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Apple Watch: 2012 Predictions
Monday, 2012 January 2 - 1:39 pm
As is my New Year's tradition for this blog, I've got ten Apple predictions for the year.

First, let's see how I did in 2011.

1. iPhone on Verizon, YES. Full point. Granted, this one was fairly easy. I did not predict the iPhone getting on Sprint too, but that was a logical step.

2. Home FaceTime camera for AppleTV, YES. Zero points; didn't happen. I'm going to re-up this prediction for 2012, though, as the AppleTV rumors are rampant and it looks like Apple is poised to make a splash in this category.

3. A swift shift towards the Mac App Store, YES. Full point. In July Apple stopped putting boxed software in its retail stores. Almost everything is sold through the App Store. And as predicted, Microsoft is following suit for Windows 8.

4. Death of the iPod classic, YES. Zero points. Incredibly, the iPod classic continues to sell, though it has been unchanged for years.

5. Desktop line revamp, NO. Full point. Apple was happy with their desktop portfolio and didn't see the need to change anything. Things might be different with Tim Cook at the helm, though.

6. A push towards 3-D, NO. Full point. And despite the talk of a new Apple TV in 2012, 3-D may be still be off the table for now, until it outgrows its gimmicky nature.

7. Your iTunes library on the internet, YES. Full point; nailed this one.

8. Expansion of iPhone as a digital wallet, YES. Zero points. This was something of a pipe dream. It turns out Google took the lead in this area, though they lack Apple's prowess in getting new technology widely adopted quickly. I know zero people who use Android's wallet feature in retail stores.

9. A push towards home automation, YES. Zero points. Still seems plausible, but it didn't happen.

10. Apple stock price target: $450. Zero points. The one huge event that I did not anticipate was the retirement and death of Steve Jobs. That surely depressed the stock and will continue to drag on it until Tim Cook proves that Apple ingenuity still lives on. Despite a P/E ratio approaching ridiculous single digits, Apple stock still hovers around $400.

Just 5 out of 10. On to the new predictions!

1. New form factor for the iPhone 5: NO. After all the hubbub about the iPhone 4S, everyone is predicting some radical redesign for the iPhone 5, or whatever the next iteration is called. But the fact is, Apple is quite happy with the current design. I think the appearance will be tweaked and Jony Ive will take some steps to address the tendency of the glass to shatter (perhaps by making the back aluminum and re-introducing a bezel of some kind) but I think the size and shape of the phone will be, for the most part, unchanged.

2. Apple builds television sets: YES. I kind of hate this prediction, but signs are pointing to Apple putting out a branded TV with integrated AppleTV functionality. It would be a good platform for that living-room FaceTime camera too. I think Apple will be cautious and only try out a couple of smaller screen sizes at first, so retail employees don't have to lug giant boxes around. I think the separate AppleTV set-top box continues to sell, but Apple is notorious for wanting to provide an integrated all-in-one solution. As for features, it would have a hand-held remote that includes voice control (no shouting across the room at your TV), a la carte programming over the Internet, and of course, FaceTime calling. I don't think 3-D will be included.

3. Seven-inch iPad: NO. There were rumors of Apple snapping up 7-inch LCDs and this sparked rumors of a 7-inch iPad to compete with the Kindle Fire, but I very much doubt that Apple wants to compete against Amazon's zero-margin $200 device. I think it's more likely that a 7-inch screen would be used for something else... like perhaps a remote for the Apple TV. When the iPad 3 comes along, I think it'll still be 10 inches, with a 2048x1536 "Retina" display and a touch-sensitive bezel for controls. The iPad 2 will continue to be sold for a period of time at $399.

4. Desktop line revamp: NO. There's been talk that the Mac Pro is going to be discontinued; that would be a big blow to certain niche professional markets, like video editors. So I don't think that will happen, though I'm sure Apple is itching to get out of a market with low sales volume and hypercritical customers. I think the big-tower concept is obsolete for the general public; only gamers and niche users want the ability to use expansion cards. However, Apple will continue to sell the Mac Pro with perhaps minor speed bumps, just to avoid abandoning their most loyal customers. Meanwhile the iMac will still be the iMac.

5. All laptops are MacBook Airs: YES. Apple has shown that the optical drive is practically obsolete, and with the entire industry now jumping on the "ultrabook" concept, it is high time that we see the traditional MacBook Pro form factor disappear. I'm gonna guess that spinning hard drives will be an option since they're so much cheaper per gigabyte than solid state drives, but SSD is definitely the direction of the future, particularly considering Apple's recent acquisition of Anobit.

6. iPhone digital wallet: YES. I'm still in love with the idea of using your iPhone to purchase things. Apple doesn't have to put this everywhere; I think if they lined up Target, Home Depot, Best Buy, and The Gap, in addition to their own retail stores, that would be enough to drive the rest of the market to adoption. Interestingly, Apple has gone a different direction for their retail stores: now, you can purchase items through an app, and then simply walk into the store to get it, with no in-store checkout at all. I don't think that would work at Target, though.

7. Death of the iPod Classic: YES. If I keep saying it, it has to come true eventually, right?

8. Wearable computing: YES. I think the popularity of the iPod nano as a watch came as a bit of surprise to Apple. They've embraced it, though it's still a bit of a hack. Now Apple will want to create a device designed from the ground up to be worn on the wrist. It could double as a Siri-based assistant, a TV remote, an exercise monitor... lots of possibilities here. Wearable computing has been discussed for a long time; I think the technology has finally caught up to the concept.

9. Apple home automation: YES. I'm not very confident about this, but it's still something that I'd like to see and it's in Apple's wheelhouse. Maybe the AppleTV remote will be the stepping stone; it could start with people hacking the remote to control their lights.

10. Apple stock price target: $550. The stock finally broke through resistance at $400 after Jobs' death; there'll be a typical January slump, but at some point Apple is underpriced even as a value stock, much less a growth stock. And as soon as Apple puts out one new innovation under Tim Cook, the fear of a floundering Jobs-less Apple will start to fade.
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Posted by Ken in: techwatch

Comments

Comment #1 from John (Guest)
2012 Jan 7 - 10:26 pm : #
RE: Prediction 2... I am pretty sure they don't care what retail employees have to lug around.

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