Apple unleashed

Apple LogoI don’t make any bones about admitting that I’m a big Apple fan. I’d be hard-pressed to name another company that I think has their approach to the marketplace and how to innovate for consumers so well thought out. I think this is particularly true in the portable device space (iPods, iPhones, iPads). I don’t own a Mac computer and still can’t make the economic argument for it, but in my opinion their portable devices rule the roost. And let’s be honest, for consumers at home, the future is devices. We are likely to find in the near future that the iPhone was never about the phone, it was about getting in your pocket.

As I followed the unveiling of their latest – the iPhone 4 – yesterday, I had to feel excited for users (despite the clear disadvantage of a remaining lock-in to AT&T) and sorry for handset competitors. I wonder what it would be like to have to compete against them in device space.

My Dog RioA likely comparison would be to how I feel when my dog Rio is able to escape the leash, which she has done a Houdini-like 7 or 8 times during her life (which breaks down to about once a year). Once free, she retreats to about 40 yards away and lingers, paying no apparent attention to me. This is just far enough away that if I break suddenly into a dead sprint I will get within 5 feet of catching her before she is able to escape again to another 40 yard cushion.

Over the past year or two, I feel like other manufacturers have been catching up, slowly but surely, to the iPhone. Apple, seemingly unaware, has been sniffing a few trees and loitering non-chalantly. Then the sudden leap forward comes. Competitors must again find themselves 40 yards away, out of breath, dreading the next phase of the chase.

5 thoughts on “Apple unleashed

  1. Interesting post. If anything, I think the release of the new iPhone has given us a clear idea where Apple is heading with the iPad. I think next year (or earlier, it is Apple after all), we will see an iPad with dual cameras for video chat and the new retina display.

    I also find it interesting how Apple is slowing moving their desktop applications across to the mobile os, first safari, then iWork, and I suppose you could argue that the iPod app on the iPad is very close to resembling iTunes, and now, iMovie.

  2. Specifically about the latest iPhone, I feel the opposite. The list of features in the latest iPhone really made me yawn. All of the ooh-and-ah-generating features are already doable on nearly every new Android phone, and increasingly new BlackBerry phones. Yes, arguments can be made for and against Apple having done certain features better. But, the latest iPhone is not nearly as much of a game changer as 3G and 3GS were in my view.

  3. @appjudge, thanks for your comment and I agree with your observations 100%. I think the iPhone 4 is showing some likely enhancements to the next iPad (though I’d bet it only has a front-facing camera for video calls). Also, your note about moving things over to the mobile OS is good reinforcement of their device-led strategy in the future (aren’t iPads already outselling Macs anyway?).

    @Jason, you’re certainly the expert on mobile here, thank you for commenting! It’s likely a fault of my own that I’m just now aware of many of these features in Android phones. Perhaps you could post about the alternatives to the iPhone 4 here or if too lengthy, on your blog. I’d love to read it. I do like where Apple put their hardware muscle – slimness, “retina display,” gyroscope, media production (photos and video, which I’m sure were just catch-ups to other phones). This seems like the fulfillment of the hardware platform that will truly allow the software platform complete freedom to perform. But I’m already love the iPhone, so I might be using some rose-colored glasses. :)

  4. @Jason, while I agree that the 3G was a game changer, I find it hard to back the 3GS with the same enthusiasm. The 3GS introduced a speed bump and a compass- and that was all. The 4G is the first dramatic redesign of the phone since the 1st generation and we have yet to see how developers will make use of the gyroscope. I think much of the hype normally surrounding the launch of a new iPhone was lost due to the leaked prototypes.

    @Doug, Thanks- I’ am currently writing up an ‘article’ (if it can be called that) about the iPad for my blog. And I believe you are correct- they sell one iPad every three seconds…so that’s quite a few in the time you’ve taken to read this.

  5. I think this is a good point Doug. Apple really does take a perceptive leap ahead every time another maker gets close. Whether the Droid or any other phone is actually able to so many of the same things is irrelevant. In the eyes of the buying public, especially the Apple oriented crowd (which is substantial at this point) ONLY a new iPhone4G will get their money as they salivate for another one, like Pavlov’s dogs (to keep the canine metaphor going ;) ).

    Where I think this is all pointing is a revolution in the consumer video and photography editorial world, and further consumer entertainment in general. If you look at iPhoto, the iPod with video, the iPhone4G with HD video and new iMovie, then put them in the context of Steve Job’s “hobby” project, AppleTV… Then consider the next iPad. Its not difficult to envision a world where a person armed with Apple products can write, produce, edit and broadcast entire shows and print out all their own press kits etc. while sitting in one chair using built in or native apps. Can it be done now? Yes, with a modicum of difficulty on various hardware, but Apple is out for ease of use and could unify the experience, capturing dollars that might have otherwise gone to Sony, Panasonic, or other sectors of the Consumer Electronics market. Powerful stuff.

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