Let’s Rock!

4G iPod nanos

Apple Keeps on Rocking. The Apple innovation machine continues to delight. The rumor sites had the outlines, but didn’t do the 4G nano justice like the photo above does. The new nanos have the same size screen in a vertical orientation. But the built-in accelerometer allows you to turn sideways to view content horizontally. Vertical is a better orientation for the basics and horizontal gives you a wide screen when you need it.

4g_nano_new_menuShake your groove thing. Shake your nano to shuffle the songs. Voice record with the microphone built into the headphones. Those headphones let you adjust volume and go to next or previous song. The improved headphone controls work on both the 4G nano and 2G iPod touch.

New Menu: Now you press and hold the center button to navigate around your nano.

Feather weight. The 4G nano, an impulse buy at $149 for 8gb, weighs 1.3 oz. That may be why these things end up going into the laundry. Be careful.

new 2g iPod touch2G iPod touch. We expect more of the touch because it is truly a handheld computer. New are external volume control buttons, built-in speaker and the ability to use a microphone input via Apple’s new headphones. Nike ipod integrationfor tracking your workouts. The genius feature (see below). An $80 – $100 price drop!

genius iconGenius Feature. iTunes 8 brings smarts (“genius”) to iTunes and the new crop of iPods. The scenario is you hear a song you love and want to hear more songs like that right now. Just press the center button and have your built-in genius create a playlist for you. How well it works is yet to be determined but they’ve sure got my attention!

State of Apple — August 2008

iPhone3G_AppStoreiPhone 3G + App Store + Booming Mac Sales. Despite turbulence at the simultaneous launch of the iPhone 3G, App store, iPhone 2.0 and MobileMe, Apple is going gangbusters.

But, the number of problems occurring in recent weeks may be a new record for Apple.

A lot of people (including me) believe that Apple was getting overconfident. They started believing they were infallible. Now they know better.

On the bright side, though, Apple is disrupting and raising the bar in the industries they’ve chosen to participate in. They are making a difference that I and many others appreciate. Ultimately, I attribute the innovation Apple has achieved to: opportunity, vision, people and passion.

In the late 90’s, after Steve Jobs came back, Apple started a concerted effort to gain marketshare for the Mac. This wasn’t easy but they attacked the problem with relentless gusto and creativity. Steve assessed his competition (Microsoft) as formidable due to extreme marketshare dominance. But, he saw a long-term opportunity when comparing the technical potential of OS X vs. Windows.

Jobs bet on Apple’s technology, team, vision and design sense. The least that could be achieved was survival as the BMW to Microsoft’s Ford.

The massive undertaking of launching and realizing the potential of OS X was carried out successfully. The iPod, a whole new product initiative, was orchestrated to great success and segment dominance. Apple’s success with the iPod gave them the wherewithal to try an even more ambitous project: the iPhone.

iPod_Nanos

It took three years to bring iPhone to market. In the meantime, Apple pulled off a complete switch to Intel processors from the PowerPC chip architecture. Steve said Apple needed Intel’s planned low-powered chips to drive growth in smaller computer devices. We are still seeing the fruits of this transition.

The MacBook Air is an example of a smaller device that uses Intel’s low-power chips. Lots of people are hoping for a tablet Mac or a large iPod touch in the next year. This seems likely now as other smaller devices are gaining some traction. The EEE PC, Nokia’s N810 and the PSP all may be carving out a spot for better devices made by Apple.

MacBook_Air

Right now, the iPhone has center stage and looks poised to radically alter the cell phone industry as we’ve come to know it. Leading tech pundit, Walt Mossberg, has taken to calling the cell phone, the device formerly known as the cell phone. The phone part of the iPhone is the tip of the iceberg.

Apple announced in March that it will begin a campaign to sell the iPhone into corporations, supporting Exchange and addressing the issues corporate IT deem deal-breakers. The App store introduced in July with over 1300 applications at last count seems to make the iPhone into a platform. The battle for dominant mobile platform is not over, but Apple currently occupies the front-runner slot.

Lastly, Macs are selling 3 times faster than PCs these days. Apple is taking PC marketshare quarter by quarter. There’s more to say but you get the idea. I’ve got some gripes with the stability of iPhone 2.0 software and MobileMe, but I’ll get over it and those problems will be addressed. Meanwhile, I’m absolutely in love with the App store.

Tokerud Consulting Group