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179 Why Do Some Companies Ship Products And Very Few Category Design Markets? | Pirates Perspective

Monday 10th June 2024
LOM_Episodes-179 Pirates Perspective Category Design Markets

On this episode, we are presenting some Pirates Perspective from our newsletter, Category Pirates.

Eddie Yoon, Christopher Lochhead and Katrina Kirsch of Category Pirates discuss why some companies ship products, but very few companies category design markets. They explain this through the lens of Apple’s new Vision Pro spatial computing headset in talk about why Apple’s approach is different.

Welcome to Lochhead on Marketing. The number one charting marketing podcast for marketers, category designers, and entrepreneurs with a different mind.

Apple has always been Category First, Product Second

Katrina Kirsch starts off the conversation with how a lot of companies tend to put out products, and not focus on creating a category for them first. Apple seems to be the biggest contrary to this statement, as it has always been a category-driven company rather than product driven.

Eddie Yoon agrees with this, and adds that Apple has never been one to create a product first, or a first-mover. Even going as far as the first Mac, there have been personal computers before it, but Apple sold people to a whole new experience by creating a category around personal computers and having an interface that’s both intuitive and easy to get into.

Copying vs Innovating

Following up to this, there are those who say that Apple is just copying ideas from its competitors and adding their own quirk to it. But if you look at this deeper, Apple is just really good at finding different uses for existing products in the market, something that those who made it first didn’t even consider as a function.

Take for example what Apple is doing to the Vision Pro right now, which was discussed by Christopher in the previous Lochhead on Marketing episode (LOM 178). The main difference with how Google and other virtual headset devices marketed themselves versus the clear-cut presentation and demonstration by Apple is just miles apart. It doesn’t just look like a proof of concept that people can experiment on: Apple clearly tells you, “This is what you can do with it, and what other things you can add on later.”

Apple is attacking the “tyranny of the screen”

Christopher then explains that a lot of people misunderstood Apple’s point of attack in launching the Vision Pro. As product-centric companies and businesses, they think Apple is attacking other products like the Oculus and other VR headsets. When in reality, Apple is aiming for something else.

As Eddie Yoon puts it, Apple is attacking the tyranny of the screen. The concept that we have to get bigger screens when we want better entertainment value, or that we have to be tied down to a certain place when doing work because your display cannot move with you.

The other misconception is that people say Apple did not invent spatial computing. That it has been there this whole time in other products. And that’s true. But they are one of the first to adopt it to a question that only spatial computing can solve, and not just push out a product to see what people will do to it. This gives Apple app developers a range that they can work with; a clear scope and limitation so they don’t overshoot their promises, but at the same time push the boundaries of what can be done with it.

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