Most people don't like change. It's unfamiliar territory and brings many mysteries and potential hazards. But many companies don't realize that and as a result try to reinvent the wheel with every new product release. Take for example the music player business. First they try to add a button for every action, then they remove every button that doesn't necessarily has to be there and now a touchscreen display seems to be the way to go. Of course the industry is changing everytime but it's awkward that a big company can release such a huge amount of products that all have a completely different feel to it. Users don't like that because of two reasons. First of all when they buy a product it's outdated almost instantly. And second of all the public has to adjust themselves to use the product almost every time.
Apple knows this and have adjusted their roadmap accordingly. How? Well by adding two or three clear product lines in a particular market. For Apple in the music business they have the: iPod Nano/Classic (clickwheel), iPod touch (touchscreen) and the shuffle (control by headset). And here's the thing, I just wrote this out of the top of my head! I know that if I buy a nano that I can expect a curtain way of user control. And it won't change because the next iPod Nano will still use the clickwheel, it's simply its trademark. Just like the iPod Touch will always keep the touchscreen. So what does that mean for future products from this company? It's simple don't expect huge product transitions. Here's a simple table:
iPod: Controls stay the same for appropriate models, small refinements.
iPhone: Visual appearance will stay similar, small hardware and software refinements.
Mac: Better hardware, same price.
Those are the three major revenue streams for Apple. The iPad launch is a different story. Here Steve Jobs clearly showed a new product line, which differs completely from everything before it. But guess what, the next iPad will look similar to this one. Users are used to it and don't have to adjust themselves each time Apple announces something new. As a result the following almost overtime applies: once an Apple, always an Apple. This is simply because the users are familiar with the products and are pleased with it.
I'm Robin Chung, author of the dutch book Tegenlicht. I have a website that brings interesting reading material from all kind of subjects like health and gaming. The website also includes a forum, so you can discuss the articles, and you can order my book from there. http://www.robinchung.com.