Is the slow and steady pace the best strategy?

Published: May 29, 2012

There are some companies that have an obvious “slow-and-steady” approach to their business plan. We’ve talked about how Microsoft’s strategy, to just take things at their own pace, could either be a good thing or a bad thing in the fast-paced mobile industry, for instance. Windows Phone may not be taking off like a jet, but more like a hot air balloon. Still, rising is still rising, even if it takes a bit longer.

While Microsoft may be a bit more up front and obvious about their pacing, I think Apple does the same thing, but not in the same fashion. Oddly enough, I think it’s one of the reasons Apple gets so much flack, and it could be one area that even Apple fans speak out against the Cupertino-based company’s mobile strategy.

This has to do with software. To be more specific, this has to do with Apple’s own applications.

No, the iPhone 4S wasn’t a huge upgrade when compared to the iPhone 4. Same industrial hardware design (with only some minor tweaks for connectivity), same display (both in resolution and size), and just a relatively “minor” bump in the processing power of the device. The camera was an improvement, but considering all the negativity towards the iPhone 4S after its launch, that wasn’t a big enough change.

The iPhone 4S’s differentiator between the previous model was an application called Siri. Now, I’ve already admitted that the personal assistant has found a permanent home in the way that I use my phone almost every day, and that’s not going to change anytime soon. However, I will admit that while Siri is advanced in her own way, Apple’s approach to the application was a bit off.

This is exactly what I’m talking about. It’s very close to that “reality distortion field” that many people have spoken about, but I think it really boils down to the fact that Apple, much like Microsoft, just prefers to go about doing things at their own pace.

Siri is the perfect example, because despite the fact that Siri isn’t meant to be just another voice-activated application, that’s exactly what people compare it to. The masses are quick to point out that Siri is a Beta application over and over again, and while they’re technically correct, Siri still works very, very well. (Unless you’ve got “an accent.”)

Siri is meant to change the way that you talk to your phone, not just tell it what to do or what to open. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t think Apple isn’t going to make sure that Siri’s capabilities are expanded quite a bit with the next update to iOS. Will it be able to open applications, even third-party apps? I wouldn’t doubt it. Apple’s slow-and-steady pace with their own applications and software means that some people don’t think they’re changing the game, but I don’t think that’s the case.

Just ask Samsung, and how that S-Voice application came to be.

And then there’s iCloud. The fact that it doesn’t save videos through Photo Stream, for example. There are some who would think that’s just a misstep by the company, and perhaps it is. I think it has to do with the fact that Apple rolls out features. Slow-and-steady. They don’t want to unveil everything their technology and software can do in one product, because let’s face it: there’s no reason to. The fact that they roll out their features at their own pace, usually in line with new hardware on a yearly refresh, just proves that they have no problem going at their own pace, even if the rest of the mobile industry is doing their own thing.

In truth, this strategy obviously works for Apple. No one can say that it doesn’t. The company just keeps making oodles and oodles of money every year, and the iPhone is a huge contributor to that. It can’t be ignored that it works for Microsoft, either. While companies like Samsung and HTC are working overtime, releasing phone after phone, and shoving everything they can inside (systematically sacrificing devices released earlier) to make it stand out, Microsoft and Apple are succeeding in the same industry, yet with entirely different strategies.

So, which one works the best? Apple probably thinks they have an answer for that, and I would bet that Microsoft believes they know where that title would go, too. All manufacturers would. But, we’ll leave it up to you, the consumer. Which strategy works best? Let me know what you think.


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