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ImageThis is the week where Apple makes its big product and software announcements. As usual, I’m sure there will be a mix of surprises, disappointments, and big changes that will generate a buzz on the internet. One interesting thing I saw leaked this morning was that Apple will stop giving away printers with new computer purchases. Instead, it is rumored they will give away content in the form of iTunes gift cards. 

I realize that this seems like a very subtle change on the surface, but it may be remembered as one of the first things that signaled the death of home printing. Many things have gone either ticketless (airlines) or paperless/scanable (events). Our mobile devices keep our correspondence, directions, coupons, etc. when we’re away from home so we don’t need to print those things out anymore. Documents are largely shared via e-mail or other cloud sources. Reading/notes are quickly moving to screens.

Beyond the scanning capabilities, is the home printer moving from necessity to relic?

 

One thing twitter has given us this week is a wealth of complaints about the gifts people received. I didn’t realize that so many people were so upset they didn’t get an iPhone or a car for Christmas. I wonder how their expletive-laden tweets would have sounded if they got the original iPhone prototype found here.

Yes, that looks like a Princess phone and an early computer had a baby.

 

Happy New Year!

So much has been said, read, and posted about Steve Jobs in the months since his passing. While so much was known about Steve Jobs as an innovator, marketer, and world-class jerk, It’s been interesting to hear more about who he was, personally and philosophically – to really get a sense of what made him tick. Maybe he was too guarded in life, and all of this insight about him was only able to emerge after his death.

The above video is a great example. He’s not talking about a specific product…even technology in general. He’s talking about a philosophical approach that guided the way he sees the world. This becomes even clearer in this article. What’s becoming clear is that he had big ideas about the way the world worked. These ideas made it possible for him to see something most of his peers missed. He was able to take something confusing and make it simple – to take something ugly and find a way to make it elegant.

Apple is letting go of their famous “Get a Mac” campaign, which featured Justin Long and John Hodgman in a verbal battle (Mac vs. PC).

I must admit that I always enjoyed the commercials because they were often spot on about the problems that a PC would have, and a Mac didn’t. It was a clever and quiet way of introducing the Mac to ‘regular’ people that doesn’t really know what a Macintosh is all about. People are now speculating about what’s next in the Apple era of advertising. The actual ‘Get a Mac’ campaign and all the TV ads has been removed from the Apple website, and now there’s only facts and reasons about the world of Macs and why you should get one.

So, what’s next? The problem hereafter for Apple will not be to tell people how good they really are – it will be to create a new, successful, interesting and fun campaign that can bring the essence of the brand further into the future. In two weeks Apple and Steve Jobs will open this years ‘Apple Worldwide Developers Conference’ in San Francisco, which will probably reveal many interesting stories. That tells me that we shouldn’t have to wait too long before the new introduction of Mac takes place. The question is; how creative will they be? In the meantime, you can check out this mash-up clip from all the ‘Get a Mac’ videos we’ve been seeing throughout the years. Enjoy!

Many of us can barely remember a day that education didn’t involve every child having easy access to a computer lab, a laptop in their backpack, or both. Libraries are being digitalized and academic journals are available to anyone with the right password. All around us, instant gratification is standard. Many educators are thrilled by Apple’s invention of the iPad, claiming it will revolutionize the way classrooms work, enabling children to research and explore while connecting with other students all over the world. And why not agree? The iPad only weighs a pound and a half, it’s cheaper than a laptop, and Apple already has partnerships with textbook publishing companies. The iPad even made it on the cover of Newsweek early last month with an article claiming it will change the way everyone uses computers, reads books, and watches TV.

However, President Obama spoke less-than-positively about technology during his commencement speech at Hampton University on Sunday. He stated that the iPad (among other new technology) is “… a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment, rather than the means of emancipation,” according to the Washington Post.

I’m wondering whether it would be in Apple’s best interest to begin a marketing campaign in response to Obama’s comment. Most of Apple’s current marketing for the iPad is geared toward young to middle-aged tech-savvy adults, not children or their educators. Apple’s commercial that aired during the Oscars focused on all the entertainment values of the iPad–photos, videos, games, and music, as well as its improved browsing capabilities. Yes, you can check your email or work on a PowerPoint presentation if you can steer yourself away. But mostly their marketing suggests the iPad to be an entertaining, yet intimate computer tablet.

It seems that there’s an audience waiting for Apple to notice them. People in the education system are excited about what the iPad may be able to do for students, and Apple hasn’t even spoken directly to them yet. Perhaps if Apple’s marketing focused more on the educational tools available on the iPad, they wouldn’t have to worry about President Obama standing behind them.

The past few years we have seen Apple make huge strides in gaining a larger piece of the market share and switching users from Windows to their own operating system. A large reason for this could be because of the fact that if you were to walk into a mall, chances are you would be able to see an Apple store, while there are no Windows stores in sight.

It looks like Mircosoft has finally decided to combat this problem. Last month, Microsoft announced that they will be opening up retail locations in the fall and better yet, some of these stores will be placed next to or very near the Apple stores. This is an interesting strategy and should create stiffer competition between the two companies. Even with that being said, the consumer is the one that comes out on top with this change. The ability to walk into both stores, one after another will greatly benefit the shopping experience for those who are in the market.