If Apple is a fashion brand that makes jewelry that connects to the internet, then Amazon is a meta-merchant that inverts the retail model by integrating the point of sale into your life. These two approaches determine how each company will spend the next decade, setting up a cultural dichotomy of epic proportions.
In Apple’s future, technology products should be luxury goods that give the owner an elite or exclusive feeling, even as they become increasingly ubiquitous. Apple sets the fashion trends by designing lustworthy devices that inspire awe and desire. In Apple’s world (like BMW’s before it), people have an enduring and emotional relationship with their technological accoutrements. The personal computing device (the iPhone, AirPods, and ᴡᴀᴛᴄʜ specifically) is the pinnacle of Apple’s achievements. Dieter Rams would be proud.
But Amazon’s approach to the future is necessarily different.
In Amazon’s future, its technology products are merely a means to an end: increased commerce. Be it drones, reading devices, voice cylinders, video intercoms, autonomous vehicles, its line of AmazonBasics electronics, or obsoleting the checkout process— these innovations aren’t designed to create more intimacy with its customers… they’re designed to decrease the time between the moment demand appears and how fast supply can respond. Amazon won’t stop until the entire supply chain has been absorbed and internalized.