OK, so I’m a little bit of a technophile (OK, a big one), so excuse my enthusiasm. But today is the end of the last week before the Apple tablet is introduced (hopefully – they haven’t actually confirmed that that is what their January 27 announcement will be about). After next week, computing as well as information and media consumption will begin its dramatic shift into a new era. This week is the end of the old era.
Strong predictions, but consider that virtually every major Apple introduction (when Steve Jobs has been at the helm) has fundamentally changed some aspect of our lives. Apple’s first machines ushered in the personal computing era. Apple’s MacIntosh ushered in computing’s graphical user interface. Apple’s iPod changed how we listen to music, iTunes changed the entire music distribution industry, and the iPhone/iTouch changed our concept of mobile phones. Apple wasn’t always the first in a category, but their innovative products consistently propel nascent industries into integral parts of our lives.
Companies (Microsoft and its partners in particular) have tried for years to make tablet computers a successful market segment, but they’ve always come up short. Next week, however, Apple is ready, and (according to rumors) not just with a product but with partners and supporting services to make the offering another potential market changer.
As marketers, there are so many lessons we can learn from Apple, from their ability to create innovative and exciting products, to their marketing efforts. Mostly, though, I’m in awe of how so thoroughly and completely they’ve created a branding position, and solidified it year-after-year in an industry where 10 years is the equivalent to a lifetime in other industries. When you think of Apple, what do you think of? Innovative, cool, must-have products? Is there anyone, anywhere who doesn’t share that image of them? I’m sure even Al Ries tips his hat to Steve Jobs.
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