Pioneer or Follower


A consideration on an ‘antique’ technology rivalry

The identity of one company, its DNA, is inseparably connected with this basic concept. One does not become pioneer, he’s born like one.

Apple has always been the leader, the pioneering company par excellence. They create and others follow (or copy?). Last 30 years clearly prove it.

Last October 23rd Apple presented its new creation: the iPad Mini. It was a rather particular presentation, in certain aspects unique, and one of the very few to be transmitted in live streaming on the Web. Normally, Apple avoided these kind of initiatives, preferring “secret” and exclusive events.

Not this time, and it wasn’t the only unusual thing, if we just look back at the presentation of the new iPad 4, just seven months away from the launch of iPad 3, which is something never seen before at Cupertino.

One of the great qualities Steve Jobs had, was the creation of a mysterious halo and frenetic anticipation around new devices, that remained in top secrecy until the day of the presentation itself. Tim Cook, whether we like him or not, is not that much eager to maintain the secrecy, and all the web portals were full of leaked product images and descriptions. Another anomaly, the main one, is in the type of the presented device. For the first time Apple has to pursue, to be the follower in the mini-tablet market, a device that has already been launched by numerous players, above all Amazon with Kindle Fire HD and Google, with Nexus 7 (and let’s not forget the fierce enemy at the moment, Samsung). Both over the top colossus show off with the equal aggressive pricing of $199, seducing everyone who still didn’t surrender to the temptation of buying this new mobile gadget. Apple’s response is the iPad Mini, starting at $329.

It’s true, it does have iOS, but maybe this time it’s not enough. The 7’’ tablet became ace up the sleeve for Amazon, that knew how to use best all of its potential powers, creating a unique environment for its own services. One does not create a 1 million e-books catalogue in a day. And that’s not all: audio and video content, the possibility to acquire music and film legally and seamlessly create an extremely profitable market, that will surpass $400 billion in the next 5 years.

Google knew how to ride this trend and its Nexus 7 is already becoming a global success.

The mini-tablet market, as much as it is growing, is still relatively small and very “crowded”. And the question remains: will Apple manage to prove itself again as the one who is “redesigning the future”?


Gianluca Adinolfi

*Editor’s note: the author was a Neomobile emloyee until 2014





  1. I think that after Jobs’ death, it will be very hard for Apple to be a pioneer, because it has lost its real pioneer. Apple was made great by Steve Jobs because he could see, foresee and create something that no one expected. Tim Cook can be a good CEO, but he doesn’t have the creative strength own by his predecessor, and now it is the right time to Amazon and Samsung to move in to attack against Apple.

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