That Apple has disrupted the market of industry after industry is well known. Personal computers. Media players. Music sales. Retail stores. Smartphones. Application sales. Tablets. Both the number and scope of Apple’s disruptions are not easily matched by other technology companies.
Here are a few more disruptions, courtesy of Apple Inc which don’t get much digital ink, but are nonetheless disruptive.
Remember the power the corporate IT department once enjoyed? IT decided which products would be used by which employees. Apple’s iPhone, Mac, and iPad have changed the landscape of IT departments worldwide. When the CEO of a company wants to use an iPhone instead of the BlackBerry or Windows Phone pushed by IT, it’s the IT department that changes.
Today, not even eight years after the iPhone launched, the de facto standard smartphone in the corporate world is the iPhone. Not BlackBerry, not Android, not Nokia, Motorola, or Windows Phone. Why? Apple’s products, from Mac to iPhone to iPad, are more desirable to use.
Looking back we see that Apple was the first PC company to fully embrace the new USB standard, late in the last century. Along the way Apple has used FireWire and Thunderbolt both to differentiate the Mac, and to provide incremental performance improvements beyond the average Windows PC.
During that same time period Apple became the world’s largest buyer of NAND flash memory for iPods, MacBooks, iPhone and iPad, and now in iMacs and Mac Pro models. To bridge the gap from flash storage which is roughly 10 times faster than standard hard disk drives, and about 10 times more expensive, Apple created Fusion Drive which married both for greater capacity, lower cost per gigabyte than flash, but with near flash-like performance. Such hybrids have been around for a few years in the PC world, but certainly not mainstream. Apple made it common on iMac models.
Every few years Apple makes a jump from one technology to another and 2015 might be the year we see the thinnest, lightest, longest lasting battery ever in a Mac. Imagine a MacBook Air so thin it has but one type of connector– the new USB Type-C. MagSafe? Gone. Thunderbolt miniDisplay Port? Gone. USB ports. Gone.
The new USB Type-C connector works much like a mashup of MagSafe power connector (cable for recharging), Thunderbolt (for display and devices), regular USB (mostly backwards compatible) and Apple’s own proprietary Lightning cable (reversible)– all rolled up into a single, very thin, Lightning-like cable.
Just as the rest of the PC industry– both Windows notebooks and Chromebooks– begin to look like the MacBook Air, Apple is about to change the notebook industry again– thinner, lighter, faster, better battery life, more power, and higher screen resolution in a new line of MacBook Air models.
Adding the USB Type-C connector would be a daring move but typical for Apple. Out with the old, in with the new. The USB Type-C connector might also explain why Apple hasn’t upgraded the Thunderbolt display in years. Isn’t it about time for a new 5k Retina display, but with a USB Type-C connector and Thunderbolt?