Clouds and devices have turned many, many careers into apps this decade. Whether you’re in sales channels or supply chains, there’s an app for that and you may no longer be necessary.
This has fueled the boom in unicorns like Uber, and it has made Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) the most valuable company on the planet. It has made Jeff Bezos of Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) one of the country’s 10 wealthiest men, able to do things with rockets that only countries could try a generation ago.
But it has also left a lot of people behind, their jobs gone and skills obsolete.
My guess is a lot will be in health care, as what had been routine office monitoring comes to the next version of the Apple Watch. Sensor bands that collect and report health data, on an ongoing basis, will make parts of your regular check-up obsolete, meaning primary care staff could be cut. This could be especially important with chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease, where constant monitoring creates more value than irregular office visits.
Film-making is also about to be transformed, meaning fewer jobs for techs. That’s easy to see from the new Olivia Wilde video of No Love Like Yours by Edward Sharpe, shot and edited on the iPhone. (The new version is due to get even better cameras.) This is bad news for states like Georgia that hope to recycle people by giving tax breaks to video production companies.
Programmers who made video games on desktop or game machine platforms are also finding their skills to be obsolete, as they are no longer working on the right platform.Business models are also being transformed, from pay to free-to-play. Good news for actors like Arnold Schwarzenegger as these games now get big advertising budgets, but not so good for the rest of the industry.
With support for Bluetooth, NFC, and WiFi, it should be noted that the new phones are also making some Apple jobs redundant. The SE will be the same size as the current iPod, which lacks only a cell phone chip to be an actual iPhone. If you were working in that area, you need to find new work.
The point here is not to dump on Apple. It’s very likely the media will deem the next announcements a big failure, because they will not have obsoleted enough people, will not have transformed the work environment enough, to justify Apple’s current valuation. Apple faces an enormous problem with customers who find their current gear “good enough” and hesitate to upgrade.
If Apple does not deliver something spectacular, and game-changing, this year, growth will stop and the company could become like IBM (NYSE:IBM). It has been selling at a below-market Price/Earnings multiple for years, and the difference between last December’s sales and those of the previous December were negligible.
That’s the way technology works. No one is safe. Not even the technologist.
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