Breakout

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Here Comes Apple’s Product of the Year. Now What’s Next?

Breakout

If you don't already know, Apple (AAPL) is announcing the release of the iPhone 5. The latest version of the five-year-old product that now accounts for more than half of Apple's revenues has yet to see the light of day, but has been discussed and analyzed as much as any 10 Android or Windows smartphone products.

"This is going to be the product of the year, obviously, and it's probably going to propel into 2013, 2014," says Todd Schoenberger of TheBlackBay Group. "You talk about a brouhaha, this is it," he rants in the attached clip. "Everybody is lining up — you're going to have people sleeping out overnight."

The iPhone will be huge, but unless the thing washes your dishes for you, there isn't much in the way of a huge surprise in the offing. The mysteries for Apple acolytes and Wall Street are what comes next and whatever happened to the Apple TV revolution so widely discussed earlier this year.

Apple TV

Not only is Apple TV not going to happen in 2012, Schoenberger thinks it may not happen at all. If Apple really is shelving the long-rumored iTV initiative, it may be for the best. Two good reasons for this. First, as discussed with Porter Bibb in July, there aren't any content deals to be had for Apple, which means there's no compelling reason to come out with just another flat panel.

Schoenberger's got another reason Apple may steer clear of set-tops: "The television could be obsolete in a few years," replaced by smartphones, tablets, and a bunch of other anti-idiotbox items.

Mini-Tablet

Less suspenseful is Apple's move into the smaller tablet space. Schoenberger isn't a huge fan of the move, noting that Apple is somewhat atypically following already entrenched players into the 7" tablet space. If and when the company comes out with the their version it will enter a space already occupied by Samsung, Amazon (AMZN), and, as of Monday, Toys"R"Us.

Will Apple win the war for smaller tablets? Probably, but whether or not they need the distraction is another topic.

Apple TV and a new tablet are subjects for a different day. In the here and now the Apple fans are focused on just one thing. "Everybody wants this phone," says Schoenberger in a fit of atypical understatement. Apple is Studio 54 in the 70's, they've got the velvet rope holding back the masses all desperate to know what's going on inside.

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