Friday, 1 May 2009

Apple Marketing Lesson 2: People don't want great products, they want sexy bad ones.

Not too long ago a wrote a post about the genius of Apple and the management of the product life cycle for the iPhone. This evening as I was skimming through my Google Reader, three of the best (in my opinion) gadget blogs, CrunchGear, Engadget and Gizmodo were running posts about the next generation iPhone having video editing capabilities.

Granted that this just is a rumour, but if this turns out to be true then I question whether Apple is actually that brilliant in their product management or are we, and the marketing departments every the other mobile phone company, completely retarded.

Video capabilities on the iPhone is only blogworthy because of it's absence in the current two iPhone models on the market. Both Sony Ericsson and Nokia's N-Series phones have had excellent photographic and video capabilities for years. Not that I see anyone carrying it around anymore but the Nokia N92 and N93i even looks like a camcorder.

As an amateur marketing critic, I can only conclude that if I wanted to develop and sell a product that will become the stuff of legends, the objective is not to design the best product that ever existed but instead to design something that falls just short of expectation, and then meet those expectations over an extended period.

Ive also realised that for Apple this is not a new strategy. Just think about other products they've launched in the past. Why didn't the old white MacBook have a full featured multi-touch touch pad like the MacBook Pro even though it could easily have been fixed with a software update? How many years did it take for the Mighty Mouse to come out and provide 2 button functionality? (even though loyal Mac users still continue to argue they don't need contextual menus)

Company's like Nokia or even Microsoft could learn from this valuable lesson.

Don't launch products that can do more. Design something that SHOULD be able to do more but don't and let the consumers pine for it.

Like I said before! Genius!

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