Friday, January 25, 2008
Macbook Air: iPod or Newton?
Remember what the convential wisdom was regarding the iPod when it launched?
That it was pretty, but was easily outcompeted by other mp3 players offering better features - more memory, bigger screens, etc, etc - and so it was doomed to fail.
The iPod got slammed on it's release - because almost everyone failed to understand that Jobs wasn't playing an orthodox game of feature-based (aka price) competition.
Apple wasn't trying to incrementally improve a failing value proposition - but to blow it up entirely, and open up new strategic trajectories for an almost entirely moribund consumer electronics industry.
I think it would be wise to place the anti-hype surrounding the Macbook Air firmly in that context.
"cool" also has a shelf-life, and can cause a whole lot of problems, from labor conditions to landfills...
so, yes, the energy and the trajectory can be laudable, but i still don't put him or the company on a pedestal... interesting, but not sustainable
I think both the hype and the anti-hype around the Air are misplaced. It's not a new product category, and it's not a major strategic shift.
It's just a sign that Mac sales have improved to the point where there's enough volume to support more niche products like the Air. It's a bit like the ipod shuffle vs. the ipod.