Ubiquity can kill a brand as quickly as it can make one

john malkovich

I stepped off the train in London this morning and it struck me how many genuine and knock-off Barbour quilted jackets were among the commuter throng. And it made me think about just how commonplace they’ve become to the point that they’ve diluted their own brand image. “By Appointment to Her Majesty” has now become By Appointment to Everyone. It’s the new Puffa jacket for this generation and that’s not necessarily a good thing.

And the same is happening everywhere else. Apple and iOS has become synonymous with smartphones and tablets but has only one product per line of business. Therefor it’s the same hardware you see people with and it’s becoming ubiquitous. They are gorgeous products, they work seamlessly, but they’re everywhere. And for me it’s destroying the perception of brand value.

Conversely, Android’s presence has been fragmented across a myriad of OEM devices and while this actually causes a headache for developers, for consumers they feel slightly more exclusive to owning an Android-powered device because of the opposite to Apple: Many products against one OS offers more choice and personalisation.

It’s almost seen as a left-field choice, exactly the same position that Apple were in during the old Microsoft battles. (Only designers and photographers used Apple back then…../sarcasm)

I know, it shouldn’t make much sense, but it does. I’ve been with Apple for years now but I’m growing bored with the lack of differentiation and choice now. I won’t give up some of the things that make Apple great for me; the Mac for a start. I love how everything (on the surface) has that air of seamless integration but the iDevices no longer offers the personal choice and personalization I want from a tablet or phone. I actually miss troubleshooting and getting under the hood because I want to learn more. A product for the masses sometimes isn’t a good thing for everyone.

It’s sounds like techno-snobbery but I don’t want the guy standing next to me to have exactly the same thing I do. I don’t want the dependence on everything. And as much as it drives some companies to rest on their laurels it also makes for a complacent user.

I don’t want ubiquity.

Which is why I’m taking moves to switch to Android for a while. I’ll continue to use the MacBook and OSX but I can live without the iCloud lock in, iMessage, FaceTime dependence and the iPad/ iPhone combo. I want to mix and match. This is my personal choice and you have yours.

I just don’t have to follow your choice because Apple only allow me to.

And your customers shouldn’t be treated in the same way either. Think about it before you try for World domination and saturate your own industry.

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