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Apple Business Strategy: a brief overview
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Aswathy Bose. Bobbie Conley. It turns out that they wash them with about a quarter as much water and your clothes end up with a lot less detergent on them. They use a lot less soap, a lot less water, but they come out much cleaner, much softer, and they last a lot longer.
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We ended up talking a lot about design, but also about the values of our family. Did we care most about getting our wash done in an hour versus an hour and a half? Or did we care most about our clothes feeling really soft and lasting longer?
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Did we care about using a quarter of the water? We spent about two weeks talking about this every night at the dinner table…They ended up getting a Miele washer and dryer, made in Germany. Miele washer, likely similar to what Jobs purchased for his family. Dryer not shown. From the passage we can infer that they valued the design, their clothes feeling softer and lasting longer, and the machines using less water, etc. Once these values and trade-offs were clarified, the choice became easy. With the iPad, Jobs eventually determined that consumers valued greatly the ability to comfortably e.
This was the core purpose for the iPad. Some of these trade offs included removing the keyboard it would be less easy to type on the much smaller on-screen keyboard and being inherently less suited for productivity tasks such as creating office documents, etc.
But those were trade offs that Apple felt the consumer would be more than willing to make in order to have an experience that was perfect for consuming content, rather than creating it. They serve a bigger, a higher purpose…Simplicity is refining and being able to define the very essence of what something does.
And therefore you understand what it is and what it does. Another way to think of the essence is to define what part of the interaction between the product and the user is most valuable or most important. If the object were to have feelings, these would be based on its desire to fulfill its essence.
The purpose of a glass, for example, is to hold water; if it had feelings, it would be happy when full and sad when empty.
The essence of a computer screen is to interface with a human. Everything else buttons, etc. To summarize, the purpose of a product starts by knowing the customer values and trade offs then based on that information determining what the product must do better than anything else. See graphic below.
April 25, 2011
Once Steve Jobs and Jony Ive determined the essence or purpose of the iPad, they made a conscious effort to remove anything else that would detract from that purpose. At every step, Jobs pushed to remove and simplify. The result was an innovation the world had never seen before. And one that would disrupt the entire PC market, including and especially netbooks.
This analysis led to the fundamental insight of disruptive innovation theory.
The same is true for netbooks. Because netbooks were simply a smaller laptop with less performance but at a much lower price, they began to systematically disrupt traditional laptop sales. Something that is between a laptop and a smartphone.
Apple Case Study
The bar is pretty high. The iPad on the other hand is a much more focused device. The job it does better than anything else is digital content consumption. Note the sales data below. From a disruptive innovation standpoint, the iPad can be described as another, more successful attempt to disrupt the traditional PC laptop market.