On the flight back from London I was reading the latest Fortune magazine’s story on Apple. There is only one Steve Jobs and in the future these shoes will be very difficult to fill. Apple is no question the most innovative companies of the last decades and the story on of the lessons from Apple is to "fail wisely". The Macintosh was born from the wreckage of the Lisa, an earlier product that flopped; the iPhone is a response to the failure of Apple's original music phone, produced in conjunction with Motorola. Both times, Apple learned from its mistakes and tried again. Its recent computers have been based on technology developed at NeXT, a company Jobs set up in the 80s that didn’t get anywhere. The wider lesson is not to stigmatize failure but to tolerate it and learn from it.
The funny thing is Apple was failing with their strategy early 90’s and they were winning in the 04’s with the same strategy? They wanted to copy HP's strategy in the 90’s. Apple struggled to expand the Mac market in 92 by broadening out into new retail outlets, including Sears, with a new, low-end Performa line. This effort to sell Macs more like HP failed due to poor marketing and poor retail presentation. Additionally, the low profit margins on low-end computers meant that PCs with cheaper components were more profitable for retailers than Macs. Few retailers wanted to invest in selling Apple's unique platform for the company, and none were interested if it meant lower retail profits. Eventually it got kicked out of the retail channel. If Apple wanted to sell more Macs, it would have to learn how to do that itself. That didn't happen until 01, when Apple opened its first retail stores. But it was difficult to get the retail economics right.
Interestingly, while Apple failed to sell Macs like PCs, it later has succeeded in selling Macs where PCs failed. Sony, IBM and Gateway's retail stores didn't work, but were the right fit for Apple. The reason: Apple's Mac and PCs represented very different products. Then In 95, Apple began playing with Mac clones hoping to help gain market shares. It licensed hardware designs and Mac OS 7 software to Motorola, Power Computing, and several other hardware manufacturers to target the low-end of consumer PCs. I remembered I bought 20 of them when they first came out for my office, they were ugly machines. And when PC catches up with performance, there were almost no reasons to buy Mac. (Photo below: Swirl MIMOBOT USB flash drive. This company design and sell a lot of very cool designers flash drives. My favorite ones include Pirae Nero by Tokidoki and ©2008 Mimoco, Inc. See permanent link)
Apple's current platform anti-strategy promises to explode the boundaries of value creation in an industry where those boundaries have long been held to be fixed and immutable. Innovation happens at the border of industry boundaries, viewing platforms are markets is the difference between revolutionaries and laggards in today's innoscape. It is becoming more and more clear that platforms are markets.
lMany traditional business strategist has yet to understand the platform logic. The increasing nature of platform logic is not fully understood from a theoretic perspective. Apple now has three very powerful platforms and we will see how they will play out: 1/iPhone and IPods 2/IMac and MacBook 2/ Apple TV although it is yet a success. What adjacencies can each of these platforms expand and where are the limits? Will Apple one day become Microsoft?
Apple recently filed a patent to infuse their hand-helds and computers with a thin film of solar cells, paving the way for a new generation of gadgets with battery life boosted by the sun. The patent approaches the prospect from every angle, with schematics to stack photovoltaic cells beneath the entire surface of their portables - including the screen! Imagine the screen is consuming energy and at the same time producing energy?
Here’s the description of the patent: Solar cells are integrated into a portable device. Multiple cells are arranged on the surface of the device such that a number of solar cells may always be functional and produce a desired voltage even if the rest is obstructed. Information regarding solar cells' functions or performances can be displayed either on the device's main display or on top of the solar cells. Solar cells are typically stacked with other layers made of transparent or semi-transparent materials. These layers are glued with shock absorbent materials. Some of these layers may be used for display or input purposes, and some layers may be coated with various materials or they may be etched with product logos or other patterns. This stack of layers may be attached to the device's frame through a shock absorber.
Solar-powered Mac is no doubt very useful. How about integrating IPod or IPhone with the toilet? Here’s the Air Poo, it has a multi-touch flushpad intuitively uses one finger swipe to send no. 1 down the pipes and two fingers for no. 2, which its built-in iPod dock and surround sound masks with "crystal clear highs and bowel-shaking lows." There's a dock for the "air" for potty-surfing, and of course, a heated toilet seat to keep your bum toasty for as long as your MacBook Air battery lasts (ok this is a joke).
This one is not. IPhone dating is a killer idea id it’s done right. Dating DNA announced the immediate availability of their new Dating DNA Web App for Apple’s iPhone and iPod Touch Internet devices. iPhone and iPod Touch users can immediately start browsing photos and compatibility scores with thousands of singles worldwide by visiting www.datingdna.com/iphone. Dating DNA iPhone Web App
The Dating DNA Web App brings the photo browsing and compatibility scoring features from Dating DNA’s popular free service to the palm of the user’s hand. Dating DNA users, when not at their computer, can now browse photos of other compatible singles, then delete or skip each match, or select to have them added to their favorites section, called the “DNA Strand.” I definitely think this is a cool apps.