Apple’s next innovation will be, eh, MacBooks?

There’s a lot of talk going on about Apple and what will become their next innovation. The pressure to deliver innovations get harder and harder for every year. Apple’s shareholders are very demanding and it sometimes seems like anything except miracles are regarded on as disappointments…

The buzz is about an iWatch or some new solution for TV, together with spy reports with pictures of new product details that comes from the ”next iPhone” and so on. There’s also some talk about a new, large iPad and I really hope that rumor is true.

But, we don’t hear much about the MacBooks. What will the next generation of MacBooks be like? We got a mind-blowing cylindric MacPro the autumn 2013. We also got big upgrades on iWork. It’s about time to get new models of the MacBook as well.

Horace Dediue writes:

But the bigger story is how Apple’s mobile platform has nearly reached the sales volume of Windows. In 2013 there were only 1.18 more Windows PCs than Apple devices sold. Odds are that in 2014 they will be at parity.

If you look at this graph from his blog Asymco, you can see that Macintosh (Apple’s computers) have just a small part of the amount of devices that Apple has sold.

I am sure that Apple wants to expand and gain more market shares also when it comes to computers. iPads and iPhone are fantastic devices, but most people need computers to do their work. The thing is: once someone has bought their first Apple device, they kind of want one more and then another. I think it often starts with that someone buys an iPhone.

Another trend is BYOD, Bring Your Own Device. It has been going on for a couple of years now and like Horace writes, the center for decision has moved from the IT departments to the individual user. The result is that more people are free to choose what they like and in a lot of cases it means Apple devices.

Therefore I think that the next big wave of development for Apple is not  TV-solutions or watches. I think they will start to sell a new generation of MacBooks that will be so delicious that everyone wants one. It seems like they are starting to revolutionize the MacBook in many ways and the last week we have seen evidence of a patent for flexible display device and a pressure sensitive touchpad. I think that we are getting closer to a MacBook without a keyboard… actually I started to think about that during the autumn 2010, so it’s not a new thought. Physical keyboard means more parts that can go broken. I always wear out my keyboard with my nails. It’s time for a touch board also on the MacBook.

Though, we won’t know what it will look like until we know. But I’m convinced that a new generation of MacBooks are an important part of establishing a solid market share filled with people that will use their Apple devices for work as well as private. The competitors need to work a lot smarter in order to challenge the growing success of Apple.

Apple’s genius business model

Two years ago I wrote about ”Google, Android and diffuse business models”. I didn’t like that Google and Android have created a kind of mystified business model and compared to Apple and Amazon which both have business models that are easy to understand = you get from where they get their money.

A lot has happened since that and yesterday Apple hold an event and dropped the news that they are giving away their new OS, Maverick, for free and they also give iWork and iLife for free. That is so totally, mind-blowing amazing! It makes me very happy and I feel like they really reward their customers. Read the article about ”Apple’s Free Software Gambit Means War With Microsoft”, Forbes.

At the same time, I still understand from where Apple get their money, there’s no mystery. Apple sell computers and iDevices. They have created an eco-system in which Apple ID is the key to buying apps in AppStore, music and videos in iTunes and books in iBooks. You can buy stuff from any of your Apple devices. They have made it so easy to use their Apple devices that people really use them too and they are happy and content with the experience – which is not true for Apple’s competitors. Apple also started to sell ads.

Apple has created inspiring working conditions for the app developers. One crucial part is that Apple has encouraged and rewarded an updated culture among their users, which means that Apple users actually upgrades anything that can be upgraded as soon as possible. Well, not everyone, but the majority is and that makes a difference when it comes to keeping the Apple devices secure and free from virus and malware, but it also encourages the developers since it makes it fun to develop for the future and not for yesterday.

On top of that, Apple has built a culture among the customers to pay. Apple users like to pay for music, videos and apps. To get payed is attractive for any developer that dives into weeks or months of  programming.

And now Apple starts to give away OS and software for free… One could say it’s a bad thing considering what I wrote above – maybe it will change the Apple users attitude into demanding more stuff without paying? At the same time, Apple’s business model is still easy to understand. We can see several sources for incomes: hardware, music, videos, books, apps and ads. Apple gives away software for free because they can afford it and because it will make their customers happy and even more loyal, which means they will continue to use their Apple devices in ways that brings in the money to Apple anyway. So, I think this is a very cool move from Apple.

Though, what makes it even more interesting is the way Microsoft has been fighting during the last years. Microsoft just don’t get what to do. The company used to live in a happy world where they were the king and then a little iPod started to challenge their empire in ways that they had never dreamed of. Yes, I think it started with the iPod and iTunes – that was the beginning of Microsofts disaster.

Today, Microsoft is some kind of software company with a flagship that is sinking: Windows. What do I, as an Apple user, know about Windows? I know that Windows users don’t like to update, because they don’t trust the newer Windows versions and they know what it’s like to struggle with software that doesn’t work and invites virus. If they decide to update – then they get confused when they have to choose from all the alternatives. Updating means problems in the Windows world, in contrast to in the Apple world where updating is joy. Windows is Microsoft’s eco-system and it doesn’t work like it used to anymore. The glory days are over.

