Tim 库克 tries to reduce Apple’s dependence on
devicesTim·库克试图减轻苹果公司对设施(贩卖)的正视And increase its
revenues from services并愿意增加劳动的受益Apple’s product launches are
not what they used to be. A decade ago the unveiling of a new Motorolawould inspire quasi-religiousecstasy; devotees would camp on pavements
outside shops as the release date drew
near.苹果的出品发布已经差别于以后了。十年前,新一款Samsung的透露能发出相仿宗教般的纵情的欢愉:随着发表日期的面对,果粉们会在苹果手提式有线电话机店外的便道上扎营露宿。At
the firm’s latest event, on September 10th, the format was the same:
Apple’s boss stood on stage, clad in a regulation black jumper, and
spoke of the world-changing power of the company’s latest
wares.在今年6月25日苹果最新的发表会上,依旧老样子:苹果的首席推行官穿着一件标准的卡其色套头衫站在戏台上,演说着苹果最新的出品种更正变世界的技能。But
the fizz was gone. The 摩托罗拉 11 looks like a
merelyincrementalimprovement on the models that have gone before
it.但场下的沸腾声已秋风落叶。黑莓11看上去仅仅只是对前代机型做了稍微的改进。斯马特phones
have become boring. Consumers around the world are upgrading less
frequently. Sales havestagnated.That poses a problem for Apple, which
has built its success on charging eye-watering prices foraspirational,
frequently replaced
devices.智能手提式无线电话机早就变得无趣了。全世界消费者的手提式无线话机晋级换代的频率正在缓慢。手提式有线电话机销量顾前不顾后。那就给苹果公司拉动了一个标题,苹果的成功是起家在让人垂涎的、频仍转移的无绳电话机设备的昂扬定价上。Its
response—to focus more on selling services and less on selling
hardware—has been widely trailed.Those services comprise everything from
extendedwarrantiesto the creation of an Apple-exclusive store for video
games, and for streaming video, on which it plans to spend $6bn and
which is designed to undercut rivals like Disney and
Netflix.苹果的影响(转向更加多地当心于出卖服务而非硬件设施)太过蠢笨了。其服务项目巨细无遗,从延长保修期到为玩乐摄像和流媒体录像创设苹果各自视频集团(苹果就该品种安排投资60亿美金,意在对抗迪士尼和Netflix等竞争对手)。The
One plus 11’s launch shows what that strategy means for the hardware side.
Apple has been raising its prices for years, but that trend has slowed.
The cheapest model of the 索爱 11 is the lowest-priced phone the
company has launched in two years.诺基亚11的公布声明了这一国策对硬件设施方面代表怎么着。苹果多年来一向在提升手提式无线电话机的销售价格,但这一方向已经款款。One plus11的最低型号是苹果近七年来推出的标价低于的手机。That makes sense: a
service-focused company needs a broad user-base. But it is a delicate
balancing act. If prices fall too low, the firm will lose its
aspirational glow (the top-of-the-range 金立 11 Pro Max will cost you
$1,449State of Qatar. At the same time, Apple benefits from a captive
audience.那不无道理:一家以服务为核心的厂商索要广大的客商底子。可是,那也是一种神秘的平衡。假如价格跌得过低,苹果将失去其令人远瞻的光芒(最高型号黑莓11 Pro Max的销售价格是1449比索)。同期,苹果也将收益于其忠诚顾客群。Users of
谷歌’s rival Android phones have many hardware-sellers to choose from,
leading to fierce price competition. Those who prefer
Apple’secosystemmust buy 中兴s. That should keep margins plump for the
time
being.苹果的角逐对手谷歌(GoogleState of Qatar的安卓手提式无线电话机顾客有多家硬件发售商可供选用,那诱致了安卓手提式有线电话机激烈的价格竞争。那多个心仪苹果生态系统的人则必需购买黑莓。那将一时保持苹果富厚的赢利。

The San Jose location of WWDC, Apple’s annual developer conference, felt
a bit odd, but Apple sought to strike a familiar tone: the artwork on
and around the San Jose McEnery Convention Center featured a top-down
view of humans, and a familiar message:

This is for everything humanly possible. A place where technology
meets the liberal arts and the humanities to create new ideas that
push us forward. Where the moments you’ve lived, the songs you’ve
heard, and all that inspires you find their application. This is where
people unleash technology’s potential . And vice versa.

This is WWDC.

The idea of Apple existing at the intersection of technology and liberal
arts was central to the late Steve Jobs’ conception of Apple and,
without question, a critical factor when it came to Apple’s success: at
a time when technology was becoming accessible to consumers and their
daily lives. Apple created products — one product, really, the iPhone —
that appealed to consumers not only because of what it did but how it
did it.

