Apple Spring Anticipating Another Wave of Innovation: Phones, Laptops, Tablets

Let’s try a little brand & technology test. Name three upcoming phones that you are excited to see. And now name three laptops that you know of that will change the industry in the time before "back to school" shopping begins in July.

Okay, have you got those ideas/products in your mind?

Now let’s pull the market a part and look at what’s on it’s way and how that matches up with what you know and what you anticipate about the evolving tech market.

Phones: Android, RIM, Apple. What is it about the Android phones that are coming to the market that excite you? Is there a RIM product that can decrease the loss of market share of the BlackBerry platform? And then there’s the iPhone 5. Here’s what happens just before the release of a major Apple product release: the market goes bonkers over "new Apple concept" stories. And the other manufacturers have to sit and wait like the rest of us. Do you think HTC knows what’s coming? Or Motorola? Or even the engineering team at Google’s Android Mobile OS HQ?

Here’s one of the better speculative design visions for the new iPhone 5. (My question is will it launch in time for GRADUATION? My guess is YES.)

Screen Shot 2012 04 14 at 9.41.32 PM Apple Spring Anticipating Another Wave of Innovation: Phones, Laptops, Tablets

What’s about to happen with the iPhone 5 is bigger than design. It’s bigger than SIRI. What’s about to happen with the release of the iPhone 5, that did not happen with the "most successful ever" iPhone 4S. The coveted behavior that is about the hit the earth with the release of the new Apple iPhone is: the consumer product refresh. When the new "design" hits it’s the design that’s going to be bigger than SIRI+ or iOS 6, or iTunes 11. The consumer is going to fall in love with a NEW iPHONE and the entire industry knows it. And you can bet designers and engineers and visual artists are already mocking up "what if" prototypes of how they will compete and counter act the heat that’s about to enter the market, once again, on Apple’s side. That’s a tough order.


Laptops/Notebooks: And computer manufacturers are in a similar breathless pause. The meh Ultrabook push from Intel has run its buzz, and after the dust has settled the Dell AIR-like XXX 13 is the only stand out product from the Winter CES. Why, where is everybody else? What’s HP got on the books? Do the masters at ASUS and HTC have magic machines on the way?

What’s about to happen in laptops is very similar to the iPhone scenario above. No matter who you listen to, and no matter what they are saying about Dell, HP, Toshiba, Sony, they are waiting to see what Apple does with the upcoming MacBook Pro "design" refresh. The sleek AIR has been the catch-up product of the last few years.

And rumor has it, that the new MBPs will have very AIR-LIKE lines. Features and design curves Dell/HP/Sony can only wonder about at the moment. Why? Because Apple has yet to show us WHAT’S NEXT IN LAPTOPS.

Think I’m just a fanboy blowing more undeserved air up Apples already inflated skirt?

A few things you’re going to see on ALL LAPTOPS soon after Apple shows us the way.

1. Track pad surfaces that cover the entire palm rest area of the laptop. For gestures and drawing, ala iPad. (I don’t think we’re going to see a touchscreen/laptop hybrid from Apple yet, there’s still too much to figure out.)

2. Thin design that is not measured in millimeters but in usability and comfort. Go put your hands on a Dell or HP in your local Best Buy. There’s a feeling that Apple gets from their top-of-the-line products that no one but Sony can come close to.

3. The new high-end laptop. Put the fastest processor, the brightest screen, and the best battery in a laptop and you get a nice machine. Put those components in an Apple MPB and you can set your own price.

Apple’s price point is the envy of every computer manufacturer in the world. Sure they don’t sell to Enterprise customers like Dell does. Um, yeah, and they don’t loose money on every laptop and try to make up the margin in services and support.

And what’s coming in the new MBP refresh is a bit more meaningful than the cosmetic form factor change anticipated in the iPhone 5. What’s going to happen with the new MPB line from Apple is a sold out production line for the first 3 months of release. Here’s why. Many designers and developers are working on great machines that are moving on up on two-years old.

My computer, for example, is a fantastic beast. 2.4 mhz i5 chip, 8 gigs of ram (yes, I want MORE), and a 500 gig 7200 rpm hard drive. And I’m chomping at the bit for more power and more ram. Waiting in anticipation of Apple’s new laptop line. And confident that Apple is going to change the entire game of mobile computers again. Netbooks/Ultrabooks are just ideas. Apples MacBook Pro is a standard by which all others will be judged.

Again, you think I’m pushing it a bit. But I’m not. Apple is. The things we take for granted now, larger trackpads and aluminum frames are what other manufacturers put in their BEST machine. Unfortunately everyone except Apple is selling mainly the GOOD (low end – low margin) machines, some BETTER machines, and only a few BEST (Apple-equivalent) machines. And sure I can understand how this would make you mad if you worked for Dell, or hated Apple, or were an Android fanatic.

