The announcement on Thursday of two new iPads – the iPad Air 2 and the iPad Mini 3 (http://time.com/3513791/apple-ipad-enhancements-air/ for more details) had many online debating what these latest additions signal from Apple. What is the company’s current strategy? Is it the right one?
Over the past 12 months, we have seen one of the most important announcements Apple has ever made – the release of the Apple Watch. Clearly Apple is changing and evolving as a company. Here are three key characteristics of the 2014 Apple Inc., and an evaluation of how successful this will prove.
iPhone, not the Mac, is king
The fact that the iPhone is the lifeblood of Apple may be a fairly obvious fact for many, but it is worth taking a minute to consider the implications of this development. At first, Apple concentrated on selling the Mac and then building the eco-system around this central hardware. Now, the iPhone is king due to its explosion of sales in the mobile phone market, whilst Mac as failed to have the same impact. This makes it harder to build this eco-system due to the number of substitutes. However, it will drive Apple toward mobile and flexible technology, in line with the new digital world and the way millenials operate. They must be careful to not allow the importance of the aesthetics of the product (crucial in mobile technology) to detract from the efficiency and practicalities.
All for one, and one for all
A massive change was the introduction of the iPhone 5c by Apple. This was because it was the first time they had branched out to a lower quality model in the bid for more sales. Although all Apple’s products remain expensive to many, they are now in the price range in line with substitute products of similar quality, and we are willing to stomach the cost. The Apple premium in the cost is not nearly as large, whilst the brand continues to drag in customers. Similarly, in the iPad market, prices have been steadily falling to the extent that they are a relatively well-priced option compared to other iPads of similar quality.
This represents a new desire of the company to capture the mass market, and to make Apple luxury that is available to all. This is a delicate balancing act to maintain, appealing to this demographic whilst maintaining their premium brand image. Issues with the iPhone 6 Plus bending and the negative publicity surrounding that could be very damaging in this situation.
Is wearable tech the future?
It is clear following the release of the Apple Watch that wearable tech is an area that Apple see themselves having success, given their reputation for design quality. Apple certainly have developed the capabilities to be an unparalleled success in this area. The question is whether the market will stomach wearable technology, and whether it will really become applicable to the mass market.
In summary, Apple is looking to appeal to the mass market and branch out into associated markets to leverage their reputation and capabilities respectively for success. Both strategic directions have their own pitfalls, but Apple’s immense strength as a brand is unique and can carry them through these. The real question is whether Apple have the ability to once again revolutionise the market and come up with a completely new product that opens up an entirely new market. We can only wait and see if this entrepreneurial edge remains.