User Activity Engagement Framework for the Multiscreen Post-PC Era

Before we begin to apply the Strategic Innovation Framework to generate the Multidimensional Strategic Product Roadmap for the Apple iPhone, we must first understand the strategic relationship between the Apple iPod, presented previously, and its closest sibling the Apple iPhone. The optimal manner in which to understand this strategic relationship is to visualize it in the overall context of Apple's complete product portfolio. Moreover, by augmenting Apple's complete portfolio with the additional strategic dimensions of user activity and user time, we are able to construct a very powerful and insightful visual representation of user activity engagement in the post-PC era as presented in the diagram below.

We call this diagram the Multidimensional User Activity Engagement Framework for the Post-PC Era. This engagement framework is also referred to as the Inocle Time Diagram for the Post-PC Era, or simply iTime for short, as it represents the most important strategic asset in the post-PC era, user time, distributed across the two most important strategic dimensions of the post-PC era, user activity state and preferred user device.

 

All major players in the post-PC era, including Apple, Google, Microsoft, Samsung, and Amazon, are now rushing to capture the rarest of all assets in the post-PC era: user engagement time. To capture the maximal amount of user time in a 24 hour period, these major players are offering users a wide variety wearable post-PC devices (such as Internet watches and Internet glasses), mobile post-PC devices (such as pods/media players, smartphones, and pads/tablets), and non-mobile post-PC devices (such as HD TVs, UHD TVs, set top boxes, and gaming consoles), as well as traditional laptop PC devices and traditional desktop PC devices, as shown along the horizontal pink arrow in the iTime user engagement diagram above. Moreover, these companies are optimizing their complete product portfolio of devices for specific user activities, or use cases, including on-the-go use cases, at-work use cases, at-play uses cases, and while-asleep use cases, as shown along the vertical purple arrow in the iTime diagram above.

 

By referring to the iTime user engagement diagram, we can clearly see that the Apple iPod post-PC device has been optimized to target on-the-go use cases, at-play use cases, and selective while-asleep use cases; the Apple iPhone post-PC device has been optimized for on-the-go use cases, selective at-work use cases, and selective at-play use cases; the Apple iPad post-PC device has been optimized to support a wide variety of use cases, including selective on-the-go use cases, at-play use cases, reading use cases, and selective glued-to-the-tube use cases; the Apple MacBook Pro traditional PC device has been optimized to support selective on-the-go use cases, at-work use cases, selective at-play use cases, and some reading and glued-to-the-tube use cases; the Apple iMac traditional PC device has been optimized for at-work use cases, selective at-play use cases, and some reading and glued-to-the-tube use cases; and finally the future Apple iTV is expected to be optimized for selective at-play use cases, some reading use cases, and highly optimized for glued-to-the-tube use cases.

 

Killer Apps and Killer Cloud Services for the Multiscreen Post-PC Era

 

The PC era was defined by a single hardware device, the personal computer, and a single software platform, the Microsoft Windows operating system. This single device and this single platform gave rise to a rich, vibrant, and innovative PC ecosystem of independent software vendors (ISVs) writing software applications for Windows and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) designing and building PCs for businesses and consumers around the world. From this highly competitive and innovative ecosystem, a set of game changing, or killer applications, emerged that defined the compelling reasons for businesses and consumers to purchase a new personal computer. Killer applications, or killer apps, for the PC era included spreadsheets, such as Lotus 123 and Microsoft Excel, word processing programs, such as Word Perfect and Microsoft Word, database applications, such as Ashton-Tate dBase and Microsoft Access, creative applications, such as Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop, and office productivity suites, such as Microsoft Office.

 

Given this historical background for the PC era, the key question now becomes "What are the game changing apps and services for the post-PC era?" Because the post-PC era is not one of a single device and a single platform like the PC era, the answer to the simple question posed above is more complex. Try to answer it yourself in your own mind before you read any further. Not so easy, is it?

 

To help us answer this key question in the multiscreen world that we live in today, we shall leverage the iTime Diagram for the Post-PC Era presented previously as our foundation and alter its viewpoint to focus on game changing applications, killer apps, and game changing Internet services, or killer cloud services, rather than the temporal distribution of user activity. When we do so, we are able to generate a powerful visual representation of user activity distributed not over time, but over killer apps and killer cloud services, as depicted in the diagram below.

We call this diagram the Multidimensional Killer App & Cloud Service Framework for the Post-PC Era, as it represents the set of strategic software applications (killer apps) and strategic Internet services (killer cloud services) that compel consumers and businesses to purchase new devices and continue to actively engage with existing devices each and every day all year long, thereby providing the post-PC ecosystem with a continuous flow of revenue from sales, subscriptions, and advertising across devices, applications, cloud services, and media content.

The killer apps and cloud services framework organizes and positions state-of-the-art post-PC apps and cloud services as of mid-2013 across the strategic dimensions of user activity time and preferred user device. As depicted above, the framework identifies a wide range of killer post-PC apps and cloud services, including media and entertainment apps and services, such as Google YouTube, Netflix, and Rovio Angry Birds; communication and social apps and services, such as Google Gmail, Skype, and Facebook; search and navigation apps and services, such as Google and Google Maps; reading and surfing apps and services, such as Amazon Kindle and Apple Safari; productivity and creative apps and services, such Evernote and Apple iMovie; and synchronization and enterprise apps and services, such as Dropbox and Salesforce.com.

Given the conceptual frameworks presented above in post-PC user engagement and post-PC apps and services, as depicted by the multidimensional user activity engagement framework for the post-PC era and the multidimensional killer app and cloud service framework for the post-PC era respectively, we are now ready to take the next step in our journey and drill down into precisely how and why Steve Jobs was able to shatter the competition in the smartphone industry with the introduction and evolution of the Apple iPhone innovation.


Apple iPhone Strategic Product Roadmap in Multidimensional Form

The purpose of the following sections is to present the multidimensional strategic product roadmap for the Apple iPhone from 2007 to 2013. The iPhone roadmap is organized in accordance with the multidimensional strategic product innovation framework and evolution pathways diagrams discussed and presented previously under the tabbed-section entitled Steve Jobs.

Steve Changes Humanity with a Breakthrough in Touch Control

In 2007, Apple introduced one of the most innovative mass-market products in the history of humankind. Just like the wheel, the printed word, the light bulb, the telephone, and the horseless carriage, the birth of Steve's magical new device forever altered the course of human history by making life-changing technology accessible to people from every nation, every region, every race, and every age around the globe. With the new Apple iPhone, Steve brought knowledge and information to virtually everyone, everywhere, anytime with a fundamentally new paradigm for information access and control.

That new paradigm was so amazingly simple that it had been overlooked or downplayed for over a decade by vocal leaders of several of the largest businesses in the communications and information technology industry who, for the most part, were fixated on the prevailing mouse-icon paradigm for information access and control.

Steve's new paradigm was orthogonal to traditional mouse-icon control. Steve's new paradigm shunned the mouse, or anything that remotely resembled the mouse. Accordingly, Steve's new paradigm also shunned the trackball and the trackpad; downplayed the keyboard; and showed no love whatsoever for the stylus. Steve's new paradigm for controlling a mobile device would throw all of these input control models into the virtual recycle bin in favor of the simplest, least complex, and most intuitive input paradigm of all time: the human fingertip.

To enable his new fingertip-oriented information access and control paradigm, Steve needed a radically new hardware device running a completely new software platform, both highly optimized for human touch, and he would realize it in the form of the very first touch-screen device for the post-PC era, as we shall describe in the ensuing sections.


Apple iPhone 2007: The First Post-PC Touch Screen Device

In mid-2007, Apple released the Apple iPhone, a magical touch-screen device that turned the mobile phone industry upside down, transformed the portable media player market, and for the very first time enabled users to carry a fully-functional, pinch-to-zoom Internet web browser in their pocket.

What made the first iPhone (shown in the lower-left quadrant of the 2007 strategic roadmap diagram below) so innovative was its groundbreaking multi-touch technology and its exquisite and massive 3.5 inch 480 by 320 pixel liquid crystal display screen that vastly simplified the input control paradigm between the user and the device. For the first time, a user could intuitively control, or drive, a mobile device via touch gestures applied directly to the objects on the screen of the device itself, rather than via one or more of the prevailing intermediated approaches at that time, such as keyboard control, stylus control, trackball control, or trackpad control. 

