I have another article about Apple and privacy, but I had to post this tweet.
I have posted responses and links to MKBHD's Youtube videos in the past and here we are again. He recently posted a video discussing Apple's Ecosystem and I thought it would be a great way to introduce users to the concept even if I don't agree with his final assessment (which I will discuss below). Anyway, here is the video:
The Apple Ecosystem
As many people know, Apple has a variety of products and services that work well together. As he mentions, there are two separate issues: "How well they work together" and their "Walled Garden".
How well they work together
There is no other company in the world that has as many profitable products and services that work as seamlessly together as Apple's products and services. That isn't just marketing jargon, it is undeniable fact.
In the world of creating Operating Systems, Apple really has only two competitors to speak of and everyone knows that is Microsoft and Google. These companies have different approaches, though. However, in either case, Apple has wider range of hardware and software.
Microsoft does not compete with Apple in the phone market and Google barely competes with them in the desktop/laptop/tablet market. Therefore, Microsoft and Google clients don't have the benefit of being able to seamless move from the phone, to the tablet, to the desktop, to the laptop. Even when you flip on the TV, AppleTV has advantages with access to iTunes on your computer, your photos instantly appearing in the Photos app, you Podcasts showing up, etc.
The Walled Garden
As MKBHD mentions, "everything you could ever want" is inside the garden. That sounds pretty good, actually, However, he also says "these walls around the garden are really tall and they don't want you exploring outside those walls". Personally, I think this statement is a bit crazy.
First off, yes Apple makes it very comfortable in their garden. In fact, it is like living on a continent with everything you need. If you want Disney World, it is in there. If you want, a trip to the Safari, it is in there. That being said, they don't let all of their goodies outside of the wall. In other words, if you want to ride the biggest roller coaster in the world, it isn't available outside those walls, if you want the best beaches in the world, it isn't available outside those walls, etc.
That being said, MKBHD makes the point that they don't want you looking outside those walls. Is that really true? Does Apple stop Google from putting Chrome, Google Play, Google Assistant, YouTube, GMAil, etc inside their walls? If I can see how great Google does these things, aren't I more susceptible to being moved to other Google devices? Microsoft has their incredible office suite on MacOS and iOS. Isn't that letting me peak outside the walls when Apple has their own suite of apps? Heck, they allow Adobe Premier and even Windows to run on Macs. As I said, they have an open gate where pretty much anyone can come in, but they don't let all of their goodies out.
Hooks into the Ecosystem
He also talks about how Apple devices work so well together that they become "hooks" into buying more Apple products. He shows how well the iPhone works with the Mac, then talks about how that hooks you into buying AirPods, Apple Watch, and HomePod. Of course, Apple wants you to buy their products, so they work to make the experience so great that you want to buy more. This is what they call "smart business". In fact, you could say it is one of the best business models if you care about market cap, revenues, and profits.
Also, he mentions how, if you want to leave Apple's Ecosystem, your AirPods aren't as useful. Of course, Apple makes hardware that works well together. If you leave, you lose that benefit. You aren't stuck with anything, though. If I wanted to get out of Apple products, I would just sell the stuff on eBay, Amazon, Gazelle, etc. There are many ways to get rid of tech you no longer want.
As an example, I wanted to upgrade my old speakers. However, if I bought new speakers, my old speakers would be rendered obsolete in my home. Does that mean I am stuck with those old speakers until I die? No, it means that I could sell them and use that money toward new stuff. In the case of Apple, that old stuff typically holds its value better than the competition, so you won't take as big of a hit selling an iPad as an Android tablet. Of course, you could get rid of the iPhone and still use your iPad or iPod Touch to control your HomePod and use your AirPods, so if you were someone that bought into the entire ecosystem, chances are you could still use a lot of stuff if you just got rid of an iPhone. The Mac and iPad don't require you to use an iPhone.
He also discusses moving from Apple Music to Spotify because it is "clearly better". Obviously, this is bias because it isn't backed up by facts. JD Power actually did a study in Sept 2016 and Apple Music came in first and Rhapsody came in second for Consumer Satisfaction. Also, moving your entire library over isn't even possible because Spotify doesn't match your music. So much for being "clearly better".
