Innovation Won’t Stop at Apple Anytime Soon

by June 12, 2016 0 comments

In 2015 cult classic movie Steve Jobs, based on Walter Isaacson’s biography of the same name, the whole myth surrounding the legend of Jobs is debunked for the first time. However, right from the biography to many screen adaptations one thing which never missed the spotlight has always been Jobs and the wonderful team which made Apple’s collective vision possible.

Innovation and disruption has always been central to the success of Apple. A company with a single aim to revolutionize the way people have interacted with computers. From the very beginning it has connected itself as a brand with most of the rebellious figures from different era. Be it Martin Luther King or Bob Dylan, Apple has that connect with the audience as a brand which lives and breathes through seriously disruptive products. We all have witnessed it. iMac, iPhone, iPod, iPad, Apple Music are few such examples.

So what’s wrong with Apple now? Why the ‘wow’ factor is missing? The only thing we have been hearing from quite some time is the dwindling sales figure of the company. Why the company which dramatically transformed the overall technology industry is not making enough noise like old times?

Industry First

Apple did an industry first by ripping the design rule book to create iMac G3 and set desktops free from the boring black box avatar. iMac G3 all-in-one computer was the fastest selling PC in the world. Apple adopted the USB standard when 3½-inch floppy disk drive was still the commonly accepted norm. By doing so it also forced the manufacturers to adopt the same.

It single handedly toppled  the smartphone industry by introducing touchscreen devices, multitouch displays, retina displays, Siri, FaceTime, apps/apps store, along with Apple’s trusted regular update.

Critics believe that the Apple magic is slowing down. Though, it already has developed many products with potential to break the market but either they are underdeveloped or need more time.

Apple needs to Think Different  

Holiday season is that time of the year which every consumer and brand look forward to. The holiday buying frenzy specially in the month of November and December promises high sales for Apple.

The critics who are ‘concerned’ about the slowdown should also know that Apple sold a staggering 74.4 million iPhones ending December 2015. On average, that means to over 34,000 iPhones sold every hour, every day of the quarter.

Pray, I beg you, Pay

Apple entered the payment service in 2014 and has already increased manifolds with select roll overs in key countries and coming Monday it’ll expand to the web by bringing its brand of mobile payments to select retail partners’ websites at WWDC.

Now to strengthen the case, Apple has the largest number of credit card accounts outside a bank through iTunes account holders who can pay through their devices. Though, the overall number of digital content consumers are significantly less due to many “free” options available on the internet. Apple needs to offer a great value for money to its consumers so that all the account holders with no transactional value start buying premium content.

Asia can’t be Ignored

Apple with a market share of just 2 per cent in India’s smartphone market is way behind rival Samsung, the leader in India’s smartphone market. Apple CEO Tim Cook in his recent visit to India supported the rationale behind selling refurbished phone so as to make them available at an affordable price to Indian consumers. Technically speaking, Indian market has never been taken seriously by Apple but when the price of 5S was dropped the immediate surge in sales made it clear to Apple that India can’t be ignored anymore.

iPhone 5S, the fastest selling iPhone in India has again proved that price conscious consumers here are ripe to jump over to Apple provided they get something within their buying limits. The purchasing power of the Indian middle class is growing considerably and they are the ones who can afford an iPhone. Travel in a metro and every third hand you see is carrying an iPhone be it the outdated 4S or 5S.

Even China for that matter is a big market for Apple products though sales there have plummeted due to a slowdown but iPhone still remains a first choice for the Chinese and there is still plenty of growth potential there. The emerging middle class in China has made iPhone 6 a big success and Apple’s revenue has more than doubled last quarter, year over year.

Why iPhone matters

iPhone requires a unique value proposition for which it has been known and Apple has always been recognized for its ability to develop business models, such as the iTunes Store which is in-sync with its iPod and iPhone. Now, most of these things existed before but Apple turned those ideas into a mainstream success. They succeeded with their vision to stay ahead of the curve and it happened at a time when no one had expected.

iPhone is one such product which brings the real revenue to the Cupertino icon just like the way Apple II did. The history of the iPhone is full of multiple improvements with systematic innovation and reinvention. Dubbed as the ‘Jesus phone’ when launched in 2007, Apple now needs to bring out the ultimate iPhone in the market by reinventing itself if it really wants people to start queuing in front of its store to buy one. It needs that element of surprise which disrupted the industry and provided something valuable to the people.

Using 64-bit A7 processor is one such example. Used in the iPhone 5S, iPad Air and Retina iPad mini, when Apple introduced A7 it was enough to spread panic within the mobile semiconductor industry.

It broke new ground with the A7 chip and also became the first to be found in a mobile device. Qualcomm – one of the biggest mobile semiconductor makers around – wasn’t expecting Apple to come out with a 64-bit chip so soon. One unnamed Qualcomm employee told Dan Lyons from Hubspot, “The 64-bit Apple chip hit us in the gut. Not just us, but everyone, really. We were slack-jawed, and stunned, and unprepared.”