Then we know that a lot of PC/Windows users bought iPhones followed by iPads and now they started to understand what fun it can be to use digital devices and their expectations on what a computer should deliver have increased. A lot of people have stayed with their PC:s because they need to work with Microsoft Office and they can’t do that on iPad.

Microsoft understood that they had to change something, so they started to add hardware to their product mix: the ”iPad killer” Microsoft Surface and together with that the OS Windows 8 for both computer, tablet and phone. But, the problem is: not many want those products. I have met one young man that was happy about his Nokia Lumia smartphone with Windows 8 – but he also said ”Of course, there are not so many apps”. ”Not so many apps” means less incomes for Microsoft and less joy for the users. Since there are not so many users of Windows 8, the developers are not so keen to develop app versions for Windows.

Now Apple give away the new OS, Maverick, and iWork for free… The given question is: what will this mean to Microsoft? I’m sure that this is the last push that a couple of confused Windows users need to jump over to Apple. It’s so easy to migrate from the Windows platform to Apple and so rewarding. If they have to send documents back to some left over Windows friends, it’s a piece of cake with the latest version of iWork – you just send the link and the receiver can make her own choice of which file format to use. So, not many issues left to solve for the Apple user.

Microsoft is left with a bucketload of problems to solve… do they even have an understandable business plan to follow? I bet they don’t.

Kodak, Blackberry and now Microsoft. Apple has caused disruption in many business models. I am sure that there will be an end of the Apple era, some day, but right now it’s Apple that’s surfing the waves and I think they will do that for at least five years. At some point there has to come a competitor that has found a new and better business model and it’s impossible to guess what it might be, because when it comes, it will be so new and bold that a whole world makes happy sighs, just like they did when the first iPhone was shown to an audience.

Belonging to the Apple cult?

One of the most boring arguments that I hear from Apple haters is that all of us that uses Apple’s devices are part of a cult.

It annoys me, because that means that I’m like under a spell and once I got captivated by that spell, my brain stopped working and Apple took over the thinking. And that is the reason to why I keep on buying Apple devices since 1989 when we bought our first MacPlus?

I guess that if you don’t use Apple devices and never have experienced the user satisfaction from doing it, it might seem to be very strange that people use Apple devices and are happy and content. Especially if your experience from Windows and Android is more frustrating and annoying. So of course, you have to come up with some kind of reason to why those Apple users are so happy and loyal.

From my point of view Apple users generally know more about their devices than Windows and Android users do, they are more interested in their devices, because they work well, Apple devices almost turns into your friend. It’s more than a tool.

That’s why Apple users cares more about their devices so that they update their OS and iOS whenever there’s a new version. Read the article on – yesterday 40% of all iOS devices had upgraded to iOS7. Only in a couple of days! My Facebook feed was full of friends that was upgrading to iOS7 as soon as it was launched in Sweden. What’s more, there are very few iPhones and iPads with older iOS.

Have you heard of anything like it in the Android world? I’m sure you haven’t. The typical Android user would explain that Android users are not part of a cult and therefore don’t follow every step that ”the leader” takes. As an Apple user I think it’s just plain dumb. To upgrade is to care about your devices. This is what it looks like in the Android world:

This picture is also from

Add the fact that Android users has more than 3000 different variations to choose from. That is what they call freedom of choice. The developers call this hell. Well, I guess there has to be some enthusiastic developers that actually like to develop apps for Androids, but if you ask me, you probably have to belong to a cult to cope with all the extra difficulties that follows from this mess of variations and different stages of upgrades.

Who’s the master behind this mess? Google. The ”do no evil”-company that gives away everything for free like the kid on the schoolyard that gives candy to everyone and hopes to become popular. Well, that’s not the whole truth. There are no such a thing as a free lunch and there is no such thing as a big search engine company giving away things for free. They earn their money from ads and payed search results. That’s why Android is free to use for everyone that wants to build a smartphone. You can do whatever you want to do with Android if you just know how to do the code.
The problem is: that’s exactly what developers do and especially in China. They figured out that all that ad-stuff was a bore and that they don’t like Google’s search engine, because they have one of their own, Baidu, so it turns out there’s not much for Google to earn their money on? You can read about that in this article from ExtremeTech. To make it worse, China is the number one source for Android malware.
Now, there are of course some Android power users and they are very easy to detect: they are the ones that actually have found out how to surf the internet on their devices… Do you think that I’m unfair and mean writing this? The fact is that research after research give the same result: iOS users surf the web, Android users don’t. It’s like a mystery why they don’t. Maybe they think it costs a lot of money, maybe they just want to make phone calls with their smartphones (that’s like buying a computer to use it as a lamp) or maybe they can’t figure out how to do it. The consequence is that Android users don’t buy much stuff from the internet either, while iOS users do – which means that more money flows in the system, which makes it more stable. An OS without money in the system is like a house of cards – it offers no stability.
By the way, Android users don’t like to pay for their apps either… they just want everything for free and believe that Apple users are stupid to pay for everything. I guess they thought it was stupid when Apple turned the music business upside down with introducing iTunes several years ago. Pay for music? When you could get free, pirate copied music from the internet? Well, it didn’t take long until a lot of people bought a lot of music from iTunes and they are still doing it and it’s not so bad for the musicians either, because, they get payed. App developers get payed, authors get payed when they sell e-books in Apple’s iBookstore.
I believe in clean business solutions. If you want this, you have to pay this. Simple like that. If you don’t pay, you just won’t get it.

