Apple and CES
I enjoy reading Tech.pinions, and most everything Ben Bajarin writes. Early this month, he wrote an article entitled, Apple’s indirect Presence Fades from CES. In the article, Ben wrote, “For many years, articles were published discussing how even though Apple was not present or participating in CES they were still one of the shows biggest winners.” He continues, “Gone are the days of Apple’s presence, or observably “winning” of CES, even though they are not present. It was impossible to walk the show floor and not see a vast array of interesting innovations which touched the Apple ecosystem in some way. Now it is almost impossible to walk the floor and see any products that touch the Apple ecosystem in any way except for an app on the iOS App Store.”
Having been to CES several times, I have to agree, but I wanted to share a couple of observations.
The drumbeat continues
This was published in a recode article on January 7, 2017. It is a fair observation, it’s just the same observation. I suspect we hear this every year:
Frankly, I don’t think apple cares, and maybe it does not matter. The point is, Apple is being intentional: They do not have a booth at CES.
Voice, Google and Amazon
Voice was a significant theme for 2018. Last year, I would call Amazon the ‘winnner’ of ‘attention’ at the show. This year it was Google, but the theme was voice.
Google won by placing their name everywhere in Vegas. Popup booths, like the one to the right were everywhere, they wrapped the train with Hey Google, and people dressed in the white Google Assitant outfits were all over the show floor and in partner booths.
Amazon and Google have demonstrated they will do what it takes to partner with companies to integrate with their voice / AI assistant. They make it simple to integrate with their assistant, and allow anyone to do so. On the outside, it certainly does look and feel like a Google or Amazon world. Apple will allow providers to integrate with HomeKit, but I frequently hear that it costs more to do so, and requires more effort.
I appreciate Apples focus on privacy and security, but this is likely limiting their applity to expand parthenrships and move forward. One of the things that allowed apple to win big in smart phones was their applity to work with developers for apps. Their lack of partnerships for HomeKit is concerning.
We all know about the delay in shipping HomePod. I’m not too concerned about this, if they ship soon. I doubt the HomePod will be the hit of the competitive products given the lead others have in the market. That said, I am sure Apple will sell a lot of them, even at the higher price.
Does it matter?
So, in the end, does it matter that Apple’s influence is felt less at CES? I really don’t think so. The press writes the same headline every year, and every year Apple pumps out record or near record sales.
Is there a long term risk? If there is any risk, it’s not associate with their influence at CES. It’s more about product and strategy. Apple needs to ‘up there game’ and ‘execute’. Siri needs improvement, and Apple made some critical errors in their software during the last quarter. They don’t need to be flawless, but they do need to execute better.
© Rick Cartwright 2018