Apple Desperately Needs Some New Fruit

Apple

I love my Apple iPhone, but this core product debuted in January 2007.


We’re going on almost 9 years!!!


Don’t get me wrong, the iPhone is enormously successful:


– It accounts for 92% of the smartphone industry’s profits (even though it only sells 20% of the smartphones). 


– The iPhone bring in almost 2/3 of Apple’s total revenue now going on almost $200 billion. 


But, the new growth that Apple seeks in not based on any real exciting innovation.


Take for example Apple’s announcements this week:


– A new larger 12.9 inch iPad with a stylus (the Apple Pencil).


– A revamped Apple TV set-top box. 


– Apple’s iPhone 3-D Touch that controls the smartphone based on how hard you press. 


Uh, ho-hum–this is all V-E-R-Y boring!


Google has a similar problem with their core business of advertising on Search and YouTube accounting for 89% of their revenue.


But at least Google continues working towards their next moonshot, and has reorganized their innovation labs into a separate entity called Alphabet–working on everything from:


– Self-driving cars


– Delivery drones


– Internet balloons


– Smart thermostats (Nest)


– Broadband services (Google Fiber)


– Longevity research (Calico)


– Smart contact lenses


– Robotics


Unfortunately for Apple, the death of Steve Jobs in 2011 has meant the loss of their driving force for innovation. 


Despite a workforce of about 100,000 and a gorgeous new flying saucer-looking headquarters, can you think of any major new products since Jobs?


Apple is a fruit in it’s prime–ripe and shiny and hugely smart and successful, but without any new fruits going forward, they are at risk of becoming a stale mealy apple, versus a bountiful and delicious fruit salad. 


Apple is very secretive, so maybe the fruit is coming. 


I hope for our sake and theirs that Apple is seriously planting for the future and not just harvesting on the past. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Why Innovation Is On The Decline

Light on off
You’ve experienced it firsthand, innovation is slowing down (and yes, it’s quite disappointing!).  



Do you feel compelled to get a new smartphone, TV, or just about anything else…or do you already basically have the latest and greatest technology, even if it’s a couple of years old now?



But imagine, if something great and new did come out…we’d all be dancing in the streets and eager to buy. 



That’s right, innovation is not what it was…according to the Wall Street Journal, there is “An Innovation Slowdown At The Tech Giants.”



The question is why is this happening?



No, the tech companies are not copying Washington politics (sleepy, sleepy…)! 



But instead, we may have become our own worst enemies to our ability to innovate anew. 



The New York Times today explains that our minds have a toggle switch between being focused on a task and being free to let your mind wonder and innovate. 



You can’t do both at the same time, no you can’t.



And these days, we have so flooded ourselves with information overload with everything from 24/7 work and “big data,” email/texting, social media, and thousands of cable stations and billions of YouTube videos, and more that we are forever engaged in the what’s now, and are not allowing ourselves to rest, recuperate, and think about the potential for what’s new. 



If we want more from the future (innovation, creative problem solving, and sound decision making), then we need to allow some space for our minds to restore itself.



Whether that means daily downtimes, weekly walks in the park, monthly mediations, or semiannual vacations…we need to stop the diminishing returns of constant work and information arousal, and take a little mind breather. 



Instead of chugging along our insane nonstop routines of endless activities and firehose information engagement, we will do ourselves and our children and grandchildren a great service by pulling the train over for some rest and relaxation…and only then will real innovation begin again. 😉



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Google+ And A History of Social Media

Ten_commandments

Bloomberg Business (25-31 July 2011) tells in biblical terms the history of social media leading up to the recent release of Google+:

 

In the beginning, there was Friendster; which captivated the web’ites before it was smitten by slow servers and exiled to the Far East. And then a man called Hoffman begat LinkedIn, saying “This name shall comfort professionals who want to post their resumes online,” and Wall Street did idolize it. And then Myspace lived for two thousand and five hundred days and worshipped flashy ads and was subsumed by News Corp., which the L-rd hath cursed. And Facebook emerged from the land of Harvard and forsook the flashy ads for smaller ones and welcomes vast multitudes of the peoples of the world. And it was good.”