Post-PC Touch Control Using the Tap Gesture

With this revolutionary touch-oriented approach users, could instantly access an entire world of information and knowledge simply by pushing a button, referred to as a tap gesture. Users could make a phone call by simply tapping a button on the screen, listen to their music by
tapping a button, watch a TV show by tapping a button (and rotating the device horizontally for landscape viewing), watch a movie by tapping a button, take a photograph by tapping a button, check their email by tapping a button, send a text message by tapping a button, surf the web by tapping a button, access a map by tapping a button, get directions by tapping a button, or open any other application, or app, on their device simply by tapping a button. Through the iPhone's elegant and simple ornamental home-screen design, users could easily arrange all of these buttons, referred to as icons, on their home-screen panel. And with only a single home button on the lower front face of the iPhone, users would never get lost or be more than one button click away from their familiar home screen.

Post-PC Touch Control Using the Swipe Gesture


In addition to the simple tap gesture described above, users could navigate within apps using simple swipe gestures as well. Users could scroll through their personal contacts by simply swiping their finger up or down the contact list; flip through music by swiping their finger left or right across a horizontal stack of album cover art (called cover flow); scroll
through their video collection by swiping their finger up or down a list of TV shows, movies, music videos, and video podcasts; review photographs in their photo library, camera roll, or an individual photo album by swiping their finger up or down a miniaturized thumbnail mosaic of photos (with the device typically oriented in portrait mode) or left or right across a horizontal stack of individual photos (with the device typically oriented in landscape mode) from their library, their camera roll, or an individual album; and read a rich email message (complete with embedded photographs, formatted text, and hyperlinked phone numbers) or an short message service (SMS) text message simply by swiping their finger up or down the contents of the message itself. With its built-in accelerometer sensor, the iPhone would dynamically switch the screen orientation from portrait to landscape mode as the user rotated the device itself from a vertical orientation to a horizontal orientation, respectively.

Post-PC Touch Control Using the Pinch and Pan Gestures

In addition to the simple tap gesture and swipe gesture discussed above, users could zoom-in, zoom-out, or reposition specific screen content using two additional highly intuitive finger gestures: 1) the two-finger pinch gesture and 2) the one-finger pan gesture. First, by using their index finger and their thumb of either their right or left hand, users could zoom-in on a particular line of text by moving their index finger and thumb further apart over the text itself or zoom back out by pinching their fingers closer together over the text. Similarly, users could zoom-in or zoom-out on a specific image, photograph, map, or video using the same intuitive two-finger pinch gestures.
Second, by using their index finger of either their right or left had, users could pan-right by pushing the screen content left with the index finger, and pan-left by pushing the screen content to the right. Similarly, users could pan-up or pan-down by using the same intuitive one-finger pan gestures.

The Ultimate Post-PC Experience

All of these new groundbreaking multi-touch gestures, including the tap gesture, the swipe gesture, the pinch gesture, and the pan gesture, enabled Apple to introduce a completely revolutionary and remarkable way to surf the Internet, which Steve excitedly demonstrated during the 2007 iPhone launch event. Prior to this public demonstration, it was commonly believed that surfing the Internet with a mobile phone required web content to be reformatted to fit the relatively small form factor of the mobile device. With the iPhone, Steve changed everyone's mind virtually overnight and forever transformed the way mobile users surf the web. Moreover, the iPhone's innovative and highly-intuitive inertial scrolling technology significantly enhanced the user interaction experience with the device
, enabling users to experience screen momentum for the first time (where once the screen is pushed in a particular direction, it continues to move in that direction, just like a familiar physical object such as a rolling ball) and experience screen resilience for the first time (where once a screen can move no further in a particular direction, it bounces or springs back, just like a familiar physical object such as a ball hitting a wall).

Strategic Positioning of the iPhone Product Line in 2007

The 2007 temporal snapshot, or time slice, of the multidimensional strategic product roadmap for the Apple iPhone is shown below. As depicted in the diagram, the first Apple iPhone was strategically positioned as a member of the innovative products category and the status market category in 2007; that is, in the lower left-hand quadrant of the strategic product roadmap for 2007.

Given its strategic positioning as an innovative product targeted toward a high-status market, the price of the original iPhone was initially insanely high, launching at a list price of $599 and $499 for the 8 GB and 4 GB models respectively, which caused Steve Jobs and Apple to face the ignominy of having to publicly reduce the price the device just three months after launch to $399 for the 8 GB model and discontinue the 4 GB altogether. The original iPhone was available in black only.

With the initial pricing hiccups after its release in mid-2007, the limited number of global carrier partnerships, and the limited number of countries covered around the world, the number of iPhone 2G units sold in 2007 was relatively modest
reaching a peak of over 2,000,000 units sold globally in the fourth calendar quarter of 2007, as shown in the Apple iPhone unit sales chart presented in the section below entitled iPhone Blue-Path Evolution Drives Record Returns for Apple Shareholders.

iPhone 2008-2009: The Initial Evolution of the First Post-PC Touch Device

After the first release of the original Apple iPhone 2G in 2007 (shown in the lower-left-quadrant of the 2007 strategic roadmap diagram above), Apple continued to evolve the Apple iPhone design with the Apple iPhone 3G in 2008
(shown in the lower-right quadrant of the 2008 strategic roadmap diagram below) and the Apple iPhone 3GS in 2009 (shown in the lower-right quadrant of the 2009 strategic roadmap diagram below) by dramatically increasing the device’s cellular communication bandwidth from 2G EDGE network speeds (0.38 Mbps downlink) to 3G HSDPA network speeds (7.2 Mbps downlink), significantly enhancing its maximum storage capacity from 8 GB to 32 GB, doubling its random access memory capacity from 128 MB to 256 MB, augmenting its rear-facing digital camera image sensor resolution from 2 megapixels to 3 megapixels, increasing its CPU clock speed from 620 MHz to 833 MHz, and adding a global positioning system (GPS) receiver to support location based services, while at the same time markedly improving its battery life from 5 hours of Internet browsing or video watching to 9 hours of Internet browsing and 10 hours of video watching.

These significant improvements in networking speed, storage and memory capacity, image sensor resolution
, processing power, and battery life combined synergistically to greatly enhance the overall user experience of the iPhone, enabling users to surf the web faster and longer, upload and download digital content and attachments faster, take higher quality photos, store vast amounts of portable data, carry entire collections of digital media content, run apps faster, and watch high-quality videos faster and longer.

Apple App Store: A Post-PC Cloud Service that Revolutionized Software Distribution


While these major hardware enhancements were important to ensure the continued success of the iPhone, the true game-changing strategic move in the early evolution of the first post-PC touch device came in the form of a revolutionary new Internet cloud service called the Apple App Store, an online digital marketplace for Apple iPhone and iPod Touch customers to discover, download, and automatically install free apps or paid apps created by independent third-party software developers, as well as Apple itself.

The Apple App Store was announced in late 2007, available as a beta in early 2008, and officially released with the iPhone 2.0 Software Platform (the name of the second generation version of what we know today as the iOS operating system) and the iPhone 3G in mid-2008. It was an instant sensation and an overnight hit with both developers and consumers, reaching over 50,000 applications available for download within the first year of operation and crossing over 1 billion application downloads in just nine months of operation.


Consumers benefited from the App Store by being able to rapidly discover, wirelessly download, automatically install, and instantly utilize any of over 500 third-party apps available at the grand opening of the App Store. Independent developers benefited from the App Store by being able to post, market, and monetize their applications after first submitting them to Apple for approval and agreeing to exclusive distribution through the App Store. Apple terms allowed developers to establish pricing for their apps and receive a generous seventy percent of all application revenues, without incurring any application hosting charges or credit card transaction fees.

Apple also benefited from the Apps Store, as Apple iPhone and iPod Touch customers would typically each download numerous apps to their respective phones and pods, thereby increasing not only the utility value of the product due to its greatly expanded capabilities, but also the stickiness of the Apple product, making it much less likely that an individual consumer would switch to a competitive product in the future. The financials were also beneficial for Apple, with Apple taking a thirty percent cut of app sales revenues and writing a check directly to developers for the remainder.

