Apple and Samsung have each clawed their way to smartphone market dominance, but they have each done so in very different way. These two companies could hardly be any different. Where Apple epitomized California cool and design-driven product development, Samsung stays true to its Korean roots with a very engineer-focused culture and spec obsessed offerings. However, the most obvious difference between Samsung and Apple is in the way they release new products.
Apple prides itself on capital “I” Innovating. They are known for taking 8 years to develop a single product (the iPad) before ever releasing it to the market. As a culture, they release anything that is less than perfect. Once released, they make major updates very rarely, confident that their original work is the best. While this ensures an enthralled tech press and awed public, this necessitates a level of security and secrecy that isolates the company from gaining valuable market feedback prior to launch. It also raises the stakes of every product launch to be market changing – and look what has happened with some of their recent launches like the iPhone 5 and iOS7. It is now nearly impossible for Apple to live up to the expectations the populace puts upon each of their new releases.
Meanwhile, Samsung is more than happy to release a less than perfect product and iterate their way to success. Samsung has a long and storied history of releasing new products that are far from perfect. Instead of attempting to make a massive splash, these first generation products are meant to gauge interest and test capabilities. They are perfectly content to iterate their way to successful products. Following this method can of course lead to dissatisfied customers and a general rule to stay away from the first few generations of your product. Then again, as a company Samsung sinks less resources into every product launch compared to Apple.
Despite the two companies’ differences they have both arrived at the same point – the top of the global smartphone market. The introduction of their smartwatches perfectly showcases their differing strategies. Early reviews of the Gear are saying that it is nothing spectacular and only a small improvement over existing smartwatches. Then again, they own the press for smartwatches at the moment as Apple has predictably held back and are waiting till their version is “ready.” After which, the battle begins anew again…
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