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Posts Tagged ‘Apple’

The Mobile Wars- What is Next?


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The last few years have seen the mobile manufacturers bettering each other on the hardware parameters (the processing power, the display etc.). But, there is only so much one can do when it comes to enhancing the processing power and hardware capabilities. Beyond a point, the difference that hardware makes is not worth the effort consumed in achieving so.

So, what is next?

When Samsung came up with S3, there was a sustained campaign around the device ‘made for humans’ the same thought has been extended in the next generation of the flagship product S4 being marketed as the ‘life companion. The device lives up to the expectations and offers many functionalities based on human gestures. Samsung has done a good job in making use of the ‘eye-ball’ sensors and the ones to recognize hand movements and gestures. Besides recognizing the hand gestures, it also senses the proximity of user’s fingers to activate the ‘Air View’ functionality. All in all, this is a major step in moving towards the era when the devices will understand and respond to the human movements and respond the commands of the device’s ‘master’.

The ‘Extended Humanprise’

In the coming years, we are going to see more and more of these ‘sensor’ based functionalities in mobile gadgets. This is what I call the ‘Extended Humanprise’ – the device is on its way to become the extension of the human being. The possibilities in this field are limitless. The sensors can be leveraged for reading the touch, the finger prints, the eyeball movement, voice, light exposure etc. With the combination of a few or many of these sensors, numerous functionalities can be built around the device. With companies already developing the prototypes of ‘wearable’ gadgets, many other human body movements can be used for interacting with the devices.

Without doubt, the next big thing for the mobile devices is manipulating the human-device interface through these sensors. This is an open field at the moment for companies to explore. Let’s wait and watch how these mobile companies use the technology to extend the human ‘reach’!

Categories: Strategy Tags: , , ,

This is what Apple should be doing!

March 3, 2013 3 comments

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Apple stock tanked to $430 last week in the wake of concerns on the future of the company and its future range of products. The stock is 40% down from its peak.

There are rumors of Apple working on a ‘wearable gadget’ and has even filed for a patent application. But there are doubts on the success of this product. Also, this is going to be in the low price band ($100-$200), which definitely means lower margins. Also, going by the trend, Apple now will be spending much more on marketing its products than it did earlier. Times look tough for Apple.

Now what should Apple do? I have a suggestion.

It is high time Apple gets into Gaming. Apple, especially in the US dominates the UI for mobile phone and tablets (and to some extent the laptops as well). Given the ‘mobility’ of mobiles and tablets, Apple does have a great chance at Mobile Gaming.

Now, there are many games available in the Apple Store as app downloads. Yes, Apple is also making considerable amount of money from the downloads. How different Apple Gaming should be from the normal gaming Apps available at Apple Store? Apple should make the best use of the hardware available in its devices and introduce the ‘elevated gaming experience’- both online and offline, single player and multi-multiple leveraging the wi-fi and the 3G. Currently there are a few players in the mobile gaming arena but all of them either offer downloadable apps (Angry Birds by Rovio) with online integration or online games using the internet (Zynga on Facebook). There is also another category of devices such as the Sony PSP providing the ‘portable’ gaming experience. The true mobile gaming experience is still missing.

Now, if Apple is able to capitalize its dominance of the mobile UIs and its expertise in the hardware-software integration, it can usher a whole new arena for Apple to spread its reach and find a new revenue channel.

What I want in Samsung S IV

February 19, 2013 2 comments

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Its been on the news that Samsung is ready with the SIV and will be releasing it sometime in March-April time frame. The latest news is that S-IV is being launched on 14th March in an event in New York. Many considered SIII to be equivalent if not better than iPhone 5 in specs and performance. Now with both Samsung and Apple raising the bar with every version release, consumers have also started expecting the very best in the next version of the gadget.

Here is what I expect from Samsung in S-IV (or the release after this):

1. Un-breakable Scree: In the last WMC, Samsung displayed bendable display that it is developing. I am sure, the bendable displays will take some more time to be commercially viable, but I do expect that the ‘unbreakable’ version of the same would already be available for commercial production. I expect Samsung to make it available in S-IV.

2. Own Operating System: Till now, even the bestsellers from Samsung have been using the free Andriod Operating system. The OS has been performing well but is not seamlessly integrated with the hardware (as in the case of Apple and iOS). This is a drag on the hardware resources of the gadget. If, Samsung is able to introduce its own OS, it will not only increase performance of the device but also decrease the prices of the device.

I sincerely hope Samsung will introduce the above two features, it will be a strategically important move for the company.

