Mature ISVs, including Microsoft, Apple, Google, Oracle, and Salesforce.com, to mention merely a few of the most prominent businesses in this industry segment, have made a habit of hosting new product exhibitions on a quarterly, or semi-annual basis. One of the usual objectives of this genre of corporate event is to magnetize someone prominent in the media to write about the new device before her, or him, as a great example of innovation. But, if some of the new products under scrutiny are representative of current trends in product marketing, perhaps the term innovation, itself, needs a makeover. Therefore, these events, in this writer’s opinion, may prove to be more of a waste of cash than anything much more.
Apple’s debut of the iPhone 6, and the iWatch on September 9, 2014 is a case in point. An enormous amount of editorial content has been created around the event, and, one can argue, Apple has benefited from a public relations success. A substantial segment of its target consumer market is sure to have more awareness about the products exhibited than would otherwise be the case.
But, we would argue, the public relations currency, upon which the presumption of benefit from the event is based, is grossly inflated. One buck in this new currency has the buying power, this writer would argue, of a penny of the older PR currency these events used to create.
The problem at the root of this spreading worthlessness, is a real disconnection between the items debuted and any semblance of a panacea for the burning needs of the targeted consumer market for the product category. In this writer’s opinion, the iPhone 6, the iWatch, and Apple’s announced tap and pay payment system are not what most consumers of smart phones, wrist gadgets and retail shoppers are after. It would not be a surprise if sales prove to be much lower than anticipated for these devices.
The difficulty of the notion of innovation is the abstraction inherent to the term. Innovation simply means different things to different people. But perhaps the common landscape beneath most credible notions of innovation includes the familiar accoutrements of either substantial lower acquisition and life cycle maintenance costs for consumers, or a substantially increased set of functionality. If either, or both of these types shrubbery are absent, there is little likelihood anything really innovative is at hand and we are all standing in a desert.
Ira Michael Blonder
© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2014 All Rights Reserved