I Shall Now Make My Apple Event Predictions!

on September 14, 2014

I always like to make my predictions AFTER the fact. Improves accuracy. Yet I’m still bound to get a few things wrong.

You can only predict things after they have happened. ~ Eugene Ionesco

Truth be told, I’m working on some massive articles regarding the Apple Event and they’re just not done. I simply haven’t been able to absorb the information yet and I’d rather do it right than do it now.

I’m finding it impossible to keep up with the research in my field” (said every researcher ever throughout history). ~ David Smith (@drs1969)

So I thought I’d fill this week’s column with my quick takes on last Tuesday’s Apple Event.

iPhones

Surprises? Not So Much.

Lots of leaks. Few surprises.

Sales Projections

Expected sales? AT&T said that iPhone 6 demand was “off the charts” and Apple has confirmed the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus crushed earlier preorder records. So how many are they going to sell?

My official answer to how many iPhones Apple will sell in the holiday quarter— crap tons. ~ Ben Bajarin (@BenBajarin)

Average Sales Price

Apple is selling its base mode iPhone with 16 gigabytes  of storage and its mid-tier iPhone with 64 gigabytes of storage. Further, the iPhone 6 Plus starts $100 higher than all previous iPhone models did before it.

Apple has 10% of handset sales, high-end Android another 10% and the rest of Android a further 40% (& growing). Guess which Apple targeted. ~ Benedict Evans (@BenedictEvans)

A weird thing is about to happen. The Average Sales Price of the iPhone is about to go UP! That’ll put a real dent in the “iPhone” is a commodity theory.

The iPhone Is A Commodity Claim Chowder

With all things tech, fused products and commoditization are inevitable markers of the product cycle. The iPhone 5 will be Apple’s last hurrah as competitors increasingly gain ground. ~ Kofi Bofah, Onyx Investments, 29 August 2012

As the mobile phone market increasingly offers more quality phones at a range of price points, Apple now faces a difficult choice. Does it try to remain a premium product-premium price company, or does it dive into the commoditized lower priced arena? Neither choice is very appealing. ~ Bob Chandler, Motley Fool, 2 May 2013

I’m guessing the choice to go premium wasn’t as tough as old Bob here imagined it to be.

Phones and tablets are inevitably following computers into commoditization. ~ Peter Nowak, MacLeans.ca, 28 January 2013

The iPhone as a commodity. That’s really all Apple’s iStuff is — an enormous and very profitable fad. It’s the Pet Rock of the new millennium. ~ Anders Bylund, Motley Fook, 6 Mar 2012

portfolio

Miscellaneous

Here’s a couple of miscellaneous thoughts for you all to chew upon as you wait for me to finish my research and publish my Magnum Opus on the Apple Event:

It’s still a common mistake to see smartphones (and even phones) as a luxury. In fact, their value is inversely proportionate to income. ~ Benedict Evans (@BenedictEvans) 8/15/14

More people on earth have a mobile phone than a street address. ~ Benedict Evans (@BenedictEvans)

Tablets

There’s been a lot of talk of late about tablets diminishing in importance. I don’t see it that way. To me, phones and tablets are just one big continuum — they’re all tablets. But that’s an article for another day.

PotTart

Pay

Platform building is one of the hardest things in tech. A payment platform requires simultaneous adoption by 1) Banks; 2) Retailers; and 3) Consumers. It took years and years and years for credit cards to finally gain critical mass and they were mocked all along the way.

How do you stop a charging Rhino? You take away its credit card.

And many digital payment schemes have come and gone without consumers even noticing.

Only here’s the thing. Apple makes platform building — the hardest thing in tech — look easy. Take a gander at some of the ads that appeared on the very day of the Pay announcement:

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MCard

WFARGO

Some people say Apple is late to the NFC party. But until Apple showed up, NFC was a wake, not a party.

It will take years for this to play out, but I believe Apple has already pushed digital payments past the tipping point. Pay is a done deal. Once we’re using our phones (and watches) to make payments, it will change the way retail looks and works forever.

