Table of contents
- What exactly is the Apple ecosystem?
- Difference between Apple and other tech companies
- Did other companies also try to build an ecosystem?
- What are the benefits attached to one ecosystem?
- Benefits of using the Apple ecosystem
If you’ve been involved in the tech community for any length of time, you’ve probably heard people mention the Apple ecosystem quite a bit. Some use the term affectionately, while others can be quite critical. But what is the Apple ecosystem? It’s a little complex since it not only refers to all the products Apple makes but also the relationship between each product and how they fit together into a cohesive user experience. So in this post, we’re going to explain why the ecosystem approach is fairly unique to Apple, and what that experience looks like for users.
What exactly is the Apple ecosystem?
Well, we think it’s easiest to compare it to a puzzle. Every product, Apple makes representing one piece. Each piece is designed to fit perfectly with the other. And although you don’t need all the pieces to have something you enjoy, each piece you add tends to make the entire experience even more magical. And if you’re someone like us who buys every piece and connects them all together. It creates a beautiful experience that almost anyone can appreciate.
For example, let’s say the only Apple product you use is an iPhone. It’s an incredible device that certainly stands on its own. But what if you could take a piece of that technology and put it on your wrist? Suddenly you can make calls, send texts, track workouts, check the weather, and so much more in a way that’s faster and more convenient than simply using an iPhone. You didn’t need to put those two puzzle pieces together, but aren’t you happy that you did? That’s exactly what people mean when they say Apple ecosystem. Although years ago more people referred to it as Apple’s walled garden. Which carried a more negative connotation, since it was pretty much unique to Apple.
Before the mobile device era, there wasn’t much of a reason for tech companies to build their sales strategy around an ecosystem. Since most customers just bought computers, and maybe the occasional digital camera or MP3 player. But Apple was focused on creating an ecosystem from day one. The original Macintosh in 1984 featured a proprietary operating system that no one else was allowed to use. Prompting criticism that Apple was creating a closed system that took control away from users.
Difference between Apple and other tech companies
Meanwhile, companies like Microsoft were licensing their Windows operating system to any hardware manufacturer that paid for it. Resulting in dominance over the computer market and sky-high revenue. But Apple stuck to their guns. Jobs insisting that Apple could only create a superior user experience if they retained control over the hardware and software. Integrating the two together in a sort’ve closed ecosystem. That philosophy, which was quite unique at the time, is what gave Apple a huge advantage over competitors during the mobile device era. They already knew how to integrate hardware, software, and services. They’d been doing it with the Macintosh, iMac, MacBook, and iPod. The only difference was that the value it offered users would become clearer than ever before.
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When you own a notebook, tablet, smartphone, and smartwatch, they’d better work together seamlessly or else managing each individual device could become a part-time job. The problem was most companies weren’t focused on selling an ecosystem, they were focused on selling individual products. Dell sold the notebooks, Microsoft sold the tablets, and Blackberry sold the smartphones. But once Apple entered the smartphone market in 2007 and the tablet market in 2010, you began to see these companies scrambling to create their own ecosystems in response.
Did other companies also try to build an ecosystem?
Microsoft tried creating a smartphone, along with their computers and tablets, but it failed and was discontinued. Google tried creating a tablet along with their notebooks and smartphones, but it also failed and was discontinued. LG experienced the same trouble with creating smartphones. Building an ecosystem, when a company’s focus has always been to sell as many individual products as possible with no regard to user experience, turned out to be much more difficult than people imagined. But that strength Apple has enjoyed for years, is also why some people despise the brand. Claiming their users are forced into a closed system that takes away their power and leaves everything up to Apple’s discretion. And that effectively illustrates the downside of any ecosystem.
In order to enjoy the seamless integration and conveniences, you have to essentially go all-in on one company. Buying their version of every product, which limits consumer choice when shopping for a device. To use the analogy from earlier, two pieces from two different puzzles won’t fit together very well. Just like using an Apple smartphone with a Samsung smartwatch, won’t deliver an optimal experience. But most users who do stick with products from one company, whether it be Apple or Samsung, tend to enjoy the extra benefits of that specific ecosystem. So what does the relationship between each product look like?
What are the benefits attached to one ecosystem?
Well, an ecosystem tends to be organized into a hierarchy. Like one created by Neil Cybart from Above Avalon. He clearly outlines the roles of each product category and the relationship between them. Beginning with the Mac, which handles the most intensive…..
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