Is this a case where Betteridge’s Law of Headlines does not apply? Probably.
Betteridge’s law of headlines is one name for an adage that states: “Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no.” It is named after Ian Betteridge, a British technology journalist, although the principle is much older. As with similar “laws” (e.g., Murphy’s law), it is intended as a humorous adage rather than always being literally true.
It just seems as if it’s always true, but in this case the answer could be ‘Yes.’ Or, ‘Probably.’ Or, ‘Mostly.’
Apple gets more flack than most technology companies and certainly more than its many competitors. Why? While Apple doesn’t lead anywhere in marketshare, the company owns the mindshare and profitshare in every product category where it competes, and with more than $200-billion tucked away in banks around the world, Apple is a big, juicy, highly visible target for criticism.
Apple’s products get criticized even when they’re ideas not yet shown to the world. A good example is the upcoming Planet of the Apps original content TV shows coming soon as an exclusive to Apple Music.
Planet of the Apps follows a very specific TV formula by having iOS developers pitch their app idea to celebrity judges. It’s basically Shark Tank meets The Voice. And Apple’s other show debuting this year, Carpool Karaoke, doesn’t stray very far from the celeb-driven concept, either.
You know everything is a remix, right?
These shows seem like a missed opportunity for Apple to create truly-original content that could standout in the crowded streaming space. When you think about successful streaming shows, like Transparent on Amazon or Orange Is the New Black on Netflix, it’s all about taking risks with edgy content that other networks would be too afraid to take on.
Of course, we still haven’t seen the shows, so withholding initial criticism would seem justified, but let’s see how much of a risk Apple takes with new products.
- Mac – just a cheaper Apple Lisa
- iMac – just a cheaper Mac
- Apple Stores – we have stuff to sell
- iPod – all the pieces designed elsewhere
- iTunes – iPod needed a music store
- iPhone – iPod was dying, smartphones were not
- iPad – a bigger iPhone
- Apple TV – Steve Jobs needed a hobby
- Watch – Jonny Ive needed a hobby
These were not so much giant risks– despite the nattering nabobs of negativism from the technorati elite politburo to the contrary– as obvious solutions to problems Apple identified as obstacles to continued success.
Apple Music has much the same music as Spotify or Google or whomever else sells streaming music, but by creating original content, Apple adds value that sets it apart from competitors, and that’s what product differentiation is all about.
Do we criticize everything Apple does? The acceptable answers are:
Remember, not all of Netflix or Amazon original content wins awards. And none of them make money for either company as much as they do create obvious differentiation. That’s what Apple does, too.