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Can you foresee an Apple horizon, where one day the average Mac consumers out weigh a PC user? How long do you think that’ll take to happen? The iPod began a new quest for Apple. A company set on innovation has taken our hearts with a […]

Can you foresee an Apple horizon, where one day the average Mac consumers out weigh a PC user? How long do you think that’ll take to happen?

The iPod began a new quest for Apple. A company set on innovation has taken our hearts with a simple, compact device for music. Well, it was music at first. Now with the mobility of the browser thanks to the iPhone and iPod Touch, we can love a new device and rely on it much in the same way. The question to me, is where can they go from here?

Apple TV

Take the Xbox 360 as an example and compare features with the updated Apple TV. From what I can tell besides the current inability for gameplay on an Apple TV, you’ve pretty much got the same devices. Both network easily, both stream content, and both rent content. However, both are still dependent on the back end for music and non-rentable content.

The most recent updates to the Apple TV do appeal to me. I’m still curious why we cannot rent TV content, and why we aren’t offered a subscription model? I see the technology all around us for all the things we want as consumers, all in different projects, all in different companies. Who’s going to be the one that finally brings it together collectively for the betterment of the consumer?

Several have noted Apple’s most recent Apple TV filing for Widget/iChat patent. Apple TV Widget PatentThe example in the patent expresses the ability to have a live widget on top of a Sports Broadcast providing you with the score. Will or can it be a live broadcast streamed to your Apple TV? Will the Apple TV finally be getting a tuner to help it’s goal of becoming the ultimate media destination?

I don’t know, but either way you look at it, the Apple TV, in its current form looks set. Right before MacWorld a refreshment was rumored to consist of a vast redesign, but what did we see? Only a UI redesign with new features. The features are great, don’t get me wrong, but what’s important to note is there was no hardware redesign. The product itself is exactly the same as it was before. Great for users who previously purchased it and want to take advantage of the new features, but is it great for the users who are left expecting more?

I know for myself, I’m looking for the simple solution to everything. Naturally I’ve found Apple to be the shortest path to a great thing, whether it’s OSX, or actual devices, but when it comes to a feature I expect and don’t receive, am I only left to blame myself?

Portability

If the Amazon Kindle can feature full time wireless access, why can’t other devices? I imagine the usage from a Kindle is extremely minimal, but if, including the added cost, a one time payment can allow permanent internet access on a single device, don’t you think the world could benefit far greater if more devices offered the same permanent connection?

I’m curious to see if during the SDK launch Flash support will be announced for the iPhone and iPod Touch as has been rumored. Again only usability is affected. Hardware seems to be rumored around the year mark for a new 3G iPhone. Will it be a simple upgrade, or will a new, redesigned device be introduced? My money is on a simple redesign, possibly just a thinner profile and nothing more. I see the iPhone taking a similar course as the iPod itself. Very minor changes in the actual input method (think 3g iPod with the touch buttons), overall increase in storage, and a thinning profile over time. As far as an iPhone Nano goes, I think if you want an iPhone Nano you get an iPod Touch.

Desktop

With sales up on Notebooks, I think it’s clear the term “desktop” is due for a change. It seems more evident that laptop computing and portability are what matters to the average consumer. Does this mean Desktops and iMacs alike are a slowing trend?

.Mac and the like certainly can allow users to forgo large machines. For the average user, where Pro Apps are of no concern, even for the working professional, cloud computing is the way to manage tasks and contacts. It’s simple, efficient, and allows you to access it from anywhere. Will this create a demand for lighter operating systems such as gOS?

gOs

Your Life

Apple seems to have you covered from the desk to the plane. So what’s left in between? Besides refreshments, re-modifications and SDK launches, I think the next couple years seem pretty set. Plenty of “me toos” will pop up, but as far as innovation goes, what’s the real story?

For the record I’m not doubting Apple’s ability to stir public appeal with useful devices, I’m simply wondering what’s next. Maybe I’m asking too much too quick, or maybe everyone’s already hoping for the same, but I’m waiting to see it so I can believe it.

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  1. Great article!
    I agree with you on most points. Now let’s just wait and see….

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  2. Naw.

    P.T. Barnum was right. PCs will always prevail.

    -Smug Virus-Free Mac-Using Bastard

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  3. I don’t want macs to have more than 20% of the market. Apple can be a very successful co at that range and we can keep the great unwashed out of our hair.

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  4. i dont think that’s a good thing. what happens then? will apple be as hated as microsoft and everyone will talk about linux and ubuntu? history has a reputation of repeating itself.

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  5. With regards to the Kindle’s one-time payment, they do charge you for RSS subscriptions, and they have a limited stable of feeds available, so the model isn’t quite as “one-click” as it seems.

