Apple: The lord and master of digital convergence

In the nine-month period in 2010 during which the iPad was marketed, Apple achieved sales of more than 15 millions of items at an average price of € 600. In this month of March, Apple announces the launching of the iPad2: thinner, lighter, more powerful, faster… and with more than 65,000 specific applications ready to be used. Parallely, the market is becoming flooded with different models of ‘tablets’ more or less aligned with Apple’s proposals: The Hp Touchpad, the Rim Playbook, The Motorola Xoom, the Samsung Galaxy Tab, etc. They are all prepared for squeezing a market share from the Apple’s iPad.

How is it possible that 12 months after such a dazzling success as the iPad, Apple is already launching its substitute model?

Do the numerous differences in provisions really justify the launching of a new model?

Will the new Apple’s tablet conquer new consumers or will it have a massive effect of substitution of the initial iPad’s?

Will competitors squeeze a market share? Or, on the contrary, is the launching of their products another act of servitude and servility toward the largely domineering Apple?

Apple’s iPad products may be the great destroyers of Hp, Samsung, Dell and the consumption computer sector, as the iPhone line destroyed Nokia and mobile phones. A concept that may shed light on the Apple ‘phenomenon’ is that of Digital Convergence: A struggle for digital convergence has long been forecasted; the great telecommunications operators as well as all kinds of digital administrators acting in these areas have struggled to become the great hubs and administrators of digital signals that have an impact on and affect our daily life. Many of us think that Apple has made its vocation for industrial design, usability, graphs, the mix of business model with the product, etc. its great competitive tool. In a sense, it has, but all this hides Apple’s real competitive weapon. The iPod platform, beyond its spectacular results in the market, meant the first link toward the conquest of digital convergence; without the iPod, we would never understand the iPhone platform and without them, the iPad’s legitimacy would have never been established. Do you remember the struggle between Amazon and its Kindle for the hegemony of e-books? And Nokia’s for the mobile phones’ sector? They are mentally far away, but it’s just a matter of a few months. Cleaning classical competitors off our consumers’ minds is one of the reasons why Apple prints such speed and short cadence in its product launches. The higher the speed, the shorter historical memory. I barely doubt if Apple’s next step will be aimed at the television sector and by attempting so, it will put digital actors in ‘checkmate’.

It will do it the same way as it did with mobile phones and tablets: Without apparent sector leadership, far from technological careers as high definition or three-dimensionality; providing a design whose main virtue is going unnoticed, listening to the logic of use and accompanied by a lot of programmers and aligned companies that will flood our lives with applications and common sense… and it will do it rapidly, very rapidly. Its main weapon will be speed again, catching a whole sector unaware and with its pace changed although this may not mean redefining its platforms in 12 months and hearing a lot of criticism from union purists. Its new products will cause the remaining ones grow rapidly older. At this point of the game, Apple already knows that its clients (or rather, fans) do not purchase products; they are people who are aligned with a philosophy of understanding technology and its impact on daily life, willing to incorporate all the advances and novelties they are offered. Apple does not sell products, it manages the budget assigned by its clients through novelties.

 

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Jordi Casas

In Loop we work to make more understandable the digital world, modeling business. We believe that it is a channel for our customers business growing, and we try to make it productive.

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