Apple should buy Nikon's consumer/prosumer DSLR business

Started Sep 14, 2013 | Discussions thread
Draek
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Re: Apple should buy Nikon's consumer/prosumer DSLR business
In reply to HowardChernin, Sep 15, 2013

HowardChernin wrote:

A few reasons:

1) iPhone has introduced millions of customers to creative photography and post-processing, which is fabulous in and of itself. iPhone dominates the low-end/consumer markets, and the quality of the sensor, lens, DSP and software keep improving with every iteration. Nikon's deep pool of talent and experience in the fields of optics and sensor design would lend themselves to iPhone development.

No it doesn't; Android does.

2) Apple lacks a higher end product for photography enthusiasts, prosumers, and professionals who desire, among other things, more flexibility, more features, better AF, better image quality, etc. If you want a higher end camera, you can't buy one from Apple. Instead, your money ends up going to a company such as Nikon, Canon, Sony, Olympus, or one of the many other competitors in the traditional camera market. It could instead be going to Apple.

Samsung and Sony's experiences seem to be that it's quite hard to make a significant buck off the high-end camera market, taking years and years until you build the user confidence needed to start turning people away from the Big Two. And, trust me: if Apple buys Nikon, Nikon ain't gonna be one of the Big Two anymore, not in the minds of most photographers -- not that Apple would ever let the name survive, of course.

3) Interchangeable lens system cameras remain a lucrative market for companies like Canon and Nikon. How many of us have bought a low-end consumer DSLR with kit lens, and thought "OK, I just need a nifty 50 and that'll complete my kit" only to buy additional gear because it's there, and we think it will make us better photographers? New lenses, external flashes, battery packs, these things all add up and provide additional revenue beyond the initial sale. Apple is no stranger to creating an ecosystem around a central product.

No, they aren't, but they're much, much worse around allowing third-parties into it than most camera manufacturers -- a semi-open mount like the Nikon F would give them a heart attack faster than you can say "you can mount our lenses on what!?"

4) ILC purchasers often stay loyal to their brand for many years, if not a lifetime. You end up building a whole kit of equipment, including bodies, lenses, flashes, etc., all of which only natively work with your one brand. That kind of loyalty is similar to the loyalty associated with owners of Apple products.

Similar, but much, much less. Again, the prospect of mounting a Sigma lens on your D800 -- or of mounting your Nikkor on a m43 Olympus -- is likely to give them a heart attack.

5) Apple needs to maintain a strong presence in the high end photography/cinematography business in order to keep attracting customers to its higher end computing products (such as Mac Pro, Aperture, Final Cut X). Purchasing an established, respected brand with fierce customer loyalty and a tradition of excellence would reaffirm the synergy between Apple's products and these two critical markets.

True but, then, that's reason to buy a company with a strong presence in both stills and video -- and in cinema, Nikon isn't even a blip in videographer's radar. Canon would be about the only feasible choice, since Panasonic and Sony are far too large for Apple to buy.

6) Apple has the clarity of vision and the raw engineering talent to pull Nikon way ahead of the pack. Just off the top of my head, imagine if you combined Nikon sensors and optics with a retina touch display, Apple level build quality, quality control, and economy of scale, an Apple designed on-screen UI (hell, put iOS on there and allow use of Apps), AirPlay, and Thunderbolt. You'd have a camera that would be leagues ahead of anything else on the market, at a price that likely nobody else could match when looking at features.

*UGH*, no. It'd be like the Samsung Galaxy NX, only larger, far more closed, available only in pearl white, and with nary a button on its surface.

7) Apple knows how to market way better than Nikon does. As much as we all love Ashton... Nikon has only had mixed success at marketing its 1 series to the masses as a lifestyle brand, and doesn't seem to be able to express why it is better than the competition in clear language.

That I'll give you fully.

I'm not saying Nikon needs Apple (though these days, the way the camera market is going, Nikon could probably use Apple's cash and engineering resources). But, Apple might do well by Nikon by bringing it under Apple's wing. Apple loves creating products that inspire, and having a high end imagining line to call its own would be a logical extension of the path that Apple has been taking for the past 10 years.

Quite possibly but, again, not Nikon -- much more likely they'd buy a company, if not Canon which is strong in both cinema and stills, one that's centered purely on cinema like RED, as to leverage its existing mindshare among videographers due to the success of its Final Cut product -- Aperture's mindshare is much more modest by comparison, and the market much less welcoming of changing hands, as the Zeiss brand's history shows. Even the Ricoh/Pentax deal raised quite a few flags way back when, and Ricoh is a company with a rich history in photography.

Your thoughts?

As above.

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