Why Apple Crushes the Competition Everyday, All Day

NEW YORK (TheStreet) --

For a company to take such time and pains to deliver such an astonishingly different feel while suffering the slings and arrows of the critical press takes great courage ... Personally, I feel annoyed and dismayed when some critics say, "OK, it weighs a few ounces less. We waited how long for that?"
That kind of comment is just a testimony to a fundamental lack of insight and ... insensitivity. That kind of person probably kicks kittens.

Call that the definitive take by MacObserver senior editor and TheStreet contributor John Martellaro on Apple's (AAPL) iPad Air.

Call this hammering home the definitive take on the short side where the goalkeeper simply had no chance:

The iPad Air, in several ways, moves closer to the essence of what a tablet should be. While other companies think about USB ports and keyboards, Apple thinks about how an iPad should, eventually, shimmer and float in mid-air, revealing its true essence as a 21st century tablet, a window into the Internet.
One can't size this up by looking at pictures or perusing specification charts, helpful as they are. Go into an Apple retail store this weekend and hold one in your hands. At that point, you'll realize that this iPad is not just, according to rumor nomenclature, an iPad 5. It's a completely new product with a new experience, and that's why Apple gave it a different name.

If you follow Apple, you need to read John at MacObserver as well as TheStreet.

The man absolutely crushes it with every word he writes.

The article I cited leads beautifully into how I have been thinking about Apple lately.

Well-intentioned retail and market wonks will work themselves up into daily lathers between now and the end of the holiday shopping season. They have already been tizzying all over one another about how many units of this or that Apple will sell through the quarter.

As if it matters. As if Apple coming in plus or minus a half million on some analyst's iPhone number matters. It's a self-fulfilling cycle: Analyst sets a bar or expectation that has nothing to do with what's actually happening at Apple. Media obsesses over it. Apple hits or misses it. Life goes on. Ultimately, Apple continues to dominate.

If you're an Apple observer, investor or potential shareholder, don't get too high and don't get too low. Focus on what matters.

First, be honest ... do you ever see young children crowded around a device -- other than a gaming platform -- they way they are this iPad. These kids were entranced until they realized I was taking their picture. 

Anyhow ...

Go into an Apple Store like John suggests. See for yourself. The iPad Air is the real deal. It blows anything Samsung, Microsoft (MSFT) or Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) has put out or will put out this holiday season and beyond.

While HP is busy boring us with repackaged television commercials that show a laptop becoming a tablet and then, viola, with one awkward shift and click, the tablet becomes a laptop again, Apple focuses on devising, refining and owning an experience the "competition" feebly co-opts with equal parts confusion and incompetence. Hey Meg!, the laptop-tablet hybrid didn't work in 2011 or 2012, it's not going to work in 2013.

Apple dictates the experiences -- with precision and nuance -- people end up wanting. That's what matters. Not some poorly generated number a retail analyst pegs as the number of iPads, iPhones or MacBooks Apple "should" sell.

This experience fuels Apple's two most important weapons. Two things that matter more than market share ever will: the inextricably-linked halo effect and upgrade cycle.

Whether you buy a second Apple product because the experience of owning the first own blew you away or you replace your iPhone with a new iPhone every two years is what's important. Apple keeps a significant number of people coming back for more, while adding new customers, who are not, by and large, the low-hanging fruit, Samsung, HP and others go after.

All of this to say, Tim Cook has done a fantastic job housesitting for Steve Jobs. But, as we know, sadly, the homeowner isn't coming back. So Cook must find a way to not only maintain this mansion, but make it his home. Cook needs to turn into the person we have complete and total confidence in. As I note in the video, that means he has to -- in his own way -- become a better entertainer (for desire of a better word), but, more importantly, carry Apple into its next stage of evolution.

Hopefully, dominant evolution.

We waste our time discussing how the company with, hands down, the best-in-breed products will perform over the holiday season. We spend our time wisely nodding and obsessing over Cook and an Apple without Jobs's ability to create or kill another category.

That's what will keep the halo effect and Apple upgrade cycles alive and kicking for another 10 years. That's what will maintain the company's unparalleled dominance, while ensuring Tim Cook remains Apple CEO.

--Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.

Rocco Pendola is a columnist for TheStreet. Pendola makes frequent appearances on national television networks such as CNN and CNBC as well as TheStreet TV. Whenever possible, Pendola uses hockey, Springsteen or Southern California references in his work. He lives in Santa Monica.

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