Americans keep on loving AppleWith the largest market capitalization in the world, Apple Inc. is a company loved by Americans. Such public affection is something to which Korean companies can only aspire. It’s not just brand loyalty of Apple users. Americans take pride in the fact that Apple is considered the world’s leading innovative company. The special love for Apple was proven as the company unveiled its iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and Apple Watch. Before the products were introduced, various media outlets started a countdown and presented articles and reports full of anticipation.
However, if you look at the new models closely, you may wonder if Apple is really all that innovative. The biggest change for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus is the larger screen size, which has long been a feature of Samsung Electronics’ models. Apple Watch also follows already-introduced wearable smart devices. “Apple Pay will forever change the way we buy,” said CEO Tim Cook, but the mobile payment is far from new. In Korea, mobile payment is already in use in subways and buses, and Google and other companies already introduced it in the United States. However, Americans still give high marks to Apple for accommodating the needs of consumers.
But after the spectacular debut, the new models turned out to be disastrous. The iPhone 6 Plus showed a bending problem, and the OS update for the new phones was withdrawn due to bugs. American media began to call the problems with Apple’s newest models “Bend-gate” and “Update-gate.” A YouTube video showing the iPhone 6 Plus phone bending has 30 million-plus views.
However, sales continue to surge. In the first weekend, sales in the United States and other regions where iPhone 6 series was released surpassed 10 million units. Consumers are buying Apple phones regardless of the problems. The record-breaking sales prove Apple’s brand loyalty. The IT environment established by Apple is another dependable ally. Countless application developers and IT security providers are bound together by a common destiny. There was a saying, “What’s good for General Motors is good for America.” It was true in the 1950s, when the American automobile industry thrived. Now, it seems to have evolved into, “What’s good for Apple is good for America.”
Korean companies competing against Apple in the global market find the “Apple phenomenon” burdensome. It’s not a problem for conglomerates only. If they fall behind in the competition with Apple, the domestic IT environment and parts makers are jeopardized as well. Here is the question: When and how can Korean companies earn the love of consumers that Apple enjoys?
*The author is a New York correspondent of the JoongAng Ilbo. JoongAng Ilbo, Sept. 30, Page 30
BY LEE SANG-RYEOL