What’s the secret to Apple’s success?

Original Apple iPad. Source: Apple

If there’s one thing that Steve Jobs and his company understand it’s that being first to market is everything in the mobile industry and that’s why both the iPad and its successor are so popular. Some of you are probably thinking, “But Apple didn’t even invent the idea of an Internet tablet and the iPad wasn’t the first!” This is true, as companies like Archos had been in the tablet game well before the iPad landed. So is it true that being first to market is everything? Well, kind of. You can’t simply be the first to come up with an idea and expect it to sprout into a huge success. The other half of a successful idea is execution. Some may argue that execution is even more important that the idea itself. Execution in various categories is what drives the success of a mobile gadget. Read on as we present numerous examples of why it’s not just about being first.

Archos 5 Internet Tablet. Source: Archos

Although Archos may have been in the tablet scene well before Apple, it was Apple’s execution  in design, build quality, and most importantly, marketing that helped the iPad appeal to the masses. A mere two years ago, no one would have wanted or believed that they’d ever need this thing called a “tablet,” but as soon as the iPad was introduced, what was once considered a novel device slowly turned into a necessity. Apple had done it again, 3 years after they revolutionized the smartphone and its future.

Apple iPad 2. Source: Apple

And just like the hordes of smartphones that have been released since the iPhone’s original debut back in 2007, there is now a plethora of tablets being released to challenge the iPad’s popularity. But, will any of these tablets ever succeed in dethroning the iPad as the most popular tablet amongst the general public? The answer to this question, judging by the way these companies are marketing their devices, is a big NO. Remember guys, there are two aspects to introducing a successful product: being first to market and marketing the product well. Of the entire onslaught of Android tablets that have recently been released or announced, only one (the Motorola Xoom) had really made somewhat of a conscious effort in the marketing department to challenge the iPad, but even then it wasn’t good enough to do so.

To drive this point home, consider some more examples of this scenario:

- The T-Mobile G1 was the first Android device to be released, but why is it that the Motorola Droid is nearly synonymous and often used in place of the term “Android” when referring to the OS and other phones that run the OS? Again, it was thanks to marketing and in this case, an aggressive push by both Motorola and Verizon with the “droid does” campaign that sparked the popularity of the device and perhaps, Android’s growth in general.

- The idea of a front-facing camera on a smartphone. Was the iPhone 4 the first to come equipped with one? No, Sprint’s EVO 4G was the first high-profile smartphone to sport a front-facing camera, but why do most people refer to the idea of video chatting with a front-facing camera as “FaceTime?” Once again, whether you love it or hate it, Apple is good at what they do. If they have the persuasive marketing power to get people to believe that the activity known as video chatting is actually called “FaceTime,” well then they deserve to sell as many devices as they have.

As a day-to-day Android user, I’m not simply trying to depict a bipartisan attitude by writing this article. This is my reasoning and logic based on the facts, and the fact is, if you care enough to want to succeed in the mobile industry, you better not simply slap on a new camera or include a quadruple-core processor in your next device. Pump some money into the marketing department and crank out some good advertisements or you might as well head back to the drawing board and think of the next device that no one will remember.

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Posted on April 26, 2011, in Commentary and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Apple was first in the tablet market…before PALM there was the Newton. It just took them 20 years to realize their product. :)

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