Monday, January 09, 2006

Guessing Apple's newest products

Now that CES is over, the next game in town is trying to gues what Apple is going to announce at MacWorld tomorrow. Getting a lot of the attention are Intel-based Macs, but with Apple you just never know until Steve Jobs hits the stage. In CNN/Money, Roger Kay at Endpoint Technologies noted the Intel Mac might be the "penultimate announcement, but then tack on a surprise announcement following that, a formula he said Apple has down cold." He said, "They try to roll out (new products) at a pace where just as you're catching your breath with the last one you get whacked with the next one."

Pacific Crest analyst Steve Lidberg thought new versions of the iPod Shuffle were in store as well as more iTunes content deals. He said, "I don't know why you would see hesitancy on the part of content providers given the initial success" of video sales via the iTunes music store. Gene Munster at Piper Jaffray concurred, writing in a research note, "We would be surprised if Apple does not announce new video content offerings at Macworld. We expect new TV shows and, potentially, feature films will be added to the existing offerings available at iTunes."

And waht about the oft-rumored iPhone. Lidberg didn't think so. He pointed out that it might make sense for Apple to start a "mobile virtual network operator," but it probably would "not happen for at least 12-18 months."

In the San Jose Mercury News, Shaw Wu at American Technology Research commented on a revamped Shuffle that might possibly get a screen after all. He said, "I expect it to be a simple device. What Apple has done really well is to keep the products distinct and from cannibalizing each other."
Regarding more iTunes content, Tim Bajarin at Creative Strategies said, "I've got to believe Apple has been working around the clock to get more content for the video store. I wouldn't be surprised to see the flood gates open to other content providers rushing to get their content on the iPod."

Although not mobile-centric, I likes this quote from Ross Rubin at NPD Group on the possibility of Apple offering a mac mini-based media center/set-top box. He said, "Look at TiVo, a product that gets very high customer satisfaction, it's simple to use, has good branding and good distribution -- and it's been tough for them to build a business off of it."

Couldn't agree more. Love the my Tivo but you have to wonder about their prospects once News Corp's DirecTV unit dumped them. With SlingBox going mobile, I just might have to get one so I can watch my DirecTivo programs on the go....