Never underestimate the impact of the law of unexpected consequences. ~ Harvey B. Mackay

Brand

On his ‘Critical Path’ podcast, Horace Dediu expressed surprise at Apple’s move from i-everything to -everything branding. I am surprised by his surprise.

iNames, RIP. ~ John Gruber (@gruber)

The “i” Brand was misnamed from the start (not that it matters to a brand). It originally stood for “i”nternet in the iMac and now it’s simply a nonsensical way of knowing it is made by Apple. Apple is moving into an era where they need consumers to know the product or service was made by Apple. “iPay” would have been generic. Pay is anything but generic. The  branding is both a name and a logo and the  will put Apple’s brand in your face — which is right where Apple wants it to be.

Watch

Mea Culpa

I thought the Apple Watch would be more of a wrist band, less of watch. I was very concerned about battery life, so I thought the Apple wearable might have no screen. I was wrong.

Apple went the fashion route. Now, the fact Apple made all those fashion hires should have been telling me something. But I wasn’t able to put 2 + 2 together. It’s not the first time I’ve been wrong about Apple and it most certainly won’t be the last.

Why?

A lot of the post-Apple Event discussion on the Watch has been around whether Apple provided the “why”. “Why should I buy this?” “Why does this product even exist?” My favorite take on this so far is by Ben Thompson at Stretechery: “APPLE WATCH: ASKING WHY AND SAYING NO“.

I agree with most of Ben’s article but I have some serious issues with a couple of the details. I hope to write a too long article about this in the not terribly distant future.

What’s Next

Here’s a rough outline of the series of articles I’m working on:

  1. The Why Of The Watch
  2. Steve Jobs On Category Creation
  3. Category Mistakes We Makes
  4. Knee Jerk Objections
  5. Lessons Unlearned
  6. Watch Use Cases
  7. Watch User Interface
  8. First Generation Issues
  9. Fashion Issues
  10. Price Issues

All topics are subject to change.

Change is inevitable, except from vending machines. ~ Anonymous

I hope to have the articles done before Watch 2.0 comes on the market in 2016.

Hobby

Rest assured, the Watch is no hobby. Tim Cook used the “one more thing” line to announce the Watch. He called it the “Next Chapter” in Apple’s story. And it was announced by Tim Cook himself. If the Watch fails to become a category, it won’t be due to any lack of effort on Apple’s part.

OMT

Apple’s Wheelhouse

Keep the following in mind. As things get smaller, design matters more. And as design matters more, Apple’s expertise in design matters more.

I love how people say a big company can just ‘get good’ at design – they’d never say that about search or AI or big data in the same way. ~ Benedict Evans (@BenedictEvans)

Further, as things get more personal, fashion matters more. And fashion is an alien concept to most tech companies (and to most tech observers, like you and me). Apple is way, way ahead of most companies in design. And they seem to have “stolen a march” on most companies when it comes to fashion, too. Apple’s wearable products will never achieve mass adoption. However, Apple seems willing to settle for massive admiration (and massive profits) instead.

The most expensive Apple Watch will cost more than the most expensive iPhone which will cost more than most PCs. ~ Horace Dediu (@asymco)

Claim Chowder, Redux

Finally, I’ll end with some delicious claim chowder. Enjoy!

I was talking recently to someone who knew Apple well, and I asked him if the people now running the company would be able to keep creating new things the way Apple had under Steve Jobs. His answer was simply ‘no.’ I already feared that would be the answer. I asked more to see how he’d qualify it. But he didn’t qualify it at all. No, there will be no more great new stuff beyond whatever’s currently in the pipeline. ~ Paul Graham, March 2012

(W)hy are people losing their faith in the money-making machine that is Apple? Maybe it’s because they’ve done it all. What is there left for Apple to do? ~ ~ Emily Knapp, Wall St Cheat Sheet, 24 May 2011

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