Tuesday, 26 January 2010
The real news on Wednesday will be how Apple decides to pitch the new device
By now, we have a pretty clear picture of what's going to be announced at Apple's media event on Wednesday this week. Steve Jobs's "latest creation" is essentially a giant iPhone. And that begs the question - do people really want to carry a giant phone around with them? Will we really carry two iPhones in our purses? Or will the man-sized phone languish at home, reserved for nocturnal web surfing?
The truth is that whatever Apple announces this week, it is sure to sell out initially, as fanboys, like myself, rush out to purchase the new new thing. But with today's record quarterly financials disguising Apple's diminishing iPod sales, and iPhone competitors beginning to form a line, there's a lot riding on this latest announcement.
What we should really be looking out for in Wednesday's presentation is not the specs of the new tablet itself, but how Steve Jobs decides to pitch the device. Jobs is a brilliant strategist, with a remarkable combination of vision and pragmatism. It was his "digital lifestyle" strategy, first announced during the 2001 MacWorld keynote, that set the agenda for the next decade of consumer electronics. Few realised at the time how influential and prescient that speech would prove to be. Its ramifications went far beyond the products he announced on the day. The digital hub strategy spawned numerous innovations, including the iPod, the iTunes Store, iLife and the iPhone, leaving larger competitors like Microsoft and Sony struggling to keep up.
Rumor has it that Jobs believes this is the greatest thing that he's ever been involved with. My tasting notes for those who wish to truly savor some vintage Jobs - don't get too hung up on the details of the device itself - pay closer attention to the spiel. We know what Jobs wants to sell us. What we don't yet know is why he thinks we'll want it. And that's the key. Jobs's spiel may once again provide an illicit glimpse of the future.