5by5 | The Critical Path #54: Moving the Ball Forward

Horace and Moisés discuss Apple’s iPhone 5 announcement. Was there a strategic shift? Whatever happened to targeting the low end of the market? Also, what’s in store for the iPod touch?

via 5by5 | The Critical Path #54: Moving the Ball Forward.

  • stefn

    The iPod Touch is now equipped to be a shopping device, with a camera that can scan barcodes and a screen that can display barcodes. No accidents at Apple.

  • Petermillard

    I’m thinking the iPod Nano with multi-touch screen and Bluetooth 4.0 will be getting a ‘Remote’ app pretty soon, no??

  • sweeps

    My guess is that the iPod Nano with Siri and iCloud will be hired to do many jobs in the not too distant future.

    • sweeps

      Also, I don’t know much about hardware, but how difficult would it be for the iPod Nano to evolve into the iPhone Nano at some point in the future?

      Potential commands to Siri:

      Call Mom.
      Tell Dad we’ll meet him at the restaurant.
      I need directions to the nearest bakery.
      Read me recent news articles on the QE3.
      Play the most recent Critical Path Podcast.
      Play me NPR’s hourly newscast.
      What is 52 divided by 17?
      Read me my email.
      Buy 20 shares of Apple 😉

      The point being, with Siri as the primary UI, and access to iCloud, I think the Nano has a bright future for those that don’t need the iPhone. My parents, in their mid 70’s, would really benefit from a device like this.

  • stefn

    I once thought the iPod Touch was Steve Jobs’s way of reminding telcos that he could and would get along without them.

  • Tim Yoon

    Very nice podcast. The interplay between Horace and Moises is very nice. Hope to hear more of the duo. One very important strategic decision that apple made was to go for the 4 inch screen. Requires developers to to make changes to optimize for new phone. Apple would be unlikely to do this again very soon. This indicates a commitment by apple to a much smaller screen on their phone compared to other company flagship phones for many years. This also signals that apple is working under the constraints of keeping pixel perfect compatibility with previous apps and keeping the retina screen resolution ppi the same. I personally would have preferred a bigger screen (wider as well as taller) even if it would have required devs to redo their apps as I think that that the ideal screen size is a bit larger than 4 inches. Is apple afraid to make the perfect phone and disrupt themselves?

    • A good point about the display choice. A conspiracy theorist could almost interpret the choice as a preparatory move to go to lower price points in the next generation (as not going the bleeding edge enables them better to ride the component cost curves). And prepare themselves for a disruptive iPhone Maxi product line (5.5″ inch monster) that lives along side the classic product line, clearly separately. Or maybe they just truly believe their own views about optimal device size (in which case they might be misreading the trends of the youth). Or maybe they just had to lock that decision so early and can’t anymore change, even if they optimally wanted to. Who knows, this is hairy stuff.

      • RobDK

        There is no evidence that ‘larger’ screens equate with ‘better’ smartphones. Nerdy men writing for the tech world seem to forget that half the population or more cannot handle a 5″ screen particularly easy.

        It is ridiculous to say that Apple is ‘falling behind’ because they do not make these big, heavy, ungainly monsters. There is good evidence to show that Nokia, Samsung make these monsters coz as it is the only way they can get a battery into their power guzzling LTE devices. And by are those devices brick heavy….

        iPhoe 5 continues Apple’s focus on bigger screen, smaller volume and reduced weight. In reality it is Samsung and Nokia that cannot innovate; they cannot design lightweight, small LTE devices.

      • A good comment, but I wouldn’t be ready to dismiss the constant screen size increases as the revenge of the nerds, nor as Samsung’s ploy to drive value from integrators to component suppliers. There is something – though more like weak signals, rather than evidence – about the consumer need for “biggest screen possible”. People are surprisingly adaptive to gadget sizes within their lifestyles, with the help of fashion industry (man purses, anyone?)

        I do take your point about weight. There the megatrend is clearly towards lighter and lighter. And that poses a real constraint to the gadget evolution, but also an opportunity for great engineering.

      • They may believe in an optimal size (which is indexed on the size of the hand/thumb), but I strongly doubt that they pay attention to trends of the youth.

      • Tim Yoon

        The real point that I was trying to make is that Apple has probably committed to the new form factor for quite some time if they are going to make devs redo their apps. Apple would be reluctant to make a new form factor next year or even in two years. Apple is somewhat constrained by the success of their ecosystem. They don’t want to “fragment” their ecosystem too much so don’t make too many different sizes and shapes. Samsung on the other hand has taken the “market driven” approach to offer selection to customers. Their strategy is to produce hardware iterations at faster and faster cycles and offer as much choice in sizes as possible. As the smartphone market matures and the choice is not so much between non-consumption but rather between another smartphone, the diversity of device size choice and size of the installed base may become more important.

  • MarkS2002

    I found your discussion of the development of personal screens for entertainment pretty amusing, as I was listening to your podcast on Stitcher on my iPad while my wife, next to me in bed, was watching Netflix on hers. Cutting edge at 67. Ha!