But if Apple gets it into its head that they should only work on iPhone-sized opportunities, it would paralyze the company. In baseball terms, it’s fine for Apple to hit a bunch of singles while waiting for their next home run. According to Apple, they had more watch sales by revenue in 2015 than any company other than Rolex, and Apple’s “Other” category, which is where Watch sales are accounted for, had a near record-breaking holiday quarter three months ago, suggesting strongly that Watch sales were up over the year-ago holiday quarter.
These two facts are both true: Apple Watch sales are a rounding error compared to the iPhone, and Apple Watch is a smash hit compared to traditional watches and other wearable devices.
The failure of CDs seems to be more of a case of marketing getting divorced from science. We’re never free of the constraints of the physical world. As an archivist will tell you, we have to simple adapt – from duplication to climate control.
But I’d say generally, with network-connected storage and automation, digital preservation is now better than ever. The failure point is humans; if you think about this stuff, you can solve it.
Ben Thompson at Stratechery (paywall):
It’s also worth noting that the very forces that make it possible for first Larry Page and Sergey Brin and later Zuckerberg to maintain control of their companies — the fact they grew so quickly that they were never meaningfully diluted — is intimately tied into the power said companies exert on the world broadly. To that end, it is certainly concerning to remember that there is basically no governance on either Google or Facebook; the fact that their power derives from user selection means that antitrust regulation doesn’t apply very well at all, and it is that same selection that drove growth at a sufficient scale to avoid dilution, meaning shareholders, were they somehow united into one voice, cannot compel any sort of action either.
Once upon a time, it made perfect sense to talk about “the high tech industry” in America — pioneering companies like Intel or Fairchild Semiconductor or IBM or Hewlett Packard made computer processors and related hardware, and most of the companies in Silicon Valley dealt with actual silicon from time to time. These companies offered competing products that shared a market, a set of customers, and sometimes even had employees in common when talent would move from one company to another.
But today, the major players in what’s called the “tech industry” are enormous conglomerates that regularly encompass everything from semiconductor factories to high-end retail stores to Hollywood-style production studios. The upstarts of the business can work on anything from cleaning your laundry to creating drones. There’s no way to put all these different kinds of products and services into any one coherent bucket now that they encompass the entire world of business.
Jan Dawson at Tech.pinions on Mac power users:
If we put these numbers together, we get a picture of 8–13 million users of Adobe’s creative products and another 13 million or so Apple developers. Of course, of those Adobe users, a good chunk will be using Windows versions rather than Mac versions. At the absolute outside, though, it gives, at most, around 25 million total users in the two buckets that have been most vocal about the MacBook Pro changes, out of a total base of around 90 million, or around 28%. Realistically, that number is probably quite a bit smaller, perhaps around 15–20% of the total. Of these, not all will share the concerns of those who have been so outspoken in the past week. To look at it another way, Apple sold 18.5 million Macs in the past year, which might end up being roughly the same as the combined number of creative professionals and developers in the base.
There’s no question both products are exciting in their own right; what makes them compelling, though, is not simply the technology demonstrated, but the fact both, unlike their forbearers, are clearly designed with the smartphone in mind. […]
What might be created if you start with the assumption that the smartphone exists? Perhaps you would make sunglasses with a camera, or a watch, or an activity tracker, or a drone. I noted in Snapchat Spectacles and the Future of Wearables that the establishment of the PC led to an explosion of dedicated devices like PDAs, digital cameras, GPS devices, and digital music players. Now that those have been subsumed into the smartphone there are new opportunities, and in a twist of fate it is smartphone also-rans like Microsoft and Nintendo — along with smartphone native companies like Snapchat — that have more freedom to experiment given they have nothing to protect.
Indeed. Think Echo, Apple TV, NAS etc.
I believe in my lifetime we will implement much of the science fiction narrative as it stands today. But I hope to live a long time, and from a business perspective I am worried that most of the big tech companies are way over their skis in the promises they are making of commercial realities versus inspirational demos, and eventually will pay the price for it.
We have just lived through an anomalous period of growth. Over-promises in the next few years could, if the market turns, do more damage than good.
History now shows that the table stakes for developing a competitive mobile OS are about a billion dollars. (You can extract those numbers from HP’s acquisition of webOS from Palm, from BlackBerry’s BB10 efforts, and probably somewhere in Microsoft’s accounts.) But that’s only the beginning; then you need handsets that will run it, and a broader strategy to build an ecosystem that will act as a virtuous circle. Get it wrong, and the writedowns are multiple billions. The downside is far greater than the initial cost (though the upside is, hey, an ecosystem).
Question now is which other platforms will demonstrate this. Wearables? IoT? AI assistants?
A game only for the biggest and boldest.
We are beginning to see the early stages of a new product era at Apple. New devices are being introduced that will ultimately be able to handle many of the tasks that we currently give iPhone. In 2015, Apple unveiled its first wearables platform with Apple Watch. Seventeen months later, Apple has sold 15 million Apple Watches. Earlier this month, Apple unveiled its second wearables platform with AirPods. These devices are going to be positioned as monitoring devices that guide us through our daily schedule.
In this new Apple Experience era, the user determines the products that add the most value to their lives. For some people, wearables will play a crucial role. These users will assign products like Apple Watch and AirPods tasks that are currently given to iPhones, iPads, and Macs. In this example, while wearables gain value, it is not a given that the iPhone would lose value.
Instead of becoming something like an iPod, a product that will lose nearly all of its value over time due to other products handling the same roles, the iPhone will likely be able to retain its value because of the camera. The iPhone will be able to stand out among a world of wearables given its powerful cameras and ability to extract data from a scenario. Hundreds of millions of people will find a need for such a product, even if it isn’t the hub of their digital lives. By turning the iPhone into an augmented reality device, Apple will be positioning the iPhone as the most powerful piece of glass in our lives, and it all started with the iPhone 7.
Spectacles will naturally be compared to Google Glass, Alphabet’s mostly fruitless foray into wearable face-based computing. But because they are sunglasses, they will be less conspicuous than Google’s. They’re cheaper, too — not even one-tenth of the price as Glass, which debuted at $1,500. But just as Google did, Snap is marketing Spectacles with a high-fashion gloss. The product debuted in the glossy WSJ Magazine, and Spiegel was photographed wearing Spectacles by fashion icon Karl Lagerfeld.
Yes, every bozo will compare them. But besides a few superficial attributes those two products are not comparable at all.
(Especially those who thought that by now we all would be wearing Google Glass will have a hard time contextualizing this. Fun tech press times.)
(For what it’s worth, I was always convinced Google Glass was dead on arrival for several reasons. I don’t think that about Snap’s Spectacles. At all.)