Check out Nathan Clevenger’s article on page 18. It discusses how Apple has used the disruptive nature of innovation—quite successfully—to compete in multiple niches. Instead of continuing to butt their heads up against the near-monopoly of Windows-based personal computers, Apple changed their focus to portable music players, embraced the new and disruptive innovation of digital music, and released a device (the iPod) and online store (iTunes) that made listening to and buying music easy. Then, they did the same thing with the smartphone (the iPhone), the PDA (the iPod touch), and tablet computing (the iPad).
The rising tide of Apple’s success has lifted others up as well. AT&T got a big boost in subscribers with the introduction of the iPhone, and it looks like Verizon is going to follow suit this year with the release of an iPhone compatible with its well-regarded wireless network. See page 16 for more on that.
A number of our writers were amazed by the innovation on display at the Consumer Electronics Show in early January. Although Apple was not there, its influence was apparent almost everywhere you looked. There was a host of cases for the iPhone, a multitude of shoulder bags for the iPad, power accessories to help your iPhone make it through the day, speaker docks to sweeten your sounds, super comfortable custom earbuds, an external hard drive for your iPad, and much more. There were also some very interesting app/accessory combos at the show, including a radar detector, blood pressure monitor, a child’s sketchpad, and a high-end massage chair that you control with your iOS device. Check out our CES report (pages 26-33) or Hal’s iView column (page 96) for more.
Tablet competition heats up…will the iPad stay on top?
Mr. Jobs did not invent the tablet computer, but the iPad made the platform profitable. It was only a matter of time before other manufacturers would try to take a bite out of the Apple. A wide variety of new tablet computers were introduced at CES, including Android tablets from Samsung and Motorola, a BlackBerry tablet from RIM, and a Windows tablet from Samsung. According to CES, over 80 tablets were on display (see highlights on page 14).
Apple holds the tablet high ground right now and will attempt to keep it with its soon-to-be-released next generation iPad. The new device will likely have two cameras, a higher resolution screen, faster processor, more RAM, and other minor enhancements. Will that be enough to stay on top?