Stealing from the market, one Apple at a time

When the iPad was released I wrote a post which turned on it likely cannibalising iPhone sales. To date this hasn’t been shown to be true. With the upgrade of the MacBook Air this week, many are considering the same with regards to that product versus the iPad. For example, over on Asymco, Horace Dediu has written another interesting article on this topic today.

While there is certainly a market for the Air and devices like it. Looking from the fringes, I see people buying iPads because they need more than the iPhone offers, but also because the the MacBook was a step too far (and the previous Air was bad value).

Apple, I believe, have been working toward covering all the potential bases they see in the Market. Now, I think, aside from a cut down phone as a partner to iPad or MacBook(Air) they’ve done that. And I can’t see them introducing a cut down phone – at least in the short term.

By following their recent product strategy they’ve followed they’ve done a number of things:

  • Allowed cross pollinisation of the usability and the technology across their entire product range
  • Created a potential “wow” moment at least once a quarter for the market
  • Allowed themselves to ignore what the competition is doing
  • Continued to support a High-end Mac Market without having to underwrite it in R&D costs as they’ve done in the past.

Naturally, and especially with the latter item they’ve put some pressure on themselves to keep delivering. Lets hope they do, but the market will decide.

Luckily for them, the gradual, iterative strategy they’ve been following has delivered them a whole new customer base. Many of that new base are only starting on their journey with the company which is likely to be nothing but a positive for the company as they look for new products from them. As I’ve written before, as long as they maintain trust with those customers, there is no reason for this not to be a long term positive for Apple.

My major concern will be their ability to keep delivering. Everything goes in cycles and they’ll need to have succession planning and other renewal constantly¬† on their mind in other to do that. And I don’t mean, as many shallowly do, just with Steve Jobs. Figureheads are important, but there’s a whole company full of clever, innovative people working there who are helping with this growth.

In the interim, and the stats appear to prove this measurably, Apple keep growing across all product lines. There is no indication they are cannibalising themselves as many have predicted. As long as the others are following Apple’s lead as they’ve done with most recent product developments, Apple will continue to dictate the terms and will continue to eat the lunch of those who follow.

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