It doesn’t take much analysis to realize that for Apple to continue to grow and profit it will need more product lines. New products come one of two ways. Design and build. Or, acquire. What’s Apple up to?
Build Or Buy?
Apple is a master at leveraging current strengths into new products or services. The iPad is a perfect example of leverage.
Chunks of OS X make up the basis of iOS. Apple leveraged iPhone technology– touch screen, flash storage, applications, et al– to push out the iPad.
The iTunes App Store handles both iPhone and iPad apps. The Mac App Store works in a similar manner to provide easier apps searches and purchases.
Not everything Apple does is full home grown, though. Apple bought Final Cut from Macromedia. Logic came from a German company. Apple’s CPU designs came from the purchase of chip design company.
Using both the technique of leveraging current assets with acquisitions, what does a future Apple product line look like?
Wearable And Livable
For all the noise generated by Apple TV and the threat of an Apple designed television, I remain convinced Apple won’t make a TV. There’s just no money there.
The current Apple TV product continues to grow in number, and leverage other products, but doesn’t make a big business for Apple because content is limited (and a notoriously difficult industry to penetrate).
I see two and only two major areas for expansion. Wearable technology. Home automation. Whatever the products, Apple has plenty of technology to leverage into both segments. Without a description, iWatch, and iGlasses come to mind right away. Watches and glasses sell by the hundreds of millions each year, which means it’s a market of substance that Apple could enter.
What about home automation? There are far fewer homes than there are people, but some Apple-like products are already there. The father of the iPod, Tony Faddell started Nest Labs which makes a popular thermostat which can be controlled by an iPhone app.
The company’s latest product is the Nest Protect, a 21st century smoke and carbon monoxide alarm; again, controlled and managed with an iPhone app. These are product categories that Apple should be investigating and Nest would be an excellent acquisition, a purchase which would bring design and manufacturing talent which could easily spawn more Apple inspired home automation components– video security systems, monitoring, and alerts, appliance monitoring and alerts, and much more.
Apple needs new products to grow. New products come two ways. Home grown or through acquisition. Apple has a good track record with both methods. Wearable and livable technology. That’s Apple’s future additions to the product line.