When Microsoft's (MSFT) Windows 8 lurches out of Redmond in late 2012 it will come as a surprise to absolutely no one. The company has been already demonstrated beta versions, leaked copies to the press and tried in vain to generate buzz where none exists.
Apple (AAPL) is different. Heading into the company's World Wide Developers Conference next week in San Francisco absolutely no one has any more than an educated guess as what products might be announced. The Street has been trained to expect something stunning, gorgeous and insanely great. There will be no "testing" period. Apple tells you what to think, they don't ask.
Without any guidance from the company itself the best guess of analysts has Apple announcing a new iPhone, a new iPad form factor, and maybe even the long awaited AppleTV.
To help sift through the rumors one-by-one, Breakout spoke to Sean Udall, author of the TechStrat Report.
iPhone 5 Ready to Launch?
The latest iPhone 4S has been a monumental financial success despite being limited in terms of technical advancement. With little more than a buggy voiced-recognition program to distinguish it from the iPhone4 the 4s was met with a shrug and overwhelming demand. Eventually even Apple is going to have to step it up to retain its utterly dominant market position.
"The next phone is probably going to be what the iPhone 4S should have been," says Udall. Better camera, better chips, updated Siri software and a larger screen are all on the list of what consumers want to see. As far as Apple is concerned Udall thinks the goal is to "keep engendering the user base to use it's product."
Don't tell a virulent Apple Fan Boy but Udall is suggesting the beloved iPhone could become a boring old loss-leader used to get people onto iTunes.
New iPad Mini
Udall wants new iPad sizes. The $500 - $1,000 tablet war is won. Now it's time for Apple to go after literally and figuratively smaller targets like Amazon's (AMZN) Kindle and the Barnes & Noble's (BKS) Nook.
"If I see an iPad mini and it's sold at a reasonable price that would cause me to lift my Apple target by $100 to $200".
Highly Anticipated Apple TV
The biggest buzz surrounding the WWDC is over the idea of a full-fledged Apple TV. Television is the last world of digital media left for Apple to conquer. The concept of a smart television has been around forever but technology has finally caught up to the idea.
Apple can win but only if they do it right. A fancy television acting as no more than an entertainment hub could "fall on its face." Unless Apple figures out a way to concentrate the ability to control what comes across your television set, most obviously by circumventing the cable link, there's nothing here that hasn't been done before now.
Udall is looking for a full "eco-system integrated approach" to digital entertainment. Another fancy slab of hi-def TV is interesting to nobody.
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