Apple’s Special Event & MWC Americas

By Chris Wallace, Managing Director, San Francisco, Mindshare North America

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Last week was a big mobile week in Silicon Valley. As well as Apple introducing the world to the iPhone X, Mobile World Congress Americas was kicking off in San Francisco; a smaller version of MWC Barcelona. The combination of the two made for some interesting discussions. Here was the talk from the show floor:

Details and Implications:

Everything Enabled (IoT & 5G) A big theme at MWC Americas was 5G connectivity. It may be the biggest thing to happen to mobile in 2018. The speed and capacity of 5G is more than just your smartphone though, it’s about connecting cities, cars, phones, homes and just about anything you can imagine. In a similar vein, Apple launched the Series 3 version of its watch – a device that has its own mobile network capabilities. Expect IoT to accelerate with the advent of 5G, and expect everything in your life to become enabled.

Blockchain What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the term blockchain? Most likely you associate it to digital currency, specifically Bitcoin. While Bitcoin has definitely brought blockchain to the main stage, the implications of blockchain are much more far reaching for other areas of business. At MWC, Ericsson showed us how this works in a Lego version of a warehouse, seamlessly moving a package from one checkpoint to another and loaded onto a truck without ever exchanging paperwork. IBM & Maersk did this with shipping containers earlier this year. When you think blockchain, think speed.

AI for the Greater Good We often talk about AI as taking over the job of humans. But the promise of AI is really about making us all smarter by enhancing our decision-making abilities through machine learning. But we are still at the point of training the machines – one example being Pepper, an AI powered robot who is programmed to interact with humans, and learns from every human interaction, taking visual cues to understand and react to your mood. Apple is also playing in this game with the launch of the iPhone X, powered by a custom-made processor with a “neural engine” – designed specifically to use machine learning to power the phones facial recognition services.

Graphene: Only one atom thick but 200 times stronger than steel and five times more conductive than copper and nearly transparent. Does that sound too good to be true? It’s not. It’s graphene and it has applications in just about everything we do – including mobile. Apple didn’t make any announcements here, but it has patents already in place. Expect this to change interactions with screens of all shapes and sizes.

Enabled. Faster. Smarter. Transparent. Mobile is no longer just about your phone. While many have been critical of the focus on features rather than benefits in the mobile space lately, read between the lines and see that much of this development is about simplification for the consumer. For marketers it’s all about leaning into these changes – be aware, be informed, and test, test, test. Your advantage comes in your ability to adapt.

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Further Reading / Viewing:
Apple Keynote / MWC Americas Highlights / Graphene