I'm reminded today, courtesy of Apple's announcement of Logic Studio (a tool for professional musicians) that Apple really has three major customer segments. Apple appeals to:
- early adopters who think different (that's the creative types who like to stand out),
- late majority consumers who want something easy to use that just works (customers of the iPod and iLife products) and,
- professional content creators (authors, musicians, artists, filmmakers who want tools that free them to focus on their art, not the technology)
Do you think Apple can excel at all three market segments at once? Again, Apple has a unique ability to appeal to the first 2 groups because of the shelf space they've carved out for themselves: Apple makes hard stuff easy. That is what Apple is all about - and it why they are often cast as the complete opposite of say a Microsoft. It's no wonder Steve contrasted the Media Center PC remote control when he showed the Apple Remote (hey, how come I never hear of anyone using Front Row...do you?)
But winning in professional markets often means the opposite. These are pros. They expect complete workflows. And they expect their vendor to keep improving and updating the products they build their business on. It's pretty easy when you build a new product and attack an entrenched competitor (say when Apple came after Avid in the video editing business) but then your ability to innovate slows down as you focus on more arcane and less sexy components of the business. Apple really never has shown the staying power in pro markets, and I wonder if they plan to continue pursuing them.
That said, now that Apple has a complete iLife suite with direct publishing connections to iTunes and even YouTube, are we witnessing the birth of a new age of semi-professionals (that's you and me) who can produce and distribute media without the need for such high end tools? A bunch of you contacted me to tell me you were surprised that I could create my eBook entirely in Pages 2.0. And iDVD produces better looking menus than DVD Studio Pro with far less work. Regardless, we have Apple to thank for giving us tools to pursue our passions at whatever level we fly.