brand

Didn’t know what to write today, and then @nilanp came to save the day:

My answer to that is great design is everywhere. Lots of tech companies have great design. The problem is not everyone cares.

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Salon posted an article last week that seemed to escape the notice of most in the tech world, but it’s a fascinating read for those interested in the business of gadgets and education.

The story in a nutshell: the LA school district, despite needing money to spend on basic things like repairing its infrastructure, bought US$1 billion of iPads from Apple with little to no discount. Which turned out to be a terrible decision because iPads don’t have keyboards and make poor learning devices for students.

Read it here and then come back. Done?

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Mac computers have been steadily eating away at Microsoft’s share of the PC market the past few years; enough so that Panos Panay appointed the MacBook Air as the Surface Pro 3’s competition.  As PCs become increasingly lifestyle products, the Mac will continue to gain share.

When we say Macs are amazing, you’re probably thinking about its sexy look and premium finish; it’s proprietary software; it’s reputation for reliability (sometimes undeserved); the slick commercials; the aspirational Apple brand; or perhaps even unwarranted PR hype.

But you’d be wrong.  The most amazing thing about the Mac isn’t all those things, things that drive market demand; it’s Apple’s peerless ability to convert demand into profit.  And that’s about good old fashioned operations.

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You’re the most valuable technology company in the world.  What do you do?

  1. Launch a fashion accessory
  2. Extend from your core competency to a new, adjacent category
  3. Neither

How many raised their hands for 1?  Yet, that’s what a lot of smart people seem to be advocating for Apple and the iWatch.  Anthony Kosner of Forbes is the latest to sing this chorus.

How do you convince the mass of consumers to consider an iWatch to be a necessary accessory for 21st century life? Make it a fashion-forward, celebrity-endorsed object of desire. Make it aspirational (to use the technical marketing term.) And then, once its value and exclusivity is established, transform it into an “attainable luxury,” much like the iPhone has become. From this perspective, Apple’s fashion executives have a lot to do. To start with Pruniaux, perhaps Apple now intends to sell the iWatch through the same retail channels as luxury watches like TAG Heuer—Tourneau and high-end department stores.

Hmm.  I don’t think anyone will deny that brand is a big part of Apple’s success; Apple products are desirable and aspirational.  However, while fashion is always a differentiating factor for Apple, it’s never been the point.

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