Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Apple's MobileMe - the real game changer

There's no doubt the iPad's launch reinforces Apple's positioning as an innovator. But it does something more than that. From a commercial perspective, it has the capacity to suck people into the growing power of Apple's vortex, drawing them into a new world in the Apple 'cloud'. It's the natural environment for all our thoughts, memories and shared secrets. It is also an infinitely expandable universe of raw materials mined to inform, entertain and lose ourselves. It reaches 300 million people who already own Apple mobile devices.

The iPad is merely a gateway to Apple's core business, which is now largely driven by selling virtual consumer goods created for us by an eclectic mix of musicians, producers, journalists, artists and, maybe, marketers. Why maybe? Simple. Most of us haven't even worked out how to engage our companies and clients in the social media world, let alone the digital jungle of Apple's rapidly developing universe.

That is why Apple's transition to content provider for cool digital devices tailored to receive it is genius. Apple has worked out the best way to engage its customers is to build a world for them into which they can embed their daily lives. To own the jungle is the most elegant way to tame it, control the way it is used and by whom. And if you don't believe this is happening, consider that Apple is reportedly building the world's biggest data centre in Catawba County, North Carolina - the home of Apple's MobileMe internet 'cloud', where millions already store personal photos and documents and integrate their communications.

The challenge for us is to carve out our role in this world. Perhaps we should sponsor new apps, form partnerships with specialist apps creators, or develop unique and engaging content that people might even buy! At a time when most of the stuff created for traditional channels like television is crap, I believe this will prove an enormous challenge for the marketing business. To cut through a jungle, you need a machete - insight, sharp words, opportunism, improvisaton and, most of all, relevance to the lives of Apple's cloud people.

Welcome to the world of Web 3.0 defined and owned by Apple! MobileMe is the ultimate app. For a growing number, it is the internet.

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