By Todd Bernhard on Thu, 01/30/2014
Another year, another State of the Union speech. Two years ago, Laurene Powell Jobs, widow of Steve Jobs, was an invited guest. Last year, Apple CEO Tim Cook was Michelle Obama's guest, and Apple figured prominently in the speech itself. In 2013, the focus was on returning manufacturing to the U.S., and sure enough, the new Mac Pro is now being assembled stateside. The components may come from outside the U.S. but it's a good start. And with a $3000+ computer that doesn't sell in nearly the volumes of an iPhone, the Mac Pro is an easier device to make in America, absorb any potential margin issues, and meet the more measured demand.
This year, Apple received just a passing mention, but an important one. Apple, Microsoft, and others were singled out for their help in getting every student wired. The White House's ConnectED program has a strong focus on rural communities that might not be able to afford computers or tablets, and find it harder to get decent broadband access. Sprint and Verizon will help with the Internet connectivity and Apple's contributions will come in the form of free and discounted computers, software, and expertise.
While the State of the Union gets a lot of attention, the real action happens the next day, when the President and Vice President hit the road and sell what the speech discussed. The topic was education, so Vice President Joe Biden, along with his wife, community college professor Dr. Jill Biden, went straight to Rochester, New York's Monroe Community College. It just so happens my wife is a professor at MCC, so we took the kids to see the show and got to see the famous Biden smile up close. That's my head on the left, and my oldest daughter's head on the lower right!
Education has always been an Apple focus, and one of their keys to success. I myself owe a great deal to Apple. Apple knows that investing in education, and making sure the first device kids interact with has an Apple logo on it is a long-term strategy for customer acquisition!