We all believe that Apple will be making some changes in September after recent comments at the financial announcement indicate substantial costs for a new product. I have been giving this some thought, and here the four things that I think will happen.
- AppleTV add new software and NAS functionality
- iTunes Subscription service
- Announcements on upcoming MacBook and MacBook Pro updates
- An iTablet device that is pitched as a Kindle, possibly in conjunction with Amazon
AppleTV with NAS – Home Storage Server – possibly also wireless
Apple has committed to to delivering movies to consumers by the Internet and we have the AppleTV which is steadily making its niche.
And we have the Time Capsule which is an external storage device, commonly used by most Mac users for Time Machine Backups over their wireless. Currently the maximum capacity is 1GB, and already many iMacs are overflowing this. Time Machine needs a much bigger backup drive than the drive in your machine.
But it doesn’t quite go far enough, to put a full home computer system together we need the Airport Extreme, AppleTV and Time Capsule. Why have three separate items ? Why not attack the home computing market in a full frontal ?
My prediction is for Apple to release product that has a NAS server that provides multi-disk storage with functions similar to Drobo / Netgear etc but also the AppleTV software will be built in to the units. It may or may not, also have the Airport Extreme wireless built in as well.
It will probably use up to four 2.5″in laptop style disk drives to save power, keep the noise down and you will be able to hot swap them. Think something like the Drobo. It will have a large form factor of about a DVD player to fit into your TV cabinet because it needs to vent the hot air without using fans.
This would then be the Home Server that is the holy grail of computers. This has been much talked for many years, and Microsoft has been trying to do this for years (and failing miserably). The level of integration between all the components is the success factor and what Microsoft has not been able to overcome. Any Mac computer would automatically and seamlessly integrate in the same way that all Apple equipment does today.
Keep in mind that the iPhone could be the Remote Control for this system, look at the Remote Control App that can remote control iTunes on your Mac right now. Imagine using that to remote control a Home Server ? Yep, easy isn’t it.
iTunes Subscription Service
I think Apple wants a subscription service but licensing from the major music labels has not been possible. I think that deal has been put together where Apple makes a huge one off payment to the labels (who are cash poor right know, especially EMI) to bring them to the table.
The Music labels keep their DRM using Apple Fairplay, but the consumer pays a fixed amount per month for all the music they want. Apple has now proven that they can do a micropayments system by virtue of the Apple Store selling iPhone Applications and the payment angle, which will have been problem up until know, is solved.
This is one of the drivers for the Apple Home Server, because people will download a lot more music and want to store it. We have seen other music subscription services say this, that people download a lot of music.
The Kindle from Amazon has proven that a portable book reader can work. The iPhone has proven that Apple can make and market portable devices, and of course the iPod need no introduction.
Look for a joint partnership between Apple and Amazon to sell an iKindle. Amazon will get their shopping platform built in to the device AND iTunes (thats is their win) to attack new opportunities with customers. Apple gets access to Amazon’s book content and can easily take the iKindle global. I think that Amazon will struggle to globalise the Kindle, and partnering with Apple makes sense.
Updated to Notebooks and Mac Mini
We will probably see announcements about new Intel chip and chipsets to be released before Christmas. No big deal, just hardware increments along the line of the Intel roadmap.
I expect the Mac Mini to get new announcement for Christmas, for those people switching from Windows but can’t afford, or understand, why they would buy a MacBook. Look for a big marketing program attacking the ‘beige boxes’ with Mac Minis i.e. keep the keyboard and screen but get your MAC experience.
There you go. Some of it might be wishful thinking, and things that I want, but hey, I can dream a little.
I am holding on to my cash right now, and waiting to see what September brings. I am hoping to pick up a Mac Mini as an emergency backup for my MacBook Pro, and a Time Capsule for easier backup. I will wait to see if my punditry is correct before I cough up the bucks.