The debate in tech circles about whether Apple can still bring it is an ongoing online conversation – or argument. Whether the iPhone7 was truly innovative or whether the 10th anniversary model will be truly breakthrough are ongoing questions that keep chat rooms and social media groups percolating.
A new study by Piper Jafray shows that amazingly, two-thirds of teens own an iPhone – a strong sign of smartphone dominance among emerging groups of young consumers. However, their interest in the Apple Watch is low, indicating that the ability to launch a new platform out of Cupertino may be fraying around the edges.
And if you’re seeking evidence that Apple may be struggling in a new space, look no further than virtual assistants, smart speakers, or as many people have come to refer to them as :
Amazon has jumped into this space big-time, and is more than just the early leader in the clubhouse. We saw this at CES this past January. Even though Amazon doesn’t bother to sponsor an exhibit, Alexa was everywhere – in apps, robots, and yes, cars. Ford is the first automaker to import the voice of Alexa into its dashboards.
And now, a great new study from the J. Walter Thompson London group and Mindshare – “Speak Easy – The Future Answers To You” – provides solid research and analysis that can bring you up to speed with the space, even though it’s written from a UK perspective.
Even though Siri was the early voice we all came to know – something of a cultural phenomenon at the time – this report refers to Apple in this hot new space as “a laggard.”
Instead, Alexa has literally become the voice of this technology, and in many ways, it has pulled an Apple by making the development of “skills” (another term for smartphone apps) an open-source ecosystem that allows third-party developers room to create a wide variety of ways to deliver entertainment and information via voice. This can be done through the Echo device – as well as potentially any gadget that wishes to integrate it using the Alexa Voice Service.
And here’s some research you haven’t seen before: the results of Techsurvey13. Among our more than 51,000 respondents across North America, already more than one in ten respondents owns one of these devices – now making their way into kitchens, dens, and bedrooms.
The most fascinating thing about this chart is how little difference there is among the various demographic groups – especially generations. Aside from Gen Z (probably saving up their allowance to buy one), the consistency across age groups is striking, suggesting these devices cross many different lines. As we’ve watched gadget acquisition trends in our Techsurveys for more than a decade, most new gadgets and platforms – think smartphones, social media, podcasts – start with the youngest consumers and work their way older.
That doesn’t appear to be the case with voice assistants or smart speakers – OK, or just Alexa.
There’s still time for Apple to create its own version of the Echo or the Google Home and vault right back into the hunt.
Or is there?
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Jacobs Media has consistently walked the walk in the digital space, providing insights and guidance through its well-read national Techsurveys.
In 2008, jacapps was launched - a mobile apps company that has designed and built more than 1,000 apps for both the Apple and Android platforms. In 2013, the DASH Conference was created - a mashup of radio and automotive, designed to foster better understanding of the "connected car" and its impact.
Along with providing the creative and intellectual direction for the company, Fred consults many of Jacobs Media's commercial and public radio clients, in addition to media brands looking to thrive in the rapidly changing tech environment.
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