iPhone is the new Windows. Tim Cook is acutely aware of this. It’s the new platform that rains down profits, unimaginable profits, for more than a generation, demanding the CEO do everything in his power to force everything through the platform, making the platform indispensable, ensuring the profits grow, ensuring the profits never stop.
Tim Cook is copying word for word from the Steve Ballmer playbook.
This is a very wise business decision.
The profits will continue to gush into Apple Inc at least through this decade, probably longer, all thanks to iPhone. Anyone who tells you otherwise does not understand technology.
iPhone is the new Windows.
Tim Cook is aggressively working to make sure everything flows through iPhone. Thus, of course the company’s big new product, Watch, is entirely dependent upon iPhone.
Thus, the interesting aspect about Apple Watch is not its iPhone dependency, but its marketing. And the fact that Apple continues to focus almost exclusively upon Watch as a chic fashion item, not a piece of technology, is very telling.
The massive spread in Vogue, a magazine for the beautiful people and the wannabes, is just the beginning. Apple continues to market Apple Watch as a very expensive accessory that only the special people may wear.
Pay attention: this is a critical insight!
Apple hasn’t simply marketed Watch as jewelry, like an engagement ring — something all adults should aspire to purchase. Apple is actively marketing Apple Watch as jewelry that only the thinnest, most beautiful, most wealthy and sanctified should wear.
Apple is daring you nerds, you fat girls, you geeks, you middle class to even believe you are worthy of Apple Watch.
This is a transformational shift within the company.
Apple products have long been among the most expensive, but in every single case, this was marketed by Apple as being worth it. It costs more and it’s worth it – because of reliability, usability, integration, resell value, etc.
Not so the Apple Watch.
Apple Watch is being marketed as only worth it to those who are worthy.
The kicker is: is this clever marketing from the likes of former Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts? Or, is this the result of a shift within Apple, placing margins above technology, form above function?
Confession: I don’t know. Not yet.
When Tim Cook offers up these sad justifications for Apple Watch — it will remind you to stand up! in the future you won’t have to carry your iPhone and car keys, just your iPhone and Apple Watch! — I think it must be because he realizes that Watch is a complete break from Apple’s past.
And he’s not quite ready to acknowledge this, certainly not to the faithful. Instead, he is trying to justify Watch on some technical level even though he knows that technology has nothing at all to do with the success or even the raison d’être of his very first product launch.
Apple Watch is entirely dependent upon iPhone because that is a shrewd, calculated business decision. Where integration of Apple products and services once meant liberation, the iPhone is so lucrative that integration is explicitly designed for lock-in and profits. It must be so.
But Apple Watch is fascinating to me not because it’s simply the latest iPhone tie-in. Rather, because Apple seems to have jettisoned its past, its long-held views on technology and design, and instead decided that high-fashion and exclusiveness offer an even richer future.
Probably, they are right.
Today’s Apple is no longer your Apple.