Apple's Secret Weapon: The iPhone SDK for the Apple iPhone 2.0 Platform


The secret to the success of the Apple App Store lay in the strategic introduction of a suite of software interfaces and development tools for the iPhone that enabled independent third-party software developers, who had been highly vocal about the need for this critical capability over the prior year, to build native applications specifically for the Apple iPhone. This new software suite called the iPhone Software Development Kit (SDK) for the iPhone 2.0 software platform included published application programming interfaces (APIs) with documentation,  sample code, and examples, as well as a powerful set of developer tools, including the Xcode integrated development environment (IDE) and the iPhone Simulator.

Using the SDK's published APIs in conjunction with its powerful Xcode IDE and simulator tools, third-party developers were able to quickly and easily design, write, build, test, debug, simulate, tune, secure, and ship state-of-the-art native mobile applications specifically optimized for the Apple iPhone 2.0 Software Platform, the mobile operating system platform shipped with the Apple iPhone 3G and the Apple iPod Touch second generation (2G). An additional benefit to developers and consumers was that Apple iPhone 2.0 Platform not only supported iPhone 3G and iPod Touch 2G devices, but it also supported the prior generation Apple iPhone 2G and Apple  iPod Touch 1G, enabling Apple iPhone 2G customers, after upgrading at no charge to the iPhone 2.0 Platform, to access and run third-party apps, and iPhone developers to quickly reach and potentially sell their apps to an established and rapidly growing installed-base of Apple customers.

The iPhone SDK represented a major strategic move for Apple, as it put the power of the same native APIs that it used internally to develop its own iPhone apps in the hands of third-party developers, thereby unleashing the creative potential of Apple's entire software development ecosystem to build and sell insanely great mobile consumer applications and business applications for the iPhone and the App Store.

Strategic Positioning of the iPhone Product Line in 2008

The 2008 time slice of the multidimensional strategic product roadmap for the Apple iPhone is shown below. As depicted in the diagram, the second-generation Apple iPhone, marketed as the Apple iPhone 3G, was strategically positioned as a member of the premium products category and the luxury market category in 2008; that is, in the lower right-hand quadrant of the strategic product roadmap for 2008.

Given its strategic positioning as a premium product targeted toward a luxury market, the price of the iPhone 3G was relatively high (launching at a list price of $299 and $199 for the 16 GB and 8 GB models respectively for new AT&T customers or existing AT&T customers eligible for upgrade to the iPhone and $499 and $399 for the 16 GB and 8 GB models respectively for existing AT&T customers not eligible for the upgrade to the iPhone). The iPhone 3G 16 GB model was available in black or white; the iPhone 3G 8 GB model was available in black only. The original iPhone 2G was discontinued upon release of the new iPhone 3G.

In contrast to the original Apple iPhone 2G, which covered only six countries in its first year of service, the new Apple iPhone 3G, which was released in mid-2008, launched
simultaneously in an unprecedented 22 countries on the exact same day, including the United States, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, with subsequent staggered rollouts to a total of over 70 countries by the end of calendar year 2008.

With its highly innovative feature set in hardware and platform software, its nascent yet burgeoning third-party application software ecosystem, and its highly aggressive rollout to over 70 countries worldwide combining synergistically to drive global user adoption rates, the number of iPhone units sold in 2008 was simply staggering reaching a peak just shy of 7,000,000 units sold globally in the third calendar quarter of 2008, as shown in the Apple iPhone unit sales chart presented in the section below entitled iPhone Blue-Path Evolution Drives Record Returns for Apple Shareholders.


Apple iPhone OS 3.0 New Features

In mid-2009, Apple released the next major version of its software platform for the iPhone and iPod Touch family of products. Marketed under the brand name Apple iPhone OS 3.0, this next-generation mobile operating system provided both developers and customers with several key new features, including new general, digital media, and communication features, as described in more detail below.


New general features included long-awaited support for cut, copy, and paste within and across applications; support for in-app purchases to enable financial transactions to occur within the context of a live application (ideally suited for add-ons within gaming apps and subscription renewals within media apps); support for external accessories allowing users to easily connect their phone to third-party hardware devices (ideally suited for fitness apps or health management apps); and support for over 30 languages.

New digital media features included support for HTTP audio and video streaming with automatic data rate and resolution quality selection; support for video capture (VGA resolution at 30 frames per second); an innovative tap-to-focus feature for automatically focusing a still picture or a video recording with a simple tap gesture; support for video sharing via email, MMS, or YouTube; and support for accessing Google mapping services programmatically (ideally suited for navigation apps and other location-aware apps).

New communications features included support for multimedia messaging service (MMS) enabling users to exchange rich-media messages including photos, audio files, contacts and locations; a push notification service for programmatic message, badge, and alert distribution; support for peer-to-peer (P2P) networking over Bluetooth (ideally suited for local multi-player gaming apps); and support for tethering allowing a user to connect their PC to the Internet through their phone’s cellular network connection.


Strategic Positioning of the iPhone Product Line in 2009

The 2009 time slice of the multidimensional strategic product roadmap for the Apple iPhone is shown below. As depicted in the diagram, the third-generation Apple iPhone, marketed as the Apple iPhone 3GS, was strategically positioned as a member of the premium products category and the luxury market category in 2009; that is, in the lower right-hand quadrant of the strategic product roadmap for 2009.

Also, in an unprecedented post-PC strategic marketing move, the prior-generation Apple iPhone 3G was moved from its initial launch position in the lower right-hand quadrant of the diagram to its new strategic position as a member of the premium products category and the mass market category; that is, the second-generation Apple iPhone 3G was strategically repositioned to attack the mass-market, premium-product segment, as shown by its positioning in the upper right-hand quadrant of the 2009 strategic roadmap diagram above.

Given its strategic positioning as a premium product targeted toward a luxury market, the price of the iPhone 3GS was relatively high (available in the U.S. from AT&T at a list price of $299 and $199 with a two-year contract for the 32 GB and 16 GB models, respectively). Given its strategic positioning as a premium product targeted toward a mass market, the price of the iPhone 3G was relatively affordable (launching at a list price of just $99 for the 8 GB model). Both iPhone 3GS models (32 GB and 16 GB) were available in black and white; the iPhone 3G model (8 GB) was available in black only.

In mid-2009, the Apple iPhone 3GS was launched simultaneously in 9 countries, including the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom, with subsequent staggered rollouts to over 80 countries within two months after launch.


With its market leading feature set in hardware, platform software, and application software, as well as its aggressive rollout to over 80 countries globally combining synergistically to drive user adoption rates, the number of iPhone units sold in 2009 was impressive (despite the worst global economic recession in over seventy years) reaching a peak of almost 9,000,000 units sold worldwide in the fourth calendar quarter of 2009, as shown in the Apple iPhone unit sales chart presented in the section below entitled iPhone Blue-Path Evolution Drives Record Returns for Apple Shareholders.

A key takeaway from this discussion is that the 2009 launch of the Apple iPhone was not limited to just a single phone generation. For the first time, the 2009 launch comprised a product family consisting of two phone generations: the new-generation Apple iPhone 3GS and the prior-generation Apple iPhone 3G, with the 3GS strategically positioned to attack the premium-product luxury market and the 3G strategically positioned to attack the premium-product mass market, as depicted in the 2009 strategic roadmap diagram above. This new family-based launch approach was highly significant, as it represented the beginning of a clear intention toward blue-path evolution of the first touch-screen post-PC device.


Summary of the Initial Evolution of the First Post-PC Touch Device

In summary, based our discussion regarding the initial evolution of the Apple iPhone product family over the course of 2008 and 2009, one can clearly see that the strategic scope of the iPhone changed and evolved significantly relative to the strategic scope of the original iPhone introduced in 2007. The strategic scope of the original iPhone was limited to a proprietary hardware device without third-party extensions, a proprietary mobile operating system without a public interface layer, a proprietary suite of applications without a third-party ecosystem, and a proprietary software distribution service.

In contrast, the strategic scope of the highly-evolved iPhone product family of 2009 was relatively massive. Specifically, the strategic scope of the iPhone family in 2009 included proprietary hardware devices (iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS) with third-party extensions, a proprietary mobile operating system platform (iPhone OS 3.0) with a public interface layer (iPhone SDK), a proprietary suite of applications (Apple Apps) and a wide variety of publicly available applications (Third-Party Apps), and a public software distribution service (The Apple App Store).

