Originally Posted by Carmissimo
The success of the iPad is that it does a number of useful things quite well and so most people don't mind keeping the product even once they realize it's not quite what they think it is. The competition has a long way to go to get their OS right and their products use smaller screens and are rather pricey for what you get. The iPad has an interface that is familiar to many consumers who have bought Touches by the millions.
Yup. The Galax Tab is the perfect example of tech done for the sake of tech. A jumble of "features", including a version of Android that even Google asked manufacturers not to ship on a tablet, with no clear direction or cohesion.
I'm amazed at the number of techies who think that just because something has feature X (Android!) or isn't from company Y (Apple!) that the populace will line up to buy it.
Well, here's a shocker for the tech industry that through Microsoft has had years of peddling schlock to people and lulling the entire industry into complacency - quality matters!
The quality of the hardware, the quality of the software and most importantly the quality of the experience
For the first time with the iOS, Apple is able to compete in new, virgin territory where the dominance of Windows is irrelevant. And they are running away with the market.
This should also re-envforce that Microsoft didn't "win" the desktop because of the clones, focusing on the developers or any of the other misappropriated reasons often attributed to them. They won by default due to mis-management at Apple in the early years of the Mac and Windows.
The whole clone market thing always was a red herring and an integrated solution is almost always better. You can see the differences in the experience
between Android and the iOS devices. iOS is predictable, easy to use, fun!, very personal and above all consistent
Android, on the other hand, is a nightmare of inconsistency from hardware, to versions deployed, to software app stores... Geeks and techies may be nonplussed by all that, but the vast majority of the human population (and thus potential customers) are non-technical and view these gadgets as tools.
Until other manufacturers not only realize that but start acting like they understand what that means, Apple has little to worry about.
Apple is successful because they pay attention to excruciating detail but do so in a way that makes it look easy. Well, as someone who works on complex projects and delivers highly polished results, such level of polish is most definitely not easy. In fact, it can often be resented which is why corporate or company culture is probably one of the most essential ingredients on delivering high quality high value products. Such efforts to produce the desire results has to be ingrained from the top down. That's why, based on their corporate history and no sign of real significant change, I don't see Microsoft or Google rising to the challenge.
Microsoft has the pieces to integrate their software and deliver a killer end to end experience - except too many of their divisions have a history of competing against themselves. Crazy! They have shown with the Zune that they can create an integrated platform. The problem is they lack the boldness to do it quickly. They will let WP7 flounder as they continue to believe the conventional wisdom that licensing software to hardware "partners" leads to more choice and greater marketshare. That's wrong on so many levels - I think it will take Apple consuming a significant chunk of the traditional desktop/laptop market to finally get more people comfortable challenging that notion. In the meantime, Apple steamrolls on with iOS - with devices that are in the netbook price point but instead of delivering a substandard traditional PC experience on cramped and underpowered hardware on OS's optimized for neither, iOS delivers an immediate, intimate and functional
no-compromise experience right out of the box.
Google has no history for design or polish what-so-ever. Their perpetual beta's are the stuff of jokes because, in the end, you either step up and take ownership of a product or your just playing around. If Google cared one bit about the Android experience, they would have retained a minimum of control over the Adroid experience to ensure a base level of consistency. I really think others have nailed it when they point out that Google believed Android to be a flash in the pan and that Chrome - where total control over the software and user experience existed in the cloud - Googles cloud - would be dominant. Apple's success with the iOS proved that a local operating system is important and that - surprise! - people like
having applications and their data local to them. Must have been quite a shock to the geeks at Google who assumed the cloud would take over the world. Bad assumptions like that are what happens when you do too much navel gazing and focus on what you want than what your potential customers/users want.
To me the real wild card is still HP with WebOS. They have all the ingredients. They have signaled they intend to keep the vertical stack and own the whole experience. The real question is do they have the leadership to pull it off? If Hurd was really the genesis behind HP's acquisition of Palm and now he's gone, WebOS may be stillborn without visionary leadership that is also a crucial part of Apple's success.
RIM? The reboot with QNX is going to put them at least two years behind everyone else who is at least two years behind Apple. They may be able to coast on their installed base long enough to get the Playbook and follow on BB models going, but with a new architecture comes the challenges of convincing people to write for a new platform - and if you have to do that, why wouldn't you be looking at the iOS ecosystem that has a proven track record with mature tools and a substantial installed base?
If you are looking five years out, none of the established players seem ready or capable of taking on Apple toe to toe. And most of what I discussed above is software related. I haven't even factored in the huge manufacturing advantages Apple has in securing not only dedicated assembly lines but also dedicated lines of supply for their components - and I expect them to use more of their cash horde to further strengthen their supply chain. Custom components allow Apple to further differentiate themselves in the quality of their products as well as what is critical for mobile devices - size, weight and battery life!
At this point if HP doesn't come through, it's probably going to have to be a new player like Palm was, but they are going to have to be acquired by a big boy that doesn't screw them up by acquiring them in order to get enough resources to compete agains the likes of Apple (Palm's critical failing).
Any way you slice it, all of the above is allot of if's.