Page : 1/1

First Page    Prev. Page    Next Page    Last Page

Saturday, 21 Jul 2012

Here's an interesting read from the blog of Jonathan MacDonald, an internet and tech watcher:-

Bye buy Apple by JMac
Here is the transcript, for convenience:-

The precise moment my loyalty and blind faith in Apple vanished was during the launch event of the third generation iPad. I had high expectations of what Apple may have announced, especially in light of the recent passing of Steve Jobs. I somehow felt the company would honour him by poking a metaphorical finger in the eye of the consumer tech landscape and rip up the market once more.

I thought they would show what innovation really looks like, what disruption tastes like, and what bravery feels like.

I thought they would rebelliously laugh in the face of faceless organisations producing plastic crap, and show exactly what the future holds at the intersection of liberal arts and technology.

…and then a slightly bigger iPad was announced with a higher definition display….called 'The iPad'...

I gradually tuned out the droning noise of technical specification and reminded myself that companies don't always need to be disruptively innovative. Incremental innovation is fine too, depending on strategy, not every announcement needs to blow the market away.

But that wasn't the point. I wasn't upset because Apple had announced a better product than the last - I was devastated to discover that everything Steve Jobs stood for had been cast into the shadows by money men.

That hurt.

At this juncture I'd like to disclose that although I have fairly deep connections within Apple, I have no knowledge of the recent launch timeframe. I don't know what the strategy is in terms of specific model improvements. All I know is that during the third generation iPad launch my loyalty and blind faith vanished. My Apple expenditure that runs to about £5000/yr vanished. My Apple advocacy which had involved endorsing everything Apple in front of tens of thousands of people every week, vanished. Simply because what Apple meant to me had been meticulously erased by Apple themselves. Right in front of my face.

Today is the 20th July 2012 and I write this in the midst of rumours about the next generation iPhone. Depending on who you trust with predictions, we're looking at an August, September, or October release date. Analyst Shaw Wu of Sterne Agee (that's not an easy six word sequence) said in a note to investors last month that it was expected to arrive in October, whilst J.P. Morgan analyst Mark Moskowitz said a few weeks ago that the device should be launched in September. Meanwhile, Japanese tech blog Macotakara, with a track record of being accurate in terms of Apple-related predictions in the past, reported (citing "reliable Chinese sources") that the new iPhone has entered the manufacturing phase in China.

As you can see, the rumour mill is in full swing.

Again, depending on who you trust with predictions (and I've aggregated a bunch of unauthorised, unofficial, and unproven gossip here so you don't have to), we're looking at the next generation iPhone to potentially feature:

- significant design changes including the addition of glass to its "uni-body" backplate (potentially a glass piece between the backplate's top and bottom edges without leaving a bare aluminium surface)
- larger 4-inch Retina display
- 4G LTE technology
- Near Field Communication (NFC)
- a smaller dock connector
- iOS 6
- improved Siri
- liquid metal casing
- 8 megapixel (or even higher) rear camera
- 2 megapixel front-facing camera
- much-improved battery life

Excited yet?

Me neither.

Here's the thing. You can throw around any sales volumes you like, cast predictions of the first trillion dollar valued company, or point out how much profit-per-square-foot the Apple stores make, but none of that was the point.

The point was beauty. The point was art. The point was function. The point was minimalist brilliance. Y'know…making a dent in the universe and all that. Yes commercial enterprise is all about making money, but I could have sworn we were in for a more imaginative ride.

I run the risk of being attacked by the Cult of Mac, a cult I was once part of, and I accept my fate at the hands of the faithful. But before you come for me, I want to give you an insight into what I would do if I were Apple.

Here goes:

Immediately, not next year, right now, Apple need to remove the need for smartphones and tablets.

I know it's a bit 'out there' but bear with me.

Apple need to remove any requirement by anyone to own another smartphone or tablet, ever again. In the same way as iTunes made billions of CDs pointless, Apple need to rapidly remove hardware in totality.

Unfortunately the ways in which they could do this all involve opening up their walled garden of perfection. Creating an iTunes/iOS API for people to create with, thus becoming a facilitator or internal beauty rather than a solely creator of external beauty.

The problem is of course, this goes against everything they stand for. I've always admired their stubbornness in keeping the experience closed and the ecosystem tidy - but now I believe they need to adjust with the tide or risk drowning in the current.

Why should they?

Because their incremental innovation is now at a slower speed than the innovation outside the company…and as Jack Welch said "If the speed of change outside is faster than the speed of change inside, the end is near, it's just a question of when".

There's a time for being incremental and a time for being disruptive. Now is the time to make their core products redundant and thereby disrupt themselves and the consumer tech industry. Now is not the time to watch an army of once loyal followers slowly turn against the cause. That's the very last thing you want to do, in my opinion.

The only thing more powerful than a loyal army of fanatics, is an army of fanatics who have turned against the leader.

Why will the army turn against Apple?

Because up until about 6 months ago, Apple products were ahead of the game. Today Apple products are adjacent to the game. In time I'm concerned that Apple products will be behind the game.

I'm a realist. Apple are exceedingly unlikely to change in the way I think they need to. Their controlled protectionism is so central to their core philosophy that opening up would be like being 'non-Apple'. Another question then is, could they disrupt the market by not opening up?

Yes, I think they could, however it wouldn't be by creating a more fancy device, or by developing more cloud services I think. No, the thinking would need to be more lateral and less based within consumer technology.

We will have to wait and see what happens…and this post will likely remain sitting here in the interwebs, gathering virtual dust.

I have my own thoughts, and they are these:-

Bye bye? Buy buy? By by? Apple? You say you want a revolution. Well, you know - we all want to change the world.

Maybe I am a luddite at heart, because none of this really bothers me. Maybe I just don't care about Apple. Okay, it's true - I really don't. I avoid Apple tech. I use an Android phone but then, I do not really like Google. (They cancelled my AdSense account - not making frends.) And Microsoft wind me up, but they do have a track record of producing (eventually) decent versions of applications and platforms for software developers. So I'm in there.

But does it really matter whether Apple are revolutionary? Does the consuming public care about and want paradigm shifts? I suspect not. I believe that they would rather have incremental improvement. Of course, what the public want and what the public get are not always the same thing. Paul Weller was possibly wrong, except that the public do sometimes end up wanting what has been got for them, but that is the cynical, money-grubbing sde of business innovaton and it has nothing to do with liberal arts and enabling technology.

However, some might argue that it is the job of the innovator to think for the public on their behalf. "What would they want if they truly knew and what was good for them and how to spell their own name?" - and so on.

I think that most people use only a tiny percentage of the capability that is made available to them in the technology that they own and carry around with them and I wonder about the need to go blazing across new frontiers to shake up the map some more. I am reminded of the Japanese idea of "kaizen" - the "philosophy or practices that focus upon continuous improvement of processes in manufacturing, engineering, and business management" - and I think I am at heart an incrementalist. I am a big fan of taking one step at a time and realising that in making a number of small steps, one has changed the landscape and that a paradigm shift is the resultant consequence. Beacon