Apple is likely to hit serious headwinds rolling out two innovations

Update: as of Monday morning, October 27, 2014, Bloomberg reported CVS had joined Rite-Aid in nixing Apple Pay

Apple doesn’t appear to have a lot of history successfully accomplishing change management campaigns, but, in this writer’s opinion, two recently debuted Apple iPhone and iPad innovations — a software reconfigurable SIM card, and Apple Pay ™ — will need change management to deliver on their promise.

It’s only been a a couple of weeks since the last of Apple’s big annual events, the presentation of new iPads in advance of the holiday buying season, but negative industry feedback has already hit the press for both of the above mentioned innovations. Rite-Aid corporation, which, currently, maintains a US network of 4.6K retail locations recently announced its intention to block consumers from using Apple Pay at the check out counter. AT&T also just announced its intention to stop its mobile smartphone subscribers from using the SIM reconfigurable feature built into the iPhone 6 family of smart phones and the iPad Air ver 2 mobile-connected tablets.

But both of these features are truly innovative, right? So what’s the problem? Perhaps adding some definition to the worn-out abstractions “innovative” and “innovation” helps here. Arguably products, services and even solutions cannot be judged to be “innovative”, or examples of “innovation” if they fail to streamline what this writer would refer to as the “total 360 view” of how they might be applied, implemented, and even planned for.

Apple’s software reconfigurable SIM card, and its NFC Apple Pay ™ hardware actually amount to a stake in the ground into two markets product marketing may not have planned for Apple to enter — mobile telecom, and retail point of sale (POS). But neglecting to plan for these points of entry can lead up to the kind of abrasion the public is witnessing, given the press announcements from AT&T and Rite-Aid. The phenomenon is a bit like Tesla’s changing fortunes as it finds itself dealing not only with issues familiar to automobile manufacturing, but the broader issues of employment, and the actual sales structure for satisfying consumer needs for the automobiles produced through the manufacturing effort. Tesla’s issues arose when it decided, and publicly announced its intention, of selling automobiles direct to the public, leaving out the car dealer middlemen used by every other automobile manufacturer.

In this writer’s opinion, the apparent holes in Apple’s product plan for these two new features of both its smart phone and tablet offers represent a breakdown in innovation. The holes should be filled in before Apple proceeds further. Disrupting industries and supply chains requires a lot of change management. If nothing else, these issues point to a big, new, opportunity for adoption champions to help Apple fill in the above mentioned holes.

Ira Michael Blonder

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2014 All Rights Reserved

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