Although a much talked about subject I thought I would add my take.
Apple certainly has captured the public’s imagination (and wallets) with its well designed high performance products. It makes sense that such success would accelerate its competitor’s efforts to close the gap but it doesn’t seem to be happening too fast.
What is it which keeps them ahead (or the others behind)?
The answer I believe is in Apple’s history of product development and design.
Before it was in vogue, Apple was producing integrated multi task products which were pleasing on the eye and more importantly pleasing to use. Its experience has taken it to produce products which as a ‘whole package’ surpass the competitors, often by a long way.
Historically, integrated multi task products (i.e. TV-video, washer drier etc.) were not often great successes. However today there is a high demand for a new generation of such products i.e. smartphone’s or netbooks.
Smartphone’s were being sold well before the iphone was on the market and yet Apple’s first one was a knockout.
The iPhone is attractive, easy to use, has large memory and interconnectivity capabilities, is fast and most importantly works reliably despite its many varied components.
Attempts to catch up are many and include exterior design, improved interfaces, or added capabilities, but the real catching up will only be made when competitors learn produce the ‘whole package’, and that is not for one of their products, but for all of them, every time.
Of course there are faults to Apple’s products but these are usually easily correctable (i.e. the early iPods’ battery life) or negate market share (i.e. a lack of radios in any of the iPod range, may well be in order to prevent access to new music except through iTunes, Apple’s music store).
With rumours of Apple’s late entrance into the netbook
market, if history is anything to go by then forever may be in sight.