 

With the “genesis” of Google+, there is now a new contender in virtual land with a way to share posts, pictures, videos, etc. with limited groups–or circles of friends–and an advance in privacy features has been made.

 

According to the article, even Mark Zuckerberg and some 60 other Facebook employees have signed up for Google+.

 

With all this confusion brewing in social media land, one wonders exactly why Randi Zuckerberg (Mark’s sister) recently headed for the exits–a better offer from Google? 🙂

 

Google+ has many nice features, especially in terms of integration with everything else Google.  On one hand, this is a plus in terms of potential simplicity and user-centricity, but on the other hand it can be more than a little obtrusive and scary as it can \link and share everything from from your profile, contacts, pictures (Picasa), videos (YouTube), voice calls (Google Voice), geolocation (Google Maps), Internet searches, and more.

 

Google owns a lot of Internet properties and this enables them to bundle solutions for the end-user.  The question to me is will something as basic as Circles for grouping friends really help keep what’s private, private. 

 

It seems like we are putting a lot of information eggs in the Google basket, and while they seem to have been a force for good so far, we need to ensure that remains the case and that our privacy is held sacred.

 

(Source Photo, With All Due Respect To G-d: here)

>Mapping Our Social Future

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Social-network-map

I came across this interesting Social Network Map (Credit: Flowtown).

We are all part of and participants in social networking, and are genuinely hooked on it.

(Even going so far as the guy who was tweeting about his Continental flight plane crash in Denver in 2008.)

But sometimes it is hard to figure out what is going with all the social networking tools out there.

Hence, I find this 2010 map a very interesting visualization that sort of sums it all up.

The social lands are sized by number of users–hence Facebook looking like the goliath out there with 500 million users (now up to 600 million already!) surrounded on either side by Friendster and Twitter (with approximately 115 million users each).

Beneath Facebook are the “Volcanic Islands of iPhone Apps” (and add to that the Android Apps)–and with their explosive growth these are truly volcanic.

On top, you have the land of defunct social networks like a bunch of fallen Yahoo properties, along with the “Receding Glaciers of AOL and Windows Live” as well as the “Former Kingdom of MySpace”–together these are essentially the equivalent of the Siberia of the social map.

On the bottom, you have the “Empire of Google” (sounds a little foreboding with a ring of Darth Vader to it) plus there is what was then the up and comer, the “Rising Island of Google Buzz”.

Near the “Sea of Desperation” is Match.com–that’s funny.

Then there is a pretty sizable Island for YouTube with the “YouTube Triangle of Viral Videos”–plenty of those and now they are competing with the Networks and Cable.

And on the Right is LinkedIn for professional networking and a whole “United Territories of Wikipedia”–hey, the Encyclopedia of the web deserves it!

There are many more familiar sites like Digg, Flikr, and don’t forget Blogger— a personal favorite. 🙂

The Strait of Bing is another one that is apropos since search is still Google pretty much all the way.

Finally, in the center under Facebook is the “Sea of Personal Information“–something we should all be concerned about; our privacy is important and shouldn’t be overlooked, even as we open up and share of ourselves more publicly than ever before.

There really is something about a picture being worth a thousand words–I like the Map and how it portrays this activity and I am interested in seeing how this evolves as well as in how this might be applied to other social issues including everything from alternative energy to the spread of democracy and human rights.

>Technology To Make The Heart Sing

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ABC News person of the week, Allyson Townsend–an incredible young woman!

“She meticulously dedicates her time to signing out popular hits like Taylor Swift’s “Back to December” in American Sign Language for her 15,350 viewers to enjoy on her YouTube channel,
Ally ASL.”

Watching her “sing” to people with hearing disabilities is so inspiring; I am deeply moved by her generosity.

Also, I am awed by the use of technology, like YouTube, for such innovative and humanistic purposes.
Here’s to Allison and all the other selfless “ordinary people” out there who may never make it onto the news.
They are contributors to society above and beyond.