As is probably the case with many of us, the last few days have been mired by thoughts around the Apple events. At first I intended to post a few thoughts on the Watch, then the Macbook, then maybe the event as a whole as I tend to do sometimes. But invariably, my thoughts started to focus on Apple as a company.
I clearly have a lot to learn from Tim Cook. Apple is beyond a well-oiled machine now. I’m not saying it’s not without its issues. But, somehow, they seem to be on course to pivot once again without much trouble, significantly faster than the competition. While it is interesting that the pundits have already written both the MacBook and the Watch off, saying the price points, particularly for the limited edition gold watch, is “ridiculous”, I think it’s a usual case of not comparing Apples to, well, apples. Just like Apple’s entry into music, smartphones and tablets, affected those respective industries, the Watch isn’t Apple’s venture into another subcategory of the tech industry, but into fashion, and the watch industry. Expect the price of the sport edition to drop slightly by the second or third iteration; just like I expect the price of the new MacBook to align with the current pricing of the MacBook Air in two years’ time.
But I digress. What is getting to be more and more impressive to someone who looks at businesses and operations, is how clinical Apple is in their execution today. Yes, Apple has a fantastic cash reserve, can attract the best talent, yada yada, but Apple continues to focus and streamline its operations down to the point that people expect a new phone, tablet and laptop, a new version of OS X, iOS released every year. Incremental updates are just not good enough. And I’m forced to wonder, good enough for what, for whom? Microsoft is still only able to promise regular updates to Windows — let alone play catch up on smartphones and tablets, forget thinking about entering the wearable industry; Google just barely gets out an Android update each year which is just about compatible with its own devices. When was the last time Google innovated to the likes of Android or Gmail? And this is from the company that insisted its employees dedicate 20% of their week towards innovation at some point in their history.
Somewhere in the midst of all of this by the way, Apple managed to convert its entire phone architecture to x64 without anyone knowing, rumors of a 12" MacBook Air may have been floating, but no one quite knew the extent to which the device would be developed, and pivoted itself to challenge the fashion industry while the rest are still trying to figure out the best way to execute a ‘wearable’. In the process, they got the industry to follow them into x64, will lead the adoption of USB-C and will cause the competition to build higher priced smartwatches.
And yet, people will continue to create clickbait headlines about Apple’s failures.