The latest news from Apple’s retail group could be a page out of Steve Krug’s classic book on web design, Don’t Make Me Think. If you didn’t catch the reference, definitely read article and get the book …
Full article: http://bit.ly/2b76s6E
When a skyrocket starts to falter while in flight, that’s news, I suppose. Apple’s seemingly unstoppable run got snagged last Fall when its stock price dropped over 40%. Theories flew about wildly. But what company could keep up the rate of success that Apple has had in recent years?
The following article, a recap of Apple’s recent developers conference, presents some rock-solid numbers:
[Apple] continues to dominate mobile and personal computing, capturing 57 percent of global profits in the smartphone industry—to the tune of $7.1 billion—in the first quarter, according to research firm Strategy Analytics. It commands nearly 40 percent of all tablet profits, more than the next four competitors combined, according to IDC. Mobile-browser company Opera Software (OPERA) says iOS users are responsible for nearly 45 percent of Web traffic on mobile devices, while the Android devices that outnumber them account for 31 percent.
Apple is still churning out profits, and its cash reserve is the stuff of legend. But are they vulnerable? Over 70% of their revenue comes from just two product lines, iPhones and iPads. Could an able competitor with a breakthrough product send Apple into a tailspin? Probably not, if Apple has something up its sleeve that becomes the next industry-changing hit. Come to think of it, that’s probably Wall Street’s beef — Apple hasn’t “changed the world” in over two years now. Something must be wrong in Cupertino, right?
Read full article: http://buswk.co/16O0pM0
A heated battle for the future is underway, and forces are aligning around an ongoing court battle between Apple and Samsung. Apple is ticked, claiming Google’s Android OS is a copy of Apple’s iOS. Steve Jobs has even famously vowed to use all of Apple’s cash (about $80B or so) to “destroy Android.” (Untapped rage over Microsoft’s copycat Windows OS and Apple’s failure to stop it, perhaps?) Eight Samsung phones were examined, and now a $1B judgment has been handed down against Samsung.
Repercussions from this case are just beginning. Google, now in danger of losing worried phone makers from its platform, is suing Apple. Meanwhile, Microsoft is jumping for joy, trying to decide how to woo those same makers to its platform.
“I think this will force a reset on Android products as they are re-engineered to get around Apple’s patents,” said Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the tech consultancy Enderle Group.
“[It should also] provide a stronger opportunity for both of Microsoft’s new platforms – Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 – because they come with indemnification against Apple, suddenly making them far safer.”
These behemoths believe that what’s really at stake is who will own mobile, as if that’s a desirable outcome for anyone other than these companies. We’ve seen it before — who will own search? Who will own browsers? Who will own e-commerce? etc., etc., etc. Big dollars go to lawyers, settlements are eventually made, and the world goes on. I can’t blame companies for protecting their intellectual property, but no one wins when the goal is to rule the world.
Read full article: http://bbc.in/QJeID5
A study by RichRelevance illustrates the power of Apple’s tablet platform in e-commerce (m-commerce?). Accounting for “68% of all mobile shoppers,” the iPad has put a charge into the move from desktop to mobile for buying things online. The larger screen undoubtedly helps consumers view full web pages better than smartphones for a more comfortable shopping experience. iPads may also make shopping online more casual since purchases can be made from the couch or kitchen table. Also, people may find that shopping on the go on smartphones is challenging timewise. True m-commerce implies “buying while flying,” which, apart from technologies like Near Field Communications that allow instant purchases, may currently be unrealistic if shoppers want to research and compare when shopping online.
Whatever the case, there’s no denying the iPad’s impact on the all-important activity of spending.
The report, the 2012 Q1 Shopping Insights Mobile Study, finds a steady rise in mobile share of revenue from 1.9% in April 2011 to 4.6% in March 2012, with the iPad driving nearly all shopping, browsing and purchasing in this emerging channel.
According to March 2012 data, iPad users spent significantly more time and money on retail sites than other mobile users, account for 68% of all mobile shoppers, and show the strongest conversion rates (1.5% for iPad vs. 0.57% for other mobile devices).
Read full article: http://bit.ly/HQxXH3
In business today we’re all trying to keep up with technology and grasp its implications. We’re all constantly learning. Through these years of seemingly light-speed changes, the one company to consistently watch has been Apple. Now with the passing of Steve Jobs, it’s very possible that an era of imagination and creativity in the world of consumer technology has ended. From David Pogue:
Suppose, by some miracle, that some kid in a garage somewhere at this moment possesses the marketing, invention, business and design skills of a Steve Jobs. What are the odds that that same person will be comfortable enough — or maybe uncomfortable enough — to swim upstream, against the currents of social, economic and technological norms, all in pursuit of an unshakable vision?