This is why I want to stay in my Apple world as long as it keeps on being smart, functional, beautiful and delivering an excellent user experience.

Waiting for the bad news about Apple

I bought my Apple stocks in January and since then I have tried to learn what the stock market is like. Or, rather, what the market for Apple shares is like, because it seems it has a life of it’s own. Apple is an outstanding successful company that comes up with one great, mind-blowing product after another. Apple leads technical innovations when it comes to computers, smartphones and tablets.

I have bought Apple products since April 1988 and the main reason for that is that the products are great and I like all the possibilities these capable tools give me.

A lot of people can’t understand how many people we are that find Apple’s products to be fantastic, so they have created another explanation to why we Apple-fans buy these products and the answer they have found is that we all were mesmerized by Steve Jobs. And, according to that theory, people will stop buying Apple products because Steve Jobs died last autumn.

So, like hungry wolves they watch out for every sign that will fit to their theory. I think they are quite successful too, so that a lot of people who don’t know so much about Apple, actually have noticed this and thinks about it as a truth. Now when Apple reported it’s June quarter results, these wolves find their signs when the result is a little bit lower than what was estimated. But the fact is that Apple still sales an amazing lot of devices…

If I look at what Apple actually performs and how they sell to a larger market all the time I feel very optimistic about Apple’s future. Steve Jobs did a great job, but Tim Cook and the rest of the Apple people are still doing a great job. I can’t agree that Steve Jobs is the only key to future success for Apple. I think he has implanted methods, inspiration and high standards in Apple’s organization and that Apple is about people working together. The first year after his death have probably affected a lot of them emotionally, but I’m convinced that they still do a good job.

I think it’s more important to look outside Apple if you want to find threats to their success.  I think that Windows 8 has the potential to become a threat because it has its’ own personality and Microsoft is a company that is well known. But Microsoft has also done a lot of mistakes, so it might not be possible for them to create a new success. Then there might be someone else. It takes a lot to fight for market shares with Apple, but you never know what the coming innovations will be like. There are still (and will be for ever I guess) ways to make life easier, more productive and more fun for people and someone is bound to get a new idea that will become a worldwide success.

I can’t imagine that the Apple people walks around worrying about how to manage without Steve Jobs. I think they are on their toes to stay hungry and innovative. That’s why I will keep my Apple shares for a very long time.

To copy or create?

I have no respect for Samsung and their way to copy Apple in so many ways. It’s embarrassing. Some people claim that it’s almost impossible to produce smartphones and tablets without using solutions similar to Apple’s. That is of course bullshit and a poor excuse for any copy cat. If you WANT to, it’s possible to come up with solutions that have a ”personality” that’s differs from Apple’s. How hard can it be?

Therefor I am so happy about Windows 8 which is created for both computers and handheld devices. I am not a Microsoft fan and the simple reason is that I think that Apple comes up with better products. Though, when it comes to Windows 8 I think Microsoft has made a huge effort to come up with something that has it’s own personality. I haven’t got a clue about how it works, I can only tell from the looks, but it makes me happy.

I think it’s been rather boring for a while with Apple at the top and no real competitors, just a bunch of ”wanna-be-Apple-companies”. Even Apple needs some competitors to count with. To compete with companies like Samsung that never seems to come up with great ideas could probably turn Apple into a fat cat – content, safe and not trying hard enough.

Also, Apple needs inspiration to keep up the ”Think Different”-attitude. A mental kick, some irritation and a competitor that comes up with good solutions means a lot.

I repeat: I know nothing about how good Windows 8 is when you actually use it, but it looks different from the other solutions I’ve seen and that’s a very good start.

So, even though I still think most people would be happier if they used Apple’s computers and devices, I also think that Microsoft has done a honorable effort to create something of their own. They are worth a lot of credit for that. It will also make it easy for people to recognize Windows 8 because it has a very specific design.

That’s another reason to why I don’t understand all the copy-cats – people will think of them as an option for those who can’t afford Apple or have other reasons for not being able to use the devices they would prefer to use, like on working places were they make overall decisions to buy Android smartphones and everyone seems to get a bit ashamed when they use their HTC or whatever it is. So ashamed that they come up with excuses ”I wish I could have an iPhone of course… but…”