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(AAPL - Get Report) will vastly outlive its competition. To explore that, it's necessary to look at software, hardware and how Apple integrates the two.
Software is hardly ever beloved. Software is simply a means to bring the capabilities of the hardware to life. Often, software fails the user. There are several reasons for that. In some cases, the hardware isn't up to the task that the developer envisions. In other cases, the developer fails to create an elegant connection between the user interface and the task the user wants to accomplish.
In the history of the Macintosh and PC there have only been a handful of native apps that were so beautifully executed, so well conceived, that they actually became beloved. The annals of frustrating software, on the other hand, are plentiful and legendary.
Stand-alone software services are even more abstract. Software services don't span time and generations, nor do they evoke emotion and affection. They're just there, like a dumbwaiter, waiting to be exercised. Take, for example, services from Google (AAPL - Get Report). They come and go as grand experiments on the users. The list of abandoned Google services reads like a funeral service.
Hardware is much easier to love. Beautiful 2K and 4K displays, MacBooks, external drives with glowing LEDs, the new Mac Pro (an enigmatic black cylinder), blazing fast Alienware PCs with ghostly lights, some Ultrabooks, the iPhone and iPad, all come to mind.This hardware can create an instant attraction and affection. But it needs nicely integrated software to bring it to life in ways that charm and delight us. On the other hand, the software itself, phantom like, is only beautiful to another software engineer. No one swoons over a BMW's system software. They do, however, become giddy over the lines of a favorite model. There is the tactile feel of how responsive it is and handles so well. Things we can touch and feel are more human-directed, and we can easily anthropomorphize.
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