Will the new iPhones spur a ‘supercycle?’
In 2014, Apple’s release of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus spurred a massive upgrade cycle and $61 billion in revenues to Apple and their accessory partners. That was the peak of iPhone revenues. Some claim, however, that because 30% of iPhone users have a phone three or more years old, and now that 5G is supported, many will rush to upgrade. Other remind that we are in a pandemic-induced recession and that 5G is not yet important to users. Regardless, Apple’s business is more diversified than ever and its stock price continues to climb. CNBC
dis-rup-shun: Apple’s marketing sophistication continues. It now offers more models to fit the tastes and price tolerances of a larger audience, with more shiny colors, and has, like women’s fashion, made an old look (angular corners) new again. Curved edge iPhones will now signal to your friends and peer group that you are out of step and certainly don’t possess the transformative speeds of 5G technology. Meanwhile, Apple, with sleight of hand, has raised the price of the base phone by $100 by introducing a lower end model priced like last year’s base model. Will anyone notice?
Finally, a HomePod Mini
Apple has missed several release cycles in the increasingly crowded smart speaker evolution. It’s expensive HomePod, a $299 competitor to Echo Studio and Google Home Max, was released two and a half years ago and, according to Interpret’s research, appealed mostly to high income families who are Apple loyalist. Yesterday, the long awaited HomePod mini, listing for $99, joined the fray, enabling a more cost-conscious customer to combine interest in a smart speaker or pretty good music player, with admiration for Apple products. 9to5Mac
dis-rup-shun: Apple’s answer to the Amazon Echo Dot is attractive, yet what does it do for us that its competition does not? Other than being powered by Siri, which some may prefer to Alexa or Google Assistant, the device has good sound for a small speaker and attractive cloth housing. For a company that usually offers something more, Apple continues to be a follower in the smart home department — lacking that really compelling experience, or really rich service offering, that has become a part of its fabric.
When PopSockets get in the way
PopSockets, that rubber handle that sticks to the back of your phone to enhance your grip on your $1000 mobile computer, is in the way of Apple’s new MagSafe technology. MagSafe is the technology that enables you to place your iPhone on a charging surface, rather than plugging it into a charger. PopSockets fans will find that they need to remove their beloved accessory to properly charge their iPhone on MagSafe surfaces — an inconvenient truth for a company that has thrived on the back of phones since 2012 and has earned former Colorado college professor, David Barnett and his philanthropies, millions of dollars. PopSockets is said to be designing a new device which can be easily removed for charging, but meanwhile Apple itself is reportedly getting into the stick-on accessories business and that could be a problem for PopSocket. TechCrunch
dis-rup-shun: Making your fortune at the feet of a giant is great, until that giant steps on you. Just ask some of the erstwhile entrepreneurs at Netscape, AOL, CaseLogic, Intercom, and many others — companies who have lived in a niche, until that niche gets big enough to be incorporated into the core product line.
Blue Origin breaks record for reusing rocket
The space billionaires are playing for keeps — keeping their rockets running, that is. Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin just completed its seventh landing of a rocket returning from outer space. The New Shepard space craft touched down in the West Texas desert on Tuesday, beating the record of Musk’s SpaceX by one. The space billionaires have proven that the future of space travel, like airplanes, includes landing the craft intact. Another new feature of the space race is great, crystal clear video coverage of the launches and recoveries. CNET
dis-rup-shun: Today’s space race is an example of how competition in a nearly open playing field accelerates innovation. Relying only on government-backed space initiatives would result in glacial developments, spurred only by the fear of falling behind other superpower, especially as politicians are increasingly distracted by reelection campaigns and the global pandemic. Regardless of how the Department of Justice regulates Big Tech in upcoming months (or years), Bezos and Musk already have their places in history as true innovators that reshaped global commerce.