Monday, April 30, 2012

What's next?

This entry is going to be predominantly based around recent news articles, and what’s in store for apple in the future.

The first three months of 2012 saw global shipments of tablet devices and e-readers slump 38.4% to 17.4 million, although this is somewhat an unreasonable statement as this is compared with a fourth quarter pumped up naturally by the holiday gift giving season. Despite this “slumping”, tablet sales over the past few years were up a huge 120% - again showing that the world is becoming more and more reliant on mobile devices (Apples Core Competency) and shifting away from desktop and laptop computers.

Apple’s move to position the iPad as an all purpose tablet rather than just a “content consumption device” as paid dividends amongst consumers, both educational and commercial buyers. What I find interesting is the decision by Apple to still sell their iPad 2 on the market. Usually with Apple iPads and iPhones, they will sell what remaining stock they have of the older device and discontinue making it. But their decision to keep a lower priced iPad 2 on the shelves seems to be paying off as well. As a result, Apple’s performance in the “post holiday hangover” saw it outmuscle their Android-powered tablet rivals.

Apple shipped 11.8 million iPads during the first quarter of 2012 (down from 15.4 million units in the fourth quarter of 2011), and their worldwide market share rose 14% to 68% . So overall, Apple is kicking goals when it comes to the tablet market, although new competition is on the rise with Samsung and Lenovo both beginning to gain traction with new products.

In other news, according to we are going to have to wait until 2014 for Apple TV. Apparently the television market is on somewhat shaky ground and Apple want to stay away from this until it’s settled down again. Japan’s three biggest television set makers — Sony, Sharp, and Panasonic — reported a combined loss of $21 billion in 2011 alone. Samsung is faring marginally better as its TV business’ profit grew to $467 million from $70 million in 2011.

In the blog it is also noted that Apple needs “a radical change of the user interface, integration of the TV programming and data content, and use of gesture or voice control”, according to J.P. Morgan analyst, Mark Moskowitz.

As any Apple fan knows, they are not ones to rush into a competitive market, and rather take their time with product launches. The iPad was a work in progress long before the iPhone even came out, this is probably why they are so good at what they do, everything is so thought out and developed it is hard to go wrong.

So what is in store for the future of Apple in the mean time?

There has been talk about iPay, a “more optimistic” mobile payment system. Recent patents show the company could be heading in the direction of allowing its iPhone and iPad users to wirelessly pay for goods and services using NFC (Near Fiel Communication) technology, basically we would just scan our phone to pay for an item and it will appear on our bill/credit card history later – this technology is already in Japan, so it is basically inevitable it will be everywhere else in a matter of time, it’s just a matter of who gets in first.

Secondly, there have been talks of iCarrier. Apple could also be following the likes of AT&T and Verizon in the mobile carrier space, offering its iPhone and iPad products on an in-house service.
“Apple will soon provide wireless service directly to the millions of iPhones and iPads already in the marketplace”. It has the distribution channels in place and customer numbers to make the jump from smartphone maker to network carrier a fairly simple one. Plus, as Apple has around 250 million credit cards on file, it would make for a seamless billing experience, and a secure source of revenue. No doubt the other networks would claim the move is anti-competitive and kick up a fuss — as one would expect — but it would be a unique move for the company should the regulators approve the plans.

At least there’s plenty to keep the consumer market busy until a point where Apple could bring out a television set.

Monday, March 26, 2012


As already mentioned, Apple is a company like no other, not only in their products, their research & development, their innovation but also hugely in their advertising. Innovative products need innovative advertising, and Apple has never been in short supply of that. “Since the original Macintosh Super Bowl commercial in 1984, which mimicked imagery from George Orwell’s 1984, Apple has maintained a style of homage to contemporary visual art in many of its more famous ad campaigns”

When it came to the iPod, Apple again produced a very unique and distinct advertising campaign. Looking at the image below, everyone without even seeing an Apple logo on this billboard would know what this ad is for. Apples iPod ads (whether they be TV commercials, print ads or posters) are always fairly basic with a black silhouette of a person, white iPod and ear phones on a bright and vibrant background. The whole idea of this promotion was to show that the person in the image could be you, it doesn't show race, hair colour, anything really, and the TV ad's always played different songs showing that the iPod really can be used by anyone.
“Few other brands out there can claim to have such a level of recognition among consumers”.

Another thing Apple did with its iPod is directly relate it to plain white ear phones, something no other MP3 product had done. These ear phones became recognised by everybody and effectively provided free advertising on a mass scale for Apple – so smart!!

In more recent times the ads have naturally been increasing and improving due to Apple’s increased numbers of products. In 2006, in order to boost the sales of their computers (“Get a Mac” campaign), Apple released a controversial series of 24 “I’m a Mac, I’m a PC” advertisements. Basically the ads pointed out the flaws in the PC operating systems, and highlighted how efficient and easy going the Mac was. The ads were entertaining and a huge success.

I know I haven’t touched on every aspect of Apple and their advertising, but this is just an insight into the brilliance of Steve Jobs and his team at Apple. “Perhaps no modern day market has captured the public’s imagination like Steve Jobs.

Here is an interesting link to The Advertising Age: The 10 best ads to come out of Steve Jobs’ Reign at Apple.

