You've heard… Right? Apple is going to release the iPad 3 in a few weeks. Oh, and the iPhone 5. And, wait that's not it, a completely redesigned MacBook Pro. And it's not like Dell and HP have any really exciting tricks up their sleeves. Well, Dell at least is coming out with some fairly innovative designs (the new XPS 13 for example). HP… well, HP is still trying to determine if it wants to be in the PC business any more. (Cause selling ink jet ink is like selling crack.)
So looking around for the metaphor to describe the computer industry, the phone industry and the tablet manufacturers, I came up with cars. This is a branding exercise we used "back in the day." If your product was a car, what car would it be?
Apple has a small share of the overall computer and consumer electronics market. Let's say Apple's products are like the German cars on the road. The MacBook pro is BMW. The iPhone 4 is Mercedes. The MacBook AIR is Porsche. The iPad is Audi. And finally the iPhone 3gs is Volkswagon.
So let's see where the other big guys fit.
Dell, I think, would be the Toyota of computers. Lexus models with the Latitude and a few exotic designs. The Toyota brand would be most of the Latitude line and some of Vostro, hardy, somewhat stylish, and reliable. And then Scion would be the Inspiron, flashy, stylish, and cheaply made. And I guess Alienware would be the NSX of the line.
HP would be the Ford or Chevy of computers, but it's too far off the map to be so mainstream. So let's say HP is the Kia/Hundai of computers, a long-ass warranty but boy are you going to need it.
I guess Asus might be the Nissan. And Toshiba and Fujitsu would be the Subaru and Mitsubishi.
So when you're driving around and you see the German cars on the road what do you think of? Expensive? High-performance?
And while you don't see as many of them as say Toyotas or Fords, you will see a lot of them. And that's just fine with Apple. I'd take margin over volume any day. Just look at everyone else's balance sheet.
Okay, so final thought. Now imagine that BMW, Porsche, and Mercedes are all about to come out with game-changing models. If you are Dell what do you do? Wait and see what they produce so you can get into production with a knockoff in 3 – 4 months? Do you try and anticipate their clever innovations now with the best designers you have? Do you release press releases about your innovative designs that are in the pipeline? (Yes, Dell is going to reenter the tablet market.)
Maybe you go for the cost angle and produce ever cheaper computers with bright plastics and blinking lights.
I don't know what you do. Because, in fact, Apple is about to release a three-fold hurt on the electronics markets: laptops, phones, tablets. And I'd rather be on Apple's team. The other guys are going to continue to take a beating. And if I had cash I'd buy some more Apple stock. It's gonna be a long year for everybody else.
Sure, I am a mac fanboy. But with good reason.
UPDATE: A friend who still works at Dell pointed out, 90% of Dell's business comes from business and not the consumer. Um, yeah, and Dell's new SMALL OFFICE segment is 1 – 9 computers. And I would argue that the individual walking into a Best Buy, regardless of their position within a company, is a consumer. My Dell friend might argue that this is a total unrelated shopping experience, and I would again disagree. Consumer offers and products drive business buying decisions at some level. This is why my Dell.com redo is completely focused around the product and not the type of customer. Business may be Dell's master, but product is Dell's gold or lead.
Several Dell Decks and Posts I've created:
- Losing My Way on Dell.com < How the Retailer Still Confuses and Coupons Us To Death
- How To Fix Dell.com – And Dell's Branding Crisis (Un-concreting the Cow Path)
- Dell's Laptop Branding – 2009 (slideshare)
- Dell's Sub-Branding Nightmare – 2009 (slideshare)
- How to Fix Dell.com in One Slide – 2012 (slideshare)
- Dell's STUDIO Brand Mistake – 2008 (slideshare)
Other posts about kicking ass in social media:
- Twitter Broke the ReTweet Awhile Ago, Making Lazy RT-ers of Us; Do It Yourself
- The Social Economy: I'm Trying to Give It Away, What's the Problem? (So Is Everyone Else)
- Do Your Slides Resonate? How Slideshare Sets a Higher Standard for Your Presentation
- Is Pinterest More Than Shoes, Skirts, and Happy Kitty Pictures? < But Is It A Social Network?
- Love, Valentine's Day Marketing, and Computers: Dell vs. Apple Marketing
- Social Media MBA – The Reading List
- Pinterest and the Power of Social Bookmarking: Tag Yourself (Web Design is Dead)
- The ROI of Social Media – It’s Easy, Right? (return on investment)