Ten questions Apple supposedly must answer in 2007

“We’re down to the last two-and-a-half days of 2006, and Apple CEO Steve Jobs is 11 days from taking the wraps off a shiny new product line at MacWorld San Francisco. Other former Apple figures might be a few weeks from being indicted,” Pete Mortensen writes for the Wired’s “Cult of Mac” blog. “What better time to take stock of the last 12 months and look ahead to what’s coming?”

Cult of Mac’s Ten Questions Apple Must Answer in 2007:
10. Is Apple ready to compete in two new fields (Home Theatre and Mobile Telephony)?
9. Will .Mac survive into 2008?
8. Has the switch to Intel been successful from a third party software perspective?
7. What should Apple credit for soaring Mac sales?
6. What’s Apple going to do with its new campus in Cupertino?
5. Is Apple comfortable with Mac OS X as the “Big Tent” operating system?
4. Is Apple getting complacent with its industrial design?
3. What more can Apple do with the iPod?
2. What’s Apple up to do with Google?
1. Can Apple stay successful if Jobs steps down?

Full article here.

48 Comments

  1. I don’t see any reason why Apple has to answer questions of that type.

    Apple doesn’t usually announce plans in advance. Rumour mongers and analysts don’t like it, but that’s how Apple operate, so get over it.

  2. I’d certainly be interested in the answers to most of those – particularly the issue of industrial design. Who knows – hopefully Steve will wow us with something ravishingly new and wonderous to behold at Macworld, but I think it can safely be argued that Apple’s design department has been snoozing of late. MacBook Pros that are all but identical to 5-year old PowerBooks, iPod nanos which essentially take their cues from the iPod mini, etc. Aside from the MacBook and the iPod stereo thing, I can’t think of any entirely redesigned hardware to have emerged from Apple as of late (and the shuffle doesn’t count – they just rejigged a bit of the nano’s casing).

  3. That’s called Risk Management: Steve is historically so tied to the profitability of Apple that the stock price – a valuation based on the potential for future profit – is significantly dependent on his presence. Don’t forget that not only is Steve a cancer survivor, he’s currently named in a stock options scandal involving falsification of documents. And he’s also publically stated that if he’s not happy doing what he’s doing, he’ll move on! Three risks investors need to ensure are mitigated – or they will be reflected in the stock price.

  4. I think Apple does need to address the question of success without Steve Jobs. Sure, he may not step down any time soon, but the man can’t predict his own death. Fatal car accidents happen every day – what if Steve were to be killed in one? At least with a “retirement”, Apple would have a chance to prepare for his departure. With his unexpected death, all bets are off. Personally, I think Jonathan Ive will take over.

  5. The issue of industrial design for Macs is quite simple. When the processors were changed from PPC to Intel, it was important that customers felt that they were buying a proper Mac. Keeping the look essentially the same makes customers feel reassured. It looks like a Mac, it acts like a Mac, then it surely is a Mac – irrespective of what’s powering it.

    Now the transition is complete and customers have discovered for themselves that Intel Macs are just like any other Mac, there’s no reason to stay with the familiar look. I’m quite sure that Mr Ive hasn’t been idle and the fruits of his genius will be revealed before too long.

  6. The Mac look is getting boring.
    iMacs are just ugly giant white chiclets on sticks.
    And my new generation Nano – heck, I have to wrap it in some ugly case to protect it so what does it matter what Apple designs? – I nor anyone else ever sees it.

    Apple would totally die without Steve Jobs. Jobs = Apple/Apple = Jobs. In the long run it is a terrible predictment for Apple to be in. I know Steve is trying to be the Walt Disney of Computers where Walt was the sole face of the company to the world, but computers are different than movies and theme parks.

    Apple has to figure out how to get new products out faster.

  7. 10. Yes. Yes. (Whenever/if they release…)
    9. Yes.
    8. Yes.
    7. Intel switch, OSX, crap Windoze, retail stores, good design, iApps, FCP…
    6. Data center… for… ?
    5. Of course. Why not?
    4. Nah. But Apple still moves very slowly at times… that’s worrisome. Success can bring complacency and malaise.
    3. January 8?
    2. Friends first. Lovers…? I wouldn’t go there, yet.
    1. Yes. Tho we don’t know who the next frontman would be and I haven’t seen anyone exciting yet.

    A’right? Cool? Cool.

  8. 10. Is Apple ready to compete in two new fields (Home Theatre and Mobile Telephony)?
    Answer: Yes (or Duh, take your pick). Within a year, count on iTV being able to deliver FiOS-like customers the ability to purchase TV networks ala-carte, $2.99 stnd def, $3.99 a HD per month, and turn cable and dish networks on their heads… 10 mbps+ required for HD versions of ESPN, etc…

    9. Will .Mac survive into 2008?
    Answer: Only if they are able/willing to give it its own iLife application. An iTunes-like solution where email, website and content can be managed.

    8. Has the switch to Intel been successful from a third party software perspective?
    Answer: Apple need not answer this, as this question seems rehtorical in nature, but yes, the switch has been successful.

    7. What should Apple credit for soaring Mac sales?
    Answer: Again, Apple answering this question is irrelavant. The point is it has been successful, mostly due to two points:
    A. Intel being accepted in the consumer Windows world, thus Apple becomes less threatening in the mind of the consumer.
    B. The ability to run Windows and associated application on a Mac – if need be – allowing enough of a comfort level for Windows users to switch.
    C. iPod/iTunes + Apple retail stores.

    6. What’s Apple going to do with its new campus in Cupertino?
    A. Space for when they buy out Adobe and move the Seattle kids south.
    B. When Apple is acquired by Google, and Steve Jobs stays CEO, and gains another $5 billion+, furthering his quest of becoming the richest man in the world… but I didn’t say that…

    5. Is Apple comfortable with Mac OS X as the “Big Tent” operating system?
    Answer: Duh, yes, an OS is the perfect rabit hole, and it remains the key to long-term viability. That said, iTunes is rapidly emerging, and will soon emerge as being the second most important platform for the company after MWSF ’07.

    4. Is Apple getting complacent with its industrial design?
    Answer: This is a leading question, and it seems strange to see such a question put forth. MWSF should put this assumption to rest.

    3. What more can Apple do with the iPod?
    Answer: Full-screen version with 720p capabilities, that’s what. Q107.

    2. What’s Apple up to do with Google?
    Answer: See answer to #4.

    1. Can Apple stay successful if Jobs steps down?
    Answer: Short-term, yes. Long-term, no.
    Steve has the next 12-18 months already on track. After that, should Steve leave, who knows what other person can be the visionary Steve Jobs is, and who can drive and get people to commit to his ideas the way he can? Bill Clinton and his own powerful reality distortion field perhaps? Bill and Al, once again at the helm. Ahhh, that’s just too funny, or scary, you decide.

  9. The look of the Mac is not getting boring, unless you’re simply a “what’s new” whore and likely have a taste for Alienware. And iMacs are great looking machines.

    As far as Apple without Jobs: Jobs is surely setting a tone within his camps so that Apple can become more about the products and technologies it creates and less about the show and the PR and the drama.

    Additionally, the number of Apple customers is increasing, but the number of devotees likely is not. Apple as a “cult” will pass.

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