Apple, like many American companies, does not typically compete in market segments where pricing is the number one criteria of success. It is not easy to do with the type of wages and extremely high taxes those companies in the US face. It usually leads to low profit margins any way. Instead, Apple has been very good at coming up with ideas that change the landscape and introduce products that consumers did not know they wanted. Many people have been trying to figure out what the next idea is that Apple will pull out of the magic hat.
Jony Ive, the Senior Vice President of Industrial Design at Apple was knighted recently for his work on products such as the iPod and the iPhone. In an interview to the Daily Telegraph he said that he believes he is doing his most important work right now. “A lot does seem to come back to the fact that what we’re working on now feels like the most important and the best work we’ve done, and so it would be what we’re working on right now, which of course I can’t tell you about.” Ive could, of course, exaggerate. None of the less, he thinks that Apple might be coming out with another game changer soon.
Many think the next Apple gadget is a TV. This was reinforced by Steve Jobs before he passed away by saying that he finally cracked the TV conundrum. There is also news coming from suppliers that they are gearing up for production of TVs for Apple.
Here is what Tim Cook, the new Apple CEO actually said at the All Things Digital’s tenth annual conference.
He wouldn’t comment specifically on the upcoming “iTV” Apple is widely rumored to be readying for launch, but he did say Apple will focus more on the television market moving forward. ”This is an area of intense interest for us,” Cook said while speaking about Apple TV, noting that Apple has sold more than 2.7 million Apple TVs so far in 2012. “We’re going to keep pulling this string and see where it takes us.” Some reports suggest Apple’s HDTV will launch in the fourth quarter this year.
As far as Apple’s voice-controlled virtual assistant Siri is concerned, Cook made it clear that big things are coming in the next few months. “There’s more that it can do,” Cook said. “We have a lot of people working on this. You’ll be really pleased with the things you’ll see over the coming months. The breadth that you’re talking about… we’ve got some cool ideas about what Siri can do. We have a lot going on this.”
The Apple World Wide Developers Conference in mid-June will introduce a dramatically new version of the Apple TV operating system. This new OS is said to be much more feature-complete than the current OS that runs on the Apple TV, and is apparently the one that Apple’s upcoming HDTV will run.
Apple is actively trying to court manufacturers to use a new “control out” API in order for third-party manufacturers to make accessories that are compatible with the new Apple TV OS and the upcoming “iTV.” It’s said that by using the API, it will be possible to control any connected components all from the Apple remote (and the Apple remote iOS app as well).
This would be a enormous change in the home theater landscape, which has until this point relied on a mess of thousands of infrared codes and physical cables in order for devices to be interoperable or Wi-Fi-controlled apps for each component and piece of hardware.
The control out API is said to work with all aspects of various popular components, even allowing control over things like program guides on a cable operators’ set top boxes and other hardware components.
So what would an Apple TV actually look like? Recent claims suggest Apple has an aluminum HDTV in the works powered by iOS and Siri voice controls.
Lately some analysts have been changing their tune and saying that Apple may not be coming out with a TV after all. So why is there so much smoke if there is no fire? The answer, some speculate, maybe that the new Apple iTV may not be a TV after all. It may be some sort of command and control center for the home and the family that brings all the other Apple devices all together. It could be a sort of iHub.
It could be a device that allows the integration of all the calendars, music libraries, photos and videos. Control the flow of data between iPads, iPhones, computers and laptops, TVs, cameras, and any other device you can think of. It could be some sort of wall mount touch pad device that is installed somewhere in the family room.
Would Apple be able to convince consumers to buy another device? They have been successful with their other products so far. Regardless if it is a TV or a hub a lot of Apple fans will be waiting with high expectations. Although, recent speculations indicate that they may have to wait until 2014.