With all of these core post-PC strategic assets (iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone OS, iPhone SDK, Apple Apps, Third-Party Apps, and the Apple App Store) now firmly in place, Apple and Steve Jobs were sitting on a powder-keg of explosive post-PC potential, and that potential was unleashed on a massive global scale in 2010 with the introduction of Steve's finest work, the Apple iPhone 4.


iPhone 2010: "The Best Window on the Planet!" - Steve Jobs

In mid-2010, Apple introduced the Apple iPhone 4, an elegant, refined, and irresistibly thin and impossibly sharp variant of its original iPhone design. The most amazing hardware feature of the Apple iPhone 4
(shown in the lower-right-hand quadrant of the 2010 strategic roadmap diagram below) was its high-resolution, high-density touch screen display, marketed by Apple as the Retina Display. With double the linear pixel density (326 pixels per inch for the iPhone 4 vs. 163 pixels per inch for the iPhone 3GS) and four-times the screen resolution (960 pixels by 640 pixels for the 4 vs. 480 by 320 for the 3GS) compared to prior iPhone generations, this dominant feature is precisely what made the iPhone 4 impossibly sharp in textual and visual detail, and compelled Steve Jobs to publicly emphasize, at the 2010 launch event,

 

"The display is your window into the Internet, into your apps, into your media, and into your software. We think it is maybe the most important single component of the hardware. And we've got something here now that's the best window on the planet...with incredibly sharp text, images, and video...once you use a Retina Display, you can't go back."
 

The second most notable hardware feature of the iPhone 4 was its slender, precision-trimmed, dual-glass enclosure. With a narrower (58.7 millimeters for the iPhone 4 vs. 62.1 millimeters for the iPhone 3GS) and thinner (9.3 millimeters for the 4 vs. 12.3 millimeters for the 3GS, or an amazing one-quarter thinner) body than its predecessor, a precision-crafted stainless steel bezel, front and back glass panels made of incredibly tough and scratch resistant Gorilla Glass, this second differentiating feature is exactly what made the iPhone 4 irresistibly thin, especially when held in the palm of one's hand, and enticed Jobs to declare it, "One of the most precise and beautiful things we've ever made...and the thinnest smartphone on the planet." The secret to the overall sleekness of the new device lay in its innovative, groundbreaking, and risky intelligent antenna design, which integrated two stainless steel antennas, one for Bluetooth, WiFi, and GPS and a second for GSM and UTMS, directly into the outer structure of the phone itself, as you can see if you look closely at the side view of the iPhone 4 in the 2010 strategic roadmap diagram below .

In addition to these two key differentiating hardware features, the Apple iPhone 4
represented a significant design evolution of the Apple iPhone 3GS, with notably longer battery life (7 hours of 3G talk time for the iPhone 4 vs. 5 hours or 3G talk time for the iPhone 3G ); more memory (512 MB DRAM for the 4 vs. 256 MB for the 3GS and 128 MB for the 3G); faster CPU clock speed (1 GHz for the 4 vs. 833 MHz for the 3GS and 620 MHz for the 3G); and a new 3-axis gyroscope (pitch, roll, yaw, and rotation about gravity) ideally suited for highly-interactive next-generation mobile gaming applications.

The camera subsystem in the iPhone 4 also represented a major leap forward relative to the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 3G, with
high definition video capture (720p progressive scan HD format at 30 frames per second for the iPhone 4 vs. VGA resolution at 30 fps for the iPhone 3GS and no support for video capture for the iPhone 3G)
, a higher capacity rear-facing camera (5 MP for the 4 vs. 3 MP for the 3GS and 2 MP for the 3G), a new front-facing camera (0.3 MP), and a new rear camera flash, with the ability to stay illuminated while taking videos. Digital zoom at 5X was also introduced with the iPhone 4, but the new capability was an embedded part of the iOS 4 operating system; therefore, the iPhone 3GS when upgraded to iOS 4 also benefited from this great new capability for taking close-up pictures.

Apple iOS 4 Apps and Services

On the software side, the Apple iPhone 4 shipped with the Apple iOS 4.0 operating system, which included a standard set of core apps and services, utility apps and services, media apps and services, and supplementary apps and services developed and provided by Apple itself, or in conjunction with strategic partners, as listed below.

 

Core Apps and Services for iOS 4
  1. Apple Phone with FaceTime
  2. Apple Messages
  3. Apple Mail
  4. Apple Safari
  5. Apple App Store
  6. Apple Springboard with Folders and Spotlight

Utility Apps and Services for iOS 4
  1. Apple Camera
  2. Apple Maps powered by Google
  3. Apple Clock
  4. Apple Calendar
  5. Apple Calculator
  6. Apple Compass
  7. Apple Settings

Media Apps and Services for iOS 4
  1. Apple Photos
  2. Apple iPod with Music and Videos
  3. Apple YouTube powered by Google
  4. Apple Game Center
  5. Apple iBooks
  6. Apple iTunes Store
  7. Apple iBookstore

Supplementary Apps and Services for iOS 4
  1. Apple Contacts
  2. Apple Reminders
  3. Apple Notes
  4. Apple Stocks
  5. Apple Weather
  6. Apple Voice Memos


Two other notable new software features included with Apple iOS 4 were the introduction of native support for multitasking, enabling users to simultaneously run multiple applications concurrently, and the introduction of video calling, both of which we describe in more detail below.

Apple iOS 4 Multitasking

With the new multitasking capabilities of iOS 4, a user could simultaneously listen to music by running the music app, browse the web by running the Safari app, and
check a newly received email message by running the mail app, with iOS 4 allowing the user to quickly task-switch from one concurrently running app to the next by simply double tapping the home button. While Apple was clearly not first to market with this key feature, as other mobile operating system vendors already offered application multitasking at the time, it maintained that the feature was always there in iOS, since the operating system was based on OS X, and just needed to be exposed at the right time when it could be done in such a way as not to overly drain the battery life of the device.

Apple iOS 4 FaceTime

With video calling, marketed by Apple under the brand name FaceTime, two or more users could visually communicate face-to-face with one another in realtime using just their iPhones. The limitations at the time of release, however, were that the sending and receiving smartphone had to be an Apple iPhone 4 running iOS 4 and the two phones had to be connected to the Internet via WiFi, as video calling using a cellular network was not yet supported. FaceTime supported video capture and transmission via the front camera or the rear camera and in either portrait or landscape mode. FaceTime did not require any special setup, configuration, or pass codes, users could simply make a call as they normally would to their friends or family members using the standard phone app, and then simply click on the FaceTime button to enhance the conversation experience and interact visually in one of four engagement modes: 1) face (front camera) to face (front camera), 2) environment (rear camera) to face (front camera), 3) face (front camera) to environment (rear camera), or 4) environment (rear camera) to environment (rear camera).


Third-Party Applications and Services for Apple iOS 4

In addition to the core, utility, media, and supplementary apps and services provided by Apple listed above, the overwhelming success of the Apple App Store over the time since its launch with the Apple iPhone 3G, enabled the Apple's application ecosystem (consisting of a large community of independent third-party software developers), to deliver an astounding number of apps (over 225,000) at the time of the iPhone 4 release. One key benefit for application developers in the iOS 4 release was that the operating system would automatically render the text and controls of prior generation apps developed for iPhone OS 3 (operating system did not get re-branded to simply iOS until release 4) in the four-times higher resolution supported by the iPhone 4 without developers having to do any additional work. Most developers did, however, adjust their apps to include higher resolution images and artwork to take advantage of the higher resolution and correspondingly more abundant touch screen real estate.

While the killer apps and services framework for the post-PC era presented and discussed previously depicts state-of-the-art post-PC apps and cloud services as of mid-2013, m
any of the leading third-party apps and services released with the iPhone 4 are still prominent today.

Strategic Positioning of the iPhone Product Line in 2010

The 2010 time slice of the multidimensional strategic product roadmap for the Apple iPhone is shown below. As depicted in the diagram, the fourth-generation Apple iPhone, marketed as the Apple iPhone 4, was strategically positioned as a member of the premium products category and the luxury market category in 2010; that is, in the lower right-hand quadrant of the strategic product roadmap for 2010.

Also, the prior-generation Apple iPhone 3GS was moved from its initial launch position in the lower right-hand quadrant of the diagram to its new strategic position as a member of the premium products category and the mass market category; that is, the third-generation Apple iPhone 3GS was strategically repositioned to attack the mass-market, premium-product segment, as shown by its positioning in the upper right-hand quadrant of the strategic product roadmap for 2010 above. Recall that an identical repositioning strategy was used with the Apple iPhone 3G one year prior.

