The Main Reason for Apple's Success: Recognition of the Importance of the Home

As I sit in my bedroom writing this on a somewhat cool morning for June, I couldn't help but be inspired by what is sitting in front of me: a wireless Apple keyboard and Mighty Mouse which interact with my Mac Mini that is connected to my HDTV. Sitting n

As I sit in my bedroom writing this on a somewhat cool morning for June, I couldn't help but be inspired by what is sitting in front of me: a wireless Apple keyboard and Mighty Mouse which interact with my Mac Mini that is connected to my HDTV. Sitting next to the Mac Mini is my Apple TV -- connected to my HDTV via HDMI of course. So, with that in mind, I couldn't help but ask if Apple's push for control of the home will lead to future success. My guess: absolutely.

For decades, Apple was a computer manufacturer of products that (in the early days) easily outperformed its competition, but quickly trailed in the business due to Steve Jobs' ego and his subsequent termination. But within just a few years, Apple lost even more market share and Jobs worked his way back to the top of the company he founded with Steve Wozniak. And by throwing out ill-conceived notions of what the consumer truly wanted from his company, Jobs was able to take Apple from possible destruction to its current prominence in record time.

But perhaps the most interesting aspect of the second coming of Apple is the way they did it. Without a complete focus on computers, Jobs was able to redesign Apple's public perception and make it a multimedia company. It began with music and within a few years, it has become audio and video. And if the company's decision to drop 'Computer' from its name is any indication, Apple may be poised to focus on your home with computers reaping the benefits its other devices have created.

Whether you agree with it or not, Apple's decision to focus on making your home the "Apple Home" while allowing its computers division to take a backseat is the smart play for the company.

If you consider Apple's successes over the past decade, very few people can argue it has been on the computing side. Instead, Apple has succeeded in reviving its image with the help of the iPod and (if Steve Jobs has his way) the iPhone. True, the Apple TV isn't all it was cracked up to be, but it was just another step for the company to move away from the computer and work its way into your living room. Recent rumors have suggested that Apple will be adding more multimedia products to its lineup of devices. And if the past is any indication of the future, expect a whole slew of products to hit Apple shelves over the next few years. That said, the company will still roll out periodic updates of its famed computers, but has anyone else noticed these updates have been released without much fanfare lately?

Steve Jobs is in no way a dumb man. He realized that while other companies were focusing on faster processors and beige desktop boxes, his company had to reinvent the wheel to become a major player in this business. Jobs understood the consumer and realized that we didn't want the same old ugly computers and that boring Sony Walkman. Instead, we wanted cool products that set us apart from the average person. Jobs even realized that a computer company's success does not necessarily rest in the hands of computer engineers who need to make machines that outdo competition. Simply put, Steve Jobs knew what we wanted before we even knew it, and if his business sense hasn't slipped over the past few years, why should we doubt it will in the next decade?

As you look around your home and take a mental inventory of what you own and what you don't, consider how many of your products are made by Apple. And while you are taking that inventory consider the kinds of products you wish you owned, but currently don't for some reason. Chances are, in the next decade or so, many of those products will be made by Apple. Now, I know some of you can't stand the Cupertino-based company and refuse to buy any of its products, but can you honestly say that you will never buy Apple products in the future? If you can, I think you're kidding yourself.

Apple is ahead of its time. The company was the first to realize design really matters and is still the only company selling computers that understands how to build significant market share: through the home.

Smart Home
About the author

Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.


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