Apple: It's time to leave Neverland !

It fits the company like a glove. Given Jobs’ intimate involvement with Pixar and the Walt Disney company I’m actually surprised “I Won’t Grow Up” was never used in the company’s advertising.

If Apple had a corporate anthem, that song from the 1958 musical Peter Pan would be it.

The above musical video in my opinion embodies the fundamental philosophy of Apple, Inc.

It fits the company like a glove. Given Jobs’ intimate involvement with Pixar and the Walt Disney company I’m actually surprised “I Won’t Grow Up” was never used in the company’s advertising.

If Apple had a corporate anthem, that song from the 1958 musical Peter Pan would be it.

For the past 15 years, Apple has been a consumer product-oriented company that reflected the vision of a single iconic leader — Steve Jobs, its dreamer and Walt Disney-like figure who created its current success formula.

After the company mourns its main source of perspiration and inspiration it needs to figure out what it wants to be when it grows up. Yes, consumer products should continue to be an important focus area, but Apple cannot continue on just great toys alone.

If we have learned anything at all from the company’s most recent 3rd quarter sales figures, we must ultimately recognize that Apple’s revenue is highly based on an annuity or semi-annuity model of repeat customers. Repeat customers are bread and butter, but it does not create growth.

Post-Jobs, Apple must exist in a world of constantly improving commodity technology being created by its competitors and enterprises seeking next generation, integrated mobile and desktop solutions that the company is not currently offering: Products which are arguably more open and can more easily attract the partners needed to create solutions.

And it should go without saying that Apple cannot compete by continuing to use the intimidation tactics of its departed founder, no matter how many tens of billions it has in its expansive larders.

Anything other than moving on to the next Insanely Great thing should be considered an unnecessary distraction.

Great Debate: After Jobs, can Apple maintain the momentum? | Jobs left future plans for next-generation Apple products | TechRepublic: Three reasons Apple will succeed after Steve Jobs | In the battle for the living room, the ghost of Steve Jobs looms large | Steve Jobs: A retrospective

It would be very easy to argue that due to the company’s huge $80B cash larders and dedicated customer following that the Apple will keep its momentum despite the loss of the company’s founder and head “Imagineer”.

However, the reality is that the company is at an inflection point and has an annuity-based revenue model where existing customers upgrade to the latest and greatest version of an i-product every 2 years, and that iPads really are cannibalizing the sales of not only Apple’s competitors’ notebook computers but also their own MacBooks.

To maintain momentum, Apple not only has to keep banging out the “hits” with new and exciting versions of its existing product line but it also has to expand into new markets.

I have suggested elsewhere that the enterprise would be a great place for Apple to do this but it would take a radical shift of company ideology to approach anything other than new consumer markets.

It is also worth mentioning that not only is Apple facing challenges of expansion but it is going to face heavy competition with ever-improving versions of Android (which according to recent market reports has been making a sizable dent in the iPad’s tablet market share and continues to occupy the #1 position in smartphone market share) and also Windows Phone and Windows 8.

I am also not going to under-estimate what Jeff Bezos and Amazon are capable of doing either, as evidenced by the very strong initial sales of the Kindle Fire and the sales projections for millions upon millions of units to be sold in CY 2012.

So what should Apple do to counter these external forces?

From a pure cash standpoint, Apple is looking very good, and could use these $80B liquid assets to purchase companies and expand into new markets. Apple currently has a very strong engineering team that is capable of continuing to produce excellent products.

iCloud also shows some promise in being able to tie all of the vertical integration Apple has into all of their products into a single seamless experience, provided that the resiliency of that infrastructure actually holds up.

While a huge cash war chest certainly gives the company a tremendous advantage over its competitors, particularly in being able to swallow up key technology/component vendors and also to secure or monopolize a supply chain, the company has to be very careful as not to attract too much attention to itself as being monopolistic, not only in the United States but also in Europe and Asia.

