homeimage blogimage showsimage gamesimage shopimage1 sponsorsimage aboutimage newsimage forumimage

The Digital Lifestyle


Your Apple Authority


Blog Archive

Subscribe Now

Help us continue to create great shows! Donate $5 today.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Four Potential Positives of a Jobs-less Apple

First a few disclaimers. 1. We do not wish any ill will to Steve Jobs. 2. We have no reason to think his departure is imminent. 3. We're not calling for him to leave Apple, not in the least.

However, when Jobs is no longer with the company, be it next week, month, or decade, there are some potentially positives that could come along with the change:

1. Lower Cost Market Entry
It's been said time and time again, that the average price paid for a PC is falling. Other than the foray with the Mac Mini (let's hope for an update there, soon) Apple has all but ignored this market. Years ago Jobs made the point that luxury automakers are doing just fine with a sliver of the auto industry. His point at the time was to show that Apple wasn't in peril if it didn't have 15 percent of the market. While true, times have changed. No one is sitting around wondering whether Apple will survive these days. Instead the question becomes where can Apple find more growth. Like it or not, the low-end of the market is the answer. Plus there's a practical reason: Apple has created a largely successful ecosystem of iPod/iPhone/Mac. While many wannabe iPods have come and gone, if another company is successful at dominating the growing low-end market, they could potentially launch a legitimate competitor to the whole Apple environment. Without Jobs, Apple would have even more pressure from outside, and from what we hear, more support internally for aggressively pursuing this market.

2. Partnerships
One of the great premises of web 2.0 is the community sharing, and community experience. Companies also realize they can be leaner and more competitive when they work together. Sure, Apple could bury Netflix if they wanted to, but why re-invent the wheel? Partner with them instead. Apple is always set to "go it alone." If Apple does lose it dominance in music, for example, i would expect it to come at the hands of some sort of partnership among many companies, rather than a single competitor. Fortunately for Apple, so far these companies have shown themselves as inept at working together. (See "Plays For Sure")

3. Employee Blogs / Openness
The end of Apple's participation in Macworld will leave a giant void for the Mac faithful, who want to be in on what's going on. One way to satisfy that curiosity, and control the flow of information at the same time would be employee blogs. I think most Mac fans would find it fascinating to read a post from Johnny Ive for example, talking about the trial and error of creating the aluminum unibody. Let's see some videos of testing. Let's see some prototypes. We're talking about revealing this info after the fact, in a manner that would keep the faithful tuned in, and wouldn't reveal anything to put the company at a disadvantage. No one's asking for a three-year product roadmap, just some glimpse into the process of creating the products.

4. iPhone as a (more) open platform
I've seen the future. In five years we may be living in a world in which all phones with the exception of the iPhone run some variant of Android. These are the two mobile platforms of the future. Android will presumably be comprised of many of the concepts described in the other suggestions: several handset manufacturers agreeing/partnering on a single OS, an OS created in an open-source manner, and meticulously chronicled in blogs across the web. Over at Apple, we'll have updates pushed out when Apple says they're ready, and app developers in the dark, with their hands tied in what their apps can do. The iPhone has an impressive processor, and one can assume it will only get better. Consumers will wonder why can this $79 phone have touch capabilities, AND flash, AND copy and paste, and yet the (then) $149 iPhone doesn't?

So there you have it. The best news is, none of these changes would require Jobs to be gone from the company. He could decide at any minute to implement these changes. Given Apple's history though, don't hold your breath.

What do you think? Are there other potential positives of a Jobs-less Apple? Are we off our rockers this time?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The primary negative that Jobs brings to Apple is the control freak mentality. It's at the root of almost all the complaints people have about the company.

I agree with Apple that market share is not the ultimate goal. There are some customers you just don't want as yours. Having said that there are some market segments that Apple seems to be ignoring for reasons I can't understand. (home servers, netbooks)

Steve recently said “we don’t know how to build a sub-$500 computer that is not a piece of junk.” Really? What about the current Mac mini then? It doesn't matter what the price tag says, it's a $399 computer.

Apple usually doesn't partner well because they try to keep all the control for themselves. It's only a partnership if both parties benefit.

I'd like to see a little more openness at Apple, but I personally think having Jonathan Ive explain his design methodology and show prototypes after the fact benefits really only benefits Apple competitors. Satisfying public curiosity has to be a really low priority.

The iPhone platform doesn't need much more openness, but it does need to stop holding back basic features because it's possible to do without them. Last month I had an iPod touch for a project and starting missing copy/paste almost immediately.

I think a larger iPod touch that's still narrow enough to fit in one hand (maybe 8"x3.75") would be fantastic. A large 16:9 screen would display videos perfectly and web content really well since most pages are tall and narrow. It would also allow a keyboard that works for people with fat fingers. Ultimately I think such a device could be Apple's answer to the netbook. I'd buy one.

iPod, iMac and iPhone are registered trademarks of Apple Inc. Apple is not affiliated with, nor endorses this site.

Privacy Policy

Copyright 2008, R Cubed Networks, LLC

homeimage blogimage showsimage gamesimage shopimage1 sponsorsimage aboutimage newsimage forumimage