An Apple Winetable and musings on the iPhone & Innovation

My NextNY cohort/friend Darren Herman has started an interesting, new venture- DarrenSalon (he swears that the name came at the suggestion of another NextNY’er- Charlie). The idea is that monthly there will be semiformal gatherings around a specific tech topic- “Winetables.” The next one will be about virtual communities, this one was about Apple.

Eight of us tech-involved New Yorkers sat down for about two hours, drank some wine and talked about iPhones, Steve Jobs, iPods, Steve Jobs… You get the point. I have been an Apple user for more then 15 years and the company is near and dear to my heart, but I still think there are some things they could do better. Often, Apple seems just as clueless about the web as Microsoft does. But throughout the discussion everyone agreed that Apple has an incomparable leader in Jobs and is the undisputed leader in personal tech.

Our Apple discussion has continued via email since. We have been talking lately about a recent negative article about the iPhone. I think that any product or company who is over hyped too much in the press others will want to knock down- one term I heard for this is the beanpole effect (or something similar). In the case of the iPhone, speculation for huge success or failure is obviously premature. But having been subject to using, and supporting, all the various “smart” phones, I certainly think the arena could use an infusion of new thinking.

Apple’s reputation for innovation is unmatched, and rarely even challenged. It’s amazing that after a decade since Jobs’ return, Sony, HP, Dell & Microsoft continue to cede the bulk of the innovation in personal computing & tech to Apple.

In exchange Apple has, for the most part, left business computing to the control of Microsoft and the large enterprise providers. However, with the web quickly becoming the dominant platform for SMB applications, there is the opportunity for this to quickly change.

Apple will have some losers and missed opportunities, and there will be many who will be more then ready to knock them for it. In the Winetable discussion we compared Apple to HBO. Looking at HBO, not every show can be a hit, but it is their track record of big successes, and their willingness to take big chances, that makes them who they are.

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