Tag Archive | Apple

A sting in the tail for Apple Users?

There have been a couple of articles in the last week that have really got me thinking about the consequence of using products from the world’s most valuable brand.

The first article that appeared in wired magazine shows that the Ratio of PC to Mac Sales Narrowing to Lowest Level in Over a Decade. Whilst the article cites that industries that use video and photo editing are typically Mac-centric, I think it is easy to see their use in many more scenarios than this.

For the better part of the last two decades, former Apple CEO Steve Jobs focused on the outward appearance of his company’s products with an enthusiasm unmatched by his competitors. The unique designs that resulted from this obsession have given Mac products the “hip” image that they enjoy today. However, this ‘hip’ image also comes at a premium on acquisition, particularly when you consider that if you take apart a Mac computer, and you take apart a PC, you will find that they use the same parts and components. Both have: a motherboard, processor, RAM memory, graphics card, optical drive, hard drive etc.

However, they do not use the same software which brings me to another hidden cost that I had not heard of until recently.

Over the weekend I read an article in the WSJ that stated Apple Mac users booking holidays on the travel firm Orbitz’s web-site were paying up to 30% more than Windows PC users! Mainly because they could and would.

Orbitz are defending the tactic as an ‘experiment’ and believe some of the data has been taken out of context, with their CEO commenting: “However, just as Mac users are willing to pay more for higher end computers, at Orbitz we’ve seen that Mac users are 40% more likely to book 4 or 5-star hotels as compared to PC users, and that’s just one of many factors that determine which hotels to recommend a given customer as part of our efforts to show customers the most relevant hotels possible.”

So basically their website was interpreting the type of software accessing their content and then used advanced algorithms to render the more expensive options if it was Apple based. Whilst this has created a flurry of social media objection and conjecture, marketing data for this company showed that Mac users are associated with a somewhat richer demographic than PC users and Orbitz CEO Barney Harford defends their position stating that its software is simply showing users what it thinks they will want to see and buy.

The WSJ believes that the sort of target marketing undertaken by Orbitz will become more commonplace in the future as retailers become bigger users of predictive analytics.

Clearly, the challenge with this approach is that there is an assumption that if you use a Mac, then you stand out as a big spender. Whether it is true or not, I sense that other organisations will soon follow suit and will try to see that you place bigger orders as a result. In theses austere times, its just another factor of cost that sometimes isn’t considered by the more well heeled advocates of completely corporate wide BYOD scheme.

Personally, I think it’s just another example of how quickly the dynamics of the workplace and technology are moving – and as an Apple user myself I’ll be keeping a keen eye on my purchases!

In you are interested, you can read the WSJ article here

To BYOD or to BYOD – “Thats now the question”

BYOD (Bring your own device) is a business outcome that has taken the enterprise IT world by storm.  The marketeers have neatly positioned the term to collate the myriad of products and services available to allow a “non IT department owned and managed device” to connect to the corporate environment effectively, securely and reliably. For quite a while the BYOD was term was aligned with forward thinking, dynamic organizations keen to attract and retain generation Z employees and accommodate their “non standard” computing needs. Numerous articles and statistics presented quite a disruptive viewpoint that “tomorrow’s generation” would vote with their feet and avoid “old school” organizations with restrictive end user IT devices & policies. But the story has changed quite dramatically in the last twelve months with the need for “flexible end user device” policies now a major topic for most organizations. BYOD does not describe a product or even a solution but the end state desired by either the organization or the end user. With that in mind as we accelerate through the “tablet” era and for some the “post pc era (somewhat premature for me)”, end users are not only demanding the use of an end point device of their choice (or close to it), they are increasingly circumventing often restrictive IT polices to achieve it for themselves. 

A quick scan of the web will highlight many stories chronicled from some of the world’s largest organizations that outline the extraordinarily high number of “stealth” or non company issue Smartphone’s, tablets or laptops found connected within their own environments after a standard audit.  With so many “non company issue” end user devices now fundamental to the professional outcome delivered by company employees or end users, a wholesale shutdown is no longer an option – instead a new way that educates and embraces the end user plus delivers a means that the organization can become “end user centric” from a device perspective whilst still retaining control.  The plethora of solutions marketed to deliver BYOD outcomes help with the challenge but no one “silver bullet” exists to solve the problem. BYOD interfaces many elements of an organization not least the people (attitudes, device choice, etc), the devices themselves, capital expenditure costs, operational support costs, applications and so on.  Seeking a quick fix to resolve BYOD issues is likely to be costly in the long run, so careful planning and leveraging specialist insight will deliver immense value.

As the UK’s leading workplace transformation partner, Computacenter possesses a view second to none of the impact of new IT end point device form factors and operational approaches within the corporate environment.  Connectivity and security underpin BYOD success and the Computacenter services portfolio includes solutions from industry leaders including Good Technology, Mobileiron, McAfee, HP, Symantec, Juniper to name a few. More recently the Computacenter networking and security team achieved the lucrative Cisco ISE ATP accreditation to deliver the highly regarded Cisco context aware, access, accounting, authorization platform within enteprise organisations.