Categories: Strategy Tags: , ,

The Apple that fell!

January 24, 2013 1 comment

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Apple results for the last quarter are out and there are some pretty good numbers on the board- $13.1 billion in profits, 28% rise in the sale of iPhones and 48% rise in the sale of iPads. What more can one ask for?

The market did not respond positively to the Apple results. The stock fell 11%, one of the sharpest single day falls for Apple.In mid September, the stock touched a record high of $702.10 but is currently trading 34% down at $461.30.

What is the reason for this fall? One thing we need to keep in mind is that the profits and sales increase shown in last quarter is past. It serves a purpose just to post the last quarter results. The forecasts, and not the past determine the performance of the stock.

One of the biggest concerns facing Apple is finding new opportunities to create multi billion dollar productlines. The high end smartphone market that was once dominated by Apple now has numerous players. Some of the players- such as Samsung and HTC have products to offer which not only match Apple devices but also beat Apple at its own game in many of the specific areas. To add to Apple’s woes, Samsung has a presence in almost all of the tiers in the smartphone stack whereas Apple only serves the high end part. Second, Apple is present in fewer geographies than Samsung of HTC. So, there is only so much that Apple can grow.

Now if we see the tablets marketspace, Apple is facing a tough competition not only from Samsung but also from Google and Kindle among other smaller companies from China. Thus the two major categories where Apple is present have already been chocked with products from rivals.

There is one more product category, which according to some is the future of the smartphone, the phablets. Apple currently has nothing to offer in this space. This is a fast growing category and Samsung has a complete dominance in the same. Apple tried to enter in this category by offering a smaller iPad, but given the lack of voice services in the iPad mini, it is just a half hearted attempt to match Samsung.

Given the above factors and the recent drastic cut in the order for displays (Apple iPhone 5 sources its display from SHARP Corp. Japan) in the wake of weaker demand in next quarter fir iPhone 5, there is no surprise that Aplle stock tanked on the eve of Quarterly results.

Categories: Strategy Tags: , , , ,

Tablets will die.

August 18, 2012 1 comment

In 2005, when I first came across iMate PDAs (any one still remembers iMate?), I had written on my blog (which I later deleted) about the future when the laptops will become smaller and phones bigger, eventually the two will merge. Frankly, I had no idea of the missing link which will ‘bridge’ the two.

Here is an interesting case- Steve Jobs tried to his ferocious best to keep the tablet and the phone two different entities. He disapproved of a smaller iPad and even went to the extent of putting on record that “7 inch tablets will be dead on arrival”. But, if you believe the rumor mills, Apple itself is coming out with a smaller (may be a 7 inch) tab this September. Add to this the rumor of iPhone 5 having a larger display. So, what we have in the offing is a smaller iPad and a bigger iPhone!

On the other hand Samsung has been trying for long to bridge this gap. It came up with smaller tabs long time back and finally made a concerted effort with the Samsung Note. I consider Samsung Note a very important milestone in the ‘evolution’ of ‘phablet’ – phone cum tablet. A survey by McKinsey and Company shows that 62% of iPad owners leave their iPads at home.

Why?

Two reasons- One, it is not easy to carry iPad around because of its size. Two, most of the things you do with your iPad can be done with the laptop and/ or your smartphone.

With the touch-smartphones getting bigger and smarter (is is rumored that iPhone 5 will also support a bigger screen), almost all the things one can do with the iPads and tablets will be done with a touch-smartphone, thus eliminating the need to carry around or even own a tablet. A fine example in this regard is Samsung Galaxy 3. I was amazed with this powerful device. The gorgeous 4.8-inch 720p resolution display is just brilliant. This device can do almost everything- browsing, chatting, checking emails, reading e-books-  that a tablet can do, so why do we need a tablet? Yes, people might come up with many vague answers but none of them would be convincing.

So here is the verdict, ‘phablets’ are the future of phones (and tablets). The phone will evolve and gradually engulf the tablet.

 

 

 

Customer Centricity wins: App Store Redesigned

December 16, 2009 1 comment

Apple has redesigned the App Store for the iPhone and iPod touch, bringing the online store in line with the rest of the iTunes shopping experience. This is mainly to standardize the customer experience across all Apple portals.

User-Centered Design

Analysts say that the design has been re-done keeping in mind the user centricity. Though there have been complaints from developers that it’s not developer friendly. In my point of view, the design of any “service” portal should be customer centric and not vendor/partner centric. Thus, Apple has done a good job by keeping in mind the user requirements before the developer requirements.

The complete analysis can be read here