Really? No, really. The problem here is plain old numbers. Name a product that people buy in the hundreds of millions each year. Burgers? No, products. Technology products. High on the list is today’s version of the smartphone, perhaps the most successful single technology product in the history of man. What’s next?
On Watches, Buttons, And Glasses
Apple may also be the most watched technology company on planet earth, so it’s not likely to surprise too many of us with a new product category no one thought of yet.
That’s not Apple’s style. After all, there were portable media players before the iPod. Apple just figured out a better way to package the whole music listening (and then, buying) experience.
Touchscreen smartphones and tablets existed long before the iPhone and iPad, so Apple’s industry disruptions are not typically bringing in new product categories, but remaking existing categories.
Yet, for all of Apple’s success in the 21st century, the product with the most success– total numbers, total revenue, total profits– is the iPhone. Nothing else is close.
The question many Apple watchers ask is a simple, “Is there life after the iPhone?”
Put another way, are there product category opportunities that rival the iPhone’s success in units sold, revenue, and profits? Perhaps not. But with a planet population of just over 7-billion people, and smartphones in use remains less than 2-billion, so there is plenty of upside for Apple. And competitors.
What other technology products do humans want, need, use, and are willing to pay to get? And are sold in very large numbers at high prices each year?
Watches? No, not really. Buttons? Sensors already compete at that size. Glasses? Perhaps, but glasses are not yet high tech products. How about health and location sensors? How about devices which help you buy products? Credit cards are high tech, too, and most of us in the developed world have more than one.
As far as my imagination allows, Apple may have already climbed the highest peak with the iPhone. What about you? Does Apple have a next great thing waiting in the wings? Or, is the iPhone the end of the road for monolithic product successes?