It is not the Apple Tablet, it is the Store

The recent escalation of rumours surrounding the so-called Apple Tablet / Slate / Big iPhone / xxx (where xxx is a super cool Apple-ish name) seem to focus on the hardware. The gadgetry. The hardware specs.

I am a little over gadgetry. Every week there is a new phone, device or somesuch that junks the old technology. Surely this is neither ethical nor sustainable?

But that is not where the innovation, nor the future lies for Apple. Recent Apple acquisitions, investments and successes leads me to conclude that Apple and Google are about to square off. Not in search. Search is rather boring and a commodity.

In the forthcoming weeks, ignore the hardware. Hardware is dime-a-dozen, and many vendors are going to release slate like gadgetry in a similar form factor. Rather, watch what Apple does with their iTunes / App store. Presently this system provides music, tv, movies and with the advent of the iPhone – Apps.

The next department for the store are newspapers, magazines and books. Either sold as subscription, or with embedded advertising. Just wait.

The revenue model will appeal to the traditional mainstream media – so expect a continuing avalanche of obsequious and self-serving coverage. Not of the store – but rather the hardware. Embedded within these stories will be the expectation of a holy grail. The holy grail of the future of print media, without paper.

Somehow, I doubt it.

6 thoughts on “It is not the Apple Tablet, it is the Store”

  1. I don’t know Nick…
    You haven’t done it to the same extent as I’ve seen around the blogosphere in the last short while (since CES), but there’s something profoundly irritating about technologists declaring FMCE products as irrelevant and urging everyone to focus on the content, platforms and usage cases that they provide.

    I think there’s a rush to abstract, even vacate the products themselves as being a trivial means to an end. I don’t think it’s wise to be that quick to dismiss it. There is still plenty, in fact more than ever, differentiation ground available for products out there. There’s still plenty of innovation to be done, and there’s still a lot of respect for those products and the people involved in their development. To dismiss it as “details” and confuse innovation with legal wrangling between intellectual property trolls, seems to me to be a recipe for disappointment – as well as active discouragement for true innovation.

    1. Geordie

      Note: the opinion on gadgets is purely mine – the market for devices is massive. Where there is demand, there are manufacturers.

      I suppose my “angle” there is to watch the next few weeks in relation to the expansion of the highly successful Apple Store.


  2. I agree to a ‘large degree’ with you Nick… although instead of saying its “the store” I would suggest its the ‘environment’ that Apple have created around their portable products – with iTunes being the front-end for it.

  3. It’s called value-add, which a lot of companies try to master, and fail. That comes with evolving out in front of the market, not trying to copy it, and doing a second rate job.

  4. @Nick “I am a little over gad getry. Every week there is a new phone, device or somesuch that junks the old tech no logy. Surely this is neither eth ical nor sus tain able?”

    @Fraser – I think the point of the iPhone/iPod/iPad is that the device can remain constant over an extended period of time, and still carry a very solid value proposition – update the software, not the hardware, unless you desperately need some new hardware feature…

    It seems quite obvious that Apple worked out that people were growing tired of superseded handheld devices which could not upgrade so easily without replacing most of the internals; something Androids are quite obviously replicating, rapidly.

    With iOS4 and the new iPhone 4, the bar is raised just that little bit higher, giving them a pretty good market lever to stay in front where it counts – UX, reliability, and some very useful features that no-one else comes close to replicating.

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