    With regard to the desire for an all-in-one Apple TV/TiVo/microwave and the subscription model, there could be two things at play here: the networks and negotiations with Apple, and/or Apple’s desire to simply not go there. Why Apple wouldn’t want a subscription model isn’t quite clear, at least for video content. Their Season Pass offerings for specific shows may be as close as we come.

    As for “cloud computing,” I’m still not quite convinced. I don’t know about the rest of you, but there are plenty of times where I need to do something and either I have no network connection, I have a crappy internet connection, I’m unwilling to pay for a few hours of internet use, or I simply don’t want to sign on and get distracted (though that last one isn’t in any way related to the concept of cloud computing). Having my word processor and my documents locally is just fine with me, and the local iDisk sync means I can, if necessary, access documents from anywhere as long as I drop them in there.

    Now, as far as Apple becoming the dominant player in the market, I think you’re forgetting a few things. The first, and most important, is that Apple doesn’t have to – they’re plenty profitable now. Secondly, there are two rather large areas that Apple either can’t or doesn’t want to compete in (my guess is it’s more of the latter): enterprise, and the buy-on-cost segment. Now, I don’t know what the “enterprise” market demands from a hardware or software vendor, so Apple could full well be able to compete right at this very moment. As for the second, “I’m-only-buying-this-computer-because-it’s-50%-off-and-I-get-a-free-printer” group, I’m not sure there’s a whole lot of money to be made there. There was a discussion on a recent episode of MacBreak Weekly about the MacHeist bundle, and one of the developers from Bare Bones said he wouldn’t participate because of support costs and the potential to de-value the product. I think that may be the way Apple looks at it. Let’s look at the newly discounted, $49, 1 GB Shuffle. It’s probably cheap enough to produce that Apple still makes some money on it, and the support costs are minimal (if you take it, or any other iPod into one of their stores, they’ll either replace it under warranty or for a fee, or tell you to get a new one). And, with the margins Apple has, they don’t need to quantity to turn a profit the way Dell or HP might. I think Apple’s control from soup to nuts, and their small market share, give them a degree of freedom that Microsoft doesn’t have by virtue of being the dominant player. But, that just my opinion.

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  6. I really hope not. I like to bathe in the niche market and wouldnt appreciate forking out 4grand on a macbook pro for production if it were as mainstream as dell or the like. Superficial thoughts aside, i am a little concerned if apple did become the dominant provider for the average consumers it may be a new challenge for virus chemists to infiltrate and disrupt was was once a nice safe community of users. Please apple dont sell out. Please! Its like when you find an underground artist and enjoy the music for months then you see it on mtv…..well, you know the feeling.

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  7. I don’t think it’s a matter of Apple “selling out”. Apple either will or will not gain enough market share to be a dominant player in the desktop OS market, depending upon what consumers do.

    Microsoft will be an element, too. If they cannot pull the rabbit out of the hat and produce an OS to replace the Vista dog that can really compete with the Mac OS, then people will continue to move to Apple, and eventually, M$ will need to evolve. I look for them to start spinning off parts of themselves, perhaps as early as three years from now – if they end up buying Yahoo.

    What will they end up doing with their OS? Perhaps continue to produce an Enterprise OS, withdrawing from the consumer desktop entirely.

    I would look at independent box makers entering the OS market in a couple of years, especially if M$ brings out another dog that cannot compete technically with the Mac.

    I personally believe that Apple will end up the dominant player in the OS market – but with no more than 30 – 45% of the market, with M$ and others, perhaps commercial versions of Ubuntu or other as yet unheard of box maker designed versions of Linux taking up the slack.

    In short, a much more vibrant market. Look for this in ten to fifteen years from now.

    As for malware, I believe it’ll evolve into a much more targeted type of thing, as the botnets of today are dependent upon unpatched PCs. Once those PCs begin to die off and are replaced with systems containing operating systems of a more robust type, the botnets will die. Malware makers will be required to become more focused upon whereever they can find vulnerabilities, which will, I think, require them to be more focused upon specific targets.

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  8. A lot has to happen for that to come true. Microsoft has to really screw up to lose massive amounts of market share. As much as my parents may hate their HP, they won’t be buying a Mac any time soon. They’re the buy-on-cost type, and they’re used to Windows.

    As for Linux, well, my parents have never heard of it. I think most people are at the very least vaguely aware that there’s some fruit company that makes computers – but Linux? Never heard of it.

    There’s the old saying, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” I think the corollary is, “After a time, an old dog doesn’t want to learn any new tricks.”

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  9. hey excellent post, really enjoyed it. I’ve added your blog to my netvibes account – will be keeping up with your posts!

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