- If you STILL think iOS vs. Android is Mac vs. Windows, then you weren't there: You remember the axiom about the '60s, that if you could remember it, then you weren't there? Well, if you still believe that iOS vs. Android is destined to be Mac vs. Windows, then you weren't there at the rise of the PC...when Apple got outflanked and out-executed by Microsoft. Apple remembers all of the lessons about over-promising and under-delivering, relying on lazy sales channels, failing to court developers, leaving pricing overhang, and failing to maintain clear differentiation and clear positioning. In this regard, the new iPad is like a walking bullet point list of, "We remember, and we'll never forget."
- Outflanking the PC and the Xbox: There were two disparate comments that I found noteworthy and telling about how well-positioned Apple is with iPad. One, was by Apple CEO Tim Cook, when he noted that the iPad, which he calls, "the Poster Child for Post-PC" sold 15.4M iPads in Q4, which was more than any PC maker sold of PCs in the same quarter. This is stunning and uparalleled for a product that is less than two years old. Two was a comment by the Epic Games exec demoing their new game on iPad, where he noted that the new iPad has more memory and higher screen resolution than an Xbox 360 or PS3. While memory and screen resolution alone do not equate to what makes an Xbox an Xbox, it certainly foreshadows Apple's expansion path into the living room. Along those lines, given the decision to simultaneously announce the new Apple TV at the same time as the new iPad, it left me wondering if there was some anticipated tie-in between the two that failed to come together at the 11th hour. Otherwise, the dual announcements felt orthogonal and bolted on to one another.
- Apple has grabbed the mantle of being the Post-PC company, and it's unclear what Google can do with Android to change the narrative. This narrative from Tim Cook during the event is particularly telling about Apple positioning: "We're talking about a world where the PC is no longer the center of your digital world. A world where the devices you use the most need to be more personal and more portable than any PC has ever been. We have 3 Post-PC products. The iPod...the iPhone, and the iPad. Now any company would be thrilled to have just one of these devices. At Apple we're fortunate to have all three...Our Post-PC devices made up 76% of our revenues...We have our feet firmly planted in the Post-PC future." The net takeaway is that through product leverage and integration, through a multi-service focus, through a device, app, media and cloud focus, and through intelligent channels, Apple has defined the 'IT' that makes a Post-PC worth aspiring for, and they keep coming back to all of the various ways that they live and breath that IT. It's the reason that when they tout 315M iOS devices (and 62M in the last quarter), it REALLY means something. By contrast, the next time you watch a commercial for an Android device, note how dis-integrated the story is; it's about speeds and feeds, and the want for more speeds and feeds, as opposed to any specific outcome. Part of me believes that Google knows this, and understands that their success on phones is fools gold. But, a bigger part of me wonders if the ramifications of how disparate their core strengths are to what it takes to succeed in Post-PC relegate them to also-ran status at a time when Apple has every incentive to neutralize Google's footprint on those same 315M iOS devices.
- Apple Segmentation speaks volumes: I thought that it was telling that just as Apple didn't retire iPhone 4 when they launched 4S, they didn't retire iPad 2. This sends three primary messages to market. One, is that if you don't need this year's model, you can get last year's model at a superior price point (i.e., no pricing overhang). Two is that we are so confident that last year's model is BETTER than anything the competion is offering even with their latest and greatest that we know it will sell like hotcakes. Three is that we know this year's model represents such an improvement over last year's model that we're unafraid to put them side-by-side in the market.
- We're Just Getting Started: As impressive as the new iPad is (Retina Display, Faster Processor + Graphics, Better Camera, HD Video, Voice Dictation), what stuck with me was Tim Cook's closing summation: "Across the year you’re going to see a lot more of this kind of innovation, we are just getting started. Only Apple could deliver this kind of innovation in such a beautiful, integrated way. It's what we love to do. It's what we stand for." Does that sound like a company that is content to rest on its laurels to you?