Can you name a modern technology company that disrupts and displaces industries and business segments as frequently as Apple? From Mac to iPhone to iPad, Apple has been at the forefront of dramatic upheavals which change the technology landscape.
Here are examples from the recent past. The first Apple computer, the Mac, Apple stores (the traffic draw they bring to malls is enormous), iPod, iTunes, iTunes Music Store, iPhone, and iPad are the common disruptions that most of us know, but there are others behind the scenes.
For example, Apple buys more flash chips than any competitors thereby exercising greater control over storage prices. Apple designs customized CPUs which are bought in such volume that no single manufacturer can handle the volume of production. Behind the scenes, Apple has invested billions to revolutionize how notebook and desktop PCs are manufactured. How many Windows PCs and Chromebooks look much like an Apple notebook.
Apple’s new products are billion dollar disruptions. Take Watch as an example. Already it’s the best selling smart watch in a nascent industry, siphoning away billions of dollars in revenue and profits from traditional watch and luxury watch sales that the rest of the industry is in a slump.
The long awaited and much criticized Apple Music system has nearly 7-million paying subscribers (according to Apple) after being on the market for a few months, already a third of Spotify’s paying user base and another billion dollar business. A billion? Figure 7-million users at an average of $12 per month. That’s nearly a billion dollar annual business just a few months out of the gate.
Two more industry disruptions are on the horizon, both visible, both obvious. First is the TV industry. The new Apple TV is a platform so, in addition to content, apps and games will be the norm and quickly dwarf the traditional industry leaders, Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony. Television viewing itself is changing and Apple will speed up the process with a streaming TV service coupled to Apple TV but probably viewable on iPhone, iPad, and Mac.
Second is the automobile, which has remained much the same for a century. Four wheels, a steering wheel, an internal combustion engine, and seats for passengers. Already we read of self driving autonomous cars, and while it’s unlikely that Apple will sell the same volume of cars as Toyota or Volkswagen or General Motors, an Apple-designed car– with self powering solar panels, self driving, and a bristling array of computer technology– will point the rest of the industry toward the future.
That’s disruption, Apple style.