Thursday, 19 June 2008

It's the Software, stupid!

When the iPod hit the streets, it wasn't the first music player, but it was rather more attractively designed than most others - it was a piece of consumer electronics that was desirable and sexy.  Many people concentrated on the hardware, the hard disk inside, the click wheel on the front and the aesthetic design.   Certainly the latter is important, but so is the invisible software within the device.  This is something that Apple's competitors often seem to miss the point about.  The same is true of their computers, which while also nicer to look at than the traditional beige plastic box of the PC, are actually distinguished by their software - the Mac OS which makes for their legendary ease of use.  

And the same is now true of Apple's adventure into the phone market.  Most of the other established manufacturers have now copied the hardware in some form or other, with touch screens, designs without many buttons, slimmer designs, accelerometer sensors inside, and more.  But none of these apparent clones can really copy iPhone easily.  This is because the software is what defines the device and its usability.  In addition with iPhone, Apple have added to the software advantage by providing the same tools that they use to write iPhone applications to other application developers and also provided an eco-system to market, distribute, install and update these apps to people. 

So next time you see a potential clone of an Apple product, just think ... 'it's the software, stupid!'.

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