As usual, the Apple Keynote to introduce the new iPad Air, Mini, Mac Pro, and free software was done with great marketing aplomb. Tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, and then tell them what you told them works every time. Also as usual, the financial analysts are missing the point. They seem to be focused on whether the profit margin next week will be 38.1% or 38.6%. Nothing can go straight up to the moon–as we learned from Sun, Cisco, Microsoft, and many others–but Apple has a long way up to go, in my opinion. The reason is not the profit margin, although surely they will remain quite profitable. The point is that they make their products easy to use, cherished by users, and they provide great customer support. I had occasion to talk to Apple customer support a couple of times this week with some questions. I got the feeling they really cared about my questions and when one of them did not know the answer they immediately asked if I would mind if they got a colleague with more experience on the particular question to take over the call. Can you even imagine an AT&T support rep doing that?
The point about ease of use is profound. Now that Apple has made their operating system and most of their main apps free, the integration and ease of use can only get better. Meanwhile Microsoft is charging a high price for Windows and trying to make it work on all form factors and hardware from all vendors. The financial analysts don’t seem to get the seamless integration that Apple offers. You take a picture with your iPhone and then you pick up your iPad to look at it. Or you visit iCloud.com to look at it. Or on your Mac. Or your friend or family member can look at it in the Photo Stream you have shared with them in iCloud. You can text a friend from your iPhone and then when you get back home to your Mac, you can continue the dialog from the desktop or on your iPad. None of these things requires knowing much. As Steve Jobs used to say, “it just works”.
The new iPad Air will not be the price leader, but it will be the ease of use leader and will probably take far more than its share of the tablet industry profits. With a 12+ hour battery life, thinner than a pencil, and weighing just one pound, millions of people will choose to pay a little more to have it. Again, no company can grow to the moon, but it is quite conceivable to me, based on this latest set of announcements, that Apple will sell one billion tablets and be the first company to achieve a market capitalization of one trillion dollars.
Meanwhile, AT&T.com finally introduced the idea of allowing a user to have the same login credentials for both your wired and wireless accounts. They introduced the idea of having one set of credentials for one company as though it is a breakthrough. The site requires the secret questions from a short list of their (not your) favorite questions. One of them was “What was your first job?”. My answer was ibm. “Invalid answer. It must have at least four characters”. Duh. So much for people whose first job was at IBM, GM, ABC, AOL, or, heaven forbid, BP. And, your favorite color can’t be red. What were they thinking?