As a long-time Apple fan, I followed a live blog of Steve Job’s keynote speech at the Apple Developer’s Conference yesterday. By then, the world knew most of the Apple news: iCloud and a new operating system plus a few other shiny objects. In his set up to the iCloud announcement though, Mr. Job’s made another proclamation that struck me as profound.He reminded us that just 10 years ago, Apple had worked hard to position the desktop computer as the digital hub. But going forward, the iMac (and the PC) were destined to be relegated to being just another device – not the ‘one device to rule them all’ anymore.
Feel free to say what you want about Apple. Brilliant, controlling, freeing, restrictive – everyone has a point of view. But what struck me was how bold it was for a company that grew up revolutionizing the computing industry essentially starting the countdown clock on one of their core products.I think its rare for a company that has found great success at something being willing to start the discussion of sunseting that first core product, particularly if that core product as defined the company from the start. In fact, there are still other computing brands working hard to make it all about the computer – as the hub of digital life, home life, work life. So despite iMacs enjoying continued market share growth, Apple tells the world the computer isn’t ‘IT’ any more.
Of course, it’s easier to relegate the computer to ‘just another device’ when you have two of the hottest devices in the world, both which revolutionized a category just like the Macintosh did way back when. In fact, from a business standpoint, it’s probably smarter for Apple to focus consumers on iPads and iPhones and iTunes and iClouds as the margins are probably better. But I still think it’s an indication of how forwarding thinking Apple is to essentially say “That thing you thought was so cool 10 years ago? It’s not going to be very important in the future.” What it tells me is they must have great confidence in their ability to continue to create the next.
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