Brand New Worlds To Conquer
Gruber posits--correctly, I think--that the big story of today's iPhone 3G launch is the iPhone/iPod Touch platform. But bigger than this, I think, is that Apple is getting better and better at presenting everything they make as part of a platform.
Look at the iPod. It's not just a device, and never was: it is, broadly, how digital music works. (As an aside, I am always impressed to look back at things Apple does and see what a long view they have. For example, iTunes, the Mac application, was released in January 2001; the first iPod wasn't released until nine months later.) By itself, the iPod would have been problematic, like it was for all the other MP3 players of the day; you'd have to get the music off the CDs, store it on your computer in some way, and handle sync to the device. But at Apple, design is how it works. You're not buying shiny-new-device, for its own sake; you're buying listening-to-digital-music. iPod is actually iTunes + iPod + iTunes Store.
The AppleTV is a platform that has been slower out of the gate, and is still beset by some problems, but that could yet become a success. The platform they're aiming at here is enjoying-digital-video. It's more difficult because movie and TV files are gigantic, even with today's ever bigger and cheaper hard drives, and thus harder to store, download, and transport. But as a way of buying, watching, and storing movies, iTunes + AppleTV + Mac is not such a bad way to go. The only thing keeping me from buying it is price and selection--I get more from my $13.99 Netflix account, in selection and quantity, than I could from iTunes. But they could add movies, get the studios to agree to lower prices (*cough*) or open up the AppleTV--an API that would talk to Netflix or Blockbuster, say--and bring me into the fold.
And now there is MobileMe. Despite its unfortunate branding, this is a much better value than mac.com/dotMac ever was, and a more compelling platform. If you think of it in the terms of its predecessors--it's online access to all your stuff!--it may not seem like a big step up. But if you look at it as a platform, it's a good bit more attractive. It's All-My-Computer-Crap-In-One-Place. With the introduction of two key features, push sync and Exchange support, you now have, on your phone:
- a phone
- all your contact info
- your music and TV shows
- your home and work calendars
- your home and work email
- your photos
- all your Web bookmarks, and a browser to view them in
All synched automagically. And that's just the AMCCIOP stuff--that's not even counting all the video games and Google maps with GPS and new App Store gewgaws.
With today's new offerings, Apple now has a music platform(iPod/iTunes), a video platform (don't laugh, AppleTV could be big and strong one day!), and an everything-else platform, which is the Mac itself.
And what about the Windows machine at work? You can access your MobileMe apps through Windows Safari (released, what, a year ago?), your documents through MS Office for Mac or Apple's own iWork apps, and now your work email and calendar through your iPhone. The tectonic plates for a work platform are drifting inexorably together.| No TrackBacks
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