A7 also allowed people to do more with their apps as 64-bit processors were able to access more RAM, and could grab more data than their 32-bit counterparts. With apps optimized to take advantage of a 64-bit architecture they ran faster and were capable of doing more.

Apple needs to introduce something groundbreaking and powerful enough to take everyone in the industry by surprise.

iPhone, Mobile Internet & Content Consumption Interlinked

The average global mobile connection speed is going to surpass 3 Mbps by 2017. Apple needs to tap into this growing community of consumers who are ready to pay for premium content. A report conducted by Media Insight Project states that use of paid entertainment content, including music, movies, television, and video games, is most common among Millennials.

We have reliable data to support the fact that content consumption is increasing on mobile devices. A survey by CISCO claims that globally, mobile data traffic will increase eightfold between 2015 and 2020 to grow at a CAGR of 53 per cent between 2015 and 2020 and reaching 30.6 EB per month by 2020. Now, that’s one hell of a number. IP traffic is growing fastest in the Middle East and Africa, followed by Asia Pacific. We can expect many key announcements from Apple in this regards at WWDC keynote on June 13 in San Francisco.

Also, 90 per cent of consumers spent most of their time on apps and content consumption stands at an average of 50 per cent for every category. This indicates that app developers have a lot to cheer about and Apple already has a solid developer ecosystem ready to tap in to these growing verticals.

Integrating Healthcare with iPhone & Apple Watch

Apple has created CareKit — an open source software framework enabling developers to build apps that helps users to manage their medical conditions. Rather than relying solely on doctor visits, users can now regularly track symptoms and medications, and can even share the information with their care team.

Apart from that they have developed Research Kit aimed at researchers. This open source software collects data from iPhone users who download health monitoring apps. The research conducted through Research Kit can be done straight through the phone where everything is anonymous which means that anyone with an iOS device has the opportunity to participate in medical research, join programs that can help them track their symptoms, or share information with their doctors.

Like any new technology, it’ll take some time to ramp up, but there’s no doubt that Apple already has created the health framework umbrella and all of it is integrated through iPhone and Apple Watch.

These kits are already being used by many research institutions, hospitals, and doctors but don’t expect it to support non-iOS devices anytime soon.

Video streaming Service

Apple has long been rumored to be working on a video streaming service which would allow consumers to dump their cable/satellite subscriptions.

According to Bloomberg, daily video views on Snapchat have spiked to 10 billion. The Ericsson Mobility Report highlights how 50 per cent of mobile data traffic currently comes from video, and Reuters predicts video will grow 14 times within five years and will account for 70 per cent of mobile network traffic.

The success of Netflix and other online streaming services are enough to prove that Apple can score big if it taps in to this increasing number of digital video consumers who are spending more time streaming videos than watching them on their television sets.

More Power to Siri

When Apple acquired Siri and released it with iPhone 4S, it was the only brand to enter the voice assistant space. Though, it has failed to catch up with Google, Amazon and Facebook. Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak also believes that Siri hasn’t nailed it yet as compared to Google Assistant which is way smarter. The reason Google Assistant is so smart is because it knows so much about us through our usage pattern. On the contrary, Apple has limited access to such huge chunk of online user information which could limit the usefulness of Siri.

It is expected that Apple is going to announce some key developments regarding Siri at WWDC. In addition to opening it up, it is likely that the company will finally bring it to Macs. Also, allowing Siri to integrate with other apps could also open up important revenue streams for Apple given the high number of iPhone users.

In October last year, Apple acquired VocalIQ, a UK-based speech technology start-up with focus on “self-learning” technology to ease the conversation between human and the internet of things. To unlock the true potential of Siri Apple should create a development kit to allow any app developer to harness the power of contextual voice control. With Apple’s strong developer ecosystem Siri can be a match winner over time.

To Conclude…

No other company has ever made this much money the way Apple has. That eternal curiosity, a trait found in every Apple user is what makes Apple valuable and different. Introducing superbly timed products with world class service has kept it ahead of the curve.

It has the knack of being two step ahead of its competitors, be it embracing the USB standard way ahead of its time or adoption of A7 chip.

Disruption is in the DNA of the Cupertino giant and fingerprint reader is one such example. Tim Cook has already mentioned in the past that the real idea behind introducing the unique fingerprint reader in iPhone devices is to enable the users to make digital transaction in the future. Now with the roll out of Apple Pay it can grow massively in the next few years to become an even bigger business for Apple than the iPhone.

All of these successes add up to Apple clearly being the most successful company in history and by determining the right use cases and gauging what consumers really want Apple can again change the way we interact with the digital world, which has enveloped our lives.

For the critics, I say, don’t speak too soon for the wheel’s still in spin. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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