HomePod Mini: Apple’s pandemic-era product

Apple’s Tuesday product announcement showcased its 5G iPhones, but also included the launch of the new $99 HomePod Mini. Though it might have looked like a supporting act for the launch, its strategic importance should not be underestimated – especially in the context of how Apple competes with Amazon, the company that is arguably becoming Apple’s most important competitor among the Western Tech Majors (Apple, Alphabet, Amazon, Facebook). Amazon is emerging as a global scale hardware competitor, focused on the home rather than on personal devices.

HomePod Mini is a product for the era of pandemic

The home is becoming the new battleground for the tech majors and Amazon has a comfortable lead with more than 50% of the installed base of smart speakers, significantly ahead of Google and far ahead of Apple which currently sits at less than 10% market share. HomePod Mini is an affordable device that gives Apple the opportunity to quickly expand its role across the homes of iPhone owners, a beachhead for future content and services. HomePod Mini is also very much a pandemic-era product move; with more of us spending more time working and studying from home, we are more inclined to use specialised home devices such as smart speakers, rather than the convenient but not specialised phone. As the HomePod was always a premium, Apple afficionado device, HomePod Mini gives Apple a tool with which it can extend its footprint in the average day of its increasingly home-bound iPhone owners.

An enabler for audio strategy

Though Apple has much bigger ambitions for the home than music alone, music is the use case that is spearheading the product strategy. Apple TV continues to grow in importance for Apple, but as a screen plug-in, it lacks the capabilities of a standalone smart speaker. As Amazon has shown, smart speakers can become the digital hub around which smart home strategies can be built. HomePod Mini may also be the tool for a bolder, joined-up audio strategy for Apple. Alongside Apple Music, Apple continues to back its radio bet Apple Music 1 (previously Beats 1) and of course it is one of the leading destinations for podcasts. Apple can pull these three disparate strands together by creating in-home use cases via HomePod Mini. In this respect, Apple will need to, once again, do all of that and more – as not only has Amazon recently added podcasts to Amazon Music, but it also the home of Audible, an asset both Apple and Spotify lack.

Finally, what Apple did not announce on Tuesday was content bundles for its hardware. An Apple One / iPhone device lifetime bundle feels like an obvious move – competition authorities permitting, perhaps sometime over the coming 12 months. A $3.99 Apple Music Home Pod tier would make sense also.

The device may be mini, but the strategy is anything but.

Sticking Around. In a time where competition is fierce Apple and…



Sticking Around.

In a time where competition is fierce Apple and Android have been at each others throats. Both tech giants have spent years one-upping each other for the title of who’s the best.

Apple unveiled the new iPhone 7 today and it has all the bells and whistles. Samsung unveiled the galaxy s7 not too long ago and again, it has all the bells and whistles.

Here’s the thing about both Android and iPhone. Both companies aren’t going to attract new customers. I know people on both sides and they’re pretty cemented in their belief. For those who do wander to the other side it doesn’t take long for them to go back.

It’s come to the point where it’s about brand loyalty.

Apple appeals to a certain audience as does Android. The key is to deepen that loyalty and getting consumers to spend more.

That’s how marketing at this stage is done.

Ask yourself, do you really need a new iPhone? The answer is probably not but the new one is so intriguing. You need it to be waterproof and who doesn’t want the old school, jet black covering?

Tech companies aren’t the only ones who go by this model.

Jordan has been selling the same sneakers for 20+ years. Why on earth are people still buying them?

Outside of the limited supply Jordan sells different colorways that won’t be seen again for years. By doing that, along with only releasing a few numbers each year, Jordan remains relevant and keeps his loyal customers coming.

The hardest thing to do as a company is keeping customers engaged in what you’re selling. After the initial introduction of your product dies down one needs to find out what the customer enjoys/needs and exploit it. If not it’s inevitable that you’re going to fade to black.

As always, thanks for reading.

The Come UpA while ago I wrote about how Apple is changing…



The Come Up

A while ago I wrote about how Apple is changing consumer behavior and how they essentially ruled the world.

Man, how times have changed.

Apple release its second quarter earnings back in March. Though the company brought in $50.6 billion (yes, that’s a B) it’s down for the first time in thirteen years. Don’t be fooled, Apple is doing just fine. They have more than enough money.

The company has to be a little shaken though. Last year the company posted $58 billion in revenue for its second quarter. That’s a 13% drop when comparing the two quarters.

The reason Apple has seen a minimal decline is because its main rival, Samsung, have found a way to compete with the tech giant.

Samsung figured out that their tech will probably not, or at least not right now, match Apple’s so they’ve taken an alternative route. Samsung has jumped into the race by offering a variety of watches, phones, and other products that Apple doesn’t make.

They’ve even jumped into the virtual reality business.

Apple’s products are a one size fits all while Samsung allows you to shop for your size. A risk that is starting to pay dividends.

The thing that’s still working in Apple’s favor is their operating system and their fan’s loyalty to them. I’ve had an iPhone for years and I can’t dream of going anywhere else. That kind of brand loyalty is what still makes Apple a giant and the leader. Samsung is slowly closing the gap and Apple has to be looking over their shoulder.

If not then don’t be surprised is Samsung bites them in the…….

As always, thanks for reading.

You There?It happens every morning. Ten minutes before my alarm…



You There?

It happens every morning.

Ten minutes before my alarm goes off my phone lights up and I roll over to see what it is. Most of the time I think the worst because….I’m me but most of the time it’s an annoying email from someone wanting me to buy something.

I’m sure it’s happened to you, too. You’re waiting for that text back, an important phone call, an email, only to be disappointed by an email blast.

The question is, are they still effective?

Yes, having email marketing campaigns are a great way to reach multiply people in a short amount of time. The question is how does one make people read the material? We live in a time where marketing emails are like commercials, we skip them whenever we can. They seem to be more of a nuisance than anything else.

I don’t have all the answers but here are a few ways to make sure your email not only gets opened, but read.

First, add a coupon. This only applies to emails from businesses that sell things (duh) but the best way to keep people from clicking unsubscribe is to save them money. It’s also a great way to grow your email list, which is the goal to begin with.

If you’re not selling anything then you have to focus on having exceptional content. That is the key to anything related to advertising. Content is king and as long as your content is superb then the chances of your email being read grow exponentially.

Timing is also an important, and tricky, skill to master. When will your consumer be more than likely to read your email? Is it in the morning when they wake up? (probably not) Is it during work hours? You must figure out the optimal time to send your email. If not, it’s going to the trash and quickly.

I wish I had more for you but as the Joker once said, “If you’re good at something never do it for free.”

On that note, I’m out.

As always, thanks for reading.