ talent.
Sales and customer indoctrination with the Apple Store
While technology stores, such as Circuit City and others were going bankrupt, while others such as BestBuy, were not doing well, the thinking at the time was to avoid at all costs opening technology stores because of the competition from the Internet vendors. At the same time and against the all odds, Steve Jobs started opening Apple Stores. In retrospect, this decision is the brightest and the greatest bequeaths Steve Jobs left to Apple.
Thanks to this decision against the odds, Steve Jobs’ Apple continues to be very popular and have so much influence, still today. By opening these Apple Stores, Steve Jobs has made available to the masses the tens of thousands of Apple disciples ready to spread the good word and indoctrinate buyers into what I call the Apple religion. Simply put a shot of genius which produced outstanding marketing results!
Following the popularity of the Apple Stores, BestBuy has transformed its large area stores into technology boutiques for manufacturers who sponsor booths with specialists dedicated to their products, such as: Samsung, Microsoft, Lenovo and others, and even Apple who needs to fight the presence of competitors. In addition, Sony, Microsoft, Samsung and possibly others have all opened kiosks or stores in the large shopping centers. Once again, ALL copy Steve Jobs’ brilliant marketing initiative.
Now, if the iPhone 6 is a very ordinary catchup smartphone compared to products offered by its competitors, what’s innovative in November 2014?
I do not pretend to be an expert of all the products that exist, but there is a very innovative new product that did catch my attention. It is the new Samsung Galaxy Note Edge, which will be available in North America November 14, 2014, and which is, in my opinion, the most original, the most innovative, the most user-friendly and the most technologically advanced smartphone available right now.
The Galaxy Note Edge has all the power and functionality of the Galaxy Note 4, plus offers a curved screen on the right side of the screen, as you can see in the picture above. So what, you may ask? This new design moves the menus on the right Edge to free up more space on the main screen and keep the main screen visible when navigating the menus on the Edge. Brilliant, isn’t’ it? This is, in my opinion, what we might call a significant improvement in ease-of-use! Since each manufacturer adapts Android to its devices, Edge menus are currently unique to the Samsung Edge. Here is a YouTube on the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge.
NOTE: in December 2011, when I bought my first Galaxy Note 1, commentators of the time questioned the size of the device, a novelty at that time. They even said that you would look ridiculous using such a large device. Today, this format has become a standard which has forced Apple to announce the iPhone 6. It is the same situation now for the Galaxy Note Edge. Some commentators, who have difficulty adapting to change, question this innovation. I’m sure that not too long from now, the functionality offered by this innovation will be imitated by other manufacturers, particularly because it significantly improves ease of use.
The main objective of this article was to try to explain the crowd phenomenon in front of the Apple Stores and demonstrate that it has nothing to do with the quality of the products offered but the result of outstanding marketing by the brand. Nothing new! I do hope that I have met this goal and that you’ll continue to read my articles to stay up to date and more easily find your way in this jungle that Today Personal Computing is!