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Jobs: iPod’s Rivals ‘Don’t Get It’

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By fnarfy

Contributing Editor
Published: Tuesday, December 2, 2003
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‘Apple CEO has dismissed other companies’ attempts to win MP3 market-share from the iPod, saying they “don’t think about design innovation”.

Jobs told the New York Times: “As technology becomes more complex, Apple’s core strength of knowing how to make very sophisticated technology comprehensible to mere mortals is in even greater demand.

“The Dells of the world don’t spend money on design innovation. They don’t think about these things.”’

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Comments

1

It’s true. With the exception of Sony, virtually every other company other than Apple is incapable of putting out a product that can esthetically please the eye. The elegant simplicity that is portrayed in Apple’s designs is just far beyond anything that anyone else can shell out, and is what is keeping (and will ultimately keep) the ipod the most popular mp3 player around.

Posted by Juuso on December 2, 2003 at 6:15 AM (PDT)

2

I don’t get the point of this news post..you already posted about the NY TImes article earlier, so why this specific call out? Slow news day?

Posted by Floggy Bottom on December 2, 2003 at 6:28 AM (PDT)

3

“We don’t underestimate people,’’ Jobs continues. “People are smart; they figure these things out.”

Umm, yeah…  The thing is that people as a whole aren’t as smart as he thinks.  Perhaps the people that currently buy iPods (educated with a solid income) are aware of the value of good design, but if you look at the average consumer (in the US at least), you will see that good design (in every respect) simply doesn’t sell.  People buy based on cost and features, not useablity and design.  There are of course plenty of exceptions, but as a whole, people don’t care, and their dollars prove it.

“...every other company other than Apple is incapable of putting out a product that can esthetically please the eye”

But Jobs’ entire point was that its not about aesthetic design, its about overall design.

Posted by gti on December 2, 2003 at 6:36 AM (PDT)

4

I think Jobs is in danger of missing the point again ... don’t get me wrong I love my iPod, it’s my favourite gadget. But think of how Microsoft overtook Apple in the PC market. Apples narrow minded and some might say arrogant view of the market place may be (once again) it’s downfall. Sidelining it’s device to an elite, wihch for the elite is all very nice, being different and all, but it makes no business sense whatsoever.

Posted by Bingo on December 2, 2003 at 6:36 AM (PDT)

5

umm….actually microsoft overtook apple because it came first, and dominated while jobs was not in charge. when apple was near extinction, jobs came in and revamped and vitalized its entire product line, starting with the innovative and eye pleasing imacs. This saved apple and has thus spawned their new product line and design, which while not going to overtake the pc market anytime soon, puts them as a worthy opponent to keep an eye on.

Posted by u idiot on December 2, 2003 at 6:52 AM (PDT)

6

Obviously I don’t want to get into too much detail here but I was under the impression Jobs first joined apple in 1981 then was forced to resign in 1985 and didn’t return to apple untill 1997. Although I agree Jobs wasn’t directly responsible for Microsoft gaining ground in the PC market, apple the company certainly played a pretty dumb hand. And I think you’ll find that Apple started back in 1976, and was way ahead of Microsoft in the early days.

Posted by Bingo on December 2, 2003 at 7:29 AM (PDT)

7

I’ve just been reading, and it would seem that Jobs and Wozniak formed Apple in 1976 and not as I previously stated 1981.

Posted by Bingo on December 2, 2003 at 7:55 AM (PDT)

8

Apples history in a nutshell
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0168122/

Posted by rewes on December 2, 2003 at 8:21 AM (PDT)

9

“I think you’ll find that Apple started back in 1976, and was way ahead of Microsoft in the early days.”

It’s amazing that virtually everything you said was wrong. You’ve already realised that Apple started years earlier than you thought.

What you now have to realise is that Microsoft started before Apple. There had been a few attempts at popularizing the “personal computer” in the late 1960s and early 1970s but none of them had been successful - weirdly many of the early companies were French and Canadian.

Anyway, in July 1974 Ed Roberts’ “Popular Electronics” magazine published DIY kit instructions for how to build a computer called the “Altair”. It was the right product at the right time and fired the imaginations of thousands of people.

Including a young Bill Gates and Paul Allen, who dropped out of Harvard to camp out in a trailer in New Mexico beside the Altair factory and programmed the first BASIC for the first popular PC.

