I would like to start with a disclaimer. I have long admired Apple designed products even though I have never owned an Apple product. Every time I would get an interest in buying one and come to a store to try them, I would find them disappointing, as very enthusiastic Apple supporters seem to create expectations, that are very difficult to meet. I am also an admirer of Steven Jobs, perhaps because I have never met him in person :). However this writing is not about my personal opinions, but a comparative analysis of market intelligence produced by our algorithms, based on customer generated content or Word of Mouth, and some additional external information sources that will be specified as I sight them.
Two latest Apple products are generating a lot of press and some of it is decidedly negative – iPad and iPhone 4. This writing will focus on the analysis of the iPad devices. When you try do “comparative” analysis one starts with a list of products to compare and iPad makes it very difficult as it seem to be positioned to compete with e-readers as well as tablets. The tablets category definition presents us with yet another challenge, so for the purpose of this analysis I decided to compare iPad with popular e- or digital book devices as well as some tablet devices that do not have a physical keyboards. Some popular retail website offer a very useful hint to see what percent of people who looked at a product actually purchased it, and if not what was the product they did, however in the case of iPad or Kindle such information was thoughtfully removed from every site I have checked. I also am very disappointed not to find any customer reviews on the Apple store website. It is very hard to believe that none of over 3 millions of iPad customers did not write about their product experience on the manufacturer store site. The only possible explanation of that can be found in accusations that Apple actually censors the iPad customer discussions the same way as they accused of doing for iPhone4 here and here. It is very disturbing if it is true.
So here is the list of products I have decided to compare in terms of them meeting their customers expectations. You can make it larger if you click on the report.
iPad did not meet expectations of their customers, who wrote the reviews with 53% reported negative experiences (0.91) related to Reliability, and 65% of comments about Support were negative (0.94). To be fair, the customers are overwhelmingly impressed with screen readability (100% rated 1.81) and usability of the device (96% rated 1.53).
I know the Apple just reported 78% increase in profits, but with 63% of their flagship product customers reporting that its value did not meet their expectations (0.98), I can’t help but wonder how long it would take for Apple to start loosing it’s “freshness”.