What about smartphones? They all are flat slabs of encased glass with rounded corners, a couple of cameras, and packed with useful applications. Just like Apple’s iPhone.
I could go on with iPad, Apple Watch, AirPods, et al, but you get the idea. Hardware is, well, hardware and there isn’t much that is new under the sun, so how does Apple even stay in business?
Worse, Apple is rolling out more Services to the customer base with products that are not much different than those already on the market. I’m thinking of Apple Card. It’s a credit card. The interest rate isn’t the lowest, the perks are not the highest. So, what makes it worthy of lust?
It’s the What vs. How argument fully outlined by former Apple veep Jean-Louis Gassée who explains in detail what makes Apple Card worthy is exactly what segregates Apple from the riffraff of competition.
What’s the problem with Apple Card?
First, we have the usual “It’s Not Really Innovative!” grouse. For this you may have fun re-reading a September 2012 Monday Note titled Apple Never Invented Anything. As the date and title imply, the jibe is old. But the myopia never dies.
Remember, there were point-and-click PCs before the Mac, portable music players before iTunes, online music stores before iTunes Store, smartphones before iPhone, smartwatches before Watch.
See what’s going on? Other than some terrifically differentiated functions (Touch ID, Face ID, etc), indeed, Apple Never Invented Anything.
The most important grumble is that there are plenty of credit cards already, cards that offer better rebates, sign-on bonuses, airline miles, access to lounges, special treatment of expense categories, interest rates, grace periods…
So, what’s the big deal with Apple Card?
It’s How vs. What.
For a sufficiently large number of Apple customers, the new payment system is a classic How vs What proposition — and the “How” wins. The Wallet app offers complete control over purchases, payments, rebates, timing, and security, all in one place. As for security, three different card numbers track purchases made with the physical card, with a card number on line, or with Apple Pay on your Watch or iPhone. No need to use a special third party app, such as the excellent Mint. Everything is built into the Wallet, itself built in every iPhone and iPad.
This is a perfect example of where Apple’s whole is better than the sum of the parts. Critics and members of the technorati elite politburo look at the What of everything Apple and compare PowerPoint bullet points of features and functionality, and completely overlook what separates the Apple experience.
After less than two weeks, I find the experience pleasant and well orchestrated. I particularly appreciate being able to pay off my balance quickly and easily.
You see the same attention paid to the How of usability in every Apple product. That’s what critics and competitors miss.