Apple’s new product line is glowingin reviews and sales. Don’t get used to the shine. It’s just Macs and software. There’s more to come.
Next up is the living room and mobile devices. What we watch, how we watch it, how we communicate with others. And lawyers.
It was a friendly week for Apple Computer of Cupertino, CA. The stock priced soared through the roof and into the Jetson’s living room as Apple announced Intel Macs earlier than expected, and greater than expected iPod sales.
iLife ‘06 will prove to be a big hit and help Apple sell more Macs (despite Forbes’ report that says iPod sales mask eroding profits in the Mac line). Everything points to a great future, right?
Not so fast, there Sparky. Macworld’s announcements were missing a few teeth. Barbarian lawyers are at the gates and Apple’s future is anything but secure (despite being worth almost exactly the same to the stock market as once high-flyer Dell Computer).
With growing market share, growing sales, glowing reviews, growing profits, why no security in Cupertino?
Four words. Lliving room. Mobile. Lawyers. See? Now you’re really thinking, right?
Apple’s future lies in the living room, in mobile products, and in the hands of lawyers (and maybe a judge or two).
Robert X. Cringely, writing for PBS, says, ““Apple will eventually announce all the products they were supposed to have announced at this week’s MacWorld show, but didn’t, including a bunch of media content deals, a huge expansion of .Mac to one TERABYTE per month of download capacity per user, a new version of the Front Row DVR application, and two new Intel Macs with huge plasma displays, but with keyboards and mice as options—literally big-screen TVs that just happen to be computers, too.”
If you look closely at the details, you’ll note that the above is one big sentence. More media content deals. More goodies for .Mac account users. A new Front Row (perhaps a DVR function?).
But TVs? Worse, “plasma” TVs. Puhleeeeze, say it ain’t so, Robert. Just tell me, “Where’s my MyTV?” How come Apple doesn’t have movies for sale on the iTunes Music Store?
Because nothing says music like iTunes and movies aren’t music. Apple needs something else; a different name, a different scheme, and more lawyers to bring the future living room in from the future.
Lawyers? As reported by Mac360 a week ago, Apple has more lawyers working on cases like This than the US Department of Justice.
Cringely thinks so, too, and says, ““The reason Apple changed its MacWorld announcements at the last minute was because the company sued little Burst.com a few days before, trying to invalidate the Burst patents. But since Apple sued Burst, Burst shares have gone UP by 30 percent. The market is rarely wrong. Suing Burst was an enormous mistake for Apple, casting a pall on their video strategy and potentially costing the company strategic alliances with networks and movie studios.”
Apple shares are up. Burst’s shares are up. What’s going on? Apple wants to deliver content to Apple devices in the living room. Burst has a few patents that stand in the way. Apple is playing hardball. So is Burst, hence the legal fistfight.
Cringely says Apple will settle the case and do so soon. I hope so. I want my MyTV. Now. Vongo is nice, but I want it on my Mac and my iPod.
What about mobile? Motorola’s iTunes ROKR was a STNKR and the latest version doesn’t even have iTunes. Does that mean Apple will have a cell phone of it’s own? Moving the whole company from IBM chips to Intel chips would be easier than running a cell phone company.
Why not move the iPod into digital telephone capability via wireless? It’s Friday. Less news. More speculation. Same price.
Regardless, the living is a battleground for the future and no one is there yet except the cable company and flat panel displays.
An Apple-branded plasma TV with a keyboard, mouse, and remote? Is Casey at bat in Mudville?
Fortunately, Microsoft hasn’t figured out the living room equation yet, either. XBox has problems. Sony’s not back yet (except with TVs). And Windows Media Center has 40 some-odd buttons on a remote than no one uses.
Apple has some time. But the clock is ticking.
What about those lawyers? Not only is Apple in a big lawsuit with Burst, attempting to sink their ship and invalidate their patents, they’re also involved in a lawsuit that could change the name of the company.
Yep, that lawsuit with The Beatles’ record company, Apple Corp., hasn’t been settled either. Apple the record company is just in it for the money. Apple the computer and music player company is in it because “music” (the part that Apple the record company doesn’t like) it’s the future.
2006 promises to be a pivotal year for Apple the computer company. Note that the PowerBook name was changed to “MacBook Pro.” Most pundits, me and Tera included, expect the iBook to become “MacBook.”
A new wireless mini Mac portable could be introduced as the “MacBook mini.” If Apple loses the suit against The Beatles, 2006 could end with Apple becoming simply “Macintosh.” Or “MacPod.” Or worse.
Tera Jean Patricks
Obviously, Bambi hasn’t fully recovered from the trip to Macworld and is suffering from more than jetlag.
Jack D. Miller
I think Apple will just pay money to get rights to use “Apple” however they please. And the rights to sell The Beatles music online. Or not.
I’ve already done two articles on free utilities this week. It’s Friday. I’m off today, and this is the best news and commentary you can come up with?