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The genius homework behind Apple products

Rehan Ahmed Written by Rehan Ahmed · 5 min read>
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Apple is the king of technology in the 21st century, it’s a fact. Revenues are booming, profits are tumbling in, cash reserves are bulging with billions and billions of dollars. As of July, the company had a mammoth sum of $203 Billion in cash reserves, making it the first every company to cross the $200 Billion mark. iPhone is now one of the most popular and profitable product on the planet, Macs continue to exceed expectations, Apple Watch has had an incredibly good start and iTunes is still the best app store around. And to top this all up, Apple is the most expensive brand in the world with a brand value alone of $170 Billion. What is the reason behind all this? How come Apple became the titan of technology industry? Yes, I hear you, Steve Jobs was the force behind this massive corporation but after his untimely death, it was expected that Apple wouldn’t be the same. On the contrary, the Cupertino-based company has kept growing and keeps smashing records after records.

Well, as it turns out, it was a recent report about Apple’s new iPhones being water-resistant that forced me to look back at the history of Apple since the death of Steve Jobs and see the ways in which the company has kept on improving. Apple is not a conventional company, which has been apparent from the very day Steve Jobs started it along with Steve Wozniak in his garage. That very philosophy has been instilled in Apple to its very core and this is what I now term as “the genius of Apple”.

A Waterproof iPhone That Isn’t Called Waterproof

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A recent tear-down by the people over at iFixit found out that the new iPhones are effectively water-proof despite there being no official information from Apple whatsoever. The new iPhone 6S and the Plus have an adhesive around the display and silicon seals around the cable connectors on the circuitry, protecting the phone from damage it was ever subjected to a quick dip in the water. Although this does not make the phone completely waterproof, but it still is remarkable when you have no idea the phone is waterproof, and just when you are about to freak out over spilling something over your ultra-expensive iPhone, it turns out it works fine. This not only increases durability, but it also increases customer satisfaction — a core aim for Apple in all its products. So the question is that why does Apple not advertise it? Well, Apple is sneaky and clever. It does not advertise it as such so as to avoid encouraging people from dunking their phones in water to try it out. This way, not only will it survive water-splashes but also, if an iPhone does get ruined by water, the user can’t blame Apple as they don’t advertise their phones as water-proof.

Let’s compare this attitude with other smartphone manufacturers, who aren’t really doing so good right now. For instance, there is Sony. They are known for making a lot of their smartphones water-resistant and using it as one of their main advertising tactics, but just a few days back, Sony completely changed their stance on water-proofing. They now specifically advise their customers to “Remember not to use the device underwater” and “The IP rating of your device was achieved in laboratory conditions in standby mode, so you should not use the device underwater, such as taking pictures.” This going back on their own claims creates customer confusion and destroys their trust which can be disastrous, especially for a manufacturer that is already deep in trouble. Why are they taking back their own words? Well, Sony officially advertise their phones as waterproof, most people like to try it out and although the phones are water-proof to some extent, they aren’t really built for this purpose. So it is highly possible that some phones got damaged and of course, the owners aren’t going to be happy about that. As a result, Sony might end up having to face a backlash over its advertising strategies and issue refunds for damaged phones, or worse, face a lawsuit.

Attention to Detail

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Then there is the case of attention to detail, which is the best characteristic about Apple products. Apple products might not have the latest and greatest specifications or every latest technology, but one thing you can be sure of, thanks to their legendary Chief Designer “Sir Jony Ive”, is that they will have an incredible amount of finesse and a level of perfection that is only possible due to that attention-to-detail. Every little feature that they introduce will have gone through such a vigorous process of revision so that by the time it enters the finished product, it will be perfect and ready-to-use. This can be clearly seen in the new feature they introduced in the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, 3D Touch. Yes, it is a revolutionary concept that aims to change the way we interact with a touch screen but the fact is, if any other manufacturer had done it, it wouldn’t have got the same level of attention and spotlight. Apple spent years perfecting this technology and has implemented this in almost every single one of the iOS system apps to showcase its ability to the very best. Apart from that, they also managed to convince a lot of app-developers to jump on the bandwagon even before their first 3D-touch device hit the market!

This is completely opposite to the kitchen-sink approach of Samsung, which likes to cram in every latest feature and spec it can find in its latest smartphones. Most of these features are half-baked and not ready for release, leading to a lot of frustration and as a result, Samsung is now struggling to maintain its spot as an Apple-rival. Remember the finger-print sensor on the Galaxy S5? It was a hastily-included feature, just to rival the iPhone 5S’s fingerprint sensor, and was a complete mess. Unlike the iPhone, it took a whole swipe-up the button to open it and it was awfully slow in comparison.

The Apple Bias: It Is Real, But It Is Well-Deserved

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Ever had the feeling that Apple gets more praise for introducing a new feature than other companies? The bias for favoring Apple products is everywhere. The Apple-bias is real but the bias exists because Apple simply excels at some things, and attention to detail is one of their special qualities. Huawei introduced its own 3D-touch like technology in a phone in the start of September, but all they used it for was to weigh an orange, barely a practical use for a phone. Then came Apple with 3D Touch and actually showed us how the feature is so revolutionary after all.

They Can Afford To Be A Genius

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Most of this attention-to-detail comes at a pretty high costs and this is where the money arm of Apple comes in, thanks to their huge cash reserves and the constant flow of profits. They can afford to experiment with a lot of stuff! They have the time and man-hours to work on such little things that their rivals simply can’t afford to. In simple words, they can afford to be a genius. Of course, arriving at this stage is the result of years and years of hard work, but the fact is that this is really an up-side for them in today’s highly-competitive world. One such example of their absurd level of commitment is when they photographed a single flower 24,000 times over 285 hours to make a stop-motion animation for a single watch face on the Apple Watch. All this work, for a single watch face! Imagine that!

Customer Satisfaction

There are several other factors that lead to Apple’s success and one major factor is customer satisfaction, which is simply off the charts. The Cupertino-based company knows how to hook in customers and how to make them stay. It doesn’t cut corners and doesn’t give the customer any reason to feel bad about an iPhone. Their software support is miles ahead of Android, putting even Google’s own Nexus program to shame, while their ecosystem still edges out Google Play Store in terms of shear quality(especially for tablets). The top-notch quality also ensures a decent resale value, which garners in more customers for Apple as the ones who have the older iPhone, sell it to buy a newer iPhone next year without losing much of a cost. I used to think that most people are foolish when they upgrade an iPhone every year, but considering the incredibly good resale value of an iPhone, it isn’t really that much of a bad decision.

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All these factors and little things are the reason Apple is what it is today: The richest company on the planet and one of the most valued brands around. It’s products are equivalent to jewellery, things to be loved instead of just used as a tool.

Image Credits – iFixit
Poll Credits: Wristly

Written by Rehan Ahmed
I cover startups, review gadgets and talk about latest developments in the technology industry. Get in touch through rehan@techjuice.pk. Profile