Saturday, August 25, 2007

Viva revolution!

As everyone walked out of the MacWorld Expo Keynote last January, spellbound at the prophecy that Steve so gloriously delivered to all fanboys, it struck me : While the iPhone was a heck of an announcement, it was what WASN'T announced that was almost as cool. No, it was even cooler.

I mean, WAY COOL.

Let me indulge your imagination for a second. Imagine a lineup of Apple products with the iPhone dead center. To the left you would have the lesser capable ipods, and to the right would be a MacBook, then a MacBook Pro, etc.

There should be an additional products both to the right and left of the iPhone.

To the left should be a widescreen iPod. Cool, but we all expect that.

To the right should be a larger iPhone. A small tablet computer if you will. Its not quite a MacBook, but its more than an iPhone with its larger screen, more storage, "smart ports", optional bluetooth keyboard/mouse and other little goodies.

This is the product that we all want the iPhone to be. A truely ultraportable Mac. Something that can run third party appls. A device that fully takes the idea of ubiquitous computing to the next level.

Regardless of the genius of the hacking done on the iPhone, it will not, CAN NOT, be this device. Apple's relationships with the mobile carriers, etc. prohibits the iPhone from being a full development platform. This new device doesn't come with the restrictions of the iPhone 'cause its not tied to the carriers. Sure you can add an EVDO card, etc. but this device only ships with WIFI and bluetooth as network connections.

What Steve showed us in the keynote is that Apple can, AND WILL be sticking OSX into all sorts of devices that we wouldn't have considered possible a year earlier. Apple's little "hobby" product, AppleTV can run OSX. The iPhone runs OSX. These are both sub $500 units that are essentially fully capable OSX machines.

That is the hidden revolution.

Steve had to drop "Computer" from the Apple brand. They aren't a computer company anymore and haven't been for a few years. Changing its name was the public acknowledgement that Apple is no longer just a computer company brand and signaled their intentions to spread into other areas. Apple is transforming into a LIFESTYLE brand. The war isn't about computers anymore, because computers aren't what they were 20 years ago.

Microsoft kinda gets it, but can't execute to save their lives. Sure they still slay revenues with Office and Windows, but Apple's large revenue and profit growth is coming from new product sectors in ways that Bill can only dream of.

And its not just Microsoft that should be scared. In the 80's SONY defined the ultimate lifestyle brand. Now they too look longingly at Apple. What about the music industry? Today the music comes through traditional music labels, but that business model was based on radio distribution. Apple changed that too with iTunes. I'd suggest if they're not scared now, they should be.

The bottom line is that Steve's vision is more far reaching than what we've seen. His vision is truely revolutionary and when you see him smile, you now know what's behind that devilish grin that makes you think he knows something you don't.

Let the revolution begin!

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