I have one Apple product. It’s a MacBook Pro from late 2011. The poor thing’s been through so much; dropped it uncountable times, stuffed it with a tonne of design files, I’ve even tried to do some DIY and upgrade it myself. I succeeded in doing this, but now the base is damaged and the screws have worn away. I can’t open it up without completely ripping it apart now. It’s on its deathbed now. Using it is very hit and miss because I get the static screen of death unpredictably, making me resort to resetting it manually.

My MacBook has served me well over the years, and it was one of the first big purchases I ever made. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I need a new laptop, and for a while now I’ve been thinking of switching back to PC. Although I’ve found some great products, it hasn’t been easy to sift through all the options and gather the information I need. This got me thinking; what can computer manufacturers do to beat Apple?

Apple is dropping the ball

In my opinion, Apple isn’t what it used to be. You can’t help but think back to when Steve Jobs was at the forefront as the visionary of the company, and even if, like me, you don’t consider yourself to be an Apple fan, you’ll probably acknowledge that his leadership made the company what it is today. I’ve been saying this for a couple of years now, and it’s not by looking at some deep report on their sales, or surveys from people around the world, it’s just my personal feeling. I think that Apple is surviving mainly by name, and not because of its product. Apple fans won’t admit this, and that’s okay, that’s what makes you loyal. I just feel that the company is losing the human touch that was built over the years, and are trying too hard to be “innovative” (a touch bar? Really?!). If computer companies want to give Apple a run for their money, there’s no better time than now.

Put the human first

Simon Sinek put it so well. Apple thinks (or used to at least) about the needs of the human using their products, before thinking about the technology that will be used for it. It’s a bit crazy how computer companies still haven’t realised this. Windows is catching up, their new products like the Surface Studio and Surface Book are getting great reviews but they’re falling just a little bit short overall, but with a little bit of critical thinking, they could give Apple a run for their money over time.

Computer companies must realise that they are dealing with real people, with different everyday needs. We have a new generation of people who have different priorities, so I don’t think anything should be added to a computer (or a phone) if the person isn’t going to use it. Do I really need face recognition to remove the lock screen? Do I really need a touch bar? Will (insert feature here) enhance my overall experience? If it’s not a resounding yes, don’t bother.

Start over from the beginning

There’s nothing wrong with making something entirely new from the ground up. I’m really glad the Google has joined the fray with its Pixel phones, which are built inside-out by them. I only wish that they took the same approach and built a line of laptops that were as good (if not better) than Apples. I personally feel that when something has been going on for a long time, it can be a great thing to start again from a blank canvas. This allows you to take all the problems you’ve encountered in the past and find brand new ways to solve them. If computer companies like Dell, HP, and Lenovo used this approach as a new project they could come up with some amazing stuff!

Be brave, make a new operating system

I know this is crazy, but Apple did it didn’t they? Why does it have to be either OSX or Windows (maybe Linux if you’re into that stuff)? You might be able to create a new operating system that is easier to use. The choices are too limited and we should have more to choose from I feel. Take the plunge, release a beta that we can try! I don’t know the technical details of this and why we don’t have other choices, but it would be very interesting to see.

People don’t like to think. Spoon feed them!

I’m a fan of the 3-tiered approach; good, better, best. To be fair most computer companies now offer three levels for their products, but it’s still very difficult to know which one is right for you because of all the technical jargon. Don’t use jargon! Only techies understand jargon, the average consumer might not even know what RAM, processors, and graphics cards are, so unless they’re looking specifically for this information, don’t shove it in their faces. Instead show what the benefits are for each tier (the emotional connection, not to be confused with features).

No more stupid product names

I think this is the worst problem with computers. The product names are stupidly long and complicated. It’s almost as if they put a brand name into a password generator and hit submit. Nobody has a connection with the HP Phantom R2D2 C3PO 15. I’m obviously taking the mick here but I do think these product names sound silly.

I’ve been looking at the product range for my new laptop and the names are horrible. Although it’s obvious, it took me a while to know if the Dell XPS 13 and the Dell XPS 15 were the same product or not. It really wasn’t so clear at first. The product names should be more creative with a better meaning so that there is an emotional connection. Give me the name of the product, and then tell me what sizes and options I should choose from.

Stop trying to beat Apple

This is the most important point. Apple is Apple, Dell is Dell, Google is Google. Each brand represents different core values, and these should be reflected in the products that are offered. Everything should have a consistent feel to it from the design, to the functionality, from the inside to the outside. Let Apple deal with their own problems and create your own lane. One of the big mistakes businesses are making these days is trying to compare themselves to other companies. This blurs your vision and makes you forget what’s most important; the people you serve.