How do you compete with a Heart Song?

After the iPad 2 announcement this week, it seems like the floodgates bust open on the analyses comparing the specs of the various tablets that are now out there. As usual the techies get all caught up in the numbers and specifications (e.g. Motorola’s Xoom has a 1280×800, 160dpi versus iPad 2’s 1024×768, 132dpi screen resolution) as they try to quantify,  justify their take on how one product is superior to the other.  Steve Jobs himself used numbers in his presentation e.g. only 100 apps on honeycomb to 65k+ apps on iOS, to make the case that the iPad was ahead of the competition.

The fact is numbers and specs don’t mean much – especially when it comes to matters of the heart. Mr. Jobs has over the years carefully crafted products or more accurately – experiences, which in combination with the powerful Apple brand create an emotional yen that is simply unparalleled. This whole magical allure of Apple and its products did not appear overnight. It was diligently cultivated over many years by paying maniacal attention to detail with respect to industrial design and user experience as it relates to everything the customer touches i.e. the product, the packaging, the ads, the retail stores etc.

The brand was just the icing on the cake. The point is people do not buy something just because it has an Apple brand, rather they buy what the Apple brand promises them (i.e. superior industrial design and overall user experience) and then consistently delivers.

As long as Apple continues to deliver on the promise of its brand, it will continue to “flumox” its competition. The iPad 2 – despite any dissection of the specifications to the counter, did nothing to compromise the promise of the brand. Mr. Jobs understands this better than anyone – which is why he made a point of saying this while wrapping up the iPad 2 launch event on March 2:

“I’ve said this before and I thought it was worth repeating. It is in Apple’s DNA that technology alone is not enough. It is technology married with the liberal arts, it is technology married with the humanities that yields the results that makes our heart sing.”

I just loved hearing that sentence. For one thing it was an eloquent zinger directed squarely at the competition. It flashed a mental image of Mr. Jobs thumbing his nose at the competition and daring, goading, challenging them to replicate what he has personally and painstakingly built over a lifetime.

Apart from that it provided this somewhat right-brained engineer some gospel to point at whenever he is trying to convince his left-brained cohorts of the necessity to make hearts sing in order to succeed in the market.

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