Tuesday, January 24, 2012

CES 2012: Apple in all heads - I

CES 2012 is now closed. More than ever, it suffers from a paradox: although Apple is absent from his whereabouts, she was very present in the minds of exhibitors and visitors. Between products very "inspired" and real innovations, the ESC 2012 again raises the question of the relevance of these giant rooms.

Apple CES 2012 = 2011?

Many commentators will quickly summarize the CES 2012 in a shameless copy of the catalog of Apple last year. It would go a little hasty Las Vegas this year has been the scene of real innovation, though the shadow of the Cupertino Company seems to have crossed Death Valley.

The MacBook Air was born out of an industrial partnership between Apple and Intel: the computer manufacturer wanted to create a new type of ultraportable, the founder has brought a processor allowing it to do so. The specification of "ultrabook", defined by Intel, is designed to bring the MacBook Air from other manufacturers, after four years of exclusivity for Apple. What we can not blame Intel, we can blame the manufacturers: they resume verbatim revenue from Apple, just making some effort to distinguish them. So with its XPS 13, Dell surprised the outside, nothing distinguishes almost the MacBook Air - same profile, even offering the same ports, even pivotal, even uncheck the screen, even keyboard "Minitel" - glass trackpad with no buttons, same same same ... Do is it the logo of the Texas firm and different colors, the copy would be consistent - while the Dell XPS Adamo was the same like any other computer on the market. The ZenBook Asus, it has "borrowed" from Apple's internal design: the motherboard and the battery are slavish imitations custom components of the MacBook Air.

Stop at this first level is nevertheless an intellectual fraud: indeed, these manufacturers have plundered the drawer ideas of Cupertino, but some have gone further. The second generation of the range Samsung Series 9, designed fairly stated, is characterized by a specific structure to reduce the frame size of the screen and thus fit a slab 15 "in frame 14". Dell did the same with its XPS 13, which uses a screen 13 "in frame 12." Tablets and smartphones were less present at CES (we see them again at MWC in Barcelona in late February), unlike all-in- one, again a sector favorite Apple. However, this market tends to stabilize, the first iMac computers competitors have been presented in 2008, now manufacturers succeed in injecting their own identity in their models, such as Lenovo or HP with its IdeaCenter his Omni27. The screens acting as a docking station are related area: the Samsung Central Station or the HP L2311c repeat the recipe Cinema Display, each with more good ideas (wireless connection for the first, as USB video connection for the second). The Thunderbolt, again developed by Intel at the suggestion of Apple, is also starting to be adopted by other manufacturers of mini-DisplayPort connector, standard proposed by the Cupertino Company.

Let us stop crying wolf every time a manufacturer introduces a new ultrabook, an all-in-a more or monitor presented as a docking station for laptop: better distinguish between those who make no effort of those who add original proposals, on a path traced by Apple anyway. They recall that the personal computer in the conventional sense is a disaster area: it has a slower growth than the Mac for five years. Since Apple's strategy seems to be the only one to work, all are engulfed, with varying degrees of success. The maxim of some seems truer than ever: "Apple: 20% market share in the general public, 80% of good ideas." Until another player has the nerve to adopt the strategy "blue ocean".

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