Apple: an update
With the news that Apple’s iPhone 8 is set to be delayed until October or November as a result of technical issues, the tech giant is breaking their five year tradition of releasing the next model iPhone in September. We take a look at what developments have been happening at Apple, where the company has released a new app, whilst courting controversy in other areas of the business.
The iPhone 8 is set to be delayed
Rumours are continually circulating around the release date for Apple’s eighth iPhone set for launch later on this year. Whilst previous iPhone editions are released to a high consumer demand (the previous phone sold out one week after release), consumers have been incensed at the notion that the new edition to join the iPhone family is set to be delayed as a result of technical issues, with the release date being pushed back until October or November.
It has been stated that the design of the new iPhone will be without a home button and will introduce facial recognition software and curved OLED screens, which will be supplied by Samsung. Interestingly, it has also been reported that the new iPhone will incorporate wireless charging, something which will appeal to consumers on the move.
Apple’s products are high quality and long lasting, but this has worked against them when releasing new models and upgrades of the iPhone. Although one of the most popular products, the iPhone is so good that many consumers do not upgrade their model as regularly, unlike the traditional method of upgrading every two years in line with contract renewals. The release of the iPhone 6s and iPhone 7 were not favourable, nor did the technology become more sophisticated, disappointing consumers who sought the best phone on the market. Apple has been able to counteract this by discontinuing older models, such as the iPhone 5, in addition to older games and apps, which will no longer “work with future versions of iOS.” Nonetheless, Apple has stiff competition from competitors such as Samsung, which critics have viewed as outstanding.
Release of Apple Clips
Snap Inc has recently gone public and seen product Snapchat gain over 10 million active users. Tech giants, such as Facebook have replicated Snap’s technology by releasing Instagram ‘Stories,’ realising how millennials are preferring to speak in ‘Images’ rather than dry text language. Apple has now developed their ‘Clips’ feature, available for free to download in the apps store. In a press release, they have described the feature as “an all-new way to produce quick, engaging videos to share through the Messages app, or on Instagram, Facebook and other social networks.”
The user is able to create videos and utilise voice recognition, which can then be turned into captions, besides including music, all of which can be sent to friends and family. Echoing similar apps, filters can be applied, providing a fun and engaging app for the market.
However, the company has recently been in hot water. Although Apple acknowledged the glitch in its system last year which led to some users receiving an ‘Error 53’ response last year, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has now filed a federal lawsuit, stating Apple has violated consumer law.
If an iPhone user previously took their phone to be fixed by a third party, it has been recognised that Apple’s software rendered some phones obsolete without warning. Whilst Apple has previously stated that this is a security feature within the phone which renders the phone defunct, it is under no obligation to fix the phones affected. The company released a statement to clarify the issue:
“We take customer security very seriously and Error 53 is the result of security checks designed to protect our customers. iOS checks that the Touch ID sensor in your iPhone or iPad correctly matches your device’s other components. If iOS finds a mismatch, the check fails and Touch ID, including for Apple Pay use, is disabled.”
Regarding the lawsuit, ACCC chairman Rod Sims has said: “Consumer guarantee rights under the Australian Consumer Law exist independently of any manufacturer’s warranty and are not extinguished simply because a consumer has goods repaired by a third party.”
“Denying a consumer their consumer guarantee rights simply because they had chosen a third-party repairer not only impacts those consumers but can dissuade other customers from making informed choices about their repair options including where they may be offered at lower cost than the manufacturer.”
If the lawsuit is successful, Apple will have to pay an extensive amount in damages and pave the way for similar lawsuits in the UK and US, who have previously also taken Apple to court without success.
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Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl
Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.
With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.
You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?
I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.
We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.
What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?
I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.
The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.
I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.
What does success look like to you?
I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.