Monday, 23 March 2009
Next Apple Crop ...
So we have seen the iPhone develop in a couple of years from a smartphone device to a development platform for mobile services, ably supported by the iPod Touch, both revolutionising the way people have to interact with computing, away from menu traversal to point and touch. Wouldn't it make sense to expand this platform now to a larger touch screen device which is better than the current crop of netbooks but also shares characteristics of the otherwise failed tablet PC market? Apple have invested too much in the Multi-touch interface for it to exist only in the palm of people's hands.
Well it would make even more sense if you have the relevant chip designers in-house, if you have a web-based cloud computing platform (like MobileMe) already established and if you have the interfaces (APIs) for a scalable operating system which could reside on it which would allow third parties to design peripherals for it. Apple have said that they previously didn't think they could build a machine that was as cheap as a netbook and which wasn't rubbish. I think the pieces are being carefully put in place to ensure that this obstacle can be overcome.
However, if Apple does launch a new product line this year amid the economic downturn, I still don't expect the cheapest netbook to be forthcoming ... the well-established pattern is to launch high-end first at the cutting edge for early adopters. There may be fewer early adopters around at the moment, but they are still there. And that is good for everyone else.