Given its strategic positioning as a premium product targeted toward a luxury market, the price of the iPhone 4 was relatively high (launching in the U.S. with AT&T at a list price of $299 and $199 with a two-year contract for the 32 GB and 16 GB models, respectively). Given its strategic positioning as a premium product targeted toward a mass market, the price of the iPhone 3GS was relatively affordable (launching at a list price of just $99 for the 8 GB model, and to be clear the minimum available storage capacity of the iPhone 3GS was reduced from 16 GB in 2009 to just 8 GB in 2010). Both iPhone 4 models (32 GB and 16 GB) were available in black and white; the 3GS model (8 GB) was available in black only. The iPhone 3G was discontinued upon release of the new iPhone 4.

In mid-2010, the Apple iPhone 4 was launched simultaneously in in 5 countries, including the United States, France,
Germany, Japan, and the United Kingdom, with subsequent staggered rollouts to a total of nearly 90 countries within approximately three months after launch. With its market dominating feature set in hardware devices (iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4), platform software (iPhone OS and iPhone SDK), application software (Apple Apps and Third-Party Apps), and online distribution and media services (Apple App Store and iTunes Store) as well as its measured rollout to nearly 90 countries globally combing synergistically to drive user adoption and user upgrades, the number of iPhone units sold in 2010 was literally off-the-charts, selling over 3,000,000 units globally in the first three weeks of distribution and reaching a peak of over 16,000,000 units sold worldwide in the fourth calendar quarter of 2010, as shown in the Apple iPhone unit sales chart presented in section below entitled the iPhone Blue-Path Evolution Drives Record Returns for Apple Shareholders.

Apple Shatters non-Post-PC Competitors with the iPhone 4 in 2010

Based on our discussion above regarding the individual 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010 temporal slices of the multidimensional strategic product roadmap, it is clear that under the leadership of Steve Jobs, Apple's core hardware, software, and service design, development, and manufacturing teams accomplished the unimaginable feat of producing a truly magical, world-altering, touch-oriented mobile device with the very best mobile post-PC hardware, system software, application software, cloud services, and third-party apps from its post-PC ecosystem of independent software developers.

The question we will address now is what happened to existing competitors in the mobile smartphone space soon after the successful launch (sans a remediable antenna issue) of the Apple iPhone 4?
To definitively answer this key question, we have constructed two competitive analysis tables. The first competitive analysis table shown below is entitled The Rise of the First Post-PC Touch Device, and it depicts the core product features offered by leading firms competing in the 3G mobile smartphone market in 2010.

As shown in the first row of the table above, the Apple iPhone 4 offered a groundbreaking set of key product features when it was released in mid-2010. The iPhone 4 feature set included an impossibly sharp screen (960 pixels by 640 pixels screen resolution and 326 pixels per inch, or PPI, linear pixel density), irresistibly thin form factor (9.3 mm thin), intuitive and familiar user experience (multi-touch graphical user interface powered by iOS 4), an unprecedented collection of third-party software applications, or apps (200,000 available apps on the Apple App Store), a powerful high-performance compute and graphics engine (1 GHz Apple A4 ARM-based mobile application processor under-clocked to 800 MHz with 512 MB of RAM), long battery life enabling hours of 3G talk time (7 hours), video watching time (10 hours), and music listening time (40 hours), and an incomparable amount of on-board flash storage (up to 32 GB).

The second competitive analysis table shown below is entitled The Rise of the First Post-PC Touch Device with Competitive Differentiation Highlights, and it extends the first table by specifically highlighting core product features that provide competitive differentiation. Specifically,
elements highlighted in green or red represent product features with a significant competitive advantage or significant competitive disadvantage, respectively, relative to competitors in the 3G mobile smartphone market in 2010.

The competitive differentiation table above provides a powerful visual representation of precisely how the Apple iPhone dominated competitive product offerings in the 3G mobile smartphone market in 2010 as well as valuable insight into why Apple was able to shatter all of its non-post-PC competitors virtually overnight. The best way for Apple stakeholders to gain this insight from the competitive differentiation table is to use it to answer four fundamental questions:

 

  1. Who were Apple's post-PC competitors in 2010?
  2. Who were Apple's non-post-PC competitors in 2010?
  3. Why did non-post-PC competitors lose the 3G mobile smartphone war in 2010?
  4. Why did Apple win the 3G mobile smartphone war in 2010?

 

Addressing the first and second fundamental questions, the 3G mobile smartphone market in 2010 was clearly divided into three core competitive groups:

 

  1. Non-Post-PC Competitors
  2. Emerging Post-PC Competitors
  3. Established Post-PC Competitors

 

Non-post-PC competitors group included firms such as Research In Motion, Nokia, and HTC who based their 3G mobile smartphone offerings exclusively on non-post-PC operating systems, such as BlackBerry OS, Symbian, and Windows Phone, respectively. Emerging post-PC competitors group included firms such Samsung, Motorola, and others who based their mobile offerings on an emerging post-PC operating system called Android owned and marketed by Google. And the only firm within the established post-PC competitors group at the time was Apple who based its mobile offering on the Apple iOS post-PC operating system.

Addressing the third fundamental question, non-post-PC competitors Research In Motion, Nokia, and HTC lost the 3G mobile smartphone war to Apple in 2010 because they each failed to produce a compelling post-PC mobile smartphone, as we describe in detail in the next section.

Why Did RIM, Nokia, and HTC Lose the Smartphone War to Apple in 2010?

Research In Motion lost the 3G mobile smartphone war to Apple in 2010 because its most-competitive product offering at the time, the BlackBerry Torch 9800, was far too thick, heavy, and slow compared to the iPhone 4 (Torch 56 percent thicker, 35 percent heavier, and over 28 percent slower than the iPhone 4); offered neither a high resolution screen (480 x 360 for the Torch vs. 960 x 640 for the iPhone 4) nor a large a screen size (3.2 inches for the Torch vs. 3.5 inches for the iPhone); and had substandard battery life (5.8 hours of 3G talk time for the Torch vs. 7 hours for the iPhone 4), limited on-board flash storage (4 GB embedded plus 4 GB removable vs. up to 32 GB embedded for the iPhone 4), and a very sparse selection of applications or apps in its app store (10,000 apps on BlackBerry App World vs. 200,000 apps on Apple App Store). While the Research In Motion product offered an innovative sliding physical keyboard that was an attractive feature at the time for many email-focused business users and text-messaging-focused consumer users, it was not sufficiently compelling to offset the aforementioned fundamental design flaws in the context of the consumer-driven 3G mobile smartphone mass-market.

Similarly, while Nokia did not make design mistakes with its N8 product in device weight, screen size, or on-board flash storage, it did make the same fundamental design mistakes as Research In Motion regarding device thickness (Nokia N8 1.39 times thicker than the iPhone 4), screen resolution (640 x 360 for the Nokia N8 vs. 960 x 640 for the iPhone 4), battery life (5.8 of 3G talk time for the Nokia N8 vs. 7 hours for the iPhone 4), backside bulge (large camera hump for the Nokia N8 vs. no camera hump for the iPhone 4) and application selection (less than 30,000 apps on the Nokia Ovi Store vs. 200,000 apps on the Apple App Store).


Finally, while HTC did not make design mistakes with its HD7 product in screen resolution, screen size, or on-board flash storage, it did make the same fundamental design mistakes as Research In Motion regarding device thickness (HTC HD7 1.20 times thicker than the iPhone 4), device weight (HTC HD7 1.36 times heavier than the iPhone 4), backside bulge (noticeable camera hump for the HTC HD7 vs. no camera hump for the iPhone 4), and application selection (less than 6,500 apps on the Windows Phone Store vs. 200,000 apps on the Apple App Store).

Addressing the fourth and final question, Apple won the 3G mobile smartphone war in 2010 because it produced the most compelling post-PC mobile smartphone with the best total user experience, as we shall describe in detail in the next section.

Why Did Apple Win the 3G Mobile Smartphone War in 2010?

Apple won the 3G mobile smartphone war against both non-post-PC competitors and emerging post-PC competitors in 2010. It clearly shattered non-post-PC competitors Research In Motion, Nokia, and HTC in 2010 with the Apple iPhone 4, as described in detail in the previous section. It also simultaneously defeated emerging post-PC competitors Samsung and Motorola in 2010 with the iPhone 4, as we shall describe in detail below.