It also goes without saying that the litigation and vast assets the company is using as a weapon to try to “Destroy Android” as per Steve Jobs’ Mevillian wishes should be carefully re-examined by Tim Cook and other influential people in Apple’s management and Board.

The patent suits and other litigation is bringing the company a tremendous amount of ill-will from the industry and governments as a whole and could potentially backfire on them.

Android is a White Whale that no longer has an Ahab to pursue it. And Tim Cook shouldn’t be Captain Hook relentlessly chasing Tick Tock either.

Instead of disruption through litigation, Apple should disrupt through innovation alone. One of the ways that disruption can occur is through executing Jobs’ final dream: to have full digital convergence between the Cloud and Television.

I have no doubt that some sort of product that utilizes television and content consumption technologies that are convergent with iCloud and other services is going to be launched. Whether that is some sort of new, more advanced set-top than the current Apple TV or an actual television with various Apple technologies integrated into it remains to be seen.

I have argued in the past in my own writings that it is likely that something along the lines of a super high-resolution display the size of a 42″ or larger HDTV with Apple branding may make an appearance.

Also Read: The iScreen: The Next Generation in Apple Home Entertainment
However, should a product like this get launched it would not be without its own challenges. 1080p 24fps 42″ to 55″ HDTV’s have become heavily commoditized in the $500-$1500 price range.

Apple would have to provide a tremendous amount of value add (such as 3D and other technologies, such as the rumored 2560 pixel resolution) in order to challenge the SONYs, Sharp’s, Samsungs and Vizios of the world.

After all, for those companies TV sets are their bread and butter and they know this industry better than anyone else.

Besides the price points for such a device, one has to consider the complex content relationships that would have to be forged in addition to agreements with the service providers to carry a lot of streaming traffic.

Apple may have to buy or create their own CDN infrastructure in order to pull this off accordingly, at least for the customers that will have the bandwidth to be able to use a product like this in the first place.

And what of product growth for the company’s biggest cash cows, the iPhone and the iPad?

I think it is reasonable to expect that both iPhone and iPad will continue their very strong annuity stream for the next two years, especially if there are significant product enhancements coming down the pipeline.

However, beyond the next two years, things are likely to change as Android (in its various flavors, including Google’s own and Amazon’s “mutant”) continues its growth by stealing smartphone market share from the declining RIM in the consumer space and increases tablet mindshare with Ice Cream Sandwich 4.x and future versions of the OS.

Google’s Android will also likely continue to be the leading platform for 4G wireless. Handset OEMs will be willing to make any number of compromises that Apple would refuse to make in order to address business and consumer users’ thirst for high speed mobile data.

That is, unless, Apple is also willing to compromise now that Jobs is no longer there to throw tantrums when design choices are made that do not fit in with his sense of product perfection.

While there is some cause for concern that the reception to Microsoft’s Windows 8’s radical “Metro” UI may initially be lukewarm on enterprise desktops, enterprises will almost certainly start to look towards Windows 7.x Phone and Windows 8 ARM tablets as being actual enterprise-capable mobile products.

This will prove to be a sticking point with complex IT environments if these competing platforms are better suited to the BYOD model than Apple’s products if Microsoft (or Google) makes better tools for provisioning and security partitioning available, such as with the use of mobile hypervisor technology.

This gets us back to the issue of whether or not Apple is even capable of addressing enterprise needs in terms of device and application integration.


steve jobs might not created the variety of products, but his succes was in his attitude, some people see him as an evil capitalist man and others as a charismatic icon.. and they both would be true to think of such, he is one of the greatest sales person a company has ever had a spokesperson an and image to a company, and anyone with a strong will can achieve such prowers, loved by some hates by others its the price you pay for beein truly a celebrity... and yeah this song kinda fits stubborn but successfull XD

wow awesome post, long to read but very interesting, well done ! +1

hmm, interesting stuff. I'm interested in seeing where Apple goes from here?

this post is not only interesting, but enjoyable too! nice!

Lot of good info here. Good post

Funny as hell. Then it got technical, and I agreed. Overall, awesome.

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