Mobile Innovation: Apple leading the way with iPad?
2010 seems likely to be the year that mobile communications technologies take hold of the average consumer market. With Apple’s iPhone and iTouch experiencing increasing sales and the strategic move of Google to introduce the Nexus this year, consumers are set to experience innovation in products, services and applications perhaps as much a facet of competition between the evolving interests of these two market competitors, as the actual need for the consumer to experience new technologies.
Take the iPad for example, is there really any need for this product, does it solve any new problems, or does it demonstrate the need for apple to distinguish its mobile offerings from its competitors? There is much commodity camaraderie wrapped up in the brand of apple, customers are often blindly allegiant to them, innovation is central to consumers views of the Apple brand to some degree, Apple are forced to innovate and present new offerings before their competitors, because not to do so could conflict with the core principles of the Apple brand and their consumers expectations. We all look to Apple for innovative technologies; to see them miss the boat would compromise their consumer credibility.
“And then there will be the tablets. Most industry observers, including Gadget Lab, expect Apple to release a tablet device, possibly called the iSlate or iGuide, sometime in 2010. Other major manufacturers, including HP, Dell, Intel, Nokia and HTC have been rumoured to be working on tablet-style devices. Smaller companies including Fusion Garage, Notion Ink and ICD have announced plans for tablets in 2010. And many publishers, including Wired’s parent company, Conde Nast, are already working on the software to display e-magazines and other content on tablet devices.“ – Wired Magazine
So with this extract from Wired in mind, is it really any surprise that Apple released the iPad when they did? So other than looking to Apple for innovation, what else is it that motivates consumer uptake of Apple’s new products? If there is no real market need for some of Apple’s products, then why do consumers choose Apple’s offerings over that of their competitors? Perhaps it is this? Apple has an established brand, successful product suite and epitomise values of quality and innovation. Their products often take novel and interesting approaches to what could be argued as inconsequential problems, but utilise new ways of using existing technologies or utilising developments in new media.
Apple are market leaders in technology push innovation rather than relying on market pull. Apple are design led and seek out new market opportunities as triggers for innovation, rather than relying on, or waiting for consumer or market demand for new products or services to trigger their design and innovation processes. To this avail, it is Apple’s brand values and business approach that are integral to ensuring their products remain ahead of the game. In short, they don’t concentrate on current problems; they seek out new ones to inspire further innovation.