Apple Now at Warp Speed: Competition’s Debris Left Behind

Apple has, with finality and punctuation, buried the idea that smartphones and tablets are devices with geeky features, specs, and nifty CPUs. Instead, Apple intends to deliver what no other company can: an intelligent ecosystem for your Internet life. Now at warp speed, no company can catch Apple.

Hardly a day goes by when we don’t think about how the original iPad first shipped 14 months ago and the competition still hasn’t caught up. Part of their failure has been their inability to understand the culture of the tablet. Part of their strategy for success is the “super tablet,” something with hardware so cool, you just gotta hold it in your hands.

Warp speed

In grave contrast, what Apple has been working on is the intelligent cloud. It’s the reenactment of “it just works.” It’s a lot of what we’ve been aching for. One has a Mac (or two), an iPad, and and iPhone. Why must one waste a lot of time keeping these devices synced?

It’s going to take a week or two for the community to sort out what Apple has just done this morning. My first reaction, however, is to note Apple’s strategic move with Lion, iOS 5 and the iCloud. Apple has brought an enormous amount of technology together, at great expense, in its ecosphere to leap into the post-PC world. In other words Apple has spent an enormous amount of time and money to give away something for free that will make even more money. That’s Apple’s strength now.

For the competition to think about developing products, as stand alone items, is clearly no longer going to work. It’s a last century idea. We would no more think about buying stand-alone tablets or smart phones than we would think about buying one of those 1990s electronic organizers and hand typing phone numbers into it.

Apple just jumped to warp speed and left the rest of the technical community at sub-light speed. The debris left behind will be a mess.