I am not what you would consider a fanboy of apple. I only have one apple device, but I am not planning in buying more and I also do not buy stuff because it says that certain brand. Still, I want to write about apple today because I think they have archived some interesting stuff in two areas and this also intersects very much with our notion of digitization.
These two areas are headphones and watches. Both fields already had very strong players when apple entered the market. Still, they became very successful.
Concerning watches, there was the news that apple sold more watches than the entire swiss watch industry, including fancy names like Rolex. While this is still, great, I think they are not entirely stealing the business of these brands. They steal the business of watches in a certain price range by offering a product that is capable of more functions and interacts well with all your other devices.
I do not think that people rather buy an apple watch, when they wanted to buy a Rolex before, but people who before wanted to buy a dumb watch for maybe 500$ now tend to rather buy an apple watch, that they can use for fitness tracking and is connected to their phone.
Another field is headphones. A long time, there was no a big improvement in headphones. People had their wired headphones attached to their phones, some nerdy people had more expensive headphones, but that was basically it. It just started when there were wireless headphones. These headphones did maybe not offer better sound, but they have the advantage you do not need to worry about cable and other stuff. Again, this was not to tackle the high-prices headphones of the big brands, but rather the mid-priced customers (although they are quite expensive at the end).
With this, they made people buy more expensive headphones and at the end crushed many headphone manufacturers. This video also explains this very well.
It is interesting to see how Apple found their way into these quite markets where there was a lot of electronics already inside, but not so much fancy computational parts. They entered the markets and also changed these markets by providing new product types the old companies did not offer. And yet, they are very successful doing this. Let’s see if in the future other companies manage to revolutionize these markets again.