It’s a lesson that tech companies should have learned by now. Being first to do something is unimportant. Being best is what counts.
The problem stems from the need to be first in order to stand out. It’s a necessary but not sufficient precondition for a great product. To be the only one doing something, you also have to be the first one. This is why laptop makers are tripping over themselves in the pursuit of ever-thinner machines with ever-denser displays. Both are desirable things, so obviously more of the same must make for yet more desirable computers. It’s a sad, unthinking competition to be the next first thing. I’m including Apple in that number too, having witnessed its first Retina display MacBook Pro struggling to handle all the extra new pixels.
EVEN APPLE ISN'T IMMUNE FROM THE MINDLESS CHASE FOR THE NEXT BIG THING
When Apple cites numbers, one of its favorite data points to bring up is user satisfaction, which is close to 100 percent for all of its products. That’s in spite of the company rarely being the first to do anything. Just take HTC as an example: it had an aluminum unibody phone, a 7-inch aluminum tablet, a plus-sized smartphone, and the Beats brand all before Apple did. Apple’s just doing all these things a little bit better and profiting from it.
Quality matters more than speed. That is especially true in a tech industry where speed advantages perish almost as soon as they appear. I’d love to see the new MacBook legitimately overshadowed by a better competitor. With Windows 10 on the horizon, that’s a real possibility. But as of today, Apple’s best competitors seem lost chasing their spec tails and neglecting what matters. Beat the Mac’s experience, not its numbers.