This is an encore look at Apple’s product road map from late 2007. Wil and I have been in the UK and Scotland visiting family and friends for a couple of weeks. Next time I’m coming in the early summer.
One thing about digital life in the UK is sure. Apple is nearly as popular in the UK as in the US. The Mac is popular. So is the iPod and the iPhone. What’s next?
Apple’s iTunes Store does not seem to be quite so popular here. Perhaps the selection of media puts a damper on the popularity of the iTunes Store, but not so with the iPod. They’re everywhere.
Brits seem to have opinions on everything, and the iPhone gets its share. Many who don’t have an iPhone or haven’t seen it up close or used it will tell you it’s too expensive. That hasn’t done anything to dampen the enthusiasm of iPhone users in the UK.
One question we hear from Mac users in the UK is ‘What’s next?” What will Apple do to add a third leg to the company’s product line. Mac. iPod. iPhone. What’s next?
With Macworld barely a month away, we can afford to be patient. Apple has evolved the Mac line over the years with innovation coming in smaller doses, more evolutionary than revolutionary. The last big change was the switch to Intel processors. A big deal? Yes. But hardly a revolution since most PCs of any kind are Intel-based.
The iPod touch seems to be the hot holiday gift this year. It’s an iPod with a big screen and the iPhone’s multi-touch capability. That’s the wave of the future. Will we see a Mac with a multi-touch display?
The odds on speculative favorite over here is an ultra-small MacBook or MacBook Pro—probably sans a DVD/CD/SuperDrive, maybe no hard drive, opting for a flash-based storage scheme. Such a product would border on revolutionary, but is merely a stretch of evolution.
Apple’s past roads are not always indicative of future directions, though most of us would admit that Apple had to do the iPhone.
Yes, it was a great market with staggering opportunities, but it was also iPod turf that needed to be protected.
Some in the UK complain that Apple hasn’t been able to duplicate the iTunes Store success here as in the US, but that may be an issue of licensing for music, TV shows, and movies, all of which seems to be a quagmire throughout Europe.
It’s been reported that analysts think Apple has sold 600,000 or more AppleTV units since launch early this year. To some, that’s considered a product flop. No one says the Mac mini is a flop. I wonder how many Mac mini’s Apple has sold this year?
It’s very possible that Apple’s next big success will come from the AppleTV arena if and when video rentals are available via the iTunes Store, whether here in the UK, or in the US, which often sets the stage for a roll out elsewhere in the world.
AppleTV may be be catching the world on fire, but it works well, though we could argue that it goes a bit against human nature.
We collect music and listen to music over and over. Not so with videos, whether TV shows or movies.
If I could download TV shows and movies via AppleTV on a rental basis to take the place of my monthly cable TV charges, I’d give it strong consideration. The logistics are substantial, but no one else has had much success with media downloads, other than the iTunes Store.
My money is on Apple, I just don’t know where to place the bet.
Macs, iPods, even iPhones are mostly evolutionary changes from here on out. What’s the next great thing? The top of my list is cluttered with “media player” and “media,” since that territory isn’t owned by anyone. Yet. Control the television. Control the content. That’s what’s next.
The sleeper product of 2007 to 2009 for Apple will be Apple TV.