Many companies have contributed to the current era of ‘hyper connectivity’, but Apple have made one of the biggest contributions; with their innovations being one of the driving forces behind the way we power up and get online with our devices.
Apple has given a lot of thought to connectivity in its various labs when considering how best to hook up their products. When they ditched the 30-pin connector that had been a regular companion of iPhones, iPads and iPods since 2003, the product was so ingrained in our everyday routine, that a few eyebrows were raised at the unveiling of its replacement – the Lightning connector. Looking back on that 2012 launch, it is scarcely believable that we even dared doubt a connector that is 80% smaller but its proven to be far more sturdy.
There is a natural resistance that surfaces when a large share of the population realize they will probably need to ditch something they use habitually every day, should they wish to update their smart phone or tablet. For this reason, it takes a certain amount of bravery to up the stakes and make a change such as the 30-pin to Lightning connector undertaken by Apple.
Few other companies are willing to risk their customer base by making things more difficult in the short term. Apple has this bravery in abundance, and that’s what makes a leader, rather than a follower, in the tech world.
Talking at the unveiling of the product, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, Phil Schiller underlined this ethos: “Be careful what you ask for. If all we do is an incremental, slight change, where’s the excitement? We need to take risks. That’s the Apple I want — I want an Apple that’s bold and taking risks and being aggressive.”
In a way, Apple is happy to lay down a challenge to its users, in the belief that they will eventually come round to a more enlightened way of listening, watching or connecting. This was certainly evident when Apple came up with the USB-C, which, in its new 12-inch MacBook, is featured as a singular port, to some initial alarm.
But Apple prides itself on being a couple of steps ahead of the game, and it has gambled that all we actually need to charge, sync and transfer data to a peripheral computer, as well as connect to a monitor – through its Ethernet, DisplayPort, HDMI, VGA connectivity capabilities – is one 3.1 USB port.
While for the average laptop owner, the full array of possibilities might not be fully explored, in business terms, Apple has made a very real bid to convert work forces from around the world. Gone are the days when Apple computers were the preserve of those in the design or music industries. Innovations such as the USB-C are a direct pitch to heads of IT and procurement who are keen for connectivity solutions that make things easier and have the capability of driving down costs.
“This is the vision for the future of the notebook,” explained the Apple VP. “One of extreme portability.” And it is that portability that has come at just the right time for a business world that is hardly recognizable compared to a few years ago in terms of mobility.
Armed with a USB-C or Lightning connection, along with a USB dock that multiplies the possibilities, employees look like they have all they need to charge and connect their devices, whether in the office or on the road. And with a combined weight of next to nothing, we could soon see these items given as standard to sales teams and account managers in the same way that corporates hand out company pens.
After lightning, of course, comes thunder, and Apple recorded a victory of sorts after Intel announced it would make Thunderbolt 3, its dedicated USB port, compatible with the USB-C, showing that Apple is even capable of winning over its competitors.
Apple has shown that when you dare to take the lead and walk into the night, others will follow. For those of us in the business world unafraid to make tough decisions, this is a sentiment we can surely sympathize with.
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