My favorite definition of a brand is the promise of an experience. Recently, Fast Company posted an article on extending the brand experience through artificial intelligence. Products like Amazon's Alexa are beginning to establish a relationship with customers and this connection then personifies the brand. In other words, a brand now extends well beyond a logo and tagline to a smart app or virtual assistant that anticipates your needs. It's a short but interesting read.
This has been coming for awhile but it's still somewhat shocking. BlackBerry will stop making phones and focus on software and security systems. It's a sad end for the company that virtually invented the smartphone. It's also a useful reminder of what can happen when a competitor disrupts an established market with a new technology. Apple introduced its first iPhone in 2007 featuring touchscreen technology. That tuned out to be the beginning of the end for BlackBerry.
Wow, are you ready for supercars from Apple? If this rumor is true, Apple is negotiating to purchase McLaren. The company makes high-end sport cards, operates a Formula 1 team, and has a lot of expertise in engineering. The speculation is that Apple needs more automotive expertise to build its rumored autonomous vehicle, codenamed the Titan project. One thing is for sure. It would qualify as a small investment for a company the size of Apple with all of its cash reserves. It would also confirm the rumors that Apple will enter the EV sector of the automotive market.
OK, it looks like something significant was announced at the iPhone event yesterday — lower prices for the iPad. Or maybe that was a stealth announcement. Anyway, it's definitely something I can get behind. I think it's time to upgrade to the 9.7" iPad Pro. With 128gb of storage, the price has been lowered to $699. Happy upcoming birthday to me!
Wow. Why did Apple even bother to hold an event with such and underwhelming set of new and (slightly) improved products? Why not just post them on the Apple site, stock them in the stores, and issue a press release? I've collected a couple of reviews from people who are more committed than I am to spend the time documenting the changes. I can sum it up in two short phrases:
Take a look at recent data from IDC. The hottest product in the world is finally running out of steam. Market growth in 2016 will be less than 2%. This is especially bad news for Apple. They have been relying on the iPhone for much of their sales growth over the past five years. There's no longer a compelling reason for users to continue to upgrade their phones.
Apple's products are in a trough at the moment. Laptop designs are stale. iPad sales are falling. Customers are waiting for the iPhone 7 to arrive. In the meantime, Apple's competitors are moving forward with innovative products at a faster pace than the behemoth from Cupertino. For example, here's an ad for the Surface Pro which beat the iPad Pro to the market as a laptop replacement. Apple still has a lot of loyal customers but the sales momentum cannot continue without some truly good products. One of my colleagues recently ditched his 12" Macbook because it runs too slow for his processing needs. Apple is charging $1,300 for a small laptop with a slow, mobile processor. At some point, even the fanboys start to notice the Emperor is wearing no clothes.