Samsung was defeated by Apple in the 3G mobile smartphone war in 2010 not because its most-competitive product offering at the time, the Samsung Galaxy S, lacked competitive features. Indeed, the Samsung Galaxy S was lighter than the iPhone 4 (iPhone 4 1.15 times heavier than the Galaxy S), nearly as thin (Galaxy S only 1.06 times thicker than the iPhone 4), offered a larger screen size (4.0 inches for the Galaxy S vs. 3.5 inches for the iPhone 4), nearly as much talk time (6.5 hours for the Galaxy S vs. 7 hours for the iPhone 4), and ample on-board storage (16 GB for the Galaxy S vs. up to 32 GB for the iPhone 4). In essence, the sole primary hardware feature that the Galaxy S lacked relative to the Apple iPhone 4 was retina-class screen resolution (960 x 640 for the iPhone 4 vs. non-retina-class
800 x 400 for the Galaxy S).

With such a similar physical feature set, why did Apple prevail over Samsung in 2010? Apple defeated Samsung in the 3G mobile smartphone war in 2010 because of its core competitive advantage along the highly-elusive compound dimension called total user experience, with its core sub-dimensions:

 

  1. Software Experience (Apple iOS 4 vs. Google Android 2.1)
  2. Service Experience (Apple App Store vs. Google Android Market)
  3. Hardware Experience (Retina display vs. non-Retina and precision build vs. non-precision)

 

Along each of these sub-dimensions of the total user experience, Apple was simply still years ahead of its nearest competitors Samsung (which controlled the hardware experience for the Galaxy S) and Google (which controlled the software experience and the service experience for the Galaxy S).

Specifically, the Apple iOS 4 mobile operating system with its non-complex organization and intuitive navigation and control paradigm was significantly advanced compared to the Android 2.1 mobile operating system, the competitive
software offering from Google which powered the Samsung Galaxy S. The Apple App Store with over 200,000 apps was significantly out in front of the 70,000 apps available at the time on the Android Market, the competitive service offering from Google that provided application distribution for the Samsung Galaxy S. And the Apple iPhone Retina display with its 960 x 640 pixel screen resolution and the iPhone enclosure with its precision machined externally exposed stainless steel frame and its Gorilla glass front and back surfaces was significantly advanced relative to the 800 x 400 pixel screen resolution and plastic enclosure of the Galaxy S, the competitive hardware offering from Samsung.

Finally, Motorola was defeated by Apple in the 3G mobile smartphone war in 2010 not only due to its lack of competitiveness along the elusive compound dimension of total user experience like Samsung, but also because it made some of the same design mistakes with its Droid X product that were made by Research In Motion, Nokia, and HTC, including device weight (1.30 times heavier than the Apple iPhone 4) and backside bulge (thick camera hump for the Driod X vs. no camera hump for the Apple iPhone 4), as well as a marketing mistake involving relatively high contract pricing coupled with a rebate program (Driod X priced at $299 in the US with two-year contract minus a $100 rebate vs. $199 in the US with two-year contract for the Apple iPhone 4 16 GB model).

I
n summary, as clearly illustrated by the competitive differentiation table entitled The Rise of the First Post-PC Touch Device with Competitive Differentiation Highlights, Apple incontrovertibly shattered non-post-PC competitors Research In Motion, Nokia, and HTC in the 3G mobile smartphone war in 2010 due to irrecoverable design mistakes made by these particular firms. Also, while Apple unmistakably defeated emerging post-PC competitors Samsung and Motorola in 2010 primarily due to the inability of these specific firms to provide a competitive total user experience comprising an integrated software experience, service experience, and hardware experience, it did not completely annihilate these formidable competitors, who unlike Research In Motion and Nokia, lived on to fight much larger battles in the future, as we shall see as we continue our post-PC journey.

Apple iPhone 2011-2012: The Dawn of Post-PC Cloud Synchronization

In 2011 and 2012 Apple continued to evolve the iPhone product family with the Apple iPhone 4S in 2011 (shown in the lower-right quadrant of the 2011 strategic roadmap diagram below) and
Apple iPhone 5 in 2012 (shown in the lower-right quadrant of the 2012 strategic roadmap diagram below).

They did so by improving
the device’s cellular communication bandwidth from 3G HSPA network speeds (14.4 Mbps downlink) to 4G LTE (100 Mbps downlink), increasing its screen size from 3.5 inches to 4.0 inches and respective screen resolution from 960 by 640 pixels to 1136 by 640 pixels, doubling the number of compute engine cores (CPU cores) and graphics engine cores (GPU cores) from one core per processors (single core) to two cores per processors (dual core), enhancing its maximum storage capacity from 32 GB to 64 GB, doubling its random access memory capacity from 512 MB to 1 GB, augmenting its rear-facing digital camera image sensor resolution from 5 megapixels to 8 megapixels, increasing its CPU clock speed from 1 GHz  (under-clocked to 800 MHz) to 1.3 GHz, while adding support for a new compact reversible device connector (lightning connector) and dual-radio communications to enable Apple CDMA customers to roam on GSM networks worldwide for the first time.

These significant improvements in wireless networking speed, screen size and resolution, compute capacity, graphic capacity, storage and memory capacity, image sensor resolution, processing speed, and networking capacity combined holistically to greatly enhance the overall user experience of the iPhone. Collectively, these enhancements enabled users to surf the web faster and with higher resolution, play graphics-intensive games faster and with more screen space, view and navigate high-quality photos and maps and watch high-quality videos, television shows, and movies faster and with higher resolution, launch and run personal and business apps faster and with more screen space, download apps and media faster, send and receive messages and attachments faster, and share photos with friends faster. Users could also take higher quality photos with significantly less first-shot shutter lag and dramatically less multi-shot shutter lag and store unprecedented amounts of portable digital media as well as personal and business data.

In addition to these iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 hardware enhancements, Apple made concomitant enhancements to the respective iOS 5 and iOS 6 software operating system platforms. System software enhancements included a new message notification center, Twitter integration, support for tabbed web browsing and reading lists in Safari, reminders, over-the-air activation and updates, cross-device multimedia messaging, AirPlay device-to-device mirroring, 240-degree panoramic photo capture, fly-over maps and turn-by-turn directions, Facebook integration, incoming call avoidance, Passbook mobile passes, optimized iTunes Store and App Store, and FaceTime over cellular networks.

Apple also introduced
a groundbreaking post-PC cloud service innovation for instantly accessing information and controlling a mobile post-PC device through voice commands. Marketed by Apple under the brand name Siri, the innovation exclusively enabled Apple iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 users to simplify their lives by directing many everyday work and personal tasks (such as creating and sending an email message, scheduling a business meeting, calling a loved one at home or at work, finding a nice Italian restaurant, checking the status of an inbound flight, finding directions to an unfamiliar destination, fetching the latest sports scores or real-time stock quotes, accessing scientific facts, searching the web for information, or playing music or running a new app) to their new personal voice-controlled intelligent assistant.

Apple iCloud: A Post-PC Cloud Service Automating Cross-Device Synchronization


Clearly the iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 hardware enhancements, the respective iOS 5 and iOS 6 system software enhancements, and the Apple Siri voice-agent cloud service described above were instrumental in ensuring the continued success of the iPhone product line. However, the pivotal game-changing innovation introduced at this phase of the evolution of the first post-PC touch device came in the form of a revolutionary new Internet cloud service called Apple iCloud, a system-level post-PC cloud service enabling Apple iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch customers to automatically backup, store, and synchronize all of their digital content across the full continuum of post-PC and PC devices.

Apple iCloud was announced and available as a beta version in mid-2011. It was officially released with iOS 5 and the iPhone 4S in late 2011. This provided an instant benefit to users, allowing them to avoid the tedious routine of backing up digital content and abandon altogether the chronically frustrating process of trying to keep an ever mounting torrent of digital content in sync across a forever multiplying number of personal and professional post-PC devices.

The beauty of the iCloud solution was that its immensely powerful datacenter-based server-side processing happened automatically in the background without the user ever having to think or even learn about it. As Steve Jobs emphasized in his iCloud keynote, "It just all works. It just works!"

