Schimbarea la fata a lui Apple

Cu tot respectul pentru produsele, in general, de mare calitate produse/comercializate de Apple. N-am fost insa un mare fan insa nici in perioada de “glorie”, cu atat mai putin acum, nu fac parte din grupul de foloweri “no-matter-what” ai lui Jobs.

Jos palaria pentru viziune strategica a lui Steve, jos doua palarii pentru marketingul pus in practica de Apple. Plecata de jos, ca o companie de nisa, care vine din urma si care se adreseaza unei piete “elitiste”, strategia si imaginea respectiva nu prea se mai aplica intocmai in momentul in care devii “mainstream”. In momentul cand cotele de piata sar de 50% utilizatorii tai nu mai sunt toti fanboys razvratiti impotriva personajului rau (fie el Microsoft, Google sau Adobe). Nu mai sunt nici doar cei care isi permit sa plateasca aproape dublu un produs, doar pentru ca are logoul tau inscriptionat pe el si vor tocmai sa se “desprinda” din multime in felul asta.

Am dat peste un articol excelent pe tema asta pe “Today in Tech: The Working Guy” intitulat sugestiv: When did Apple became uncool?

Citez, fara traducere:

It’s hard to determine exactly when and where Apple lost its groove. Was it when the company brought the hammer down on iPhone tinkerers, “bricking” jailbroken iPhones? Was it when the company began threatening to delete applications from the app store because it didn’t like how they were developed? Or when it asked the cops to raid the house of a blogger who wrote about an unreleased product? Or when a Pulitzer Prize winner’s cartoon was banned from the app store? Or when Apple’s “no nipples on your iPhone” policy led an edgy fashion magazine to dub its censored iPad version the “Iran Edition?”

Nu raman multe de spus…

Android – Ofensiva mobila a Google

Android Logo
Android Logo

Am aici o serie destul de lunga de post-uri pe subiecte legate de Google si produse ale sale: fie ca e vorba de Wave, de Chrome sau de HTC Hero cu Android. Revin la acesta din urma pentru ca subiectul merita un post separat si o mai mare atentie.

La numai un an de la lansarea oficiala (22 octombrie 2008) Google si al sau Android se apropie cu pasi vertiginosi de faza in care trebuie luati in serios. De catre Apple (desi nu se pozitioneaza nicidecum ca un alt iPhone killer), de Nokia (care pierde teren, si mai nou si bani cu al sau Symbian), de catre operatori (desi semneaza parteneriate cu ei vor trebui sa se “supuna” la un moment dat regulilor pe care Big G le va dicta).

Daca prima versiune a noului OS de la Google a fost reusita, dar trebuie recunoscut ca nu extraordinara, ceea ce Google anunta pentru versiunea 2 precum si viteza cu care Google isi “tuneaza” sistemul de operare si cu care semneaza parteneriate (atat cu producatori cat si cu operatori) ar trebui sa le ridice macar sprancenele executivilor din telecom.

Daca Apple stie sa creeze rumoare si fani dedicati in jurul produselor sale, probabil ca singurul mare competitor care se descurca cel putin la fel de bine la acest capitol este Google. Si nu numai ca stie, dar are forta sa o faca.

Cu Google si al sau Android, am senzatia ca revad filmul Microsoft din anii ’80. Lansarea unui sistem “neterminat”, lasam lumea sa-l foloseasca si sa afle ce e bine si ce e rau cu el si facem un fine-tunning constant. Este exact opusul strategiei Apple: lucram la el 1 an, dar cand il lansam merge struna.

Strategia Google mi se pare mai adaptata timpurilor in care traim. Fara exclusivitati, dar cu o strategie de parteneriate destul de clara (atat cu operatori, cat si cu producatori de device-uri). Si daca tot suntem la producatori sa facem o mica lista: HTC, Motorola, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, LG, Huawei, Asus, NEC, Dell, Lenovo au deja in piata sau in faza finala terminale Android. Va las pe voi sa-i identificati pe cei trei care lipsesc din lista 🙂

Ar fi deci vorba de varietatea de terminale mobile (de orice fel, incluzand aici netbook-uri sau tablet PC-uri sau eBook Reader-ul de la Barnes&Noble) pe care Android este si va fi disponibil, pe care eu personal o consider un avantaj serios. E drept UN terminal cu UN sistem de operare e mai usor de gestionat din punct de vedere al marketingului, dar vorbim de o piata uriasa care isi doreste varietate si peronalizare mari degraba decat One-Size-Fit-All pe care Apple il propune.

Fanii Apple o sa arunce acum in mine cu cele 100.000 de aplicatii disponibile in App Store. E un avans considerabil fata de cele “doar” 20.000 din Android Market, dar daca luam in considerare ca o majoritate covarsitoare a acestora sunt gratuite (spre deosebire de AppStore) atunci raportul de forte se mai echilibreaza un pic. Integrarea cu “norul” Google si cu aplicatiile acestuia (Docs, Mail, Maps, YouTube etc) nu vine decat sa puna capac la toate argumentele anterioare (si sa ma duca, din nou, cu gandul la Microsoft si al sau Windows).

Mai multe detalii despre noua versiune Android 2.0 aici

Incredibil! iPhone va avea MMS si Copy/Paste

Dincolo de calitatile interfetei, revolutionare fara doar si poate, precum si de faptul ca utilizatorii iPhone au apasat serios pedala internetului mobil, la nivel global, si au urnit lucrurile la toti producatorii/operatorii in acest sens, dincolo de toate astea spuneam, cred ca modelul de business al Apple se indreapta pe un drum gresit.

