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Here’s an amazing statistic. The iPhone, a product that didn’t even exist five years ago, generated more revenue during the past 12 months than ALL OF MICROSOFT’S REVENUES COMBINED ($74B vs $73B). The iPhone isn’t a mere product anymore. This business alone could be a Fortune50 company. This goes a long way towards explaining the incremental improvements of the iPhone4S and iPhone5.
Apple can no longer take chances and introduce radically new iPhone designs. There is too much at stake. Does this open up a gap where others will be quicker to innovate? Absolutely. I love the Samsung Galaxy product line and think that it has really cool features that are far superior to the iPhone5.
But Apple has done something very clever here. Tim Cook has de-emphasized radical design and emphasized beautiful craftsmanship. He has gone to where the proverbial puck is going to be. I wasn’t impressed with the specs of neither the iPhone4S nor the iPhone5, especially compared to the Samsung Galaxy S3. But when I walked into the Apple Store last weekend and held an iPhone5 in my hand, I finally understood.
It feels like nothing else. No other way to explain it. You have to hold it in your hand to appreciate the seamless construction and flawless beauty. I compared it to the disposable plastic of every Android phone on the market today and I understood why the iPhone will continue to be the market leader.
Jonathan Ive once said that great design is invisible. Like a paperclip or the Fender Stratocaster.
Similarly, there’s not much you can do to improve the smartphone’s form factor. For the foreseeable future, a smartphone will be a rectangular slab with rounded corners with, at most, one button.
Why is this important to maintaining leadership? Read on.
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