Apple revolutionized the personal computer market with the introduction of the Macintosh computer in the 1980s. The same is true for the music industry when it introduced iPod and its iTunes platform, as well as for the consumer electronics industry and the particular mobile phones market when it launched iPhone in 2007.
The aforesaid accomplishments can be attributed to the solid business strategy and more specific marketing mix and product strategy of Apple that includes specific elements that are taken into consideration in each new product it introduces and existing products it reiterates to the market, as well as in maintaining its competitive advantage.
Key Elements In The Product Strategy Of Apple: From Development To Complements
Research And Development: Proactive And Retroactive Approach To Developing Innovative Products
Note that the Macintosh line of personal computers was not the first personal computer in history. The modern Mac line was also not the first computer to provide a graphical user interface. Furthermore, the iPod was not the first digital and portable music player in the market. There were also several smartphones in the market before the iPhone.
However, despite not being the first, these products managed to introduce notable innovations that disrupted their respective markets and created a sizable following among consumers. One of the key elements of the product strategy of Apple is its research and development approach.
The company values innovations and the utilization of new technological breakthroughs like almost all other technology companies. However, it does not simply use innovations or novel technological tools and concepts in its product development. Furthermore, the company is not too focused on accomplishing a first-to-market advantage.
Apple pursues product research and development through a proactive and retroactive approach. It takes inspiration from existing products in the market or emerging but less mainstream ideas and reinvents them to make them more useful and innovative.
It essentially does not make the first move because it prioritizes developing a product and introducing it to the broader market at the most suitable time. Remember that the iPod was not the first digital music player. However, Apple developed an innovative user interface and introduced it at the time when internet usage was starting to take off.
The company applied the same approach with the iPhone. It was not the first smartphone that offered a range of features and functionalities beyond calling and texting. What made it different was that it was the first to maximize capacitive touch input.
Main Design Philosophy: Simplistic And Straightforward Overall Look And Feel That Promotes Functionality
Another integral element of the product strategy of Apple and somewhat related to its proactive and retroactive approach to product research and development is its design philosophy that centers on promoting and maintaining a functional user experience in innovative products without being too complicated and hard to use.
The company knows that technological products can be complicated for both early and late adopters. It also recognizes the need to bring these products to the mass market by taking into consideration the diversity in the demographical profiles of its target market.
Nevertheless, as spearheaded by Steve Jobs, Apple has utilized a design philosophy that revolves around simplicity and straightforwardness. This is evident from the overall look and feel of the iPod or the user interface of the macOS and the iOS operating systems, as well as in newer smart home products such as the Apple TV console and the HomePod.
An up-front user experience and cleaner or minimalistic overall look and feel are integral to the mass appeal and widespread utilization of Apple products. Even ardent Apple followers have credited their unwavering patronage to this design philosophy.
Creating A Halo Effect: Developing And Introducing Complementary Products For The Apple Ecosystem
No one cannot repudiate that Apple has come a long way since it introduced its first personal computer in the 1980s and after it reintroduced the Mac line of computers during the mid-1990s. Remember that it is behind some of the most iconic products of the modern world and has been one of the major players in the digital information age.
Furthermore, it is important to highlight the fact that the company has evolved from being a computer manufacturer to a true technology company with an expansive product portfolio that ranges from consumer electronic devices to online-enabled services.
Product diversification is an integral part of the product strategy of Apple. However, unlike other companies that introduce and offer a range of products to expand their business interests across different industries and market segments to maximize their earning potential, its intention in offering a range of products centers on creating a halo effect.
The halo effect is a concept that represents an inclination of certain consumers toward the product offerings of a specific company. Their positive experience toward one particular product entices them to patronize all other products of the same company.
However, remember that Apple does product diversification just for the sake of expanding its business interest. It develops and introduces different products that can complement each other, thus creating an ecosystem unique to both its product and consumers. Some analysts and observers call this specific halo effect the Apple ecosystem.
This ecosystem consists of products that complement one another, thereby creating seamless integration and a better user experience for the consumers. Furthermore, because these products complement each other, they function better when used together.
A Note On The Product Strategy Of Apple: Maximizing Profitability By Capitalizing On Strong Brand Equity And Brand Loyalty
Other companies offer products with almost the same features and functionalities as the products of Apple. For example, flagship Android smartphones from Samsung have the same price range and advanced technological capabilities as the latest and top-tier iPhone devices. The same is true for high-end Widows computers.
However, because of the elements of the product strategy of Apple discussed above, it remains one of the most fiercest and successful companies in the consumer electronics industry as well as in the overall technology industry. This strategy supplements its marketing mix and promotion strategy. In the same manner, its brand supplements its product strategy.
The product strategy that includes a proactive and retroactive approach to product development, a simplistic and straightforward design philosophy, and the maintenance of an ecosystem through the halo effect is unique to Apple. These strategical elements would not be possible if not for its existing brand equity and the demonstrated loyalty of its consumers.
It is also safe to say that this strategy has also enabled Apple to strengthen its brand further and expand further its pool of loyal consumers. Remember that Apple products are expensive. Still, despite the premium price tags attached to its flagship products, its impressive sales performance is a testament to both its brand and the effectiveness of its product strategy.