The new Apple AirPods came out, and some critics flailed them for being too expensive. A fair criticism. Some new products are terribly expensive but allow Apple to enter a market and gain share and work out aspects of the product before they move to make cheaper versions that dominant more.
Perhaps the AirPod Maxs will be like that. Some Apple products are strikeouts, and some are grand slams, but more often than not many are singles and doubles: not terrible, not great, but good to very good.
An example of that is the Apple HomePod Mini. This is one of those not bad not great products. Like the HomePod, it isn’t a failure, but it will not likely take the speaker market by storm either. Apple used to do that: wait and see what others in the marketplace were doing, them come out with something so much better and blow them away. But that was then. They are still great at what they do, and they are still financially world beaters, but I haven’t seen anything that has transformed the market like the iPod or the iPhone. And that fine.
For more on the HomePod and the AirPods Max, see these two pieces:
One product that year after year does great but is underappreciated is the Mac Mini. Apparently it is better than ever. You can read about it, here: Apple Mac Mini Review (2020): Brawn on a Budget | WIRED
Like the iPod Touch, it’s a product that Apple keeps refining and keeps make it better through each iteration. People tend to focus on the big new things from Apple, but they have some golden oldies that are always worth revisiting.
Reason #1: Apple is seeing growth in sales of the Watch, and plans to give it cellular capabilities will drive growth further. If cellular networks allow you to share your number across your phone and watch, it could really support people who may want to go without their phone from time to time.
Reason #2: is my belief that the Watch will provide Apple with a platform to develop miniaturization. Having different platforms and different scales allows Apple to innovate and gets their partners like Intel to do the same. This will support Apple in being either first or best in the areas they have products.
I'm glad to see the Watch continue to grow. I would not be surprised to see some of the features we once saw in the Shuffle morph into the Watch. That would make up some for the lost of that other once great platform of Apple, the iPod, which was loved and now lost.
Posted in IT
Tagged apple, iPod, shuffle, watch
Apple took a turn towards something I was hoping they would do: (relative) affordability. You can see it in this piece from Business Insider:
Apple introduced an iPhone with a smaller screen on Monday called the iPhone SE. The best way to think about it is as Apple’s current top-of-the-line iPhone specs in a smaller body. It costs $399 without a contract — a surprisingly low price for a new iPhone. …the older iPad Air 2 got a price cut to $399…. While the Apple Watch didn’t get a hardware update, Apple did unveil new nylon bands and cut its starting price from $350 to $299.
I was wondering if Apple was going to try and offer some affordable products or reposition itself as a luxury brand. I am glad to see they went with affordable. There are now lots of products from Apple at a wide range of price points, starting with the iPod (at $59). I have always been a fan of the lower priced iPods, and I am glad to see Apple still offers them. Likewise, the iPad Mini 2 is an excellent tablet and the iMac mini is an excellent computer. Relative to the market, they are priced competitively and yet superior technology. Now the new Watch and the new SE phone join them.
For people who want to spend lots of money, Apple has a product for them. By offering the lower end products, they both force their competitors to offer better products as well as allow more people to have access to their excellent technology.
P.S. I realize for some people, even these relatively low prices are not affordable. In the context of this post, affordable is in context to the rest of the marketplace an Apple product competes within.
- It already looks like the Watch is a big success. If anything, what has surprised me is that Apple doesn’t seem to have sufficient quantity in stock to meet the demand. I am not surprised by the success: I am surprised by the breakdown** in the supply chain. (** Further reporting may show that to be not true).
- The timing of the Watch is perfect. What do you think will make a great present for young people as they graduate from schools and universities? Yep. Who do you think doesn’t own a watch currently? Yep, same group.
- The size of the Watch will likely be a non issue, now and in the future. I’d like it thinner myself, but there have been previous Apple devices that I thought were not ergonomically ideal, and they did just fine. Plus, we have become spoiled: the original iPod and iPhone slimmed down over time, but were still successful in various formats. The same will be said for the watch.
- The price is a non-issue too. People pay $179 (in Canada) for a Nano and $249 or more for an iPod Touch. The watch is another price point, but not all that far away from them. What is interesting is that Apple has products from under $100 (the Shuffle), to the Nano, the Touch, to iPad, the Watch, to the iPhone, to the laptops. If you consider the Apple an aspirational product, that is smart. You can acquire an Apple product at different price points, and once you get them, you are likely to be more inclined to get the new product from them. That happened to me: I went from having no Apple devices to having a shuffle, then a touch, than a phone, then an iPad. I expect to eventually get a laptop from them too. You get used to the quality and the interoperability.
- The benefit of the Watch, which I have seen with my Pebble, is that I can keep aware of alerts without looking at my phone. I expect alot of people will love that.
- People who think the Apple Watch is just a watch likely think the iPhone is just a telephone. As we all know, the iPhone is a small computer that allows us to make phone calls but really does so much more. The Apple Watch is an even smaller computer that tells us the time but really does much more.
- Application developers will drive the Watch to greater success. The new device will drive new applications that couldn’t be written on other devices. The apps will make the watch go from Nice to Have to Must Have.
- Copycat hardware makers will also drive success. You can bet that Korean and Chinese hardware manufacturers will be coming out with their own watches soon (and some already have). Soon smart watches will be as common as smart phones.
- Expect an explosion of watch bands and other accessories for the watch. Also, you will see that people will own more than one Watch (something they are unlikely to do with other tech, like phones or laptops).
- As for the future? If you still believe in Moore’s Law like I do, eventually the Watch will not need the iPhone to work. Also, the future will only see more wearable technology, and I expect the Watch to play a big part in that.