John Gruber examines the perception of Apple as seen by their most ardent critics:
The part that’s wrong is the insistence that broad mass market appeal and an insistence upon superior design are mutually exclusive. Apple’s brand stands for both quality and inclusiveness. It’s a luxury brand for the masses. The company’s retail stores exemplify this. They’re not stuffy or standoffish, like, say, high-end jewelry or fashion stores. Apple’s stores are welcoming — crowded and casual. Apple is like no other computer or gadget maker, and its stores are like no other as well.
What Apple understands and its critics did not (and still do not) is that many people, from all walks of life, simply appreciate nice things. They accuse Apple of pretension and elitism, but it’s they, the critics, who hold that the the mass market for phones and tablets is overwhelmingly comprised of tasteless, fickle shoppers who neither discern nor care about product quality. That Apple’s lead in these categories is simply because they were first out of the gate in them, not because their products are so good.
Apple is not selling caviar against cheese and crackers. They’re selling better-tasting cheese and crackers, and all you have to do is come into their store and taste some to believe for yourself. Anyone who believes Apple is about to have the rug pulled out from under the iPhone and iPad by commoditized Android devices should spend a few minutes inside an Apple retail store this holiday week.
A great read chock-full of insightful analysis. Best thing I’ve read all week.