Steve Jobs may be gone, but his approach still lingers at Apple, and their launch last week of the iPhone 6 is a great example of how it's done. And there is much to learn for all businesses from the way they do it.
1. They listen to their users. They made the phone bigger. There was a time when the smallness of the iPhone was what distinguished it from other phones. Apple went to their customer base, who said they wanted it larger, and they did it. And while Android advocates are screaming that they were ahead of their time with bigger phones, Apple did larger better. It's just large enough, but not too large. So listen to your customer base; talk to them, find out what they want, and do it. I believe that the new iPhone’s opening day sales of 10 million was partially because of the enlargement, and it's the reason I'm trading mine in.
2. They launched Apple Money and Apple Watch, new products that are sure to work for their customer base. The money thing is definitely outside their purview, but let's face it, it works for their market and they are smart to launch it. Piggyback it on something that was going to get buzz anyway. Smart. What does your customer base like that you can provide without changing your entire company? Can you provide additional goods and services to expand your revenue streams?
3. User Experience. Seriously. Did you watch the launch event? They know how to throw a bar mitzvahs for their products. This puts the Karadashian wedding to shame, to say nothing of keeping it tasteful. And yes, I do recognize that you don't have the cash they have to spend on fabulous launches, but you do have to take the time and effort to present what’s new at your company in the style to which your customers want to become accustomed. Make sure that blast is well designed. Check it twice. Send something printed with a personal note. Successful launches are in the details.
4. They showed stars — Jimmy Fallon, U2, and Justin Timberlake — using the iPhone 6. Now, I must take umbrage with the fact that there wasn't a woman in there somewhere. What's that all about Apple? Seriously? I'm not techie cool enough to have a representative at the launch? Oh all right, I forgive you. Sort of. Look, legitimize what you are doing by having influencers sing your praises. It's so much better than doing it yourself. Give it away early to people who will cry out to the huddled masses about what you are doing.
That's it. Apple lessons. They continue to flow from a place out west where all things simple, classic, and awesome happen.