Business, nearly all business, is rapidly transitioning to a world of constant collaboration, robust communication — and contracting.
In the future, everyone will be employed for 15 minutes.
The remainder of the time? Freelance for life, yo!
I think that few companies are positioned to take full advantage of this than Apple, the company long locked out of the “enterprise” and “productivity” segments.
But first, caveats.
This is not about the iPad. Apple’s slow, steady copying of the Microsoft Surface form — with multitasking, dual screen, light detachable keyboard, and stylus — are all wise moves. But the iPad, any tablet, in fact, is highly limited in function. As long as Apple charges premium prices for a device that most $200 Android tablets can easily match, iPad sales will remain middling.
I also think very little of Apple’s partnership with IBM. Apple doesn’t play nice with others. Ever. They take what they can, buy what they can’t take, and run scared from all markets that look like they just might require a lot of work for little margins.
Then there’s the Apple Watch. While it’s easy for me to mock the suckers who paid top-dollar Watch 3.0 prices for a product that’s still clearly in beta, I must admit that Watch fits nicely into Apple’s overall strategy.
Which is *not* about ecosystem per se. Rather, Apple’s strategy is to have us spend every waking moment staring into a screen made by Apple.
Desktop. Laptop. Smartphone. Tablet. Car dashboard. Watch. And, yes, television.
Apple is a screen company.
And there’s where things get interesting.
Because collaboration and rich communications — presence, messaging, video chat, voice — are all optimized for screens. Better still, for Apple, is that all these work very well across Apple devices. Start a video chat (FaceTime) with a faraway staffer on your MacBook, then continue the call — without dropping it — on your iPhone.
In a world where businesses want us to bring — pay for — our own devices, yet be assured they are secure, they offer all the necessary functionality, and can be easily managed, all while not having to pay for them out of their pocket, what Apple offers is tantalizing.
There’s a catch.
Apple has poor relationships with IT managers and despite Tim Cook’s incessant talking up of iPad in 499 of the Fortune 500, or whatever he’s saying now, Apple products are damn near non-existent in large corporate and government environments.
That may soon no longer matter.
All of us are being turned into freelancers — contractors, worker bees. As such, the company we (temporarily) work for does not supply us with a computer or a phone. It’s (soon to be) a bring all your own devices to work, everywhere, all of the time.
Perhaps Apple’s marketing of their products as status symbols — proof of means in a global economy where many are living far above their means — is a sly, evil, brilliant stroke?
Yes, the BYOD movement presents a new set of problems for businesses and IT staff. But with respect to Apple products, the IT staff are likely to feel comfortable that those devices meet the necessary security requirements, they can support employee collaboration and communication, and can be locked down in accordance with security requirements. If you’re in charge of managing IT, yet everyone is bringing their own tablet, smartphone and laptop, it may make your day less stressful if the newest (temporary) employee shows up for work with all Apple products.
What do you think?
I am not discounting Microsoft or Chromebooks or Apple’s history of poor performance with the cloud. But, Apple products are most favored amongst consumers and, well, everyone’s a consumer. And when we consumers go to work, “work” will no longer give us a phone or laptop, but simply demand/assume we have our own.
Over the course of many years, more and more Apple products will invade the enterprise.