Did anyone else notice that despite Apple selling a ton of Macs in 2009, the company seemed to be in a holding pattern? Sure there were new iPods in 2009, and the iPhone 3G S was released, but even these key products didn’t seem to get any sort of major updates, they almost seemed like placeholders to tide over the masses for future innovations.  In other words, the updates were just enough to keep the public interested, but in general they were so incremental in nature that owners of older models felt no need to upgrade.  This used to be a hallmark of Apple that they could get customers to upgrade the products frequently, but all of a sudden that seems to no longer matter to the company … or are they just distracted?

applelogo1The iPod Nano did get a camera this year, and it seems the iPod Touch was scheduled to get one from evidence people found when they took it apart, but other than that there was just nothing exciting going on in the land of the iPods.  If you look at our Evolution of the iPod post, you can see its like innovation has just come to a halt on this flagship product.

The iPhone 3G S was also a bit of a let down.  Course, considering how much of a splash the original iPhone made, it’s doubtful anyone will ever sit up and go “WOW!” when an update is announced for this product.

So what is going on with Apple?  Certainly its research & development department isn’t just sitting on its thumbs doing nothing.  Here’s a few theories.

Apple Tablet

Of course the biggest rumor is the Apple Tablet winch has gone through more rumor iterations than we can count.  If the product is real (which is looking pretty likely), it would explain where a lot of the company’s energy has gone.  This isn’t a product you’re going to roll out over night, and with rumors shaping up of a release in March 2010, it would make sense that a lot of company resources have gone to it over the past year.

Cloud iTunes

With the recent purchase of Lala, there has been a lot of speculation that iTunes may move into the cloud computing realm.  If this was to come to pass, there are going to be a number of technical issues to work out about how customers will move their existing libraries to the new system, separating out syncing and actual downloads and so on.  This is a project that will take a considerable amount of resources to move in full.

TV Subscription Service/Apple TV

Again, this is a rumor at this point, as are most forward looking news for Apple, but The Wall Street Journal is reporting that CBS and Disney, owners of ABC, are in talks with Apple about supplying them with content. The idea is that Apple would allow you to subscribe to a channel or show for an entire season and have it delivered by on demand streaming.  The thought is that this could be delivered to your computer, iPhone, iPod, Apple Tablet (if it exists) or your Apple TV.

The Apple TV aspect of this is interesting as that product has had a problem finding an audience.  If it meant you could deliver content directly to your TV in high def, ala cart and be able to dump your cable or satellite provider, this could quickly make the Apple TV a valued part of any home theater set up.

2010 Could Be The Year Of Apple

Sure Apple has had some big years, but if you look at the amount of new products and services that are all possibilities for release in 2010, it could really be “the Year of Apple.”  The evidence of the number of services we know for sure that Apple has bought, the items we think they are working on, coupled with a severe drop off in the normal innovations we have come to expect from the company, something is definitely up in Cupertino, California, now it’s just a matter of waiting to find out what it is.