Waiting on Apple’s Next Big Move

The 2011 Consumer Electronics Show has ended, and now the waiting begins for the next market-changing product from {complink 379|Apple Inc.}. It's sickening. Really.

Until Apple unveiled its spectacular iPod device in the middle of the last decade, electronics manufacturers were hawking mainly pedestrian devices and sticking humdrum digital music players in the hands of consumers. “Just press play and don't ask yet for interactive options. Those exist only on the Science Fiction channel,” they seemed to be saying.

But by adding a few functionalities and tweaking the user interface, both on the product and in its online marketplace, Apple changed the game completely. It single-handedly created a new market, gained the largest chunk of the resulting additional sales, and still left enough crumbs on the table for everyone else.

A few years later, Apple again altered the dynamics of the wireless handset market with the iPhone. Using the same strategy — spectacular design combined with an excellent graphical user interface and a marketing strategy others could only salivate over — Apple rose quickly in only a few years from having no presence in the mobile handset market to become the must-beat company. Long-term player {complink 12925|Motorola Mobility Inc.} fell into a trough and is now thrashing around for relevance in a market it created long before anyone knew “A” stood for Apple.

Then Apple repeated its magic, this time with the iPad tablet computer. And again, the rest of the field is jumping into the fray, chasing Apple's tail and hoping consumers and the world will crown one of their competing devices as most likely to beat the iPad. Motorola Mobility unveiled the Xoom tablet device at CES and bagged the title of the best product during the annual show. Its Atrix smartphone also wowed the industry. “Good for Motorola Mobility,” I thought, “but we haven't yet seen the prototype for the iPhone 5 and the iPad 2 from Apple.” (See: Motorola Aims High With Xoom & Atrix.)

What is certain is that the next generations of iPhone and iPad from Apple will knock all contenders for its title off their perches, and that includes the Xoom and the Atrix. I am a betting man and will wager a buck or two on this.

But that's not the only thing bugging me about this industry. What I find perplexing is the follow-the-herd mentality that has descended upon the electronics industry over the last six years. Apple leads and all the others follow. Which reminds me: While everyone is toasting the belief they've finally caught up with Apple in the smartphone and tablet device markets, do they know what else is cooking in Cupertino?

The annual CES event is over, and since other OEMs aren't in the business anymore of pioneering great things, let's all turn our eyes to Apple again. I bet its next product is going to have people drooling. It won't be consumers alone; the competition will be knocked senseless, too.

11 comments on “Waiting on Apple’s Next Big Move

  1. eemom
    January 11, 2011

    I totally agree with your thought process.  Apple's mode of operation is to wait until the product is ready for release to the public before they release any information about it.  Consumers usually wait with baited breath for the next new invention or the next generation product from Apple.  Once Apple announces a product, they start selling it right away, there is no wait 6-8 months for production.  Immediate gratification has been their strategy..  I agree, once a product is released and apple starts to reaping the rewards of their efforts, competitors scramble to follow suite and release a “better” competing product with higher functionality.  The unknown in all this remains to be what Apple is working on and what they will release next.  I bet my money on Apple still being able to wow consumers and hold on to its leadership position.  Just look at the iPhone, years after its release, the announcement that Verizon will start to carry the iPhone has been long awaited.  Even with Verizon carrying the rival Droid products, everyone wants the iPhone!  Apple products are superior, not to mention “cooler”.  The cool factor is key to many consumers.  I am always amazed at the success of “name brands” even though no-name brands are just as effective.  But, I digress…

  2. Parser
    January 11, 2011

    All the Apple moves are relative. Introductions of the iPod, iPhone and iPad were certainly the big moves. It is not that easy to make breakthroughs on new versions. Industry thinks that they are catching up with Apple, but Apple is still leading.  I think the secret lies in very comprehensive approach. An average consumer can easily use most of the features of either device through iTunes software and its online stores for music, movies and applications. All features added to devices are building blocks of this comprehensive solution, which evolves along as well, but the horizon is not lost. The interesting part of Apple history is that they had products, which failed for example the famous Lisa computer and Newton personal assistant. Rumors are flying about new version of iPad to be released soon and most people are guessing its new features.  

  3. Tim Votapka
    January 11, 2011

    Fitting discussion on Apple…particularly in view of the fact that iTunes celebrates 10 years this year. Sometimes innovative milestones don't come in a box.

