Apple has "big plans" for 2014 company CEO, Tim Cook says, fanning speculation as it prepares to unleash some shiny new toys: so here are 6 reasons anything new it does introduce will get most people to visit an Apple store in 2014.
Smartphones may be de rigeur, but new technology possibilities are rendered possible by virtue of the continued drive to component miniaturization. Those components inside your iPhone are getting smaller, battery demands are reducing and capabilities improving at an incredibly fast rate. That's inevitable given the huge investments being made in these technologies by everyone involved in the space. New forms of smaller device are possible today that weren't possible a few years ago.
Technological standards are moving on. The drive to fully connected cars, cities and homes may act to shore up income for those who provide connectivity, but that drive is an industry trend you'll see continue to unroll.
Freeing software from device
Apple's shrewd move into cloud services seems set to underpin any device evolutions the company may put in place. Intelligence is moving off the device. Combine this with miniaturization and the possibility is huge.
Stable, reliable platforms
You buy an Apple product and you know you will receive a free and major software upgrade within the next 12 months. You also know you won't have to wait for your carrier to release the latest security patch, and you'll probably be aware that Apple devices have a longer usable lifecycle that those from competitors. You don't get this on any other platform: Windows PCs demand a fee for each major upgrade, while Android's software update distribution is so confused it smacks of complacency. Apple's customers know what they're getting and know what to expect. Apple now offers a multi-headed platform available in different forms for different use.
Massive global reach
Apple is top performing global brand available in every market with a retail chain that puts anything new it does come up with right before the eyes of millions of generally satisfied customers. These days it has relationships with pretty much every carrier on the planet, now including China Mobile (with 760 million customers). The implication is that any connected device it does choose to offer will be immediately accessible to anybody on the planet.
Keeping customers happy
You can't please everybody all of the time and in the existing competitive environment Apple haters appear to be generating far more column inches than any reputable customer satisfaction survey suggests is justified. If you listened only to Apple critics you could easily ignore that when it comes to product features and quality, after sales support, durability and design Apple's products are universally at or near the top of most satisfaction surveys. That reputation means it is trusted. It is trusted because it sweats the details. Maps was an exception, the reason an executive got fired for the debacle is because it was not an acceptable exception.
What's it to be?
Cook's been carefully canny in how he's teased us with new releases and references to new product families, and the smart money's pointing to iWatch and Apple televisions as likely sectors. In a sense the nature of any new solutions Apple does choose to introduce isn't such a big deal. Why? Because so long as the company follows its nose to deliver advanced but simple solutions customers don't yet know they need, it now stands in the perfect position to show millions of customers what its new solutions do, and why they want them.
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