The Big Apple Debate

If you have been paying attention to Varsity View over the last week or so, you would have noticed that there has been a lot of attention regarding Apple and their technological “success”.

Although Apples became legendary for the iPod, recently their other products such as the MacBook and the iPad. Personally, I have a serious problem with this for 3 reasons.

(1) Apple sells products that aren’t technologically innovative. Although their design may be. Apple sells products with parts that are two years old, or even older, because it guarantees that they can always release a better version of that product at a later stage. Also, it saves them money. So, if you want to buy a new computer or a tablet, either for better processing power or because your old one is worn out, don’t buy an Apple because you will be buying old hardware that you will need to upgrade sooner. In the end, it will just mean you will be spending even more money.

(2) When you buy an Apple product, most of the price you are paying is because of the excessive amount of time the company spends on designing its products to look more like fashion accessories than useful gadgets. Interestingly, if you look at the trend in Apple PCs and tablets, they seem to be getting bigger in size in recent years, which isn’t exactly what I want from my PC, especially if that size is simply to show off the product more. As for iPods, I concede that they’re doing a pretty good job there, but sometimes I wonder if they aren’t becoming a bit small and fiddly.  Most importantly, however, is that Apple doesn’t design its’ products so that they are the easiest for you to use and to carry, but rather so they look good because that’s what drives their sales.

(3) The price. Do I even need to explain this further? Put simply, I can buy a product that is twice as cheap as an Apple that is almost twice as good. What else should you take into account when buying a product other than price or quality.

But even though I may harshly criticize Apple, from a business perspective they are amazing. They have managed to move the world of technology and PCs from the realm of geeks and nerds, from being uncool and unfashionable, into the realm of fashion icons. Apples are now a symbol of wealth and popularity, a seemingly “must-have” for any student.

Apple have manged, as a business, to wriggle their way out of price wars and quality competition. They are free from the two drivers of sales and profits that command most technological firms, and have thus almost no competitors. They can charge whatever they want, for a something that is largely inferior to its substitutes, and people will still queue up, day after day, to get their hands on the next shiny Apple product.

Some people call it genius, I call it madness.




  • Shaun Dunlop

    I think a better question is whether or not Apple (AAPL:US) is overpriced at $605.23. The company’s market cap of $564bn is larger than Portual, Spain and Greece combined (admittedly not such a remarkable feat given the current economic state of their economies. Let’s face it- Apple has made a product which has a slick user interface, with a powerful brand image. Besides, in developed nations (like the UK for instance), telcos companie like Vodafone and O2 subsidise the cost of the handset so much, that Apple is in line with comps (Samsung Nexus and HTC One). Brand differentiates and unfortunately (or fortunately?), Apple dominates the branding arena.

    Wait for the iPhone 5. Apple will become the first $1tn company.

    Hope you well mate. Written ever so effortlessly on my iPhone 4S

    • Noah De Villiers

       The better question, that should be asked here, is if that brand image is sustainable or stable. Certainly for now it does, but if a company relies too much on its brand, it could be setting itself up for a fall, especially given the current consumer sensitivity to brand changes. It will be interesting to see how this progresses following the death of Jobs.

      As for subsidising, that only happens because if you subsidise iPhones, you get more customers coming into your business. It’s therefore interesting to note that the success of Apple is somewhat dependant on the actions of their distributors. Whether that’s sound business practice is another question.

  • Ethan Alexander

    Look, you cant deny one simple fact, Apple have revolutionized the mp3/mp4 player. This simple fact, has meant that they pretty much own a monopoly market in this industry.

    As you pointed out, Apple charges absurd amounts of money for their products. Is it worth the money…no….would you buy one….no….would you _like_ one…..damn straight. And its this point which, unfortunately, creates so much desire to have an Apple product.

  • Simonbrownlie

    You sure you don’t want my old iPad Noah? I’m upgrading and will send it back with Susie in May. Let me know:)

    • Noah De Villiers

       You may want to read an article being publised on Tuesday detailing 6 reasons why you dont want to upgrade your iPad because, apparently, 2 is better than 3?

  • James M

    1) Apple sells products with parts that are two years old, or even older,Noah that is an absolute joke. Go and ACTUALLY read about the tech before you write on it. Shameful.

    2) Obviously not being a tech enthusiast you have never bothered to really take a look into what constitutes “design”. Design goes far further than just how it looks. It is how the device is packaged, how it is used and most importantly, the experience that goes with it. No other company in the world has a user experience like you do with Apple products.

    3) Put simply, I can buy a product that is twice as cheap as an Apple that is almost twice as good.

    Simply put – you can’t. Everything else that you buy provides you with an inferior experience. Maybe the price isn’t justifiable, but they certainly have the best experience for any product on the market by a long shot – whether that is hardware, design or UX.

    4) No I am not a fan boi – I simply enjoy beautiful products that took longer than 5 minutes consideration when put together.

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