Apple’s Magic: Maintaining Relevance of Offering

by Holland-Mark | April 4, 2010

Image representing Steve Jobs as depicted in C...
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Quoted in Scott Kirsner’s excellent Apple piece this weekend, from The Boston Globe…

Why Apple is still generating buzz – The Boston Globe

For me Apple’s magic unfolds in the yin and yang of inspiration and listening.

Steve Jobs has said that if you give people what they ask for, by the time you deliver it, they want something else. That means great products are born from a place of innovation, often from the inspired vision of an individual person. The iPod, for example, was obviously revolutionary in 2001.

But if you look at the way Apple evolves their products, once they launch, you see a very different story. Apple eats its own lunch, aggressively evolving products in the direction their users demand. That comes from listening, intently, to what users have to say. Here again you can look at the iPod. In 8 years it went from “1,000 Songs in Your Pocket” to “Shoot Video With Your Nano.” It took Sony the same 8 years – from 1979 to 1987 – to go from the Walkman to the Walkman II, which was basically a stereo Walkman with a radio. Whoop-de-do.

The talent for true innovation and the discipline for user-driven product refinement rarely coexist in the same product culture, but for me, that’s what makes Apple great.

Full article is here.

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