It’s been a 6 months hiatus since I last posted anything about technology. I have an additional baby to my growing family and as things settle down I would like to recap about what has happened during this period and where we are headed.
Much has been written about All things Apple; specifically Apple 4S and the New iPad. Let me paraphrase some of it it here:
The iPhone 4S
The iPhone 4S was launched with a faster processor, Siri ? Apple?s answer to let the iPhone listen and talk to users, and added capabilities to let the iPhone go on the faster 4G networks.
The New iPad
After which, the long awaited launch of the New iPad came around. What came about was a faster processor, a better screen with retina display, along with other software improvements such as Siri, and Dictation. The new iPad also allowed users to go on the faster 4G networks.
In short, the New iPad has the same features as the iPhone 4S. It didn?t warrant a number so Apple just called it the ?New? iPad.
Apple?s Bloated Cash Reserves
While all of these were happening, Apples cash reserves swelled up to close to a $100 billion. The company recently called a Press Conference to say that it was issuing dividends to shareholders and buying back some of its stocks.
What?s Coming around the corner
Apple has built some great products of late, the flag bearers of their success being mainly the iPhone and the iPad. Despite being separate products, the one unifying factor that binds them is the iOS. iOS, the software that operates the iPhone and iPad has proven to be easy to use and stable, thus proving a hit for users. As a testament to its ease of use, you can see YouTube videos of toddlers using their iPhones and iPads with ease.
This, coupled with the success of the App store has allow 3rd party developers to sell their programs on the app store to be used on the iOS devices turning the phone to anything you want it to be.
What More to Expect? I don?t expect any further significant hardware changes on iOS devices, however, it is bound to evolve forward with minor hardware improvements and additional features to the software. Here?s my list of things that could be change:
- Processor Speed
- NFC (Near Field Communications ? For Payments)
- Larger/Smaller Displays
- Better antennae technology to improve the reception
Yes, in short ? don?t expect anything revolutionary from the iPhone or iPad in the near term. Apple has hit the nail on the spot with the iPhone and iPad. To better that in a drastic way would seem most improbably, though not impossible.
Perhaps a More Interesting Twist
The Edison General Electric Company helmed by Thomas Edison invented the incandescent electric lamp (Light Bulb). Another competitor – The Thomson-Houston Company emerged as a credible competitor and both companies found it hard to produce complete electrical installations relying solely on their own patents and technologies. They eventually merged to form the General Electric Company we know now with far reaches into everything from power generation to consumer electronics.
Some parallels here. Maybe Apple Computer Inc ? Apple Inc.?s original name ? has reached a crossroads where it really has to integrate horizontally or vertically to move on. Lets see?. What can you get for close to $100 Billion in loose change lying around?
What if Apple use some of that loose change to buy their very own spectrum? This means that Apple is technically able to dwell into the realm traditionally occupied with Telcos and create an Apple Wireless Company selling subscriptions for each iPhone sold. Here?s why it make sense.
There is over an estimated 10 million iPhones sold every year in the US alone, with Global sale numbering above 120 million. All in, Apple has sold 300+ million iPhones. Given AT&T?s average revenue per user of about $100 per month, Apple could average $12 Billion annually in US revenues. This represents quite a meaty enterprise should Apple starts its own exclusive network.
However, this isn?t such a clear cut decision for Apple to dive into. Some reasons why this may not happen could be:
Regulatory ? Apple may not get or may have difficulty getting approval for the spectrum allocation
Nature of Business ? Running a Telco is capital intensive
Losing the support of current Carriers which help Apple sells their handsets.
BUT ? here?s are some damn good reasons why I would support that idea.
Firstly, I am damn tired of what the Phone Companies have been dishing us. All phone companies. They over promise and under deliver. Oversell subscriptions way above what their systems can handle. Having an iPhone only Cellular Service would suit me just fine.
Secondly, You need an Apple Inc. to set the standards of service to jolt these tradition Telcos back in line. NO more SMS or MMS limits etc, etc.
Thirdly, Apple cannot blame the networks if there is poor reception anymore. Apple controls the entire cellular pipeline from the Satellite to the Phones, and the corresponding software that runs them and that run on them.
It is all conjecture at this point, but there has to be a saturation point to where Apple can develop the business. First, the iPhone, then the iPad, and perhaps there is an Apple TV in the works. All build on a stable iOS supplemented by a comprehensive and working App Store.
My opinion is that a Network Carrier run by Apple, dedicated to its consumer products will complete the cycle and move Apple onto the next stage of its metamorphosis.
Its not cheap and its not the way Apple is used to making its money. Telcos are capital intensive and returns don?t compare to what Apple is used to. But if there is anyone that?s great at changing the game and monetizing it, I?ll put my bet on Apple Inc.