Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) haters love to say that the Cupertino-based company is on the verge of imminent collapse because of its lack of innovation. Is what the doubters say actually true or is it just another case of sour grapes? Mike Elgan at Cult of Mac does an excellent job of unpacking the illogical thinking behind these “Apple doesn’t innovate” arguments.
First, Elgan notes who is accusing Apple of a lack of innovation. The “lack of innovation” criticism seems to be coming from all corners, including prominent analysts such as Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster, as well as media outlets like Bloomberg Businessweek.
Via MacDailyNews, Munster states that “What [Samsung (SSNLF.PK)] are going is they’re innovating faster. I don’t know if they’re necessarily ahead of where Apple is, but just the pace that they’re coming out with [products] is so much faster, so think of it this way: iPhone comes out on an annual basis, Samsung comes out with an impactful phone on a monthly basis and two or three really big phones a year.”
Ashlee Vance at Bloomberg Businessweek notes that “Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), with its self-driving cars and virtual reality glasses, is really starting to show Apple up. Even Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), with its motion-detecting Kinect sensor and its incorporation of touch technology into all manner of devices, has added some pressure.”
Munster seems to be equating the speed of Samsung’s releases with actual innovation. However, Elgan argues that Samsung’s gimmicky features like “Smart Pause” and “Air Gesture” do not qualify as real innovations. Elgan notes that he has not “heard anyone gushing about them on social media.” Rather, it seems that Samsung hastily slapped on some useless features that no one actually uses in a bid to “convince the gullible that they’re more advanced than the competition.”
In contrast to Samsung’s rapid-fire style of product releases, Apple seems to prefer to methodically build a product that is able to better serve its users in the long run. Elgan notes that Apple builds its products around a “vision” after identifying “content consumption experiences” that it can improve.
When the market is ready, Apple unveils a well-designed product that is usually the standard-bearer in its particular technological niche, reports Cult of Mac. Finally, Apple sells the product through “emotional advertising,” building on its already significant brand appeal. Although this approach may not necessarily ride the wave of the latest technological gimmick, it does create a superior product.
Elgan also points out that Apple’s perceived lack of innovation has more to do with where the company happens to be in a product’s lifecycle, rather than an actual decline in its innovative abilities. While a product is in development, Apple is more likely to be accused of not being innovative. As soon as the next must-have product like the iPhone or iPad is released, Apple is once again seen as innovative.
Despite all the criticism, Apple still “makes more than 70% of the industry profits.” Elgan rightly concludes that this “is undeniable proof that Apple is doing innovation right.”
Here’s how Apple traded throughout the week.
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