  4. Mydesign
    January 12, 2011

        Bolaji, I totally agree with you. Before the introduction of Apple I phone, we had experienced the inability of other products to cater customer demands and needs. Till that moment all the available products in market have only limited features and functionalities, more over we have to go for different gadgets for different applications (Music player for music, phone for communication, game console for games etc). When Apple introduced I phone in market, which is enriched by lots of features and touch options, everybody started copying and integrating all the features to the same device. The same thing happened for I pad also, and may continue this trend from future products from Apple.

        In that way we can call apple as a trend setter and I think we can differentiate the technology era as pre and post period of apple.

  5. saranyatil
    January 12, 2011

    I would say Strategy, strategy, strategy they use startegy in each an every move they take. to state they attract consumers first is by the design, style next by the smart technology inside. they have their R&D sitting in california working on the features, technology for their next two gen before their iphone 5 to launch so they are ready to launch the next gen products at the right time while the other companies have not yet planned their launch. one more best policy is they manufacture all their products in millions in China which works out to be less expensive plus very fast this helps them to launch their products in each and every part of the world at the same time. this enhances the ease of availability of the product to all the awaited customers. definitely they will be the market leaders in iphones, ipods and the ipads.

  6. DataCrunch
    January 12, 2011

    Apple definitely keeps raising the bar on producing high quality, user-friendly innovative consumer electronics, but the competition is quickly learning and adapting.  I wouldn’t be surprised if Apple’s next big move is a software company acquisition, which would continue to keep Apple’s competition guessing.

  7. Anand
    January 13, 2011

    There is no doubt that APPLE is the leader and rest of them try to follow APPLE, I guess one of the things that worked brilliantly for APPLE is apple stores like ITUNES which made the digital content availability easy for the consumer.

    With the advent of Android I feel battle will be now between IPHONE Vs Android phones. Though IPHONE is way ahead in the race, lets not forget race is not over yet.

  8. Parser
    January 13, 2011

    I read an article stating that Android OS and Chrome PCs are aimed at China and there is a flooding of Android phones by many manufactures. What it amounts to is loss of market share for Apple in China. Android is well position to push away iOS but Apple feels the competition and modifies its features. At the beginning of iOS multitasking was excluded as not compatible with main function: making telephone connections. After Android showed multitasking Apple solve the problem in a very attractive way. I sense that Adobe Flash will be added to Apple iOS. There might be some other features Apple is growing in the backyard to make the iOS more attractive or maybe available to other manufactures (?). 

  9. Anna Young
    January 13, 2011

    Parser, There's a self-congratulatory delusion gaining ground in the US about Apple's iPhone and how it is set to take over the world. Yes, much of the rest of the globe also likes the iPhone but much of the rest of the globe is actually happily using other devices running on non-Apple operating systems. Apple may be the rage in North America but it is not in other countries. In fact, I believe it did not gain much traction in Japan. China is on its own wavelength and Europeans are not swooning over the iPhone although it has a large share of the smartphone market.

  10. Parser
    January 13, 2011

    Before July 2007 the kings of the cell phone market were Nokia, RIM and Motorola among more than dozen other manufactures. In 2009 just two years later Apple with the iPhone is in third position in world sales. Their brand identity is innovation, support and customer loyalty. I do not see this as a delusion. I think Android OS and Google are trying to repeat Apple’s success and they are on the right path, although Apple does not stop to amaze with its innovations. 

  11. jbond
    January 13, 2011

    I agree that Apple is clearly the current leader with many followers trying to catch up. Personally I don't care for the iphone, I don't like the functionality of it, I don't care for the touch screen, I prefer the blackberry. Many people prefer the Iphone and I can see why, it just isn't my personal preference.

    I think Apple could gain more ground by having and Adobe program because there are multiple videos and programs that this could benefit. As for purchasing a software company Apple has always taken pride in having their own OS.

    Where other companies are gaining ground is their compatibility with Apple's programs. I think by Apple allowing access to some of their content helps them gain more market share.

    As for a new product (Iphone 5, Ipad2)its hard to see where they are going to come up with a game changer as big as the original Ipod and the Iphone. I am sure Apple engineers are hard at work at making sure there is no “post” Apple.


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