So I've been looking for a good way to carry my new iPad (once it arrives on March 16th that is) without wearing a backpack or carrying a bag. I want to be able to ride a bike, walk to a park, hop on a bus, or even see a movie without the extra burden of being tied down to a bag...or worse yet advertising to everyone that I'm carrying an expensive toy.
So I Googled "iPad clothing" - and I discovered the Scottevest Transformer jacket. While I haven't yet pulled the trigger on my Blaze Red XL purchase, it seems to me that this product is in need of some Kickstarter-type marketing love. They are clearly Apple, Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs fans (and even have a tongue-in-cheek "Keynote" presentation where their CEO tries his best to channel some Jobsian love) and it seems they are really trying to bring innovation to clothing.
I doubt the words innovation and clothing have rarely been used in the same sentence - but when was the last time you saw jacket sleeves attached by magnets? I know some people like Mark Cuban think Scottevest's patent for TEC or "Technology Enabled Clothing" is a joke - but it got me thinking that while more than 300 million iOS devices have been sold I doubt that the attach rate of devices to clothing is very high. But it seems to me inevitable that clothing and technology will one day fuse.
I realize their CEO, Scott Jordan was recently on Shark Tank in an effort to get funding and/or free marketing (and some folks were really put off by his performance) but I think he's on to something. Pockets on our pants somehow predated the car keys, phones and wallets we have today and I'm pretty sure we're now all out of places to hold our tech comfortably. Perhaps some day we'll see a line of official Apple iClothing on sale in an Apple store.
Apple had another blowout quarter. No surprise there.
But what's hidden in the numbers is a surprise. Tremendous optimism for the new Apple Cloud strategy - iCloud - that is only partly revealed. As I mentioned in a previous post about AirPlay, Apple is looking to change the way the world experiences video in a more massive way than it how it changed the way we listen to music.
With music, we already had Walkman and radio players with headphones. Steve Jobs liberated us from our desktops by allowing us to take all our music with us anywhere we go. But the priviledge - which remade an entire industry around iTunes - still chained us to our desks to sync and backup all our songs.
With my iPad, I now let Netflix worry about storing and saving all those movies - all I do is click a button and watch what I want, where I want with narry a concern about actually owning or backing up a single video file.
This then is the Apple iCloud vision: to provide you with access to all your media wherever you go. When you buy a song or movie with iTunes it will be available to you anywhere, just log onto iCloud. At a friends house and want to watch your shows? Just log on with your AppleID via her AppleTV and watch away. At grandma's house and want to show her a video of the grandkids? Pull out her iPad and log into iCloud...there it is.
If you are a Netflix user like me you already know how liberating this is for movies and television shows. Now add to that vision all your photos, all your music, all your iPhone videos, your contacts, your emails, someday even all your apps. All your media will be "with you" wherever you go - reminds me of the line from Buckaroo Bonzai (or was it Confucius?) "No Matter Where You Go, There You Are"
While Apple clearly deserves credit for rejuvenating music with the iPod & iTunes, reinventing the phone with the iPhone and the AppStore and for launching an entirely new category with the iPad, Apple finds itself now on dangerous new ground.
You see, one of Apple's secrets has long been "Never be first to market" (which you can read more about in my free ebook.) By following this rule, Apple has been able to bide its time, determine how to apply its legendary ease of use to existing problems in established markets and innovate by doing one thing better than everyone else. Frustrated users eventually move in droves to Apple, the easy, proven leader. This strategy worked way back with the Apple I, the Mac, and continues to this day.
However, now others are poised to do to Apple what Apple has long done to others - and the best example is Google and Android. Before the iPhone, there were no large, glass touch-screen interfaces. There was no AppStore. There was no multi-touch. There wasn't even low power processors capable of running a modern operating system. But now there are - just check out this week's list of tablets released at CES - most running Android. And today we get word that Android is now #2 in marketshare behind RIM...and Apple slipped to #3. 10 years after the iPod, good product marketing companies have finally figured out how to outmarket Apple: Make a better product, get more people excited about it, continue to improve it, and keep simplifying. While Android still has a long way to go, signs indicate they have figured some of this out - and Apple now is sitting up and taking notice.
Apple is now forced to work faster, release new versions of iPad sooner than they may like (Jan 2011) to keep the momentum going. And since the stakes are higher, mistakes are not as easily forgiven.
What do you think? Has Apple paved the road only to have Google and its partners flood the highway? Is Google and the Android ecosystem going to do to Apple what Microsoft and Windows did 20 years ago to the Mac? Or do you think Apple has something bigger up its sleeve to keep the excitement - and mindshare - firmly in Cupertino?
I'll have much more to say on this shortly but I need to get two things off my chest first:
1. Apple isn't trying to decide if a niche exists between smartphones and laptops. They are trying to replace netbooks (and eventually laptops) and get people to carry the cloud with them. If you think through the logical progression of the Web, all the data we care about will exist online. The iPad is the device to access it. Very different mode than a laptop. This is the device from the future we've seen on Star Trek. You can buy it today (well in 59 days.)
2. "Our most advanced technology in a magical and revolutionary device at an unbelievable price." Something about this sentence seemed un-Applelike. As someone who struggles to come up with the "syrupy goodness" of my value props (spoken about in my free eBook) this phrase seemed too forced and wordy. It doesn't even say what it does. "Touch the Web" or "Your life to go." would have been more Apple-like to me. I just don't follow this one...
P.S. thank you Dane for the correct spelling of niche ;)
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