Apple iese acum si ne prezinta promisiunea ca undeva in vara, celebrul telefon, revolutionar in diverse alte domenii, va capata functii celebre precum Copy/Paste sau MMS.

Pai dincolo de faptul ca usor “lucrat” din soft, chiar si iPhone 1.0 stie MMS (desi Apple sustine sus si tare ca are limitari hardware care nu-i permit acest lucru), copy si paste, sa fim sinceri, nu e chiar o revolutie in materie. Nici tastatura orizontala in toate aplicatiile. A, il aducem la zi, ca fim in piata, e ok. Dar nu mai e vreo “realizare”. Ascundem insa sub aceasta prezentare alte “functionalitati” precum App Subscription, unde avem sansa sa nu mai cumparam un joc pe care sa-l jucam dupa bunul plac, ci la un moment dat, Apple sa sa aiba posibilitatea sa imi vanda nivel cu nivel si cand mi-e lumea mai draga sa ma intrebe daca nu cumva vreau sa cumpar si nivelele urmatoare la jocul pe care l-am platit deja?

OK, Apple e business, nu e vreun ONG. Impresia care mi-o lasa este ca au uitat ca nu mai sunt un produs de nisa, adresat unui grup de fani care pleaca la 2 noaptea de acasa sa stea la coada si sa fie primii care cumpera un produs de-al Apple. iPhone e deja mainstream si cred ca Apple ar trebui sa tina cont de asta atunci cand abordeaza piata.

Apple Market Share on the Rise

Coolness factor, design, an intelligent business decision to switch to Intel processors (2006) and an excellent positioning strategy pushed Apple back into the game in the computer market.

Apple’s retail market share is 14 percent, and 66% for PCs costing $1,000 or more. And all this is still growing. For the first quarter, Windows notebooks had “zero percent” growth year over year. By comparison, Apple notebooks had 50 to 60 percent growth.

Apple’s success above $1,000 defies some of the conventional retail thinking about PCs, where the emphasis is on lower pricing and greater features. “Consumers don’t care about features,” Stephen Baker, NPD’s vice president of industry analysis asserted. “People see a value proposition in an offering that gives them a great experience.”

Stephen said Apple appeals to the right segments, like multiple-computer households. Consumers that are buying a second, third or even fourth PC have different buying priorities, such as ease of use.

But the retail stores make a huge difference. “Apple has got better distribution than it’s had in the last 15 years,” Stephen explained. “They’re in the right spot right now. There’s the iPod advantage. But the big thing is the stores.”

Blackberry Bold vs. Apple iPhone

RIM has been the dominant player in the corporate-oriented smartphone space for some time and was definitely focused more on business capabilities and less on entertainment and fun.

The announced BlackBerry Bold uses iPhone design elements to create a sexy device that appears focused on the traditional BlackBerry strength of e-mail.

With a tri-band HSDPA radio and including integrated GPS and Wi-Fi, this phone’s purpose is to aggressively defend against the iPhone.

One advantage RIM has that shouldn’t be forgotten is that and RIM sells its devices through a variety of carriers. Apple, to get the deals it needed, typically has one carrier exclusively (though this seems to be changing here and there).

The only problem is, and it’s a big one, is that it won’t actually be available for sale until late summer or possibly over two months after the iPhone arrives.

iPhone has its roots in the iPod. This makes the iPhone more of an entertainment device.The iPhone 2.0 gains several critical enhancements for business. It should integrate much better than the 1.0 product with enterprise e-mail systems, but it won’t work with a BlackBerry server. It is much more secure, but it can’t yet be centrally managed using tools already in place to manage BlackBerries.

It has full 3G radios and it may support GPS, video conferencing, and VoIP (Voice over IP) capability.

Because iPhones are now sold out in most geographies, speculation is increasing that the new iPhone may launch before the expected June 9th date. Rumors suggest a second device is coming that is 1.5 times larger than the iPhone and vastly more capable. But given that Apple regularly leaks false rumors to cover up what it is actually releasing, such rumors have to be discounted. It is still expected to eventually bring out a smaller iPhone to complete the line.

As of now, before the iPhone 2.0 comes out to the market we can only compare the actual products:

   blackberry-bold  apple-iphone
  Blackberry Bold Apple iPhone
Dimensions 114 x 66 x 14 mm 115 x 61 x 11.6 mm
Weight 133 g 135 g
Input interface Full QWERTY keyboard & Trackball navigation Multi-touch input method & Accelerometer sensor for auto-rotate
Memory microSDHC, up to 8 GB + 128 MB flash memory
1 GB storage memory
624 MHz processor
4/8/16 GB shared memory
Data GPRS, EDGE, HSDPA (3.6 Mbps), Wi-Fi GPRS, EDGE, Wi-Fi
Messaging SMS, MMS, Email, Instant Messaging, Push Email SMS, Email
Photo 2 MP, 1600×1200 2 MP, 1600×1200
Others – Built-in GPS
– BlackBerry maps
– Document viewer/editor
– Java
– DivX/WMV/XviD/3gp player
– Organizer
– Calculator
– Voice dial
– Built-in handsfree
– Voice memo
– Google Maps
– Widgets support
– iPod audio/video player
– PIM, calendar, to-do list
– TV output
– Photo browser/editor
– Voice memo
– Integrated handsfree