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30 July 2012

No, actually: Steve relied on research

From this Wired article:
Apple is famous for eschewing market research and focus groups during the creation of new products. However, it turns out the company does research consumer sentiment on existing products in order to optimize future designs.

Apple conducts detailed, quarterly iPhone buyer surveys, according to a joint motion regarding the sealing of trial exhibits. "The surveys reveal, country-by-country, the factors driving customers to buy Apple products versus competitive products such as Android," court documents state. The results break down which demographics are most satisfied with Apple’s products, and how different demographics respond to different features. The results also show how consumer preferences differ country to country.

Apple is asking the results of these surveys only be shown to the jury when proceedings begin next week. Language in the joint motion states, "Knowing what Apple thinks about its customer base preferences is extremely valuable to Apple competitors because it would allow them to infer what product features Apple is likely to offer next, when, and in what markets."

From the Steve Jobs biography, quote ca. January 24th, 1984:
"On the day he unveiled the Macintosh, a reporter from Popular Science asked Jobs what type of market research he had done. Jobs responded by scoffing, "Did Alexander Graham Bell do any market research before he invented the telephone?"

From this NY Times article, quote ca. March 12th, 2010:
Shortly before the iPad tablet went on sale last year, Steven P. Jobs showed off Apple’s latest creation to a small group of journalists. One asked what consumer and market research Apple had done to guide the development of the new product. "None," Mr. Jobs replied. "It isn’t the consumers’ job to know what they want."

And another from the biography:
"Some people say, 'Give the customers what they want.' But that's not my approach. Our job is to figure out what they're going to want before they do. I think Henry Ford once said, 'if I'd asked customers what they wanted, they would have told me, 'A faster horse!'' People don't know what they want until you show it to them. That's why I never rely on market research. Our task is to read things that are not yet on the page."
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