Why Best Buy and not the Apple Store? The former is a disastrous shopping experience where Apple watchers go for problems to solve. The latter is where we go to buy the solutions. Here are two solutions that I’m convinced Apple has been working on for years.
In A Galaxy Far, Far Away…
To be honest about Apple prognosticating, there are few that have a good record of figuring out what or when Apple will launch the next great thing.
Enter one Peter Misek of Jeffries & Co., the analyst with by far the worst record ever at predicting Apple’s upcoming products.
screed projection says Apple will have a TV event in March, but the 4.8-inch iPhone won’t see the light of day until mid-2014. That’s 2014, as in way next year.
So, I read Misek’s prediction, then read Cult of Mac’s list of his previous predictions (spoiler alert; way off base), and then went to Best Buy, where I’m pretty sure Misek worked prior to becoming an analyst. How does a guy that wrong keep his job?
Here’s the deal. Steve Jobs has been gone about 18 months. Whatever Apple has released since then was on the drawing boards while Jobs was running Apple’s show. In fact, product lead times in the technology industry being what they are, I have no doubt that Jobs was in on two of the biggest rumors about Apple this year.
The Apple television and the Apple watch. iTV and iWatch, if you will.
No Overnight Successes
Game changing products are not dreamed up and launched to the world overnight. Apple sells many millions of new products in the first weekend after launch, so designs have to be nearly perfect, and the supply chain has to bring all the pieces together, and manufacturing needs time to ramp up.
Again, that doesn’t happen overnight, so, if Apple is working on a television product and a watch, they’ve been working on it for a long time. Remember, Apple has a habit of skating to where the puck is going, rather than skating to where it is, or where it’s been.
So, we need to look ahead, and remember that Apple is all about integration and leverage these days. New products work well with old products in this tightly bound ecosystem.
Television is a fragmented, Balkanized cesspool of selfish interests. How can Apple crack that industry? In steps. Apple TV needs an application platform so sales of the device grow into a critical mass of users that makes it attractive for content producers to hawk their wares (sell stuff). I expect Apple to expand Apple TV, er, sorry, iTV, to include an application layer, for games and entertainment.
What about the iWatch? There’s a generation of smart phone users for whom their watch is their phone. Is the market that big for Apple to even bother dipping a digital toe into? The problem with the smart phone is that it’s in your pocket, purse, or briefcase when you need it.
I think Apple is working on an interface to the iPhone, via a smaller wearable, always accessible device– iWatch fits, of course, but it may be something even more unique, definitely wearable (accessibility rules), and certainly voice and touch controlled.
Neither iTV nor iWatch are new ideas. Both have floated around for years. Even now, there are technological and business barriers to their success, let alone launch. Battery life, screen size, and content provider discrimination to mention a few. I have no doubt that Apple has been working on design, components, and manufacturing issues for a few years now (even while Jobs was alive), but the company is viciously disciplined about not releasing the next great thing until it’s actually ready.
There’s no indication that methodology has changed under CEO Tim Cook. Revolutions are not always obvious when the revolution begins.