Zero. The odds are zero.
Mr. Jobs is gone. Everyone who knew him feels that sorrow. But the ripples of that loss will widen in the days, weeks and years to come: to the people in the industries he changed. To his hundreds of millions of customers. And to the billions of people touched more indirectly by the greater changes that Steve Jobs brought about, even if they’re unaware of it.
Jobs was the lynchpin in the transition to digital for many industries, most notably entertainment. His devices weren’t just “cool;” they brought with them whole new businesses and new ways of creating wealth. Part of his special magic was his ability to convince corporations, solidly entrenched in the physical realm, to become digital. Now that that force is gone, who is there to exert the same kind of influence? His unique combination of leadership, passion and persuasion are what changed industries. Who can duplicate that?
There’s a sense that without Jobs, not just Apple, but whole industries – maybe the entire culture – is without a guide, at least in the digital realm. After all, Apple is the one company that’s always been copied, and that affects lots of things in society. Jobs took good ideas, made them better, sold them to consumers, then compelled industries to change. That’s how he fulfilled his dream of “changing the world.” Like him or not, the world is different because of him — maybe not ideologically, but in very tangible ways.
I’m looking forward to reading his official biography. Maybe there will be something in it that will cause us all the “think different,” look beyond today, and bring a new level of imagination and creativity to the things we do. That would be great. Maybe it will even spawn another Jobs-like leader. But there will never be another Steve Jobs.
Read full Pogue article: http://nyti.ms/qya2aX
Forgive my continued references to Apple, but they have the Vision. There are a multitude of companies and individuals out there, that possess the potential to harness technology in ways that transform the way we live, but only Apple has done so consistently and continually. Now, with the talent, connections, money and clout they have, Apple has become THE company to watch.
The following article makes a good case that the latest step in Apple’s ongoing iStrategy, announced this week at their annual developers conference, will result in the assured decline of the PC industry and the ascendance of burgeoning mobile. Consumers are showing a strong preference for devices that are portable and that are easy to use and maintain. Tech geeks may want total control over their devices, but consumers could care less. Consumers just want these things to work — and do cool, useful everyday stuff easily. Why does it appear that only Apple understands this?
Smart phones and tablets are much easier to use than PCs and many, many mobile, hand-held Apple Internet device users will abandon their PCs. Microsoft will be in a cleft stick.
iDevices coupled with the iCloud service promises to give consumers easy access to their everyday data from all their devices. If this works out it will presumably be a no-brainer that consumers will embrace wholeheartedly (and financially), the same way they’ve embraced other Apple ideas going all the way back to the Apple II. Why is this? Because Apple has never departed from the Vision: make it useful, easy, reliable, and cool, and they will buy.
Read full article: http://bit.ly/knXZ30
Our family recently made the pilgrimage to Disney World. It was the first-ever trip to the renowned resort for myself and our two grandsons. The boys were wide-eyed as they took in the rides and attractions (although the lines tried their patience a bit). It was all fun, but as we went through the day, I began thinking more and more about the power of customer experience.
Everyone is familiar with “Disney perfection.” The pleasant on-site accommodations are conveniently linked with the various parks by an efficient transportation system. The parks are clean, the staff friendly, and the ample restrooms, food services, and souvenir shops are easy to find throughout the expertly designed layout. In an era where “customer experience” rules, Disney holds the high ground.
One detail that stood out for me is how they tactfully block off areas under construction. Painted fences surround the building sites. Alongside are benches where visitors can take a break. And on the fences at regular intervals are little plaques with quotes from Walt himself politely reminding everyone not to feel too inconvenienced. After all, the parks are all about turning dreams into reality.
A particular Disney quote, however, stuck with me. Supposedly, said Walt, “I only hope that we don’t lose sight of one thing — that it was all started by a mouse.” I recalled the cartoon “Steamboat Willie,” with Mickie happily at the wheel, and how that character became a hit that launched Disney to fortune and fame.
Of course, it wasn’t just Mickey that made Disney successful, nor was the long-lasting fame automatic. The success of Mickey Mouse opened a door that allowed Walt Disney to express his whole vision, which included pushing the technology and business of animation forward, and presenting to his customers what he was sure would delight them. And this got me thinking about Steve Jobs.
Both Steve and Walt valued customer experience. Both pushed technology to deliver products that customers love. Both were in touch with the ethereal world of dreams (Disney: “When you wish upon a star,” and Jobs: “Think Different”). Both maintained complete control of their products, companies, and brands. Both brought ground-breaking innovation to their fields. Walt pushed the limits of cell animation, perfecting “multi-plane” camera techniques, an early 3D-like experience that brought us the first animated feature film, “Snow White,” despite the trepidations of everyone around him. On the other hand, Jobs brought computers to the masses with the highly successful Apple II and then delivered game-changing products like the Mac, the iPod, and the iPhone. Add to that breakthrough marketing, and he effectively married his gadgets to our daily lives.
