By September 9, 2014 1 Comments Read More →

Apple: Will Size Really Matter?

In a nutshell, the long anticipated day of the Apple iPhone 6 announcement has arrived. Long in that today’s die was cast at Apple way back in 1980.

If rumors turn out to be correct, Apple will announce its highly anticipated iPhone 6 incorporating much larger screens: 4.7 and 5.5 inches. Apple may also announce something rumored to be called the iWatch, which is also expected to come in two screen sizes. Frankly, Apple needs to make these moves in response to in-market products that are made by Samsung and Microsoft.

During my 20+ years as an industry pundit, I have praised, or even stood up for Apple when they have deserved it. I have also hammered on Apple when it seems they were just begging me to.

But, there was always one constant. I had to keep reminding myself:
Apple builds bicycles.

Marc Benioff, the CEO of Salesforce, pointed me to a vintage Steve Jobs video from 1980 via Twitter (Thanks, Marc!). The video is here – if you have not seen it – do yourself a favor and watch it. In the video Jobs talks about his bicycle building theory applied to building computers.

The Apple strategy is brilliant because of its simplicity. And it’s a strategy that many companies in the mobile industry should think about long and hard, in product planning cycles.

It goes like this:

1. Build products to serve the one on one relationship of people.
2. Chew up the hardware horsepower to smooth out and serve that one on one relationship.
3. Use no hardware before its time.
4. Ask yourself whether you are amplifying human capability building something different just because you can.

Many fault Apple because the company has done little to massively rejuvenate its user interface in years, or to revamp its OS for true multi-threaded / multi-tasking capability. Others will say that Apple dropped the ball when the company decided not to incorporate NFC in the iPhone 5.

But the facts are that Apple continues to tweak the center of gravity, the design of its seats, the weight and the color schemes of its “bikes,” while making sure that their bikes always have two wheels, brakes and pedals where you expect them to be, and let people go faster and ride longer more easily.

In my opinion companies like Google and the rest of the Android ecosystem are a poster child for violating rule four above.

And I may happen to think BlackBerry’s BB10 is a much better operating system than iOS. But when the company launched its Z10 nearly two years ago, BlackBerry asked its loyal base to learn how to ride a unicycle.

While, Microsoft with Windows 8, RT and Windows Phone OS’s are transitioning from its experiment with a bicycle built for three.

Yes, while Apple is likely to launch bigger phones, its also adding a new faster A8 processor, NFC for payments, as well as Qualcomm’s MDM9625 LTE modem, which supports speeds of up to 150 MBPS with support for next-generation LTE-Advanced networks. Apple is also likely to support the new ultra-fast 802.11 AC Wi-Fi.

These improvements in hardware and the new features in its iOS 8 software are big.
In the end, I think Apple is keeping true to its legacy staged as far back as 1980.

Will you like a larger iPhone?
For several months now, I have been alternating between using a Microsoft / Nokia 1520 with its 6in and a BlackBerry Z30 – a 5in device and an older Samsung Note 2. At first I was hesitant to use such large screen devices. Now I find myself hard pressed to think about going back to a smaller screens. I bet you will too.

I think the market is ripe for Apple to ship a new 5.5” device, and they’re going to sell a ton of them….

Size does matter.

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