BYOD really can deliver a win win for smart organizations. With solutions such a Cisco ISE and companion products, organizations can successfully enable BYOD from a connectivity perspective whilst regaining visibility and control.  Compare that to a pre BYOD environment where end users may be activity working to circumvent IT policy and control and with it creating an ever greater security risk than the original policy strived to prevent.

Like it or not for many organizations, BYOD isn’t if, or when, it’s now.

Until next time.

Colin W

Twitter: colinwccuk

Is an Ultrabook the answer?

I’m sure I’m not alone in wanting a single device to lug around the place. It needs to be light, powerful, have a great screen, look good, last for hours etc. I remember when the tablet was first muted and asked then which item(s) I already had it would replace. Having had an iPad for a while now, the answer is, it hasn’t. I still have a Smartphone (would be difficult but not impossible to use the iPad for this but you’d need big pockets and skin the thickness of Dom Joly) and my Notebook.

On occasion I take all three devices with me when I need to do some ‘proper’ work, specifically creating in addition to reviewing. When travelling overnight and especially abroad, I have left the Notebook at home a few times and this has made a very positive difference to the holdall weight but there’s always that nagging doubt…

On the face of it, the Ultrabook does appear to combine the functionality of the Notebook while coming closer to the weight and battery life of the Tablet. The new Intel Ivy Bridge processors will further improve matters in the battery life department and Windows 8 will support touch, perhaps the single biggest USP of the iPad (as well as ‘instant on’). Oh, and that screen…

I’m eagerly awaiting my first Ultrabook and although it won’t be loaded with Windows 8 when received, it will provide a strong pointer to the future. If you’ve never had an iPad then this is probably the ideal solution but if like me you have, it will be a tougher call.

Client computing has become sexy again and whether you love or hate Apple, we should all probably thank them as it’s their innovation and design that is driving the competing manufacturers to produce better products.

Don’t leave them to their own devices

I wonder how many of you saw Apple’s remarkable results last week? If you didn’t, they nearly doubled their quarterly profits and amongst all of the other superlatives in the commentary they added over $40 billion to their market cap! In fact the iPad maker has the biggest weighting of any company in the S&P 500, accounting for 4.5pc of the overall index – it has been quite a while since
so much tech sentiment revolves around just one stock.

One of the other data points I picked up on was that they have now sold over 60 million iPads worldwide since their inception in 2010 and has hence created a category all of their own. Whether it be their financial might or technology innovation – you certainly can’t ignore them.

Apart from the fantastic opportunity this presents business in changing they way they can enable and support their workforce, it has created a lot of headaches too!

To this end, we’ve been busy working with Apple to ensure we have developed our portfolio in line with their with technology to help our clients and provide the type of service that most Enterprise workers have become accustomed to. We’ve even put a little ‘chalk n talk’ video together to outline what we have done. You can check it out here. I hope you like it?

Wake up Call?

So, just as I’m wrapping up for the Easter break there are reports circulating in the news of 500,000 Apple Macs being infected by a virus (Trojan). At the time of writing, this hasn’t been corroborated by Apple themselves but the early synopsis by a Russian security vendor is that this might be via Java on the platform rather than the Operating System itself.

Nether less, I have found a number of my Apple fanatical friends and associates to be insufferably smug about the fact that they don’t pay for or use Anti-Virus software…. but for how much longer I wonder? With all of Apple’s success recently, are we seeing the focus of the attack vector move from Microsoft to Apple?

‘Rude awakening’ or ‘flash in the pan’? I’m sure Security vendor’s marketing departments will be busy this weekend!

Blackberry & Apple, a fruity tale…

Welcome to this first edition of ‘Public’ Rod Blog, something I hope will become a small but welcome aside in your busy life.  My role in Computacenter (from now on referred to as CC) sees me responsible for the end to end supply chain from customer quotation, order, procurement and delivery.  These blogs however will focus mainly on a mix of what our vendor partners are doing or about to do, my take on whatever it is plus unbiased views on what is happening in the IT market as a whole.  I’ve been writing an internal version of the Blog for some time now hence the ‘Public’ label above.  They’ve stimulated some response and debate and that in itself has made them worthwhile.  I hope this new version will do the same but time will tell.  Most importantly, I won’t be trying to sell you anything, that’s the job of the experts and we know how sensitive they can be!

I’ll start at the beginning and where better than Apple?  I don’t need to repeat the superlatives that accompany their continued financial success but can even they have foreseen the runaway success of the last few years?  And when they announce a new iPad (and what was wrong with calling it the iPad 3?), the fact much of the world can’t use the 4G component doesn’t seem to matter?  Instead, “I’ll have three please” is more likely to be heard than a complaint!  Compare this to the once mighty Blackberry.  Just last week we read reports that parent company RIM had announced its intention to withdraw from the consumer market to focus on corporate customers.  I’ve since seen follow up articles that retract these comments saying they were “misconstrued”.  Whatever the reality, too little too late?  You bet.  For me it’s inevitable they’ll be acquired and why look anywhere else than HP, their own saga with Palm has left them bereft of a Smartphone and this, if we are to believe the analysts, is the largest segment of the market by volume.

As always, interesting times ahead.

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