That Apple are willing to raise expectations shows a huge confidence in the products in their pipeline
Tim Cook, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, has opened up about ‘new categories’ that Apple are working on:
We don’t believe we can do things at the level of quality and link things as we want to between hardware, software and services so seamlessly if we do a lot of stuff. So we’re going to stick with our knitting with only doing a few things and doing them great. There will be new categories and we’re working on some great stuff. We’re not ready to talk about it. We’re really working on some really great stuff. I think no one reasonable would say they’re not a new category.
It’s a further sign that Apple seem pretty happy to play up expectations at the moment for forthcoming products in a ‘new category’. This can only because they feel pretty confident about what they have in the pipeline. (Though you can’t help feel that if stock price wasn’t a factor, they wouldn’t be talking nearly as much as they are about this.)
That said, the last sentence quoted above is interesting: ‘I think no one reasonable would say they’re not a new category.’ (Emphasis mine.) It almost feels like a slight caveat that they’re aware that no matter what they reveal, it’s still not going to tick the box for everyone. I suspect he’s thinking of the many so-called tech-journalists who merely write for page views.
It is going to be interesting to see what Apple release this year. I don’t think Apple sees innovation as solely connected to new product categories, but that they’re so willing to say forthrightly they’re working on products that are in a new category is encouraging.
I’ve long held the view that Apple don’t need to bring out category defining products every year—they never have in the past, and it’s not sustainable. But I do feel that, for confidence in Tim Cook’s era as CEO of Apple to really take off, Apple, under his leadership, need to show they can surprise and innovate in a new product category. He didn’t need to do it straight away, but it does feel like this is the year. If nothing new was to appear by the end of 2014, questions would seriously start to be asked, even by Apple’s most loyal supporters.
Hence it is both interesting and encouraging to see Tim Cook playing up expectations. All eyes are on what they might do around Television and a rumoured ‘iWatch’ (which sounds more about health and fitness than time-keeping), but Apple are, true to form, being very coy about what any new product category might be. So it’s wait and see!