Monday, February 27, 2012


As mentioned in my previous post, Apple spends a huge amount on R&D, 2011 they spent $575 million, and in 2012 so far they have spend over $750 million! While this is a huge amount of money, in terms of percentage of sales (total sales $46.3 million), it is nothing. In the past 5 years, the average percentage of sales spent on R&D is 2.8%. The funny thing about this I find is that Microsoft have spent $2.3 Billion in the same past quarter, and over the past 5 yeas have spent 13.8% of sales on R&D. When you think about this and think about which company has brought out more products, or products that literally change the world, you really have to think, what is Microsoft spending all their money on… or, how is Apple just that successful!!

Steve Jobs was an incredible marketer and advertiser. What he did was unlike anyone had done before; he truly was an advertising genius. As stated in the clip,, Jobs was able to make Apples products “seem tantalising, like you had to have it” it was almost portrayed as a “social obligation” to have the latest Apple product.
Basically, the other big companies such as Microsoft, Nokia, Google, Sony Ericsson etc all spend a lot of money on innovation, but only occasionally come up with something new and interesting. Jobs, insisted on maintaining a startup mentality within Apple, (even with 30,000+ corporate employees) and this combined with a focus on only a few projects at a time means Apple can spend less on R&D and get much more for its investment.

Through their R&D Apple has created some of the most technologically advanced products in the consumer electronics/computer software industry. These innovative products though have not come out of the blue; Apple understands that happy employees are more likely to work toward bettering their organisation. It is a incredibly collaborative company, it has zero committees, they are organised – as mentioned above – like a startup, one person is in charge of iPhone OS software, one in charge of Mac Hardware, one person is in charge of World wide marketing, etc. “We are the biggest startup on the planet” (Steve Jobs himself in the interview
There is a huge amount of teamwork at the top of the company that filters down to the rest of the company. Jobs spent his days meeting with these different groups, and discussing what can be done to improve things, new ideas etc. “You have to be run by ideas, not hierarchy”.

Truly unlike any other company, Jobs was well ahead of his time, and it has been incredible to live through it all, and it is truly exciting to think about what more is in the pipeline in the world of Apple and their incredible innovation. The fact a company can bring out something so different to what is already in the market, and in a matter of no time at all make the consumer feel as though they have been left out if they don’t have it, is truly remarkable.

Next blog will focus predominantly on Apples unique Advertising efforts. Stay tuned!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Apple taking over the world

I've been an Apple lover since I bought my first iPod in 2005 off a mate for $60, my obsession with Apple then took off in 2009 when I got my Macbook and first iPhone (currently onto my 2nd). After doing some recent studies on this innovative company I have developed a whole new respect and admiration for Steve Jobs and Apple Inc. 

The thing I find most incredible about Apple is its ability to develop technologies and products that we, as the consumer, don’t even know we want yet. Every item in the past decade that Apple has produced nobody really saw coming, and if they did, it wasn’t to the extent to that which was actually produced. Apple has been successful in every product over this time; I put this down to their heavy focus on research and development. In 2011 Apple spent $575 million in R&D, in the past 3 months alone they have spent a staggering $758 million – to me, this suggests some amazing products and developments are to come – get excited!

According to Wikipedia, the first successful personal computer to feature a mouse and graphical user interface (GUI) was in fact the Apple Macintosh in 1984, a year later Microsoft introduced Microsoft Windows. However the Macintosh was not that successful and Windows took over the market and dominated for many years, still today, despite Apple growing at an astonishing rate, their operating system only accounts for just under 15% of the market. The reason for this? Simply that Microsoft designed an operating system compatible with various hardware, i.e. other computers, created by Dell, IBM, HP, Sony etc. This being said, part of the reason Apple OS are becoming more popular is that they are designed to fit perfectly in their own hardware – thus being able to tweak things perfectly and really hit at being easy to use for the consumer. I myself have found that using a Mac is so much more of a pleasure than Windows, there are functions I use on my Mac on a regular basis that I never would have even thought about when I used a Windows operating system – I’ll say it again, Apple knows what it’s users want before we do!!

Apple bought Pixar animations in 1986, a move from Steve Jobs that would prove to be extremely beneficial in the years to come. However it wasn’t until about 2001 when Apple released its first iPod that the company began to take off in a big way, since then it has produced an array of products including different iPod variations, MacBooks, iPads and iPhones.

I think that part of the reason Apple has been so successful is due to their heavy focus on customer satisfaction and fulfilment – everything they have designed has been based around the simplicity for a user and they continue to focus on this (as mentioned with their R&D expenditure). Along with this has been a heavy increase in advertising, between 2010-2011 ad spending increased 35% from $691M to $933M. This has clearly been beneficial as can be seen through their increased revenue but also the fact that you could ask just about anybody to describe an Apple ad and they could, wether it be about the iPod and a black silhouette dancing with a white iPod and ear phones on a very bright background, or the two guys talking named Mac and PC talking about why one is better than the other.

Basically, Apple is taking over the world – at this stage it doesn’t seem to be a bad thing, but only time shall tell. Fingers crossed it all stays good.

In my next blog I will focus more heavily on Apples R&D efforts. Stay tuned!  

Wednesday, January 18, 2012