Apple has been under scrutiny and to a large degree criticism around a not very sound forward looking strategy. The question that has been nipping at their feet consistently is their almost sole emphasis on the iPhone. There is no question Apple has done very well with the iPhone. It might be Steve Job’s final piece of work that proved genius but there was more.
However, times change and in this industry things change incredibly fast. The over-emphasis on the iPhone started look a bit surreal when it seemed this was all the company was about. Apple is so heavily leveraged on the success of the iPhone that failure was presenting crippling problems to the company. By divesting into it’s other exciting areas, many of which they lead in, they buffer themselves from the smartphone market which is rapidly becoming saturated and thus a market open to being rattled up. In some ways, probably anyone would wish they were Apple but Apple didn’t seem to realize this.
WWDC and it’s Deliverables were exactly what The Market was Looking For
Users prior to WWDC were concerned that the pro user base (Mac, iPad) were being forgotten in terms of their needs probably due to the emphasis being place on the iPhone. WWDC corrected this though with a slew of products that were a real step up for Pro users.
Pro users were finding that the devices Apple was either delivering were expensive and didn’t have the power a pro user required or they just weren’t delivering at all. The Mac Pro hadn’t been refreshed in over three years and it was basically underwhelming on delivery over 3 years ago.
As an example, the iMac looks the same after WWDC, but a lot of horsepower was added to this machine. With a Kaby Lake four core processsor, the ability to upgrade to 64 gigs of DDR2400 memory, high speed graphics and an SSD drive that can scale to two terabytes, the machine is a brute.
The Mac Pro will be deliverable in the same container but with full Pro functionality scalable to 18 cores of Xeon processors. The machine is housed in the iMac casing only of the space grey colour. This will be one dynamite of a machine.
The iPad Pro
Not only was the iMac and MacBook Pro lines looked favourably upon, so too was the iPad Pro. The 10.5” screen version, along with its performance boost, general quality of rich sound produced by the device and the fluidity of the function is a real performance boost. This leant itself to really being called a Pro machine instead of just being referred to as a Pro machine. That is, you can call anything you want a Pro unit. Is it? Pro means it has to support a professional say design worker in their work. There has to be substance as opposed to a mere name.
The iPad Pro seems to be seen, now that it’s been out for a while, as a true Pro unit with the performance and function to justify that nomenclature. In a recent article I wrote called “WWDC 2017 JUST AROUND THE CORNER” I included a video where Ed Sheeran presented the sentiment of the day in that has Apple forgotten the Pro user.
I think Apple has heard the market and responded and the response will be well greeted. Further, Apple should never forget about its roots for the delight of temporary but abundant profit. The iPhone was much like the iPod in the manner it reinvigorated the company but will the iPhone die to a certain degree much like the iPod. With such a broad range of well designed products and suited to a vast array of function, it is much better to spread out than contain. Not spread till you can’t cope but spread so if one piece goes down there is always the bedrock.
Apple Does Seem to Standing on Solid ground again
Apple has heard the market and the market is responding with enthusiastic as opposed to lacklustre purchases of its Pro products. The iPhone will most certainly continue to do well and maybe it will be an embedded product in that which makes Apple. However, this market, standing alone, has to be watched carefully.
Products are getting expensive, the market is saturated and questions are coming from psychologists and others that evaluate the relative impact and merits of smartphones on behaviour; emotion; the mind. Just how good is to be immediately connected to … Well everyone. The early results of these studies are less than encouraging at its broadest scope.
Only 120 years ago society was very different and the inputs; the speed of these inputs, the number, the amount and the usefulness of them very different. They were far more suited to the human brain. The iPhone might be fun but what happens when people begin to loose the ability to process, cope and function normally both behaviourally and emotively. The iPhone and all the devices from other manufacturers that follow are perverting normal human function so the simple task of communication is breaking down so that we need tools and good tools to manage the chaos and those that don’t use these tools generally are using the offending tool less.
There Will always be a Place for the Pro User
Pro machines are really designed to allow the professional to accomplish work and the distraction from that is coming from other sources such as Facebook (about as unreal as it gets).
Society though needs the professional to design the stuff that moves society forward. If a building can be architected and implemented in half the time, this is a benefit that cannot be viewed as negative as long as the development has come from efficiencies of implementation. Pro units add to that capability. Tools you have to wait on lead to distractions and annoyances and potentially not the discovery of better ways to do things.
Back to Brass Tax
Apple has gotten back to brass tax and is producing what is needed as opposed to what seems oh so cool. This will ensure Apple’s continued growth and relevance in society. Tech companies have come and gone on trends. Apple can follow trends but its true success lies in its ability to know what is important and what isn’t; what is needed and what is not.
I leave you with just this final thought. Apple used to call the AppleTV their hobby device. Steve Jobs didn’t particularly like TV but he was brilliant and knew its place.
Apple then talked about revolutionizing the way we consume information. This is happening. It is happening because the way we consume information is fun but it is also very practical. If we’re working long days etc there is just so much time left for entertainment consumption. Before, if you missed an episode of your favourite series it sometimes threw you off the progression of the series. Now, by being able to choose what you want to watch and when you are meeting this practical need of time curtailment and molding what’s left in a day to your needs.
The hobby device is no longer that but is seen as instrumental in meeting this new requirement. Others have something like AppleTV but through Job’s genius he started it early with great foresight. It has matured into something that enhances human behaviour and emotion (time to live) as opposed to being a slave to a device (I have to text and answer 20,000 messages in the next 30 minutes).
Practical and to a lesser degree the fun application of tools will heed Apple well. Many were loosing pride in Apple. What did the Apple Fanboi in 2017 mean to the same in 2010. Very little indeed. That is changing. Apple is hopefully changing and permanently for the better.