Although we have covered Apple’s environment of “inspired” copying, what we have not covered is some of the steps they have taken to hide this fact from the consumer. This is the Big Lie that we are talking about: the formation of a myth that Apple does not watch the market or use market research for product designs and changes. Apple has presented a fabrication to the world that they exist in a creative bubble isolated from outside influence which allows them to create their beautiful and revolutionary products. This pure internal inspiration myth is also used to back up the patents they claim as their own (but are often little more than old ideas with some polish on them).
The speculation is that when the iPhone came out, Apple’s PR and Marketing could not claim it was the first for a number of items. Because of this they needed to imply that it was a revolutionary product and something that had never been done before. It was a crucial step to present to the press the lie that Apple operates in a creative vacuum, so the myth that Apple does not use market research was born.
The myth has become so prevalent that it was not until the Samsung V Apple trial that many learned the real truth. Samsung presented several documents that showed that Apple purchased competing phones to compare features, and that Apple conducted market surveys asking people why they bought Android-based phones. Apple even tried to block the release of this information to the public and fought very hard to keep the jury from hearing it. Apple also fought very hard to keep their own designers out of court, as they eventually would have had to reveal that they did look for outside inspiration for their designs (which is still copying other people’s ideas). It was very important to them that the jury and the public did not hear this. Thankfully, Judge Koh did make the decision to make all parts of the
trial open to the public so that we can report on this little issue that has been swept under the rug and ignored by many media outlets.
Still, the myth appears to be ingrained in people’s heads, meaning that they are either not doing the research or they are simply taking Apple’s word for it. In one article that was released this morning on the MotleyFool on NBCNews.com the author Douglas Ehrman makes the following statement:
“Perhaps, however, what has really brought Apple to its current position has been the company’s ability to drive market direction. Rather than conducting market research to determine what products consumers want, Apple has taken the position that it knows best, designing products that consumers could never have conceived but loved all the same.”
This, despite the fact that evidence was presented in one of the most followed Patent Trials in history that shows Apple does indeed perform market research. How can this comment be entered into an article that is supposed to have been written by an industry expert?
Apple’s Big Lie about how they “innovate” is going to be bolstered by many in the media, as it is clear they no longer report on the truth of the matter. Even now some of the same sites covering the trial very closely are starting to rebuild the Apple hype machine: look at the number of articles about the next iPhone, the iPad Mini, Apple TV, and more, claiming that these devices are new and exciting. None of these are new: the 7-inch tablet is old and has been done by so many companies it is not new with the iPad Mini, the iPhone is getting features that have been in competing phones for two years, and Apple TV is a rip-off on the Windows and Linux based HTPC concept that goes all the way back to Windows XP in 2002. When will we hear the truth from Apple and mainstream media about this? Our guess is never.
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