Apple has slowly been working its way into every corner of our lives; from our pockets (iPods and the iPhone) to being a staple in the contents of our messenger bags (iPad), Apple is showing up just about everywhere you can think of. There are, however, still some areas where they could use some beefing up, and those are the exact areas that financial analysts think the Cupertino-based company will be heading to next.
SeekingAlpha gathered up four areas where analysts think Apple could be expanding as early as 2012, or possibly in 2013, and while some of them seem on the mark, a few of them also seem a bit far fetched to us.
Whatever you choose to call the rumored Apple-branded television set, this seems like the mostly likely contender to actually happen in 2012. The biography of Steve Jobs pretty much did everything but give us a release date for this product, and with supply chain leaks popping up left and right, the iTV seems like a foregone conclusion at this point. This would provide a significant entry point to the lucrative family room market, and who knows what else that could eventually open up for the company once it gets its foot in the door. Peter Yared from Venture Beat suggested in a recent article that an Apple-branded TV, “with a lighted Apple logo that comes in sizes ranging from 37″ to 60″. It automatically connects to the Internet and streams all of your iTunes video and audio content,” and that seems like a pretty likely scenario to us.
The Apple TV set top box – while it has done “okay” – has certainly not been a runaway success for the company. It definitely pointed to Apple wanting to get into the family room, so it really is only a matter of time before they make a major move like this.
Apple has already shown teases of being interested in radio/streaming music more times than we could possibly count. While the recently released iCloud allows you to stream your own music, there are still people out there in love with applications such as Pandora and Spotify for music discovery, or just take a look at the app store and the hundreds of radio-specific applications it has up for offer. People are using their iDevices for a ton of streaming music content, and even Apple offers up some official stations inside of iTunes. Is it so crazy to think that Apple might want to leap into this field a little more deeply?
Gene Munster, the notoriously bullish Apple analyst from Piper Jaffray, even has predicted that ”Apple will furnish a radio in late 2012 or early 2013.” Of course, Munster also predicted in 2009 that we would see an Apple TV by 2011, so he can be a bit off at times, but he does seem to have a feel for Apple’s possible releases.
What form an Apple radio could take is anyone’s guess, but it certainly seems like a likely candidate for a release to us.
This rumor continues to surface enough that there is a strong belief that at least some prototypes exist somewhere out there. The latest rumors peg it for a late 2012 release with Apple already talking with LG Electronics and AU Optronics about providing screens for it. Why would Apple want to go this route? Simple, to battle the Kindle. Whether it be your standard Kindle or the Kindle Fire, there is a definite market for devices of this size, even though Jobs didn’t seem to be all that thrilled with the concept from time to time, the potential dollars it could bring in might just be too much to ignore. While there is an iBooks app on iDevices, people want something they can easily carry with them to read while on their daily commute, or hold with one hand while they sip some coffee, and a 7-inch iPad-mini would certainly fit that bill.
While we fully believe that prototypes for this device do exist, if it will ever see an actual release is an entirely different matter.
Which Will Come True?
There is very little doubt in my mind that Apple is constantly playing with new concepts, but how many of them will ever make it to market is an entirely different matter. While the iTV seems pretty definite, even that could change with a moments notice, so we’ll just have to wait and see what Apple CEO Tim Cook eventually steps out on stage to announce at an event. For now, take all of these with a healthy dose of salt, and treat them as rumors and speculation, but rest assured that Apple is certainly got some form of new products up its collective sleeves.
What do you think Apple will introduce next?