Originally Posted by Euphonious
It's a shame, because the iPad is far from a perfect product, and it'd be nice to see some genuine competition in the tablet market to force Apple to truly innovate. But why should Apple bother, when it's watching one consumer-unfriendly farce after another unfold whilst laughing all the way to the bank? You could feel Apple's confidence throughout Jobs' iPad 2 presentation. Some would call it smugness. But few would deny that this is a company which knows it's got this market wrapped up for the time being.
I agree with everything you said except this last bit. "...force Apple to truly innovate"?? Looking at Apple product development over the past 10 years, it's clear that Apple has done nothing but
innovate. Apple's relationship to the rest of the industry is the classic "Tortoise v Hare" race. Since Steve came back and took the helm at Apple, I have the sense that a culture of innovation has been nurtured there. Think of all the wild ideas that have come out over the past 10 years—not all of them successful: "lampshade iMac" and the Cube come to mind. But that's okay, because that same culture produced the iPod, the iPhone, Mac OS X, the Mac Pro (a machine that hasn't received much love lately, but that has been engineered so well that its basic design architecture is still around after more than 10 years—unheard of in the computer industry!), MacBook Pro, MacBook Air and now iOS and the iPad. There are a many, many other innovations that I haven't even mentioned. And not only the computers themselves, but Apple has designed their own custom chips, they've developed their own machining process for the MacBook Pro line. The list goes on and on.
But let me be clear about this: there's a difference between "innovation" and "invention". Apple didn't invent
most of the products they brought to market. Back when the iPhone was just a rumor, most industry pundits were saying, there's no way Apple could succeed in a market already flooded with too many phones. Similar things were said about the iPod—why does Apple want to make an MP3 player? There are tons of MP3 players on the market! And the iPad? There's no way Apple could make a tablet for under $1000, this project is gonna be doomed before it starts. The "tablet computer" has been tried before. Clearly no one wants a tablet. Apple didn't invent
any of these devices or technologies. But they were innovative
enough that they developed a way to make them work, where others had failed.
I believe they're not doing this merely because of "the competition". I think they're doing this because they want to build products that they
are proud to build. What some may think of as smug, I think is simple pride in their accomplishments. There's someone at Apple who can say, see unibody MacBook Pros? I was on the team that designed the CNC process. See the iPad 2? I was on the team that designed the A5 chip. You like your iPhone 4? I'm one of the engineers who developed iOS.
I think one of the fundamental differences between Apple and "the competition" is, Apple employees don't spend a whole lot of time thinking about their competitors. Whereas, I'm fairly certain that the managers of the other companies drill into their employees the need to "beat the competition!" So, employees of other companies think of little else besides the competition, and when you're focused on that, it's hard to focus on your own work.
I think most Apple employees go home every night thinking, "I did something good and meaningful today". That's something to be proud of—even if some would (mis)interpret that pride as "smugness".