That said, it was telling that this artwork and the sentiment it
signified were not referenced in the keynote itself; after a humorous
skit about a world without apps, Tim Cook delivered platitudes about how
Apple and its developers were on a “collective mission to change the
world”, and immediately launched into what he said were six important
announcements. It was not dissimilar to Sundar Pichai’s opening at
Google I/O: when the announcements that matter are grounded on the
realities of a company’s core competencies and position in the market,
vision can feel extraneous.

APPLE’S ANNOUNCEMENTS

Cook’s first four announcements spoke to those core capabilities and the
position they afford Apple (or don’t, as the case may be) in the markets
in which it competes:

tvOS: It was generous of Cook to give tvOS top billing: the only
announcement of note was the upcoming availability of Amazon Prime Video
on Apple TV. That itself is a reminder of Apple’s diminished position in
the space: winning in TV is not about hardware or software, much less
the integration of the two, but rather content. The brevity of this
announcement — there wasn’t even the traditional executive hand-off —
spoke to Apple’s status as an also-ran.

watchOS: This garnered more time, and the headline feature was the Siri
watch face. The watch face, which implied a broadening of Siri’s brand
from voice to context-based general assistant, seeks to anticipate and
deliver the information you need when you need it. The model is Google
Now; the difference is that Siri is now housed in an attractive and
increasingly popular watch that works natively with an iPhone, while the
equivalent Google service requires not simply a different watch but a
different phone entirely. It is a testament to Apple’s biggest
advantage: thanks to the iPhone the company already owns the “best”
customers, frequently rendering moot Google’s superiority in managing
information.

macOS: This actually encompassed two of Cook’s six promised
announcements; the separation of MacOS and Mac computers was, I suspect,
born of Apple’s desire to convince developers and other pro users that
the company was not abandoning their favorite platform. Moreover, the
addition of hardware announcements, after several years in which WWDC
was software only, resulted in a very different feel to this keynote:
after all, hardware is exciting, even if, in the long run, it is
software that actually matters. That feeling, though, goes to the very
core of what Apple sells: superior hardware differentiated — and thus
sold at a handsome margin — by exclusive software.

As is always the case with the modern incarnation of Apple, though, the
announcements that truly mattered centered around iOS.

IOS 11

The iOS-related announcements, despite being only one of Cook’s “Big
Six”, could have been their own keynote; given the importance of mobile
generally and iOS specifically that would have been more than justified.
Taken as a whole the iOS segment in particular highlighted what Apple
does best, what it struggles with, and what reasons there are to be both
optimistic and pessimistic about the company’s fortunes in the long run.

Strength: Defaults

Controlling one of the two dominant mobile operating systems grants
Apple the power of defaults. That means iMessage is both an iPhone
lock-in and a channel to introduce new services like person-to-person
Apple Pay. Siri can be accessed both via voice and the home button, and,
just similar to the WatchOS update, is increasingly integrated
throughout the operating system. Photos and Maps are used by the
majority of iPhone customers, even if alternatives offer superior
functionality.

Weakness: Limited Reach

At the same time, iMessage will never reach the dominance of a service
like WeChat because it is limited to Apple’s own platforms — as it
should be! iMessage is the canonical example of how strengths and
weaknesses are two sides of the same coin: it is iMessage’s exclusivity
that allows it to be a lock-in, and it is that same exclusivity that
limits the standalone value.

Strength: Hardware Integration

Peppered throughout Apple’s presentation were seemingly small features
like new compression algorithms that depend on Apple controlling
everything from Messages to the camera to the processor that makes it
all work. The most impressive example was ARKit: in one fell swoop Apple
leaped ahead of the rest of the industry in the race to realize the
promise of augmented reality. The contrast to Facebook was striking:
while the social network is seeking to leverage its control of content
distribution to lure developers to build on Facebook’s “camera”, Apple
is not only offering the same opportunity (the results of which can, of
course, be shared on Facebook or Instagram), but also delivering a
superior set of APIs that, by virtue of being part of that vertical
stack, are both more powerful and accessible than anything a 3rd-party
application can deliver.

Weakness: Services

While Apple bragged about Siri’s natural language capabilities and
alluded to a limited number of new “intents” that can be leveraged by
apps, it is not an accident that there were no slides about accuracy,
speed, or developer support: Siri is well behind the competition in all
three. More fundamentally, all of Apple’s services are intrinsically
limited by the fact that they exist to sell Apple hardware: those
services, and the teams that work on them, will never be the most
important people in the company, and their development will be
constrained by the culture of Apple itself.

Strength: Privacy

Apple not only touted its privacy credentials, it also showed off new
features to actively limit things like autoplaying videos and
advertising networks that follow you across sites. As a user both are
very welcome; strategically, both features follow from the fact that
Apple makes money on its hardware, while companies like Google,
Facebook, and other online businesses rely on advertising and the
collection of data.

