Am I the only one who’s found the entire industry surrounding gadgetry and computers has a certain amount of ennui around it? I blame (and not in a bad way, so read this through to the end people) Apple. Seems like ever since Jobs first unveiled the iPhone back in January 2007 that nothing’s even come close to being, well, interesting. I don’t even have an iPhone (and until they ship one on Verizon or until AT&T offers a US+Canada plan, I won’t have one), but I find it one of the most interesting and compelling products on the market.
I wonder how long it’s really going to take other manufacturing companies to start playing the game the same way as Apple does. Granted, not everyone can sport a black mock-T the same way, but they can certainly (1) hire great product designers, (2) have a great vision, (3) execute on that vision, and (4) build the same buzz. But nobody is doing it. Nobody. It’s as if the entire consumer electronics and PC industry look at Apple and just shrug their shoulders. This is, in a word, sad.
When Gretzky played hockey he was arguably the best player to ever lace up his skates. When he played, his teammates played better and the competition tried harder. Our industry seems to have the opposite reaction. “Competing” products come nowhere close, and for no good reason. This is the part that stymies me the most – it’s not exactly like Apple is perfect or anywhere close. While I’ve personally given up on Windows, I can create a huge list of complaints I have about OS X. The original iPhone has terrible problems dealing with corporate email (not to mention the accidental generation of multi-thousand-dollar bills from time to time). These flaws are opportunities for competitors.
Due to my attending CES year after year, my email address has saturated to the entirety of the consumer electronics PR lists. I get virtually all press releases, sneak previews, glimpses, and other news from major CE and PC manufacturers (other than Apple, interestingly). Is it surprising to any of my readers if I “unveil” that practically none of these companies even attempt buzz or drama? There’s no excitement, there’s just press releases and media events. Now I do happen to believe you can’t build too much interest around mediocre products, so this issue goes hand-in-hand with the “where are the great products” topic.
We’re a few hours away from Steve Jobs’ keynote at this year’s WWDC event. I’ll be watching live-ish from Engadget (not Twitter, which is neither reliable nor efficient for this type of information), using TechCrunch as my backup site should Engadget go down (or someone in my office hollers out something that they read on TC before Eng got it!). I’m sure I’ll be somewhat wowed, and somewhat not, because not everything will be exciting ZOMG news. But who cares? It’s Apple up at bat, and they are pointing to the bleachers while the other guys are still practicing their bunts.
ps – congrats to Sling Media for getting the iPhone version of the SlingPlayer ready!
pps – I own some AAPL stock, but I also own some Sony and other CE/PC companies as well.