Monday, June 10, 2013

It's all about Stickiness

The Keynote for the Worldwide Developers Conference for Apple was done today and from the comments on the blogs - it was ho-hum.  But wait, that story is baloney.

WHAT WAS NEW -   The presenters introduced an upgraded line of Macbook Airs which have increased and impressive battery life.  They also did a preliminary look at a significantly revised Mac Pro.  They also offered a refresh of OS X (now called Mavericks) and the IOS (for mobile devices) now called IOS 7.   They also created a significant competitor to Google Docs and a competitor to Pandora and the other music streaming services.   They did not refresh the iPhone or iPad lines.  None of this is real until the "fall."

WHAT WAS SAID - Tim Cook, Apple's CEO presented some interesting data.   93% of IOS users are on the latest refresh of the IOS.   That compares to about a third of the Android users who are on an operating platform that was first introduced in 2010.  There were some other metrics which suggest that the IOS is a pretty sticky platform.  IOS users are more attached to their devices - they use it more during the day.  The IOS still produces about three quarters of the developer revenue for mobile devices - that should have been music to the ears of the crowd that was listening.

WHAT'S NEW - From my perspective the product announcements were interesting but the software announcements were smart and very good.   The new IOS is integrated with Mavericks so that all of the functions work over all the IOS devices that one uses.  So whichever device you use - integrates all information from each device.  The new environment allows one to use a set of devices that are constantly integrated.  For example, if you do a map search on your laptop, it is immediately integrated into all of your IOS devices.

The Web based iWork is superb - based on the first look.  Google Docs is clunky, at best.  This looks like all the functionality of iWork with a web based product.   In the last two years I have reduced my usage of the Microsoft Office suite because it has grown to overly clunky.  Now that is no longer a problem.

iTunes Radio has the opportunity to bounce Pandora out of the box.   The deal is as follows - with ad support, it is free.   If you use iTunes match, for $25 a year; Pandora is about $10 a month.

But there were still the naysayers.  For example, Yahoo said - "If Apple has been in a funk, it’s an extremely profitable funk. The company earned more than $22 billion in net profit during the six months ended in March. Still, investors worry that the company hasn’t produced any new hits since the iPad, especially with Google’s (GOOG) Android operating system gobbling up market share on mobile devices."  But the comparisons are probably not valid.  Sure there are a lot of Android devices but numbers on customer satisfaction and adoption rates belie whether Android is going to be a dominant platform.

The bottom line is that the WWDC offered some new products and software which are likely to make the IOS platform even more sticky.

WHO IS NEW - One of the key things about WWDC is to understand who Apple is ramping up as a spokesman.  Tim Cook and Phil Shiller both had roles.  But Craig Federighi (Picture above), the software engineer who manages the integration of the IOS and Mavericks had a major role.  He was funny, if not a bit snarky.  He had a couple of good hits on the Android platform and Firefox and yet at the same time he presented a pretty clear picture of where Apple is going.  Johnny Ivy was in the audience but did not have a direct role - I always thought he was a bit new age.   His design genius is unquestioned but the new team was actually pretty good.

SO DID APPLE MAKE THE SALE - As a user of the IOS and OSX - what I saw today was no hardware that I was going to buy.  Although the PRO looks pretty awesome and the new AIR is something I would buy if I had not bought one about a year ago.   But the software improvements did two things - they made my existing devices even more useful and they added some features that look interesting.  IF Apple introduces new versions of Phones and iPads in the fall - then the Fall market will be even more robust.     If they do not, I still have a lot of reasons to not consider the Android alternative.

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