Weakness: Data

Collecting data is useful for more than advertising, though. Here Google
is the obvious counter: certainly the search company wants to better
target advertisements, but the benefits gained from data go far beyond
overt monetization. It is data that drives Google’s superior machine
learning capabilities and the customer-friendly features that follow in
apps like Google Photos. Interestingly, Apple made moves in this
direction, syncing things like facial recognition data and Messages
across devices, favoring convenience over a very slight increase in the
risk to privacy. To be clear, the data will still be encrypted, both in
transit and at rest, but that is my point: encryption means that Apple
cannot leverage the data it will now store to make its services better.

Strength: The App Store

The strategic role of 3rd-party apps has shifted over time: once a
differentiator for iOS, Android has largely reached parity, and apps are
now table stakes. They are also a big moneymaker: Apple has been pushing
the narrative on Wall Street that it is a services company, fueled by
the $30 billion the company has collected from app sales and especially
in-app purchases in free-to-play games; 30% of that total has come in
the last year alone. Make no mistake, this is a compelling narrative:
iPhone growth may be slowing in the face of saturation and elongated
update cycles, but that only means there is that large of a base from
which to earn App Store revenue.

Weakness: Developer Economics

The success of free-to-play games and the associated in-app purchases
has come at a cost, specifically, management blindness to the fact that
the rest of the developer ecosystem isn’t nearly as healthy, and that
the App Store is no longer a differentiator from Android. The
fundamental problem remains that for productivity apps in particular it
is necessary to monetize your best customers over time; Apple has
improved the situation, particularly with the addition of subscription
pricing and de facto trials (basically, starting a subscription at $0),
but hasn’t made any moves to support trials or upgrade pricing for paid
apps, despite the fact that is the proven successful model for
productivity applications on the Mac. I have long argued that bad
developer economics is the fundamental reason that the iPad hasn’t
fulfilled its potential; yesterday’s iPad software enhancements were
welcome and will help, but I suspect letting developers set their own
business models would be even more transformative.

Strength and Weakness: Business Model

This point is part and parcel with all of the above: Apple’s strengths
derive from the fact it sells software-differentiated hardware for a
significant margin, which allows for exclusive apps and services set as
defaults, deep integration from chipset to API, a focus on privacy, and
total control of the developer ecosystem. And, on the flipside, Apple
only reaches a segment of the market, is less incentivized and capable
of delivering superior services, has less data, and can afford to take
developers for granted.

HOMEPOD

Apple’s final announcement encapsulated all of these tensions. The
long-rumored competitor to Amazon Echo and Google Home was,
fascinatingly, framed as anything but. Cook began the unveiling by
referencing Apple’s longtime focus on music, and indeed, the first
several minutes of the HomePod introduction were entirely about its
quality as a speaker. It was, in my estimation, an incredibly smart
approach: if you are losing the game, as Siri is to Alexa and Google,
best to change the rules, and having heard the HomePod, its sound
quality is significantly better than the Amazon Echo (and, one can
safely assume, Google Home). Moreover, the ability to link multiple
HomePods together is bad news for Sonos in particular (the HomePod
sounded significantly better than the Sonos Play 3 as well).

Of course, superior sound quality is what you would expect from a
significantly more expensive speaker: the HomePod costs $350, while the
Sonos Play 3 is $300, and the Amazon Echo is $150. From Apple’s
perspective, though, a high price is a feature, not a bug: remember, the
company has a hardware-based business model, which means there needs to
be room for a meaningful margin. The Echo is the opposite: because it is
a hardware means to the service ends that is Amazon, it can be priced
with much lower margins and, as has already happened, be augmented with
even cheaper devices like Echo Dots (or, in the case of the Echo Show,
offer more functionality for a price that is still more than $100
cheaper than the HomePod).

The result is a product that, beyond being massively late to market (in
part because of iPhone-induced myopia), is inferior to the competition
on two of three possible vectors: the HomePod is significantly more
expensive than an Echo or Google Home, it has an inferior voice
assistant, but it has a better speaker. That is not as bad as it sounds:
after all, the iPhone is significantly more expensive than most other
smartphones, it has inferior built-in services, but it has a superior
user experience otherwise. The difference — and this is why the iPhone
is so much more dominant than any other Apple product — is that everyone
already needs a phone; the only question is which one. It remains to be
seen how many people need a truly impressive speaker.

This, broadly speaking, is the challenge for Apple moving forward: in
what other categories does its business model (and everything that is
tied up into that, including the company’s product development process,
culture, etc.) create an advantage instead of a disadvantage? What
existing needs can be met with a superior user experience, or what new
needs — like the previously unknown need for wireless headphones that
are always charged — can be created? To be clear, the iPhone is and will
continue to be a juggernaut for a long time to come; indeed, it is so
dominant that Apple could not change the underlying business model and
resultant strengths and weaknesses even if they tried.

发表评论

电子邮件地址不会被公开。 必填项已用*标注