I know, you’re into crisis communication, reputation management, emergency response and all that stuff. So what does watching Apple computer have to do with you? Quite a bit actually, and for several reasons.
1. Apple is the leading technology innovator–particularly in mobile computing. Yesterday the company announced a stunning 40+% increase in profits. And Steve Jobs has promised, scarily it seems, even better in the future based on new products coming out. Apples innovation with laptop computers spurred lots of competition, but its innovation with the iphone has been even more disruptive. Certainly there are some very good non-Apple options out there, but ever notice how much they try to look, feel and quack like the iphone?
2. Apple is blending work with fun. Nothing new here in many ways because so many other industries are doing the same. Wars are being waged with joysticks just like Nintendo of old. The news media like news magazines and primetime programming are looking more and more like entertainment TV (what after all is reality TV?)–with a more or less complete blending of information and entertainment. But, was exactly is an iphone, or a tricked out MacBook Pro after all? Is it a game machine, a communication device or a serious work computing machine. All three, all at once. That has very significant implications for those who provide information to the masses. Masses which I’ve noticed along with the expanding forehead, are getting increasingly young. What form will public warnings and emergency information take in the future? Today I advise news websites and crisis websites to be structured like the major online news sites. And they are very good at blending compelling information with all kinds of entertainment and commercial messages.
3. Apple is trying to save content providers. Someone I know and respect and knows a heck of a lot more about this stuff than I ever will told me this morning that all the hype about the big Apple announcement tomorrow was really about Apple saving the world. The world of content providers. How quickly we forget that until Apple made iTunes a fabulous success and the biggest seller of music and digital content, the big issue was that musicians, filmmakers, tv folks and everyone who provided entertainment was going to disappear into the internet world of everything free. Now, it seems, we happily pay 99 cents for all kinds of things including billions of things we load on our iphones called apps. What the heck was an app before this? A half-eaten apple? Every rock group and audio book producer should get on their knees three times a day and thank Daddy Jobs. Now, my Apple and pop culture guru is telling me that what Apple did for entertainment, he may just do for more news and info content (I know, false distinction between that and entertainment, but you know what I mean). If Daddy Jobs got with Rupert and the fine folks at NYT to solve the dilemma how to get paid for putting all that good content online, he will be having lots of people bow to him three times a day. The tablet computer, which we will know much more about tomorrow, just may combine the Kindle, the iphone, the laptop plus maybe the workout capabilities of the Wii into a single, lightweight device that we will all find irreplaceable. Or it may just be another wildly successful profit making technology disrupter. We’ll soon see.
In case I lost any crisis communicators in this technology meandering, here’s are the points: 1) mobility will drive our lives and that means how we do crisis communication. If you can’t do everything you need to do with that little device in your pocket real soon, you will be as out of date as the mouse. 2) news and where we get it will change. It already has, but most in crisis communication seem to not realize it. Something tells me, tomorrow it will change a lot more. 3) those of us like me (unlike my much smarter guru) who didn’t buy Apple stock when the market crashed and it was under $100 bucks are going to be even sadder than we already are.
THIS JUST IN: My guru confirms the hints about tablet relating to content (also suspicion of link between table and iphone operating systems) McGraw Hill CEO gets the jump on Apple.