Thursday, January 28, 2010

Post iPad, what's next from Apple?

So Apple announced the iPad tablet computer yesterday. I can't wait to touch one...and buy one. I'll write more about it later.
What I want to write about today is what almost nobody is talking about. Everyone is busy chatting up the iPad. Do you think Apple is done for the year? HELL NO!!!! They even hinted in their quarterly earnings call about multiple products this year. So, do you think I'm gonna start talking about the next iPhone due out sometime this summer? No. What I am going to talk about and predict is the next AppleTV. Or, whatever Apple will release that will replace the AppleTV. Watching the iPad keynote yesterday it became clear to me where Apple is going. Sony (PS3), Nintendo (Wii) and Microsoft (XBox) are their next targets. Maybe not direct targets but you'll understand in a second.
As of yesterday, January 27th 2010, the iPhone App Store had over 140,000 separate applications available for download. Most of those apps will work on the iPad out of the box. There will be at least 10,000 apps made specifically for the iPad available on the day it ships. At least 10,000. I wouldn't be surprised to see more than 10,000.
Here is my prediction. An App Store for the AppleTV. I know I'm not the first to suggest this but I have seen very very little written about it lately. I'm sure this is because of the iPad. However, it is all interconnected into Apple's strategy. An App Store for the AppleTV would turn gaming on it's ear. All the thousands of games available for the iPhone/Touch/iPad available for use on your HDTV. And of course specific apps developed specifically for the TV. I don't think that hard core gaming would be the goal here. I think the casual gaming space would be perfect for a device like the AppleTV. There will still be a market for the Xbox and Wii for hard core and longer form gaming. Thousands of relatively cheap games available for purchase and download right from your TV. You would also have access to all of your other media from the same device, TV shows, Movies, Music and photos. I know you're gonna say that Microsoft already has something like this. The XBox 360 XBMC right now does most of this. However, the XBox 360 is a game machine first and all that other stuff second. The AppleTV is opposite. This is where I see an opportunity. Not everyone wants to spend $200-300 for a game machine. Yes, there are millions out there but not hundreds of millions. There are hundreds of millions of TV's. All Apple has to do is update the AppleTV. Beef it up a bit, make it more current, add a faster processor a little more RAM and a bigger hard drive. Tune the software to add an App Store and come up with some kind of wireless game controller/remote and voila! you suddenly have access to thousands of games and internet connectivity all from your TV. Play a game, rent a movie, purchase/rent a TV show, check Facebook, send a Tweet, check the weather, play some music, watch some YouTube, play another game, check your email. You get the idea.
This is definitely not "new", the idea has been around since Microsoft's WebTV gambit. The difference here is Apple. In the same way they revolutionized the music industry and then spun the cell phone world on it's ear and now are resurrecting the Tablet they are going to nail the TV thing.
I am convinced Apple is going to do something like this this year. AppleTV the "hobby" has allowed Apple to learn and they have not done a major update in more than 2 years. There is no way Apple is NOT going to play in this space. They already are but we are on the cusp of them taking it to the next level. Plan on it. Write it down. It is coming. You WILL want one. My crystal ball has a picture of me in 2011 sitting on my couch with an iPad on my lap watching a rented movie on my new AppleTV. Oh, and I'll be controlling my TV using my iPad.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

iPhone saves a life

It's true. A man trapped in the earthquake in Haiti this week is crediting his iPhone with saving his life!!!
He used the iPhone screen and his digital camera to shed light in the dark spot he was trapped in. He made his way to a safer spot to wait for rescue. He then used a "medical app" he had installed on his iPhone to diagnose and treat his wounds.
I hope I am never in this situation but what a great comfort to know there are tools that can help in such times.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Google = Ironic

So, here is the best irony of the New Year!
Google started selling their own smartphone recently. The Nexus One. People are having trouble with it. The irony is that Google is selling a phone that has no phone support to provide customer service. Now wait, what was that? Google sells a cell phone you can only buy online and only provides online support for it. I can see the geeky Google guys sitting in their offices patting each other on the back for coming up with this one. Google doesn't own the entire world quite yet, so they still have to do business under the rules the rest of us work under. If they want to change the world then they needed to work harder to make the online support dead simple and rock solid. I guess they have a little bit of work to do.