Discover more from unicorn chats
🦄 vol. 58
claude chats about the success of airpods 👀
aaand we’re back to mondays, as per usual.
i’ll never let go, jack? 👀
If you’re a little older (😮) you may remember that the iPhone used to come packaged together with a set of wired headphones (EarPods). This was always a hassle-free-extra until Apple sparked some controversy by not including a headphone jack on the iPhone 7 (introduced in late 2016).
Of course, this wasn’t an uncalculated shot in the dark. In the same breath, Apple announced the release of the first generation AirPods, doubling down with two bold moves in one. The initial reaction? Memes and ridicule. 😂
I remember being at university and seeing the odd early adopter talking to themselves with AirPods in… looking strange. Over a year after their release, people still wrote articles on “how to wear AirPods and not look like an idiot”.
The current sentiment? 👀
Fast forward to today, AirPods are a game-changer.
🚶♂️ I can walk into the next room without having to first find my phone.
No more accidentally yanking my phone off the table by mistake.
🏋️♀️ It’s a lot more pleasant running or going to the gym without running the cable through the inside of your shirt.
Since their initial release, Apple has released several successors in the form of the AirPods 2, AirPods Pro, AirPods 3 and most recently the AirPods Pro - to which they’ve added exciting new features such as active noise cancellation and transparency mode.
This sentiment about utility seems to be shared by more than just me because..
The numbers don’t lie 📈
Apple is estimated to have made a revenue of $12.1 billion off of AirPods alone in 2021!
And while it is not fair to draw a comparison to companies in different segments, it is illustrative to grasp the scale of these numbers when viewed in the context of other tech companies’ revenues.
Apple’s estimated revenue from AirPods alone has grown from a respectable $1.76 billion to a mind-blowing $12.1 billion over the last 5 years. This places AirPods above the annual revenue of notable companies such as Snapchat, Shopify, Twitter and Spotify 🤯.
Smash hit… why? 🤔
💰 Investment in technology: Before the AirPods, wireless technology was not yet at a point where an equivalent product of that size was feasible. Apple developed custom H1 hardware chips for the AirPods, and this paired with the Apple iOS, enabled them to provide a low-latency, wireless and high-quality listening experience, all packaged into a device that was not much larger than the initial wired EarPods.
🍏 Ecosystem: AirPods is not just a standalone product. The product integrates seamlessly into the existing Apple ecosystem. You can speak to Siri through your AirPods, and it can seamlessly connect between your other Apple devices.
🤝 Convenience: Not having cables attached to your headset is undeniably an amazing experience. That, coupled with the fact that they fit into a small case that also charges them, makes it easy to take them anywhere.
🤔 Lack of alternatives: I mention this last because it definitely was a factor in the velocity of adoption. Coupling the launch of the AirPods with the removal of the headphone jack on the iPhone model was a bold move.
I think the Amazon mantra of “innovating on behalf of your customers” fits nicely into the narrative of the AirPods product.
When you compare the initial reaction to the removal of the headphone jack and the launch of AirPods to the current success and mass adoption… it supports the idea that your customers don’t necessarily know what they want.
“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”
- Henry Ford
It is the job of a company to become intimately familiar with their customers and their problems via empirical, observational, anecdotal methods or even intuition so that they may think of ways to solve the problems/ inconveniences that they themselves might not be aware of.
“People don't want to buy a quarter-inch drill, they want a quarter-inch hole.”
– Theodore Levitt
leading on from “innovating on behalf of your customers”, claude was reminded about this interview where jeff bezos describes why amazon doesn’t focus on competitors
matt has been trawling through pg’s archives, and enjoyed this piece on how to write usefully
sash was excited to learn that google is launching its first cloud region in africa