The beat is on?

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

"The beat is on"

That is the caption for the special Apple event tomorrow. Its stocks have risen 12.5% since August 28th and I think it is for a good reason. While the internet is abuzz with speculations about the announcements, I do anticipate one thing for sure: The new iPod.

The iPod has to come for various reasons -
  • There has been a rut in both iPod innovation and sales growth over the past couple of years. It is high-time Apple re-invents the product.
  • The iPhone was an Avatar of the iPod but with phone capabilities. Steve himself announced that it was the most powereful iPod as yet. It makes sense that Apple should give the market a stand-alone non-phone version of such a gadget as well. Besides, its innate ability to surprise not with-standing, Apple should cater to customer demand and anticipation of features such as wide-screen, touch-screen etc.
  • Wi-Fi is already in competing gadgets as the Microsoft Zune. iPod should not appear dated especially given that another of Apple's product already has such features. I do not think this will encroach the iPhone's market since the phone and its associated features (like the voice mail feature) have to be the USP of iPhone.
  • Wi-Fi will open up avenues of using the iPod as a fixed wireless phone (with VoIP services) and would be a handy addition. The issue with Wi-Fi however is going to be battery life. Unless Marvell and Apple have worked a solution for that, this may be a bottle-neck.
Other features that could be added include -

  • A Mac OS based iPod, again in line with the iPhone thereby helping it transition from just a music player to a PC-surrogate. This would open the gates to applications and features that make the iPod powerful.
  • A flash version of iPod with less battery utility to compensate for the power consumption of the Wi-Fi chip.
The iPod apart, there are talks of the nano-version of the iPhone coming up as well. I would in fact not be surprised if Apple reveals more than one phone tomorrow or at least lays the road-map for multiple devices. An iSuppli study found that the iPhone out-sold all smart-phones in the market for the month of July. In my mind, it makes sense that Apple comes up with a line of 2-3 models that would cater to various segments without compromising the exclusivity factor. It has traction in this market and it should widen its array of products to capitalize on it. It is also possible that the future phones from Apple will not be tied to a particular carrier like the iPhone is.

In summary, Apple tomorrow will unveil a product-portfolio that is in line with its unique vision while trying to leverage the unshakeable market share of the iPod. It may well signal the further transition of mobile devices into omni-potent mean machines.

Posted by Vijay Nagarajan at 1:43 PM  

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