Apple is the new Nintendo

You may get the impression that everything about Apple is negative, but that’s not true. This is not Apple with the engine on fire, this is Apple where they need to recalibrate a few things to get the engine operating smoothly and effectively again. They’re still doing a lot of things right.

Source: Apple’s 2016 in review

The above quote from Chuq Von Rospach made me realise that Apple is getting close to the business nature of Nintendo. It might not be consciously throwing underpowered hardware at its target audience in the hope of dazzling with innovations and gimmicks, but it’s hard not to look at the 2016 Macbook Pro updates and think otherwise.

While Nintendo failed with the Wii U (consumers simply didn’t get it was a new console while no-one wanted another Wii peripheral), it hopes to reverse its fortunes with the Nintendo Switch. A device that is a portable handheld device but also functions as a home console with a dedicated dock consolidates Nintendo’s development arm and make the entire company focus on one platform.

That might sound familiar yet again if you’re looking at Apple, where similar momentum is being generated to get iOS and macOS to work together and become one. But where Nintendo is finally getting their star aligned, Apple seems to be headed for stormy waters as unification still seems far off. (Interestingly, while Apple and Nintendo are consolidating within their respective markets, competitor Microsoft seems to consolidate cross-market with Windows 10 powering PCs and the Xbox One home consoles.)

I do hope Apple doesn’t fall into the Nintendo trap, as a company that looks at its target audience and simply start to cater exclusively to them. Chuq mentions that as a spreadsheet way of thinking. And like Nintendo before them, you can’t truly innovate from within a safe environment, you need that much taunted courage to go all-in on a bold new venture.

Time for Apple’s own Switch then.