The key to understanding just about anything in business or politics is to ‘follow the money.’ That’s easier said than done but can yield some interesting opportunities when applied to our favorite tech company with a fruit logo.
As much as Apple loves to make great gadgets for us to hold and use, Apple also loves to make plenty of money. Can we apply that money trait to what kind of products Apple will release in the future?
Big Numbers, Little Numbers
Every successful business endeavor is made up of big numbers. They might be many little numbers that add up to big numbers, but the larger the numbers the larger the opportunity.
The Mac has big numbers, both in unit sales, average selling price, and gross margins. That’s why the Mac is more profitable than the next five PC makers combined.
Likewise, the iPhone and iPad have similar big numbers. Unit sales, average selling price, and gross margins (more for the former than the latter, of course).
Looking forward to new products that Apple might be working on, where are the big numbers? Apple TV sells plenty, but relative to Mac, iPhone, or iPad, or even apps, Apple TV remains a hobby.
What about iTV? Are there big numbers there? Nearly every household has a TV, of course, but televisions are notoriously low margin, and customers don’t buy new TVs as frequently as PCs, phones, or tablets.
What about iWatch? Maybe a few billion people have a watch, so the market is huge, but watches for the masses are notoriously inexpensive, and the trend today is to use the smartphone as a watch instead of a watch as utilitarian jewelry.
What’s left? iGlasses? Google’s Glasses look interesting, but I see an enormous backlash against the Borg-like use of glasses to spy on people, take photos or videos, all without consent of those nearby.
Here’s one that makes some sense for Apple and the numbers are stunningly huge. Banking. Money. Finance. Or, put more simply, iWallet. Apple has enough cash on hand to fund the mother of all finance groups so that anyone can buy a Mac, iPhone, or iPad.
Another big number is the number of credit card numbers and accounts Apple has on hand for iTunes, iTunes App Store, Mac App Store– to the tune of about 500-million. Certainly Apple would like those customers to be able to use their Apple account for transactions outside of the App Store.
Add fingerprint authorization and security to the iPhone and Apple would go a long way to dropping the expense of fraudulent transactions (another big number that banks hate), and making it easier to buy anything, anywhere, at any time by using your Apple account.
Maybe Apple’s next insanely great thing isn’t a product at all. It could be a service. iWallet. iPay. iCash. iBuy. They all have the ring of some very big numbers.
Say, did you hear that What Goes Around, Comes Around. Now It’s Microsoft That Wants Apple To Make Apps For Windows. Wanna bet Apple doesn’t do iTunes for Microsoft’s tablets?