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Even though Apple’s latest iPad model (the third) has been on sale for close to a month, there are still many billboards up advertising the iPad 2. I have spotted them in recent days all over San Francisco and also in Los Angeles. For what has been historically a famously detail-oriented company that seems to live by (and for) the theater of it’s product launches — this seems odd.  I am not an Apple insider by any stretch — but this seeming lack of attention to detail strikes me as a sort of change. As something Steve Jobs would never have allowed to happen.

Does it matter? What details matter?

Apple is famous not just for paying attention to small details that, in aggregate, paint a fantastic big picture. They are also famously what you might call “systems thinkers”. If you read one of my favorite books on the subject, Inside Steve’s Brain, by Leander Kahney (editor of Cult of Mac), you see how Apple culture brings together many different players at the company (hardware, software, user experience, marketing … ) and force everyone/everything to work together — well. Leander has a great chapter on this topic with good examples.

However, underneath the theater Apple is a product company. And the iPad 2 is still a big product for them. There is no rule that a company should only be advertising it’s latest and greatest.

Are these billboards a sign that things are changing at the company? And does it matter? What do you think?

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