The initial version of Apple iCloud supported nine primary use cases of value to both post-PC consumer users as well as post-PC business users, including the following:

 

  1. iCloud Contact Synchronization
  2. iCloud Calendar Synchronization
  3. iCloud Mail Synchronization
  4. iCloud App Store App Synchronization
  5. iCloud iBooks Store Book Synchronization
  6. iCloud Data Synchronization
  7. iCloud Document Synchronization
  8. iCloud Photo Synchronization
  9. iCloud iTunes Music Synchronization

 

We describe each of these primary post-PC synchronization uses cases below, and utilize our Multidimensional Cloud Framework for the Post-PC Era from the Steve Jobs page of this website as a visual pedagogical reference.

Apple iCloud Contact, Calendar, and Mail Synchronization Services

Via the Apple iCloud contact sync service, when a user added or updated a personal or professional contact in their iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Mac, or PC, the contact information would be automatically transmitted to iCloud, which would then store and wirelessly retransmit the contact information to all of the user's other post-PC and PC devices without additional user effort.

Via the Apple iCloud calendar sync service, when a user added or updated a personal, professional, or shared calendar event in their iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Mac, or PC, the calendar information would be automatically transmitted to iCloud, which would then store and wirelessly retransmit the calendar information to all of the user's other post-PC and PC devices without the user having to do anything.

Via the Apple iCloud mail sync service, when a user created or updated a personal or professional email message in their iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Mac, or PC, the email information would be automatically transmitted to iCloud, which would then store and wirelessly retransmit the email information to all of the user's other post-PC and PC devices without user involvement.

Apple iCloud App, Book, and Core Data Synchronization Services


Via the Apple iCloud app sync service, when a user downloaded a new consumer app or new business app to their iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch device, iCloud would automatically wirelessly download the same app to all of the user's other post-PC devices without user involvement and for no extra charge (pay one time for an app and run it across all your devices for no additional charge). Apps previously purchased on one of the user's post-PC devices could be manually downloaded from iCloud one app at a time to any of the other user's post-PC devices.

Via the Apple iCloud book sync service, when a user downloaded a consumer book or business book to their iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch device, iCloud would automatically wirelessly download the same book to all of the user's other post-PC devices without the user having to do anything and for no extra charge (pay one time for a book and read it across of your devices for no extra charge). Moreover, when a user bookmarked a particular page in a book on one of their post-PC devices, iCloud would automatically bookmark the same page in all of the user's other post-PC devices. Books previously purchased on one of the user's post-PC devices could be manually downloaded from iCloud one book at a time to any of the other user's post-PC devices.

Via the Apple iCloud data sync service, when a user activated a new post-PC device and wished to migrate core data and content from a previous post-PC device or an existing post-PC device, iCloud would automatically wirelessly download a backup copy of the user's existing core data and content, including device settings, contacts, calendars, email messages, apps, books, documents, photos, user videos, and music to the new post-PC device without user involvement. iCloud provided automatic core data and content backup over WiFi on a daily basis free of charge for up to 5 GB storage capacity.

Apple iCloud Document Synchronization Service

Via the Apple iCloud document sync service, when a user created or changed a personal document or business document on their iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch device, iCloud would automatically store and wirelessly propagate the new or updated document to all of the user's other post-PC devices without the user having to do anything. Apple apps natively supporting Apple iCloud at launch included Apple Keynote, Apple Pages, and Apple Numbers.

Apple apps interfaced with Apple iCloud via the Apple iCloud Storage API, which was made available to third-party application developers prior to the launch of Apple iCloud. Apple iCloud Storage APIs supported Apple iPod Touch, iPhone, and iPad post-PC devices, as well as Apple Mac and traditional PC devices.

Apple iCloud Photograph Synchronization Service and Internet Scalability

Via the Apple iCloud photo sync service, when a user created new photo or edited an existing photo on their iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch device, iCloud would automatically store and wirelessly propagate the new or updated photo to all of the user's other post-PC devices and PC devices without user involvement. Moreover, when a user imported, created, or edited one or more photos using iPhoto on the Mac, iCloud would automatically store and wirelessly propagate the new or updated photos to all of the user's other post-PC and PC devices.

To access newly propagated photos on an Apple iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch device, Apple Mac, PC, or Apple TV a user would simply click on the photo stream button (or folder) seamlessly integrated into the device's iPhoto app (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch), iTunes app (Mac), Pictures folder (PC), or Menu system (Apple TV) . Through this seamlessly integrated photo sync service, users could take photos on any Apple mobile post-PC device (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch) and view them on any other Apple post-PC device (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Apple TV), Mac, or PC without doing or learning anything new other than clicking a photo-stream button embedded in the same interface that they already knew and loved.

This was the true brilliance behind the iCloud solution, in that it managed the inherent complexity of file system operations and content synchronization without user involvement or additional user training. To do so, iCloud provided state-of-the-art, Internet-scale post-PC back-end services (post-PC back-end file storage services and post-PC back-end file synchronization services) and relied exclusively on front-end post-PC apps to manage the presentation of app-specific data and content in a seamless fashion to post-PC users.

In order to become widely adopted, Apple iCloud post-PC back-end storage and synchronization services needed to operate efficiently at Internet scale. To do so, Apple instituted the following numerical and temporal constraints on post-PC devices, iCloud servers, and PC devices: a) no more than 1,000 most recent photos stored on any Apple mobile post-PC device, b) no photos older than 30 days stored on any iCloud datacenter storage servers, c) no limit on the number of photos stored on a PC device. To permanently save specific photos to a particular Apple mobile post-PC device, a user would simply select the desired photos from the device's photo stream and copy the selected photos to a photo album on the device.

Apple iCloud Music Synchronization Service and Other iCloud Services


Via the Apple iCloud music sync service, when a user downloaded a new song or album to their iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Mac, or PC, iCloud would automatically store and wirelessly propagate the new music to all of the user's other post-PC devices and PC devices without user involvement and for no extra charge (pay once for a song or an album and play it across all of your devices). Music previously purchased on one of the user's post-PC devices could be manually downloaded from iCloud one song at a time or one album at a time to any of the other user's post-PC devices.

All nine primary iCloud use cases described above were offered to Apple customers for free including 5 GB of free iCloud core data, mail, and documents storage. Additional iCloud services such as Music Match and additional cloud storage capacity were available for a modest monthly subscription fee. The device limit for running apps, reading books, and playing music at no extra charge was set to a maximum of 10 total devices, including PC and post-PC devices.


Strategic Positioning of the iPhone Product Line in 2011

T
he 2011 time slice of the multidimensional strategic product roadmap for the Apple iPhone is shown below. As depicted in the diagram, the fifth-generation Apple iPhone, marketed as the Apple iPhone 4S, was strategically positioned as a member of the premium products category and the luxury market category in 2011; that is, in the lower right-hand quadrant of the strategic product roadmap for 2011.

Also, the prior-generation Apple iPhone 4 was moved from its initial launch position in the lower right-hand quadrant of the diagram to its new strategic position as a member of the premium products category and the mass market category; that is, the fourth-generation Apple iPhone 4 was strategically repositioned to attack the mass-market, premium-product segment, as shown by its positioning in the upper right-hand quadrant of the strategic product roadmap for 2011 above.

Furthermore, in an unprecedented post-PC strategic marketing move, the prior-prior-generation Apple iPhone 3GS was moved from its previous position in the upper right-hand quadrant of the diagram to its new strategic position as a member of the low-cost products category and the mass market category; that is, the third-generation Apple iPhone 3GS was strategically repositioned to attack the mass-market, low-cost-product segment, as shown by its positioning in the upper left-hand quadrant of the strategic product roadmap for 2011 above.

The 2011 strategic product roadmap for the Apple iPhone was highly significant because for the very first time Apple provided three distinct post-PC smartphone product offerings and strategically positioned them to span
the three most important quadrants of the post-PC innovation framework: 1) the luxury-market, premium-product quadrant with the iPhone 4S, 2) the mass-market, premium-product quadrant with the iPhone 4, and 3) the mass-market, low-cost-product quadrant with the iPhone 3GS, as depicted in the diagram above.


Given its strategic positioning as a premium product targeted toward a luxury market, the price of the iPhone 4S was relatively high (launching in the U.S. at a list price of $399, $299, and $199 with a two-year contract for the 64 GB, 32 GB, and 16 GB models, respectively). Given its strategic positioning as a premium product targeted toward a mass market, the price of the iPhone 4 was relatively affordable (launching at a list price of just $99 for a 8 GB model with a two-year contract). Given its strategic positioning as a low-cost product targeted toward a mass market, the price of the iPhone 3GS was highly affordable (launching at a list price $0 for a 8 GB model with a two-year contract).

