Apple’s WWDC 2011: A Watershed for Small Business Owners?

Why Apple's WWDC Announcement is Important for Small Business OwnersApple’s WWDC 2011: A Watershed for Small Business Owners?

Every June, Apple holds their World Wide Developers’ Conference in San Francisco. In years past the focus was entirely on their Macintosh personal computer line, the Mac operating system and software being developed for it.

In more recent years the focus has been almost entirely on the iPhone and the apps being developed for it. This year both platforms were featured, as was an interesting melding of the two.

As a long-time Apple customer (1985) and follower of all things related to online marketing and commerce for small business owners, I watched the video of the WWDC Keynote Address with great interest and came away much more impressed than many members of the tech press seem to be.

Unlike many other observers, I believe that this year’s WWDC represents a watershed moment in online interaction and marketing that will impact small business for many years to come.

The primary complaint most mainstream tech reporters have expressed regarding the varied announcements at this year’s WWDC is that none of the “innovations” represented anything new. They were all ideas that had been around for years. Ideas like cloud storage of data, syncing mobile phones over the air, an online PC software marketplace and so forth.

Where I beg to differ is that the confluence of all these ideas within Apple’s “Walled Garden” of hardware, OS and software, represents a revolution that will cause a huge increase in demand for Apple’s products as well as their partners’ content (music, books, videos and software).

Why Apple's WWDC 2011 was Important for Small Business OwnersThe primary force behind my predicted surge in demand is Apple’s new iCloud service, which will allow you to store all of your entertainment media in one place (The Cloud) and access it anytime, anywhere from any of your Apple branded devices including iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Macintosh PC and AppleTV.

In short, if you buy a song once on the iTunes store you can access it forever from up to 10 devices without paying another dime. And you never even have to download the song to any one device. Once purchased, the song (or video or book or whatever) is available almost instantly on all of your devices – without you having to do anything.

The net result of this ease of storage and access will be a huge surge in demand for downloadable products on iTunes, iBooks and the app store.

How does this impact the marketing strategy of the average small business owner? The answer is simple: if you don’t already have a mobile marketing strategy in  place and/or ready to roll out in 2011, you will quickly find yourself falling behind your competitors who do.

Even prior to this week’s WWDC, it had already been projected that uring this calendar year (2011), Internet traffic flowing through mobile devices will surpass that flowing through non-mobile devices such as smart phones and tablet computers – and Apple was already the leader in hardware, software and content for those devices.

The enhancements announced at the WWDC will accelerate the transition from fixed to mobile devices dramatically, causing even a larger majority of online searches to be done away from standard computers and web browsers. In fact, one of the enhancements Apple announced is that you no longer even need a PC (or Macintosh) to set up, synchronize or backup your Apple branded mobile device. Everything can now be done over the air.

The bottom line is this: your customer base is already a primarily mobile one and your marketing efforts and budget must follow suit if you hope to succeed in near future and beyond. Watch the WWDC Keynote Address and consider what you need to do to keep your brand front-of-mind with your target audience.

About This Author 

Frank Felker's 40+ years of entrepreneurial experience have run the gamut from home-based and storefront businesses through nationwide seminar production and international newsletter publishing, to the founding of a tech start-up where he raised over $3 million in seed and early stage venture capital.

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