In California, a club of computer enthusiasts were fired by the Altair and held meetings. Woz and Jobs attended those meetings and saw the “Sol 1”—an impressive design for a computer that looked cute, unlike the Altair, which was an ugly box. Woz designed the hardware, Jobs designed the case and in 1976 Apple got going.

But the key point here is Microsoft first, Apple second.

http://apple2history.org/history/ah01.html

Posted by Wrongo on December 2, 2003 at 9:55 AM (PDT)

10

This goes along well with an ad that I saw in Newsweek about the Creative NJBZ.

However, this was not any ordinary ad, as it had both the iPod and the NJBZ on the same page, with text “Put a Nomad Jukebox Zen under the tree for 33% less”, and goes on to tout how NJBZ offers the freedom of selecting which download service to use, and how iPod dosn’t even hawe WMA support.

Generally, Jobs is not only right about competetiors not “getting it” when it comes to design, but not they are also not “getting it” when it comes to advertising and marketing either. When you put your product in direct comparison with another product that has needs no introduction, you are already admitting that yours is less popular. This is certainly not smart marketing.

Posted by Sraphim on December 2, 2003 at 5:25 PM (PDT)

11

Over 1,000,000 iPods sold- iPod is for more than the elite, especially with the older generation ones coming in refurbed. But we haven’t seen this season play out yet, so let’s see how the competitors fare.

Posted by Sam on December 2, 2003 at 6:30 PM (PDT)

12

I stand corrected ... thank you for your gracious response’s. You have opened my eyes.

Clever and humorous name by the way.

Posted by Bingo on December 3, 2003 at 12:55 AM (PDT)

13

While microsoft as a company may have come first, more accurately, apple was the first company to actually mass produce the personal computer

they were also the first company to market and sell the GUI, which is what most people consider the true start of the computer revolution. 

However, because windows was being installed on IBM clones that cost as little as half of current macs, apple quickly lost market share.

Posted by Ross Boucher on December 3, 2003 at 3:29 PM (PDT)

14

“they were also the first company to market and sell the GUI”

Xerox was first.

Apple and Microsoft both paid Xerox a cool $1m in stock to take an advance tour of Xerox’s PARC facility and see some of the stuff they were working on, including the WIMP GUI.

After this they came up with Windows and the MacOS Finder - both derivations from the Xerox system.

There were other windowing systems extant in the early 1980s that predated both Microsoft and Apple. This is not surprising because the mouse and windows were both independently invented (and demonstrated) in the 1960s.

http://cne.gmu.edu/itcore/userinterface/GUIGI.html

The mouse was developed at Stanford Research Laboratory in 1965 as part of the NLS project to be a cheap replacement for light-pens, which had been used at least since 1954. Many of the current uses of the mouse were demonstrated by Doug Engelbart as part of NLS in a movie created in 1968. The mouse was then made famous as a practical input device by Xerox PARC in the 1970’s. It first appeared commercially as part of the Xerox Star (1981), the Three Rivers Computer Company’s PERQ (1981), the Apple Lisa (1982), and Apple Macintosh (1984).

Posted by HistoryBuff on December 3, 2003 at 3:46 PM (PDT)

15

When you put your product in direct comparison with another product that has needs no introduction, you are already admitting that yours is less popular. This is certainly not smart marketing.

Not necessarily.  It depends on why your product is less popular.  If it’s less popular because it sux and everyone knows it then that’s one thing, but if it’s less popular b/c it’s new then that’s a whole nother ball game.  If the latter, then most likely few people have heard of it, know what it is, or what it does.  Associating it with the industry and social standard in an ad is the most clear and concise way to convey exactly that information, with the bonus that you can throw in the claim that yours does all that for 33% less.

Posted by Byron on December 4, 2003 at 1:58 PM (PDT)

16

I was pretty surprised that I had such a visceral reaction to the NYT article. I did think it was a cool article,but I wasn’t prepared for the realization that I can’t imagine life without my Ipod. The overall design and ease of usage have literally changed my life. It also made me realize that even though there are some things about Dell that I like,in the end,I wouldn’t trade for anything.  In fact, I realize that I’ve been so impressed by the thought and design that have gone into the Ipod,that the next computer I buy will be an Apple.
On the other hand, I was a little put off by Steve Job’s usual blithe arrogance,but he may know some things I don’t,so… I also really appreciated the whole back story of Apple. I was also pretty amused by the whole cloak and dagger aspect of the Cupertino plant,too,but that’s another story…

Posted by M. on December 7, 2003 at 7:52 AM (PDT)

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