But perhaps what’s most interesting is how Disney came to technology through entertainment while Jobs came to entertainment through technology. Walt, the entertainer, envisioned Epcot, the techno- “City of Tomorrow,” while Steve, the “tech guy,” became CEO of Pixar, the award-winning 3D animation studio, and then brought the music industry into the 21st century with the iTunes store. It’s as if Jobs and Disney were born with the ability to bring us treasures from the future. Whatever it was, their paths seemed destined to converge. Pixar inevitably was bought by Disney, and Steve ended up on Disney’s board as its largest shareholder.
You could say that Steve Jobs became the heir of Disney’s legacy. Connecting with customers’ most fundamental wants, and delivering unexpectedly satisfying experiences, link the two visionaries. Fans love their products because they’re delighted by them. Indeed, customers stand in long lines to ride “Pirates of the Caribbean” or get the latest iPhone. Their success isn’t the result of cold, calculating computer algorithms but the expression of a gift possessed by only a few. It’s intuition as business, technology as instrument, innovation as life-blood, and unquestioned success as the result.
Today, the work of Disney and Jobs lives on, guided by the philosophy of innovation and customer experience embodied in their companies. The world needs companies that can give us what was previously unimaginable — extraordinary products provided in exceptional ways. Perhaps a “sorcerer’s apprentice” is somewhere in the wings, waiting to take up this mantle at just the right time. The job description includes an unfettered imagination, an iron will, and a love for delighting the masses. “Thinking different” will help, too. Qualified candidates, however, need not apply. We’ll know you when we see you.
There’s a lot of talk about how Android phones are quickly overtaking the iPhone in the marketplace. However, selling phones is not the same thing as creating an economy around a device. Apple continues to find ways to marry technology to the things people want to spend money on. And they do it in a way that’s mostly reliable and delightful to use. So people buy their stuff, and then use the devices to buy lots of other stuff. Android is trying to copy the model while lacking the essence, which involves both great business smarts and tremendous understanding of consumers. For the latest numbers that bear this out, read, “iOS, iPad web use still outpacing all Android devices combined”: http://bit.ly/hIElqZ
Tempted to buy a 3-D telly? Didn’t think so. If the HD “revolution” was a study in hype, the pile of whatever being shoveled upon us re: 3DTV is beyond belief. Who, other than a desperate and dying content delivery industry would try to get anyone to believe that wearing glasses and watching objects fly into your face is desirable, much less necessary. At least HD TV was a big step up in the quality of the viewing experience. 3D is still, and will always be, just a “special effect” (and not always a very good one at that). In fact, when I visited the Panasonic booth at a recent trade show, what did the model on the 3D set do when I looked into the monitor? She picked up a glass and reached towards the camera. Like wow. The glass looked like it was really coming towards me … I “marveled” for 10 seconds, then moved on and spent a half hour talking to a rep about the AF-100, micro four-thirds camera. Now there’s something to write home about (in another post some day). The moral: 3D TV is just a carnival sideshow act. There are better things to spend money on. Like the Apple TV.
Despite what television manufacturers want to believe … the Next Big Thing in TV is where the content comes from, not how it is displayed.
Wouldn’t it be nice to access music and video content on any device at any time? That’s the promise of streaming. Subscribe to your favorite shows. Rent movies. Access a music library online. Streaming frees us from managing bits, storing plastic and converting formats. Apple’s proven that coupling good content with cool technology and a sound business model equals mass appeal. It will be interesting to see if the new Apple TV fulfills streaming’s promise — and cracks the mass market for digital content. (No glasses required.)
Full article: http://bit.ly/9d6SdX
Update: 22-Oct. Panasonic announced specs and availably this week for the new AF-100 camera. It sounds like a dream come true for video shooters, except for one big thing: the micro four-thirds sensor has a crop factor of 2X. This means that your 50mm normal lens becomes in effect a 100mm telephoto. For many this may be a deal breaker. I’m looking forward to the reviews as people start using this camera en masse after its late Dec. release. However, I lament in the meantime …
The anti-Apple bandwagon grows. Is Apple guilty of being the next company that wants to “own” the Web?
“The New York Post reports that the European Commission has taken an interest in Apple’s long-standing exclusion of Adobe’s Flash from its iOS devices, as well as its ban on Adobe’s Flash-to-iPhone compiler and similar tools designed to allow non-native applications to be recompiled for the iOS platform. The paper was the first to report back in May that U.S. regulators were considering an inquiry into the situation.”