Feature Article

March 24, 2016

Apple: The Legacy Drives the Decisions

It’s clear that Steve Jobs is no longer in the driver’s seat. The company’s recent product announcement was subdued, with the audience knowing it was gathering for the last time in the old facilities where they were looking back at Apple’s first forty years.

The story that Tim Cook tells is still about changing the world, but the message is more incremental. It’s clear that Apple wants to dominate the ecosystem market.

Apple showed the advantages beyond the hardware. Yes, they have an eye for elegance and for upgrading the processing and display. But this time the hardware was aimed at the flank. The smaller SE iPhone 6 and the smaller iPad Pro will serve to shore up the ranks and reach back to first-time Apple users.

It’s also about maintaining loyalty and keeping momentum. CEO of Appster Josiah Humphrey and I have chatted in the past about the move being ecosystem-oriented in app design. (One example would be Uber doing deliveries as well as ride-shares.)

In Apple’s case the goal is to make the IOS a central point of your lifestyle. Whether you are old and have just had heart surgery at Texas Medical Center and need a remote patient care CareKit; commuting in your car using Apple’s CarPlay; or are in the classroom getting an advance implementation of Education Preview (and we’re uncertain if that will be the real name), Apple wants to be the embedded system of life.

Apple’s CareKit joins the HomeKit and ResearchKit portfolio of dedicated kits to give developers the ability to work within specific vertical markets. This event was not for developers, but it was about keeping enterprise applications interested in staying where the consumers go for the cool phones.

The announcements were mostly about the hardware -- and the software was there -- but the cohesive glue was “Hey Siri” as all the announcements had the benefit of speech recognition coming from Apple’s cloud services.

Josiah Humphrey’s perspective was telling: “Overall, it seemed like it was the ‘budget’ event,” he noted. “I'm all for dropping the prices of past and ‘outdated’ models, but I feel Apple is straying from the pack once led by Steve Jobs. In the post-Jobs era we are increasingly seeing smaller, cheaper and lesser alternatives to fully fledged devices. I understand the need to tap into developing markets like Android has -- and certainly, developing markets make up two thirds of all smartphones out there -- but I don't feel that's what Apple is about. It's a prestige device company. If it continues to launch budget products, it may just lose that cachet.”

My perspective is that Apple is not competing with Google’s Android as much as it is with Facebook.

Keeping connected is the value proposition that maintains loyalty.




Edited by Rory J. Thompson


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