What's Going to Be Apple's First New Product After TV?

Forbes

Before Steve Jobs died last year, it’s very likely that he had many long conversations with the senior team about the future Apple

(AAPL) product map.

Image representing Apple as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase

While most in the media are already predicting that the current crop of Apple products lack something that only Jobs would have been able to provide to them, I think this is likely wrong.  Knowing how detail-oriented Jobs was, it wouldn’t surprise me if Jobs had a hand in the next 10 years of Apple products we’ll see – at least at a conceptual level.

But there has been scant speculation about what those new products might be.

We all know an iPad Mini will come out next month.

We also know that there will be a TV released probably in the first half of next year to represent the 4th screen for all users: phone, tablet, TV, and PC.

We know there will continue to be a regular refresh of the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.

When I made my prediction earlier this year – when the stock was in the low $500s – that Apple would hit $1,650 a share by the end of 2015, I was only taking into account that Apple would continue selling more of all these products just listed above.  I didn’t account for the likelihood that Apple’s going to come out with more devices beyond just TVs.  They’re unlikely to just shut it down after that.

But what might those “hobby” products be?

Here are some ideas:

-          iCar. Apple announced at the June WWDC that they were working with some car manufacturers on integrating Siri, buy why not just take over the car’s total entertainment and navigation system.  The car makers can’t compete with Apple, so let Apple do it all – with full integration with Maps, Siri, Yelp (YELP), iTunes for the kids in the backseat, and other Apple services.  This would be a similar product to how Apple TV started – a software upgrade for something everything uses already but which is very inefficient.

-          More Apps.  Apple has always done some great apps like Final Cut Pro, iPhoto, and iMovie, even though they’re predominantly known as a hardware/software product company.  But with all these devices out living in the world, Apple needs certain apps to be premium quality.  Maps is one example.  There will be more including – I believe – acquisitions of companies like Twitter and Square, as well as self-developed photo-sharing apps.

-          iSmart Devices. Apple will seek to make all electronic devices in your home and office Internet-connected.  Rather than build them one by one, Apple is more likely to focus on AirPlay or some equivalent way to interface with all these devices.

-          The Post-Phone EraGoogle (GOOG) has its Project Glass to think of a world where phones are passé.  Apple needs their version of that.  It’s probably going to be less geeky than Google’s sunglasses.  It might be something completely off the wall like the holograms patents they filed last year.  It’s hard to imagine exactly, which is why no one does.  iHologram? It sounds kooky now.  Check back in 7 years from now.

What I think is unlikely an area for Apple to get into is video games, as some argued a couple of years ago.  Why would they need to now with their existing products?

There are probably many other areas Apple could use its cash hoard to get into. But they’ll be disciplined and focused.  It’s probably going to be no more than 5 new products post-TV that we’ll see in the next decade.

[long AAPL and YELP]

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