Hooks into the iPhone
Once again, he talks about the hooks into the iPhone. If you buy an Apple Watch, you are aware that you need an iPhone to use it. It is like saying the new tires on your car are a hook into keeping the car for a while. Yes, when people buy an accessory for a specific product, they do that will full knowledge that it is an accessory. If I (hypothetically) decide to move from Rolex to Apple Watch, chances are, I won't be keeping around that watch winder or my other Rolex bands because they have no use without that type of watch. They aren't really hooks, though. No one is keeping their Rolex because they bought an expensive band. They just sell it all off and start over. Personally, I have written about accessories that I have purchased for my Jeep Wrangler. They can be expensive and they will not transfer to most new vehicles. If I get rid of my Jeep, my only option is to sell the Jeep with the accessories or to take them out and sell them. I can tell you it is easier to sell an Apple Watch than a bumper for a 2017 Jeep Wrangler.
You could be missing out?
So, his main point is that even if another phone comes out with better features, the hooks into the Apple ecosystem make many still want to stay with Apple. This is actually true for the most part. When it comes to picking which tech I buy, I am not solely basing that decision on specs. Most Mac owners know what I am referring to, but it is how hardware and software work together. Apple is in another league in that area which is why MKBHD uses an iMac and Final Cut Pro X for editing his videos instead of a maxed out PC running Premier.
It is also why you look at how a 5 month iPhone blows away new flagship phones coming out today in many areas:
Personally, I think we are getting to a point of "pick your spec". Everyone went crazy because Google Pixel 2 had the best DxOMark phone camera rating when it came to market. DxOMark picks the specs that they value the most and come up with their score in that manner. They talk to companies like Google so that they can make their cameras in such a way that it performs best in their rating system. It doesn't mean that everyone values the way a camera works in the same way as DxOMark's rating system. Some like a camera that is best in low light, some want it to shoot video the best, some are mainly concerned with it shooting RAW rather than all of the processing done in phone, or frames per second. These tests tell you how things do in specific categories, but the rating score is subjective.
In other words, these "best DxOMark" or best "DisplayMate" scores are measured within specific criteria and that criteria may be different from person to person. The iPhone X had the highest score ever from DisplayMate, did everyone throw out their Android phones and switch to iOS on that day? No, because even Android owners live in an ecosystem. If they have apps that only work on Android and they need them, they aren't switching to iOS on a whim. It works both ways.
I actually fell into a category of "ecosystem" users that stayed with Apple because of Airplay. Back when I had an iPhone 4s, I held onto it a year longer than I would have because of Airplay. I have Airplay built into my receivers, Airport Express units, and speakers around the house. At the time, there weren't any other alternatives, other than spending a fortune for Sonos Connects, so I kept the iPhone 4s for a year longer than I would have because I was waiting on a larger phone from Apple. I looked at Android and I could not find any way around this issue and rumors were already out that Apple was coming out with the Plus model phones.
However, was this a bad thing? I value having music, in a high quality, in multiple places in my home and only Apple affordably fed that market at the time.
When it comes down to it, we all have our choices to make. I am not trapped by Apple products. I have sold much harder things to get rid of on eBay (5 tires for a Jeep, for example) and I am not trapped by the fact that I own a HomePod. I could sell it tomorrow without much of a problem.
Outside of getting rid of actual products, I already own Windows computers (including Windows running on Macs), so I could move to Microsoft without much issue.
I see the ecosystem as a huge reason I stay with Apple and find it to be the thing that separates them from being solely concerned with specs that really don't add as much satisfaction as features like Airdrop, Airplay, Continuity, Messages, etc.
In short, no one is really trapped by Apple's ecosystem. Most say it is one of the main reasons they stay with Apple, but it is because it provides a better, unique experience across multiple devices than any competitor can offer. It is like saying Tesla plans to lock their clients in because no one else has a battery powered car than can go to 60mph in 1.9 seconds. These are unique features, but they aren't locking anyone in.
To wrap up....I agree that Apple's ecosystem of devices keeps people buying Apple products and services. I believe it is because people make the choice to take advantage of the ecosystem because the ecosystem makes their lives easier in many different ways. No one is "walled in", though. People always have choice and many are choosing to buy Apple products. It is never "too late" to change things up when you can sell the HomePod, Apple Watch or any Apple product tomorrow. The fact that people don't want to lose Apple's unique features is more about choosing to live in the garden rather than being trapped in the garden.
Dog loving, Big Green Egg worshiping, Tech enthusiast, residing in Memphis, TN. Home of the Tigers, Grizzlies, Elvis, Al Green, Stax, Hi Records, Ardent Studios, Beale Street, Peabody Ducks, etc.. I have also added the Jeep Wrangler to the list of things I am enthusiastic about.
Flickr pics below