Both iPhone 4S models (32 GB and 16 GB) were available in black and white; the iPhone 4 model (8 GB) was also available in both black and white; and the iPhone 3GS model (8 GB) was available in black only.


In late-2011, the Apple iPhone 4S was launched simultaneously in 7 countries (the United States, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, and the United Kingdom) with subsequent staggered rollouts to over 70 countries within approximately three months after launch.

The number of iPhone units sold in 2011 was again off-the-charts, selling over 4,000,000 units globally in the first three days of distribution and reaching a peak of just over 37,000,000 units sold worldwide in the fourth calendar quarter of 2011, as shown in the Apple iPhone unit sales chart presented in section below entitled the iPhone Blue-Path Evolution Drives Record Returns for Apple Shareholders.

Strategic Positioning of the iPhone Product Line in 2012


The 2012 time slice of the multidimensional strategic product roadmap for the Apple iPhone is shown below. As depicted in the diagram, the sixth-generation Apple iPhone, marketed as the Apple iPhone 5, was strategically positioned as a member of the premium products category and the luxury market category in 2012; that is, in the lower right-hand quadrant of the strategic product roadmap for 2012.

Also, the prior-generation Apple iPhone 4S was moved from its initial launch position in the lower right-hand quadrant of the diagram to its new strategic position as a member of the premium products category and the mass market category; that is, the fifth-generation Apple iPhone 4S was strategically repositioned to attack the mass-market, premium-product segment, as shown by its positioning in the upper right-hand quadrant of the strategic product roadmap for 2012 above.

Moreover
, the prior-prior-generation Apple iPhone 4 was moved from its previous position in the upper right-hand quadrant of the diagram to its new strategic position as a member of the low-cost products category and the mass market category; that is, the fourth-generation Apple iPhone 4 was strategically repositioned to attack the mass-market, low-cost-product segment, as shown by its positioning in the upper left-hand quadrant of the strategic product roadmap for 2012 above.

Given its strategic positioning as a premium product targeted toward a luxury market, the price of the iPhone 5 was relatively high (launching in the U.S. at a list price of $399, $299, and $199 with a two-year contract for the 64GB, 32 GB, and 16 GB models, respectively). Given its strategic positioning as a premium product targeted toward a mass market, the price of the iPhone 4S was relatively affordable (launching at a list price of just $99 for a 16 GB model with a two-year contract). Given its strategic positioning as a low-cost product targeted toward a mass market, the price of the iPhone 4 was highly affordable (launching at a list price $0 for a 8 GB model with a two-year contract).

All three iPhone 5 models (64 GB, 32 GB, and 16 GB) were available in black (black front with slate back) and white (white front with silver back); the iPhone 4S model (16 GB) was available in black or white; and the iPhone 4 model (8 GB) was also available in both black and white.


In late-2012, the Apple iPhone 5 was launched simultaneously in in 9 countries (the United States, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, and the United Kingdom) with subsequent staggered rollouts to over 100 countries within approximately three months after launch.

With its market-dominating post-PC collection of smartphone hardware device assets (iPhone 5, iPhone 4S, and iPhone 4), its market-dominating post-PC collection of platform-level system software assets (iOS and iPhone SDK), and its marketing-dominating post-PC collection of in-house and third-party application software assets (Apple Apps and Ecosystem Apps), as well as its market-dominating post-PC collection of online distribution, media service, and cloud service assets (Apple App Store, Apple iTunes Store, and Apple iCloud) success was virtually guaranteed.

However, when this set of market-dominating strategic assets and the company's unprecedented rollout to over 100 countries globally all came together with massive and overwhelming force within a narrow window in time, iPhone user-upgrade sales and iPhone new-user sales broke all records in 2012. Apple sold over 5,000,000 iPhone units globally in the first three days of distribution and reached a peak of over 47,000,000 units sold worldwide in the fourth calendar quarter of 2012, as shown in the
Apple iPhone unit sales chart presented in section below entitled the iPhone Blue-Path Evolution Drives Record Returns for Apple Shareholders.



iPhone Blue-Path Evolution Drives Record Returns for Apple Shareholders

The strategic performance chart depicted below captures the complex interactions between Apple's stock price, iPhone unit sales, and iPhone multidimensional strategic product roadmap over time. The complex relationships depicted in this chart are significant because they provide deep insight into Apple's core product strategy and how that strategy drives consumer adoption of its post-PC products and ultimately the market capitalization, or market value, of Apple itself.

In the diagram above entitled Apple iPhone Multidimensional Strategic Product Roadmap from 2008 - 2012 with iPhone Unit Shipments and Apple Equity Performance, Apple AAPL stock prices are daily closing values, iPhone unit sales are quarterly totals, and iPhone strategic roadmap slices are annual temporal dimension snapshots.

The strategic source of Apple's market-crushing equity performance from 2009 to 2012 was the blue-path strategic evolution pathway strategy employed by Steve Jobs and Apple's senior management team over that period for the Apple iPhone post-PC product family, as depicted in the multidimensional strategic pathway diagram below.

The diagram above entitled the Apple iPhone Blue-Path Evolution Strategy and its icon-based companion diagram below visually chart the strategic positioning of the Apple iPhone family of products through time from 2007 to 2012. Strategic positioning dimensions used in the diagrams include the dimension of market category (with values status market, luxury market, and mass market) and the dimension of product category (with values innovative product, premium product, and low-cost product), as defined by the Multidimensional Strategic Innovation Framework presented and discussed on the Steve Jobs page of this site.

The diagram above entitled the Apple iPhone Blue-Path Evolution Strategy Companion Diagram visually depicts the flow of Apple post-PC smartphones through the four quadrants of the Multidimensional Strategic Innovation Framework over time from 2007 through 2012.

More specifically, Steve Job's and team entered the status market with an innovative product in 2007 (original iPhone 2G); entered the luxury market with a premium product in 2008 (iPhone 3G); attacked the mass market with a premium product in 2009 (iPhone 3G repositioned) while simultaneously introducing a new premium product (iPhone 3GS) to continue dominating the luxury market; continued the assault on the mass market with a premium product in 2010 (iPhone 3GS repositioned) while simultaneously introducing a new premium product (iPhone 4) to maintain dominance in the luxury market; attacked the mass market in 2011 with both a low cost product (iPhone 3GS repositioned) as well as a premium product (iPhone 4 repositioned) while simultaneously introducing a new premium product (iPhone 4S) to fortify its dominant position in the luxury market; continued the unbridled onslaught of the mass market in 2012 with both a low cost product (iPhone 4 repositioned) as well as a premium product (iPhone 4S) while simultaneously introducing a new premium product (iPhone 5) to cement its dominant position in the global luxury market.

Conceptually, the best way to understand the notion of a blue-path evolution strategy is to imagine a big blue pipe in your mind that curves through the four quadrants constituting the matrix of the Strategic Innovation Framework, starting with the lower-left quadrant, moving over to the lower-right quadrant, moving up to the upper-right quadrant, and finally moving left and ending with the upper-left quadrant. Employing a blue-path evolution strategy for the Apple iPhone, Jobs and team would conceptually place new iPhone products into the starting end of the big blue pipe and continue to do so with subsequent new iPhone product releases. Newly released iPhone products would typically push all previously introduced iPhone products one square or quadrant forward along the direction of the curving blue pipe.

By efficiently employing this hitherto unproven blue-path strategy to mobile post-PC smartphones, Steve Jobs and his team at Apple were able to attack increasingly larger mobile smartphone markets around the world each year with proven mobile post-PC smartphone products (Apple iPhone family of post-PC mobile smartphones) while simultaneously sustaining market-leading gross margins.

The unprecedented combination of rapidly accelerating revenue growth due to successfully entering and in some cases dominating new markets and stable or improving gross margins due to declining production costs of proven smartphone designs led to an explosion in Apple's earnings performance and closely correlated stock price performance. These factors drove record returns for Apple investors and shareholders from 2009 into late 2012, as definitively and visually illustrated by the Apple iPhone Multidimensional Strategic Roadmap and Equity Performance chart presented above.