Category Archives: iPod and iTunes

The price of innovation

Just about the best thing Apple could do right now is to stay away from innovating, especially in new markets.

Despite hitting the jackpot with the iPod, iPhone, iTunes and iPad, apparently the market is still hungry for new stuff.

Really? I suspect the market is quite happy with Apple. Its share price has taken a tonking but its cash registers are chiming with sales and its profits are pouring more dollars onto its lofty cash mountain.

The people who are actually hungry for more are tech writers and analysts, who since 2010, have been cruelly denied the opportunity to write about Apple’s latest grand foray into a new market.

The ones who have also, and cruelly, found their predictions of Apple TVs or wristwatches, unrequited. At least so far. Continue reading

Steve would never have done that!

Apple has had a drubbing over its Maps debacle and rightly so. However, the media perception that Apple never shipped poor products during the Jobs era is laughable and revisionist.

A list of things that Steve would ‘never’ have done:

  • A cube-shaped computer with dodgy plastic and little expandability that cost too much. Looked great, sold like a dog
  • The iPod hi fi. It took Ive almost a minute to design this. He rushed it
  • iPhone 4 antenna. The closest the ‘form over factor’ drones have got to the truth even though it wasn’t really that much of a problem
  • iMac G5. The ugliest Mac ever, bar none. I know, I had one. I was almost relieved when it vanished in a burglary
  • .Mac. Mildly crap, but a precursor for…
  • MobileMe. “So why the fuck doesn’t it do that?”
  • Ping. Ponged.
  • The fat iPod Nano. Come on… Continue reading

Thank you, Mr Forstall

Ever since Apple announced the iOS software boss Scott Forstall was leaving the company there has been a tsunami of articles explaining why Tim Cook had no choice other than to show him the door:

    Lack of social/corporate graces with other executives
    Lack of humility
    Lack of a sense of place within the company (note Om Malik’s observation – he forgot he was Steve’s guy and not Steve)

Yet, Forstall was responsible for the hugely successful rise of the iPhone, iPad and the iPod thing nobody can ever bother to mention. Continue reading

A little perspective on the iPhone

I love hoarding snippets of information and obscure bookmarks that I rarely end up using again. Since the advent of social bookmarking and delicious tagging my data lets me create order from chaos.

In recent years, I’ve also used a great little application called Yojimbo to store and tag websites, recipes, ideas and pretty much anything else.

This morning, I was looking through older info snippets in the app and stumbled over an old Fortune article by Jon Fortt published in 2006, a few months before the launch of the iPhone in January 2007.

Three reasons an iPhone could actually suck was actually a good article and considered the three biggest barriers to success apparent at the time for an Apple mobile phone. A device which had yet to be confirmed by the company.

Firstly, Fortt suggested the control US carriers had over the marketplace meant that Apple would struggle to sell the iPhone on “its own terms”.

Secondly, he said the the additional control carriers exerted over the user interfaces of handset manufacturers would be a tough compromise for Apple to swallow. Historically, carriers insisted their logo appeared prominently during start-up and that prominent links to their ‘value adding‘ mobile content littered screens and prominent menus. A company like Apple with such a fanatical focus on user experience wouldn’t sit for others dipping their oars or, God forbid, their logos in their interfaces.

Finally, he questioned whether the company would be able to carve a profit out of the crowded marketplace.

With the benefit of perspective, it’s like looking re-reading a pre-match review for an un-fancied football team playing away against one of the European superpowers with the knowledge that they actually trounced them three-nil on the night.

One thing he does get right is his assertion that the biggest innovation about the iPhone won’t be the device itself but the way it “crafted partnerships in a way that it could keep control of the customer experience, and still manage a profit”.

Don’t get me wrong, I think Fortt wrote a good piece and I think I probably saved it because I agreed with most of his ideas.

Today, it’s just another yardstick to measure Apple’s success in sweeping aside the old hegemonies.