Defining trends in consumer electronics take time to develop. That time is here.
With another new Gadget of the Week, is Apple becoming The New Gadget King? And what of Sony?
Consumer electronics is a fickle business where the faint of heart need not apply to do business.
The computer industry, that which is limited to Macs, PCs, and the like, is somewhat segregated from so-called consumer electronics.
Apple is deeply involved in both threacherous rivers of commerce.
For a few decades, Sony has been the darling of consumer electronics; a company so enshrined in the psyche of buyers, that Steve Jobs once said Apple would like to be more like them.
Is Apple the new Sony? Success of the Intel Mac, the iPod line, the iTunes Store, and a look at future products suggests, well, a resounding yes.
Once again, Time Magazine calls an Apple Product their Gadget of the Week, further branding the Mac and iPod maker as the future King of Gadgets.
Apple doesn’t have the breadth of products in multiple lines as, say Samsung, Sony, Matsushita, and others. Apple has something else.
Charisma, panache, cool, and hot buzz that companies 10 times Apple’s size could never pay for. Apple gets it nearly free.
Apple’s product line is showing some legs, both in how long the products can grow and prosper, and how many new products come to the line.
Time’s Wilson Rothman said some of Apple’s announcements last week were sexier than the iPods. I presume he meant the so-called iTV preview.
It’s the new line of iPods that once again gets media buzz and consideration.
Time’s Gadget of the Week article covers all the goodies you’d expect. The iPod pricing scheme, the increase in movie and TV show playback size and quality.
Apple wins kudos and fans for little touches in their gadgets. The instant sync between iTunes and iPod. No other manufacturer makes that process so seamless and easy.
Watch a movie half way through on your Mac, copy it to the iPod, and guess what? The movie picks up where you stopped watching. Cool.
The guy even liked Apple’s new ear buds. Go figure.
Gadget of the Week is not an honor any company picks up with a casual introduction of a product that will never, ever get hot.
When was the last time you read of Sony having a Gadget of the Week award from Time?
Time lists the SanDisk Sansa e280 MP3 player. It’s a nice machine. Too bad it doesn’t work with iTunes.
There’s the Logitech Wireless DJ Music System. The Pioneer AVIC-S1 Portable Navigator GPS system.
But no Sony. That’s not to say Sony’s never had a Gadget of the Week or will never have one again. Sony was the standard in gadgets.
That was then and this is now. Things change. There’s no improvement without change.
Step by step, product by product, change by change, customer by customer, Apple is changing a huge part of consumer electronics.
Despite the media buzz, the scrutiny, the expectations, the accolades and demands of customers, Apple is walking into the living room, the family room, the car, the den, and your pocket.
Your pocket? In more ways that one. If the iPod goes into a pocket, so will the iPhone.
With all those new gadgets now and more to come, Apple’s also in your pocket extracting more than just loose change.
Assume that Apple has been both patient and working furiously at the same time.
Patience is needed to roll out just the right features in OS X to keep Microsoft stumbling along with a Vista that doesn’t compare.
Patience is needed to roll out just the right features in the iPod to keep sales humming and market share stable (it won’t grow much more).
Patience is needed to work profit out of all product lines, at a time when profit machine Dell falters; sales, profits, stock.
You don’t get to be the New King of Gadgets without patience, discipline, tough decisions, and taking a few chances; pushing the envelope.
Sony quit doing that years ago and has saddled their customers, those that remain, with shoddy products that just don’t work as well as Apple’s new line.
Of course, to be fair, Apple doesn’t have the product line of Sony. Sony’s into music, movies, TV, and more electronic gadgets than God.
Can you name five Sony gadgets from the past couple of years? How about the Sony Network Walkman NW-HD1, or HD3, or HD5?
That’s a name to remember. Did you ever see one? See what I mean? Forgettable.
Sony’s failed LocationFree TV is a nifty idea done poorly, so look for Apple to do that kind of product the way it should be done.
Apple’s new project, the previewed “iTV” is the next step. Wireless media in a home is nothing new.
Microsoft’s Media Center and Xbox have had features that resemble Front Row, iTunes, CoverFlow ( a really, really poor effort), and even some of the iTV list.
Uh, you didn’t know that? That’s because it just doesn’t work well. The whole process of moving media—movies, TV shows, music, photos—from one location to another, doesn’t work well on Microsoft’s products.
Nope, no Gadget King future for Microsoft.
Apple is making gadgets and learning quickly what it takes to sell gadgets.
If you thought the original Mac was doomed because it was so closed, so proprietary, look at the iPod gadgets.
Same thing, but that’s working very well for Apple and about 60-million customers.
Not only does Apple control the design and development, they also control a big chunk of the retail distribution with the Apple Store.
Apple is creating a gadget ecosystem that works. Computer, music, movies, TV shows, portable media players—so far.
Coming up are wireless products and software to control and store and move media where we want it to go.
More Apple gadgets are coming from a patient, disciplined company that’s working feverishly to gain the crown—The Gadget King.