Apple’s Ecosystem

30 11 2013

Apple is a unique company driven by some principles which can be summarized by just looking on some famous quotes of former CEO Steve Jobs and Tim Cook, the actual CEO of Apple Inc.

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Apple has some of the most innovative and sought after consumer products in the market right now. Of all main competitors (Microsoft, Google, Samsung) Apple is actually the only company that has an entry in the computer market with the iMac, Mac Mini, and the MacBook Pro and Air, each coming with OSX Lion, made by Apple. The company makes its own phone, the iPhone, with its own operating system iOS and the search engine Siri. The iPod is the most prolific music storage device. The iPad created a new category of computing devices, and is being copied by all other companies. Apple makes its own router and backup storage drive called Time Capsule. Apple TV is used to stream media through your TV. iTunes is used across all devices as the most popular available music service. And there is iCloud, Apples online storage including synchronization across all devices. Apple also developed Thunderbolt, a new data transfer port and, together with HP, AirPrint for seamless printing within a WiFi network. Apple also offers the productivity suite iWork with Pages, Keynote, and Numbers the counterparts to Word, Powerpoint, and Excel for their computers and mobile devices. 417 Apple Stores in in 14 countries (as of June 2013) offer products as well as services for customers.

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Note

The octopus refers to critics who are of the opinion that Apple locks its customers.

In economics, vendor lock-in, also known as proprietary lock-in or customer lock-in, makes a customer dependent on a vendor for products and services, unable to use another vendor without substantial switching costs.

If it would be true all other companies also make their customers dependent of their products as long as the operating system of their electronic devices are not compatible to each other, that means software running on one system cannot be used on another system. That’s the case with Microsoft software and Google’s Android operating system as well. There some functionalities of iOS which do not allow to use it in connection with other platforms (e.g. iMessage) but nobody is forced to use this service. There are enough alternatives.
Proprietary file formats of Microsoft, rims of cars with snow tires, chargers, etc. should also be seen as the attempt to customer lock-in?
I don’t blame companies producing non-standardized hardware, software, or services. It’s always a customer decision to choose the products which meet the requirements best.

Unfortunately they lack in offering professional database packages ranging from simple and fast developer tools to server-based management of large data volumes. A further relevant disadvantage is that most of the sector-specific software isn’t available on a Mac except it’s running Windows. This might be the reason why Apple offers Bootcamp, the environment for installing a version of Windows.

Apple cares about more than just creating a consistent and unique experience for each of their devices. In my opinion, the Cupertino brand has created a more complete and user-friendly ecosystem that encompasses much more than the features or abilities of a single phone. If your total investment in Apple is just a single iPhone, then switching between iOS and Android with each upgrade opportunity is not just possible; it is likely very probable. But if your electronic environment is based on Apple products it’s hard to move over to another company.

Summary …

Seamless usage and a perfect customer experience can only be achieved by building an ecosystem where everything fits together. A perfect user experience is dependent of seamless usage and well-functioning connections between all devices. Microsoft started the development of Windows 8 with the target of One Operating System for all devices. It must be said that this basic idea is a great step forward and Apple is working on a further unification of OS X for it’s computers and iOS for it’s mobile devices. This is simply a logical consequence of seamless usage and effective development. There is still much work but the first step was done by introducing the 64-Bit processor for mobiles.

The details …

See this mind map which contains all components of Apple’s ecosystem.

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This is a statement of S. Jackson on Google+. I found it in the comment section of a post where a member asked whether he should move over from an Android to an Apple device (Sep 2013, Apple community (Stevan Svartling)).

iCloud is pretty awesome. Although l have a Gmail account, I have a separate email account to take advantage of the iCloud service, so I have an iCloud email account too.
iCIoud is pretty solid solution that gets better and better. Find My iPhone will be a service that you will use right away. Apple has made Pages, Numbers, Keynote, iMovie, iPhoto free to download for new iPhone 5c or iPhone 5s users. The iOS apps Pages, Numbers and Keynote sync back to http://www.icloud.com where you can pickup where you left off on you desktop using Chrome, Safari or Internet Explorer. It is a nice alternative to Google Docs. Apple just needs to add collaborative sharing on Pages and I would say they are right there on the same level of Google.

Also you have iCIoud backup of your iPhone, which is extremely kick ass. When you get a new phone and you don’t lose your text messages or voicemails and of course all of your settings and apps are restored as before.

iTunes radio, new to iOS 7. Service is free with Ads or you can kill those ads for $25 a year, which is way cheaper than any other streaming service out there. Also as an added bonus, Apple will match all of your music with their music. Even if you didn’t buy the music from Apple, it doesn’t matter. They don’t upload the music, they simply match it.
However if you lose your music, you can download Apple’s copy which will probably be better encoded than your copies, especially if you are using MP3, which is extremely dated.

Social Media, the Genius of iOS is that Apple partners up with services that people are using, such as Facebook, Yelp, Twitter and has integrated those solutions pretty effectively throughout the OS. On Android starting out, it is all about Google and their services. Totally different approach.

Apple Maps, I’ve said it here before and now I am changing my opinion. Google used to have the better mapping system, for I have a Nexus and Android phone too, but Apple just surpassed Google Maps. Because Apple crowd sources their data with other iOS Maps users, the ETA is second to none. Google Maps did a horrible job of this, thus why they bought WAZE a few months back. Maps is awesome now, it was a little rough at first, but Apple hands down have done exceptional work get the maps up to speed.

If you get the 5s, you’ll have the first 64-bit processor iPhone and already it is showing to be the most powerful of all smartphones on the market. 32-bit having a narrow limited pipeline is now pretty much unlimited to allow Apps to really unlock the power of the hardware and OS. Games or tasks that take up a lot of resources are going to shine on this platform. I can’t wait!

The AppStore, no question the best App ecosystem. The App richness is just off the charts. Android, I download a lot of junk ware that just bloats my phone and often I gotta reset the phone because I have no idea if the phone is infected with Malware.
Not to say there are no crappy apps on iOS, but they do get filtered out pretty quickly. I love the strong AppStore.

If you buy anything on the AppStore your content is always available for access. If you buy a Movie, you can download it and then delete it and then download it again. Rather nice locker system.
Also all of Google’s solutions are on iOS too. So you can use whatever you want.

FaceTime is a great way to connect.
The beauty of FaceTime is that it isn’t tied to a Social Network where people must join in order to use the service. FaceTime is like SMS. Setup your unified profile and sign in once. Done.

AirDrop is Apple’s local WI-FI peer-to-peer sharing. This works awesome.
Third party is picking this up quickly and it looks like in a few months it will eclipse NFC.

Apple’s iBooks store, this is where you can store your PDFs, attached documents or simply download any book you want. Apple has made all the classics FREE of charge for download. Apple includes for free detailed tech books on iOS, iPhone and so on. Unlike on Amazon’s store, if you want a copy of David Copperfield, it will cost you.

Related links …

Apple, a unique company

Apple’s Strategy and Ad

Apple’s Intangible Assets

The Apple ID

Thanks for dropping by.


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