Friday, 17 October 2014

Apple matures their own market

In a relatively small venue yesterday Apple announced a new set of iPads that improved their screens, introduced new models and, perhaps most significantly, added fingerprint recognition. If you are inclined to be an Apple fan then probably a good source in the UK media is the Guardian. The Guardian is always subtle in that it tries to appear 'independent' but always seems more positive than the technology warrants. For a more comprehensive view you can look at the supersite for Windows. The supersite is definitely favourable to Microsoft but the site has favourably reviewed competing technologies.

You can watch the whole Apple event by following this link.

The key thing for me is that Apple is now in the position of not disrupting the market but rather adapting to being the establishment. Apple coined the phrase "think different" to describe the way an Apple Mac user was challenging the Microsoft monopoly in the PC market. Right now Microsoft is not a monopoly in mobile and owners of the Windowsphone can legitimately become the owners of the phrase "think different" facing an Android/IOS duopoly.

In the USA and the wealthy west Apple products do have a certain fashion kudos. It's no surprise that this week the Apple Watch was featured on a Vogue model.

Apple created the modern touch based smartphone market in 2007. It created the modern tablet market. It's not possible to say Apple invented smartphones or tablets. My 2003 HP TC1100c tablet PC ran Windows XP tablet edition but was a 'PC'. So in part the innovation part of the conversation is also about definition however Apple have been significant in creating markets. The central point is that Apple is the established player in the luxury end of the market. The majority of the market is now being taken by Android and the Google ecosystem.

By not producing a cheaper iPad, a cheaper iPhone and a mass market PC Apple is saying they are comfortable with being exclusive. New CEO Tim Cook is changing the company to be the incumbent rather than the young upstart. Cook's innovation using Apple's fashion credentials to to create a payment system with Apple Pay that is much more usable by consumers.

For me the new iPads are not so much about the technology but rather a definite marker, along with the recent iPhone 6 launch, that Apple is now the establishment.