Going back to 2007, Apple had just introduced the iPhone. The iPod’s days were numbered. Apple’s retail stores were flourishing as was the iTunes Music Store. The Mac had switched from PowerPC CPUs to Intel Inside, and the company was profitable and the stock was doing well. How did all those predictions from Apple’s past fare in the future.
Blind Leading Blind
Critics lambasted Apple at every move. The stores were going to be a disaster. The iPod was overly expensive and Mac only. iTunes Music Store wasn’t on Windows. The iPhone was overpriced and underpowered. The Mac’s marketshare had hardly budged.
Yet, here we are more than a decade later and in that time period Apple’s retail stores flourished, the iPod melted away, the Mac more than doubled sales during a PC downturn, the iPhone became the hit technology of the 21st century, and then Apple went on to produce the iPad, Apple TV, and Apple Watch, all commercial successes. Oh, and the stock price made Apple the most valuable company on planet earth.
What about Apple 10 years from now? Let me look at two directions. One good, one not so good.
The Good Years
This is the decade on the road to 2027 where Apple became aggressive and pushed out a continuing line of major product advancements. Yes, the Mac still lives but is thinner, lighter, and more powerful than ever, but Siri has become the input of choice vs. the keyboard. Screens are ultra high resolution and indistinguishable from high quality print resolution.
Yes, of course, the iPhone still exists, but it’s not called iPhone anymore. It’s simply Apple Phone and it comes in multiple versions, a few of which have fold out displays, battery life that goes for a month, and, thanks to 6G bandwidth and unlimited data plans, iPhone of the future truly is a supercomputer in a pocket.
Yes, of course, iPad still exits, but it’s Apple Pad and Apple Watch remains only one of many Apple wearable devices all of which have battery life of more than a month and can be fully recharged within minutes.
Wait. There’s more.
Apple Car is a big hit but not so much for the masses as for the prosperous. After all, this is Apple. The car itself is one of a number of models, all Siri-based, fully autonomous as needed, but Apple Car of 2027 lives in the era of robotic AI-based vehicles so ownership is becoming a thing of the past. Thanks to scientific breakthroughs in screen technology, Apple Glasses do much of what iPhone of 2017 did with a glance to the glasses’ screen, all Siri powered, of course.
The Bad Years
In this scenario on the road to 2027, Apple languishes for a few more years, enters the car software business and fails miserably. The iPhone continues to lose marketshare as competitors– thanks to Google– find Android’s own ecosystem to be pretty much the same; safe and secure and well curated. Apple tries to advance into artificial intelligence, killing of the much maligned Siri in favor of an advanced version called Timi, which fails to catch on in the marketplace and Apple becomes something of a laughing stock in the industry.
The Mac, once synonymous with Apple, and once the flagship product, is killed off entirely as the PC industry fades away into insignificance for the masses who have adopted inexpensive mobile devices of all varieties. Apple Car was launched after the software failure, a few more years into the decade, but scrapped thanks to a spreading virus which caused thousands of Apple Car-initiated accidents around the world when the batteries exploded and caught fire. Apple’s stock dropped to new lows. CEO Tim Cook was fired and the company went through a succession of CEOs, none of which could turn Apple around. Finally, just when the company was about to go bankrupt after chewing through $200-billion in cash and no profits for years, Steve Jobs was resurrected as an artificial intelligence project, took over the company, and suddenly it was 1997 all over again.
It could happen, right?