In 2011, Samsung launched the Galaxy SII with an – at the time – massive 4.3" display. The launch was a key moment in time for the Korean tech giant, as the company heavily leveraged their larger-than-iPhone display sizes. But starting today, the display options from Apple arrive in three flavors; 4", 4.7" and 5.5" displays. The major advantage Samsung had over the iPhone is now officially gone. Samsung's display supremacy has just run aground on an obvious question: What does Samsung do next?
Hot on the heels of Apple's special event, Samsung's ad agency of record RGA pushed out a slew of advertisements, bashing everything from Apple's event streaming issues, to the fact Apple now offers large display smartphones... Many of these ads have a nonsensical core to them, but apparently, bashing Apple (whether it makes sense or not) is the core to their advertising strategy. But advertising is one thing and countering Apple's latest iPhone lineup is another.
Forget about Apple's courtroom battles with Samsung. On Tuesday Apple launched what can only be described as an all-out nuclear attack on Samsung. Apple has taken the war from a nearly broken court system and onto the consumer battlefield. Apple's dual combination product launch wasn't just a shot across Samsung's bow, it was a devastating blow to Samsung's front line which is rapidly collapsing.
In 2007 Apple's original 3.5" iPhone display was massive, but while their engineers were focused on delivering amazing high resolution 4" displays in ever-greater iPhones, Samsung rapidly deployed their patent infringing products with even larger display sizes which many consumers rapidly adopted. Some say Apple stubbornly stuck to the 4" display size, giving away market share in regions outside the U.S.. Low-end smartphones and large screens expanded Samsung's market share grip, as many Asian consumers could not afford both a tablet and a smartphone, thus one large screen device acted as a tweener product that met both needs. Samsung took advantage of the space Apple seemed to have no interest in serving.
In 2011 the world was introduced to Siri — your personal digital assistant. Siri works on iPhone 4s and forward. Siri lets you use voice, instead of touch, to make appointments, call friends, send texts, and much more. It is the “much more” that is particularly interesting, because this is exactly what a search engine does. You type in a particular request and returned to you are several (hopefully) relevant results. Google has been the king of search for nearly 10 years now. No one, not even Microsoft or Yahoo!, has been able to make a dent in Google’s search dominance. But that may soon change.
Siri could do “much more” such as look up a baseball score or let you know about the nearby dry cleaners. In order to do this, Siri uses partners to return outside-the-iPhone type requests. Siri’s original partners included (info provided by wikipedia):
We just can not get rid of this guy. Like a nagging winter cough, a bad back or rheumatoid arthritis, Steve Ballmer’s need to be relevant seems insatiable. With his recent overpaid L.A. Clippers acquisition, it sadly appears he will be in our consciousness for some time to come.
Yesterday, at the Clippers Fan Festival, Steve Ballmer brought out his nearly trademark maniac appearance. Going quasi-crazy on the fans, followed up with a 13 minute speech that did not excite anyone, but probably scared many. Some say Ballmer is simply an extremely passionate guy in whatever he gets into. That’s one apologetic opinion. The other is Ballmer simply cannot get over himself, and since his rise and reign at Microsoft is over, he needs the spotlight now more than ever.
Apple is a unique company, and anyone who would deny that just doesn’t understand the company's history. While IBM created the first personal computer, it was Apple that made the PC useable by people who weren’t programmers. Yes Apple leveraged the idea from Xerox (and then Microsoft from Apple), but does anyone think we would have seen mass adoption of PC’s in the 90’s if Xerox were leading the charge with the GUI interface? And it wasn’t just the GUI interface. Apple delivered files, folder and a trash can, in easy-to-understand icon format. Apple then linked the PC with design software and laser printers and an entirely new way to publish documents was born.
Fast forward two decades and Apple launched the iPod. Apple did not create this product category either, but took it to the next level and made it a must-have for an entire generation. Once again the iPod portable music player was not a standalone device. iPod came with iTunes vertically integrated, quickly followed with the iTunes store, and the music industry was transformed overnight.
Amazon CEO confidently strolled onto the stage on June 18, and introduced the world to Amazon’s first-ever smartphone — the fire Phone. The fire Phone shipped with a few novel ideas, such as tangle free earphones (that’s the claim), a 3D display, and an easy way to channel any online purchase right into Amazon.com. Then came the fire Phone reviews — and they were not pretty. Next came the actual product launch, and sales have equaled or fallen even shorter than the poor reviews it had been given. Amazon’s fire Phone is already in massive trouble, which seems more than strange, given it is the latest in a line of never-ending Android smartphone launches. Why would fire Phone fail to do well within the large Android crowd?
Amazon launched fire Phone exclusively with AT&T wireless. Amazon targeted its launch at millions of iPhone owners currently on month-to-month payment plans or iPhone owners whose two-year commitments were and/or are about to expire ahead of iPhone 6’s launch. This would appear to be a perfect time for Amazon to swoop in and steal away iPhone sales, converting a healthy dose of AT&T customers to fire Phone. But either Amazon executives ignored, or did not believe one major piece of data – iPhone loyalty figures hover around 90%. The idea that Amazon could somehow deflate that figure by converting iPhone users who are no doubt waiting for iPhone 6/air to launch is a bold miscalculation. AT&T is struggling to sell the fire Phone to anyone, let alone loyal iPhone users who are, in, out, or nearly out of contract.
It has been somewhat amusing to watch, but Microsoft’s horrifically managed businesses and Johnny-come-lately practices may actually be coming to an end. That isn’t to say Sayta Nadella, Microsoft’s new CEO, won’t make his own set of mistakes, but if his rhetoric matches the actual direction of Microsoft’s overall business, the slow motion train wreck Steve Ballmer was engineering over the past decade may be grinding to a halt.
Steve Ballmer’s idea that Microsoft could truly be all-things to all people in every market was pure folly, mixed with a heavy dash of hubris. His belief that the software giant continued to be the only 800 pound gorilla in the tech world was absolute arrogance and denial, culminating into one undefined direction for the company. So far it appears Nadella has a better grip on reality and a shaper focus for the company moving forward, as he is preparing to axe the irrelevant.
The NFL has entered an agreement with Microsoft to allow the use of Surface Pro 2 tablets on team sidelines this season. Currently the NFL bans any computer device from gracing a team’s sidelines during game time. Up until now pictures from the booth were taken of plays, printed out, stuffed into binders and then run down to the sidelines. Think 1980.
Last night, while stumbling upon Penn & Teller’s whimsical Fool Us TV show (sorry, I really don’t watch much live TV anymore — thank you Apple TV), I found myself watching what I thought was another Microsoft Surface commercial, wasn’t a Microsoft ad at all. Rather, it was a generic Intel tablet commercial, pushing the idea that Intel-based tablets are what people need (not ARM-based or iPad tablets). Just how desperate is this dual-force Microsoft and Intel I wondered?
Microsoft’s failing campaign to sell their heavy, battery draining 2-in-1 Surface Pro is one thing, but Intel trying to sell the idea that the only type of tablet worth buying is due to something the user will never see, touch or understand – the processor. Apple’s dark decade of the 90’s laid the groundwork for Intel to advertise to, what could be described as, low technology information consumers. Intel was successful in pushing the idea that when looking to buy a new PC, that only an ”Intel Inside” PC was worth considering.
During the June 2014 quarter Apple, Inc. sold 4.4 million Macs. The sales figure was surprising in that during the year ago quarter Apple only sold 3.75 million Macs, representing a year-over-year sales increase of 15%. Based on IDC’s worldwide estimates for the June quarter, coupled with Apple’s actual Mac shipments, Apple likely achieved 5.9% global PC share.