Jun 9, 2010

Why iPhone Will Dominate The Smartphone Market For At Least 2 More Years

I've been thinking about this topic for a while now, but Gina Tripani wrote a post that summarized the idea pretty eloquently, so I'll just steal some from her and add on some of my own.

Gina describes how she has a Sprint EVO that does videochat already, but has never used it because she didn't see the point. And then Apple released their new ad "FaceTime," which goes through several scenarios of people doing voice chat: girls picking out outfits, grandparents congratulating their graduating grandkids, and so on. Two of the segments in particular have generated a lot of buzz: the deaf couple saying "I love you" in sign language and the soldier seeing the ultrasound of his child for the first time.

What makes these moments effective in this ad, or any ad? A story with human emotion, in this case both being "love."

"Love" brought to you by a phone, which you can buy from Apple.

As Gina says, "they don't talk about how many gigabytes of memory or how many CPU cycles or how many apps [they have]."

Verizon's Droid ads tell a different story:

Er, "story" is the wrong word. There's no story that taps into human emotion because there literally are no humans in this ad. This ad aims more at robots than it does to regular cellular customers, and Verizon is pretty blind to this fact because they keep churning out more and more ads that just show off apps.

This is the most basic rule of advertising. Psychologist John B. Watson experimented in the 1920's with behaviorism, like in the case of the Little Albert Experiment, provoking a child to associate furry animals with loud noises and poking (no really, watch the film!) Watson had his license revoked (not for traumatizing the child, of course, but for having an affair), and worked in advertising, where he brought conditioning and behaviorism to ads: this is why hot girls eat spaghetti without shirts in TV commercials- unconsciously associating happy, beautiful people to whatever's being sold.

But what does this mean in the bigger picture? Android will never be consciously adopted by the greater population so long as they continue to aim to nerds. Nerds are already early adopters, so why are they farting in the faces of their real customers? Because they don't know what they're selling. Android is selling phones, but Apple is selling love.

Simon Sinek has visited the place I work twice in the last two years, and both times describing this principle that businesses will only succeed as long as they understand "why" the exist. If you have 18 minutes, watch his TED talk where he goes into detail (he's published the book Start With Why on the subject).

Simon talks about Apple a lot, because they sell technology without advertising "technology." Take, for example, this iPod ad:

They're not selling an MP3 Player with 4GB of storage, they're selling "1000 Songs In Your Pocket" and people having fun.

This isn't an Android or Verizon-exclusive phenomenon. Take Sprint, for example, with their new ads:

Was Dan Hesse selling love? Nope. The reason why you should choose Sprint, the reason why their revenue is $32 Billion and the reason why they employ tens of thousands of people is "we're cheaper."

Did Apple advertise their iPod Nano as a 640x480 MP4 video maker? Nope. They sold a handheld device that you can use to film with your friends. According to Simon Sinek, because Apple aims to your emotional cortex, you'll always feel more comfortable with buying their products, even if an Android device makes more practical sense: your emotional "why" is stronger than your logical "how."

So long as Android continues to market computers working with, mass adoption won't happen.