Last week Apple rolled out a trio of new product platforms: iPhones with larger screens, a watch and a payment system.
The new phones are not dramatic innovations; they build on existing technology and will help Apple keep pace with competitive offerings. The watch and payment systems are bigger innovations. They are both trying to change the rules.
So will the new innovations work?
I suspect this will be a challenge. One issue is that changing behavior is difficult. It is hard to get people to rethink a watch or how to buy things. Another issue, and a bigger problem, is that Apple is fighting some capable, driven competitors.
Apple has always had competition: Microsoft, Motorola, Nokia, Dell and others. The difference is that Apple’s competitors are now more aggressive. Over the past decade, many executives dismissed Apple’s innovations. This was not wise. Competitors won’t make the mistake again; I don’t think there is a company in the world that would dismiss Apple today.
This means that competitors are going to defend; they will attack Apple and respond to the innovations. Financial institutions will push back against Apple’s payment system. Pay Pal is already responding. Technology companies will react to the watch and larger screen iPhones.
It took Samsung just one day to release a series of videos mocking Apple’s new products.
Apple is an innovative company with a track record of success. Apple’s competitors know this. They will react, defend and make life very difficult for Apple in the coming year.