You are about to see Apple put the bar a bit higher on everyone else’s designs and functionality. Much like they have done with the iPad, the new iPhone and MacBook Pros will transform the industry, rekindle demand that is languishing for most manufacturers of consumer electronics, and show every consumer what the BEST of the BEST looks like.

If I had money, I’d keep putting it in AAPL. I don’t. ;-(

It’s gonna be a long summer and back-to-school season for every body else.

@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)

permalink: https://uber.la/2012/04/anticipating-aapl/

Reference: Sony revival plan: Cut 10,000 jobs; refocus on phones, TV, gaming (ZDNet)

Lest you think I repeat myself, here are some top Apple posts from uber.la:

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Most people don’t really enjoy being mean; they do it because they can’t help it. (from Graham’s Hierarchy of Disagreement)

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Why It Would Suck to be Dell or HP Right Now: Apple, the German Car of Consumer Electronics

Category: apple,dell,social media,tech opinionjmacofearth @ 4:39 pm

Screen Shot 2012 02 18 at 4.34.39 PM Why It Would Suck to be Dell or HP Right Now: Apple, the German Car of Consumer ElectronicsYou’ve heard… Right? Apple is going to release the iPad 3 in a few weeks. Oh, and the iPhone 5. And, wait that’s not it, a completely redesigned MacBook Pro. And it’s not like Dell and HP have any really exciting tricks up their sleeves. Well, Dell at least is coming out with some fairly innovative designs (the new XPS 13 for example). HP… well, HP is still trying to determine if it wants to be in the PC business any more. (Cause selling ink jet ink is like selling crack.)

So looking around for the metaphor to describe the computer industry, the phone industry and the tablet manufacturers, I came up with cars. This is a branding exercise we used "back in the day." If your product was a car, what car would it be?

Apple has a small share of the overall computer and consumer electronics market. Let’s say Apple’s products are like the German cars on the road. The MacBook pro is BMW. The iPhone 4 is Mercedes. The MacBook AIR is Porsche. The iPad is Audi. And finally the iPhone 3gs is Volkswagon.

So let’s see where the other big guys fit.

Dell, I think, would be the Toyota of computers. Lexus models with the Latitude and a few exotic designs. The Toyota brand would be most of the Latitude line and some of Vostro, hardy, somewhat stylish, and reliable. And then Scion would be the Inspiron, flashy, stylish, and cheaply made. And I guess Alienware would be the NSX of the line.

HP would be the Ford or Chevy of computers, but it’s too far off the map to be so mainstream. So let’s say HP is the Kia/Hundai of computers, a long-ass warranty but boy are you going to need it.

I guess Asus might be the Nissan. And Toshiba and Fujitsu would be the Subaru and Mitsubishi.

So when you’re driving around and you see the German cars on the road what do you think of? Expensive? High-performance?

And while you don’t see as many of them as say Toyotas or Fords, you will see a lot of them. And that’s just fine with Apple. I’d take margin over volume any day. Just look at everyone else’s balance sheet.

Okay, so final thought. Now imagine that BMW, Porsche, and Mercedes are all about to come out with game-changing models. If you are Dell what do you do? Wait and see what they produce so you can get into production with a knockoff in 3 – 4 months? Do you try and anticipate their clever innovations now with the best designers you have? Do you release press releases about your innovative designs that are in the pipeline? (Yes, Dell is going to reenter the tablet market.)

Maybe you go for the cost angle and produce ever cheaper computers with bright plastics and blinking lights.

I don’t know what you do. Because, in fact, Apple is about to release a three-fold hurt on the electronics markets: laptops, phones, tablets. And I’d rather be on Apple’s team. The other guys are going to continue to take a beating. And if I had cash I’d buy some more Apple stock. It’s gonna be a long year for everybody else.

Sure, I am a mac fanboy. But with good reason.

UPDATE: A friend who still works at Dell pointed out, 90% of Dell’s business comes from business and not the consumer. Um, yeah, and Dell’s new SMALL OFFICE segment is 1 – 9 computers. And I would argue that the individual walking into a Best Buy, regardless of their position within a company, is a consumer. My Dell friend might argue that this is a total unrelated shopping experience, and I would again disagree. Consumer offers and products drive business buying decisions at some level. This is why my Dell.com redo is completely focused around the product and not the type of customer. Business may be Dell’s master, but product is Dell’s gold or lead.

And my latest fix:  Fixing Dell.com Part 2 – Dell’s Business Addiction and Achilles Heal – The Business Side

@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)

permalink: https://uber.la/2012/02/apple-now/

Several Dell Decks and Posts I’ve created:

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