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Why Apple Really Kept the iPad2

October 29, 2012 Leave a comment

I’ve read several blog posts and news reports comparing the new iPad lineup and surmising why Apple kept the iPad 2. So far everyone has missed this little detail:

There is a wide range of hardware devices on the market today that were designed with an iPad dock. And I’m not just talking about consumer products.

Professional equipment made for specific industries have adopted the iPad to serve as the user interface to complex systems. For example, audio equipment maker Mackie is revolutionizing the world of mixing boards with its new line of iPad-based consoles. Gone are the mechanical faders, buttons, dials and switches. You snap an iPad into place on the board’s face and use a Mackie app for the UI. The board is useless without the iPad.

Check it out.

Professional devices like this are popping up all over the place. The medical device field is another huge example.

These professional devices have been designed around the 30-pin dock connector that we all know and used to love. Now, the iPad 2 is the lone Apple product that has one. The new Lightning connector is on everything else.

Apple had to keep a 30-pin iPad in production to give the professional device manufacturers time to revise their products for the Lightning connector. In other words, the iPad 2’s days are numbered. It’s only alive today to buy time for third-party equipment partners.

Why Launch the iPad mini Now?

October 23, 2012 Leave a comment

Today was a huge product launch day for Apple, which unveiled a 7.9” screen version of its hugely popular iPad, dubbed the iPad mini.

It’s no secret that Microsoft, donning an extreme makeover from its tablet pioneering days eleven years ago, formally arrives at the party later this week. Like a debutante whose waited years to come out, Microsoft’s tablet offer is finally ready for prime time. So why did Apple choose today to launch the iPad mini, just three days ahead of Microsoft’s big ball?

The reasoning might seem obvious: Steal their thunder. Grab market share. Make a statement about just how far behind Microsoft is in the post-PC market. All true. But there’s a more significant rational lurking behind the curtain.

Independent software developers are already faced with an overwhelming challenge to keep up with demand for applications to run on existing iOS and Android devices. Now, within a matter of days, we have two brand new devices. Like blank canvases, the iPad mini and the Surface each await innovative application developers to help define the actual role these devices will play in our lives.

Plenty of people had a hard time conceptualizing why the world needed an iPad in the first place. Now it’s mind-boggling to think about everything we do with them.  Apple hit a home run with the iPad. But it was the independent software developers who imagined, innovated and delivered life-changing mobile applications.

Put yourself in the seat of the app developer watching this week’s product launches. As if your roadmap wasn’t overloaded already, now you have a few more major opportunities for your products.

The timing of today’s Apple launch makes that developer’s job of prioritizing what to make next even more important.  Do you re-code your existing iOS and Android applications on the WinRT architecture? The Microsoft Surface is certain to find a place in the market. But existing third-party apps for Surface are “me-too” versions.

iPad mini, on the other hand, represents the start of a brand new race to see who will define the coolest new applications to fit this new form factor.

Consider the developers’ dilemma against the backdrop of these stats released by Apple today:

  • 100 million iPads sold to date
  • 275,000 iPad apps, custom designed to take advantage of the large screen
  • 35 billion app downloads from the Apple App store
  • $6.5 billion paid out to developers

Take out any Apple bias, and you see why the timing of today’s launch is truly significant to the developer world. My bet is that developers will embrace iPad mini in record numbers. Microsoft’s other business units like the Dynamics line of ERP systems will begin to see rich, engaging user experiences on Surface. And corporations will be drawn to Surface because it comes with the industry-standard Office applications: Word, PowerPoint and Excel. By no means should we stick a fork in Microsoft just because they got scooped this week.

But it will be interesting to see where these two new revolutionary products take us in the coming year. I think Apple CEO Tim Cook said it best this morning: “We are just getting started.”

The Death of Traditional Leads and the Rise of Relationship Scoring

December 5, 2011 Leave a comment

A couple of weeks ago I started sketching out a framework for something I tagged: “Relationship Scoring.” I think traditional lead scoring is dead in the water, and over the next month I’ll be developing the nuts-and-bolts details of how – looking forward — marketing and sales will rate the value of prospects in the connected age of relationship marketing.

In light of this project, I got fired up watching Mark Benioff kick off Cloudforce in New York a couple of days ago. He delivered a bet-the-farm keynote repositioning Salesforce.com as a social media company. For two and a half hours, one of the founding fathers of SaaS  — backed up by his lieutenants, customers, and industry luminaries — caroled from the same sheet of music: “Social CRM is Coming is to Town.”

 

It wasn’t much of a surprise that Salesforce lit up the Javits Center like a container-load of fireworks with its Social CRM proclamation. Their acquisition of Radian6 (one of my “Best of Web Marketing” Picks two years ago) gave Saleforce solid-footing in the social media monitoring space. Chatter, their walled-garden social network solution for corporate and customer communications, has healthy roots. And don’t forget their 2007 acquisition of Kenlet that resulted in the launch of Salesforce Ideas, the model for community voice in product development.

If anyone can shepherd in a mass Social CRM movement, it’s Benioff and company.

But how does your sales organization feel about all this? Are they clamoring for marketing to tweet more? Do their eyes light up when you talk about nurturing relationships? Do they get fired up in pipeline meetings when they hear that some really important influencer appears to like your product?

Most sales people that I work with are still interested in one thing from marketing: Leads. Specifically, Hot Leads. Warm Leads? They’ll take ‘em (and do what with them is anybody’s guess.) But at the end of the day, they just want leads.

So here is where Relationship Scoring comes in. How will we measure sentiment, connectivity to our customers, activity, willingness to endorse, and ultimately recommend or buy Product X?

I’m at the point in this project where the initial scope is on paper. Now I’m looking around to make sure I’m not embarking on something that has already been done. I was kind of surprised when earlier today I found Eloqua — one of the major marketing automation software vendors — pitching a three and a half-year-old Aberdeen Group white paper on Lead Scoring.  Eloqua is buying a top spot on Adwords and baiting with this paper published in May 2008. 

I’m a big believer in evergreen content. But I don’t think this is evergreen material. The fact that the word “relationship” does not appear in the white paper once in the context of lead nurturing tells me that there’s work to do. 

Internet Detention for the Boys

February 22, 2010 2 comments

What do you get when you put a band of brothers together with all their toys and a fail-safe battery / generator backed up satellite ISP link? Trouble. That’s what.

We’re very fortunate to have access to the Internet on this trip, but we’ve also tested (and exceeded) the limits of the Lazarus Project’s Internet service provider. For two days in row now, we’ve maxed out our 24-hour download limit, essentially shutting down Internet access for our gracious hostess. Hey, we didn’t mean any harm, Hughes. We’re just trying to convey they story of Haiti to the folks back home.

Fortunately, AT&T has waived all voice and data roaming charges in Haiti for most of this month. Cell service is extremely reliable here. On the other hand, eleven guys hammering on a wi-fi network with phones & laptops? Not working out to good.
Stay tuned. Hopefully we’ll be back out of Internet detention in the morning. I’ve got lots of neat things to share.

Categories: Uncategorized

Final Call For American Airlines Flight 1270

February 19, 2010 Leave a comment

Game on. Nine of us are departing Tampa to Miami, where we’ll meet up with two gentlemen from southern Georgia. Miraculously, we checked over 1,100 lbs. of cargo, flawlessly. If all goes according to plan, we’ll be in Port-au-Prince around noon.

Categories: Uncategorized