Fortt: Apple becoming the Sony of this century, not with Mac or iPod, but with iTunes

“Apple is at a crossroads where it must decide what it will be over the next decade. It’s not the first time, either. In the late ’70s it set itself up to be the inward-focused, proprietary computing wunderkind it became in the ’80s. In the late ’80s, it set itself up to be the flailing, disorganized disaster it became in the ’90s. In the late ’90s, Steve Jobs set Apple up to be the streamlined, user-focused, iPod-fueled juggernaut it is today,” Jon Fortt blogs for Business 2.0.

Fortt asks, “So it’s the late ’00s. How’s Apple setting itself up this time around?”

“Let me be the first to say that anyone who claims the ability to specifically divine Apple’s future is delusional; the best any longtime Apple watcher can do is read between the lines. That’s what I’m doing here,” Fortt writes.

Fortt writes, “And to me, it looks as if Apple’s positioning itself to be the Sony of this century, only without making clock radios, movies and TV shows. Apple’s focus remains on crafting software and hardware that’s an indulgence and a delight for everyday people, it just wants to take that philosophy beyond the computer and into more facets of life. (Sony followed a very similar path after its early success with tape recorders and transistor radios.)

Fortt writes, “At the foundation of this move by Apple is not the Mac, not the iPod, but iTunes… And that’s why every new device Apple introduces – Apple TV, iPhone, you name it – will connect to iTunes. Apple wants to grow iTunes into the control panel for our digital life.”

Full article here.

31 Comments

  1. I said it before and I’ll say it again, I can think of a better way to widen the distribution pipe:

    ” rel=”nofollow”>This has star power!

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  2. I don’t really see Apple doing a hi def TV. Too much low end competittion. Now if you mean something like a 37″ iMac, then sign me up! It would be worth 3 grand to me.
    the specs need to be better (contrast-8000:1, 500 cd/m brightness, <5ms response)
    Plasma would be a welcome.
    Definately wall mountable.

  3. I predict that Apple will retire the Macintosh and perhaps the PC as we know it. Here’ some clues:

    1. Steve Jobs said when he first came back to Apple that the PC wars were over. Microsoft won and Apple was going to move on to the next big thing.

    2. Apple renamed every computer in it’s product line to include Mac in the name. Perhaps to differentiate it from whatever replaces the Mac when it is retired.

    3. Apple removed the word Computer from their name.

    4. Apple releases iPhone with a new multi-touch user interface which it has spent years developing and patenting in over 200 areas.

    5. Adobe takes 2 years to update their software for Intel. Is that really what’s taking so long or are they developing Photoshop and other aps with dual interfaces to work both on current Macs and with top secret, new, non-Mac, OSX running devices which will have a multi-touch interface?

    I think there is a lot more going on here than meets the eye. It’ll be fun to watch.

  4. Apple will not relinquish the Mac. However, Apple will set the standard for integrating digital information, entertainment, and communications; and networking these functions simply and seamlessly with collaborative devices and technologies. When Apple talks about “ecology” and “environment” it’s not just pedagogic embellishment wrapped up in bewildering geek-speak. Your iPhone, desktop Mac, notebook Mac, iPod, AppleTV, radio, and other home and business appliances and devices will be intrinsically linked. Individual users will be able to effectively manage their personal lives in ways that are only just beginning.

  5. I don’t think Apple need to change their cleverly chosen name ‘iTunes’ for what seems to be becoming their central co-ordinating platform for their devices.

    Tunes suggest a whole lot more than music …. as in … all devices playing to the same tune (whether it be data exchange, sync, video, hd, some future superdooper media). The word “Tunes” is more generic and has shades of meaning far beyond just audio tracks.

  6. iTMS is one of Apple’s least successful products. If the iTunes store vanished tomorrow the iPod would still be successful. Since most people don’t get their music from iTMS, most wouldn’t care.

  7. The iPod has NEVER been the main threat to MS. The threat to MS has always been iTunes (re: Quicktime) and the control of digital media software/standards. If iPods allowed Windows Media Player, MS would love to have Apple sell billions but every iPod user has Quicktime on his/her computer and so turns the OS wars on their head. Who cares if Windows has 90% market share when Apple is controlling and selling all the content.

  8. Yes yes very apt opservation but therein lies the fault of all who would divine Apple’s future: the theory that Apple’s success lies within any one product.

    Sure Apple has already observed that they see Sony as their biggest competitor, not linux, dell, msft etc etc, but the secret of their success is…… wait for it……

    .
    .
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    .
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    attention to detail

    mw: said

    ‘so said the guru’

  9. “I’d say an Apple branded HD TV is next. Of course it will integrate with iTunes

    and of course with built in apple TV”

    Since HP are doing this already, with Windows Media Center Extender (the design template for Apple TV) built in, Apple will have to follow sooner or later.

  10. Synthmeister:
    “The iPod has NEVER been the main threat to MS. The threat to MS has always been iTunes (re: Quicktime) and the control of digital media software/standards. If iPods allowed Windows Media Player, MS would love to have Apple sell billions but every iPod user has Quicktime on his/her computer and so turns the OS wars on their head. Who cares if Windows has 90% market share when Apple is controlling and selling all the content.”

    Almost agree with you 100%. I beg to differ on “Who cares if Windows has 90% market share.”

    While I totally agree that Apple’s strategy is to outflank Windows by controlling content distribution, the OS wars are not an insignificant part of the strategy. It’s no accident that Apple put OS X on the iPhone, possibly the Apple TV, and likely future iPods.

  11. Agreed twilightmoon@mac.com. If Apple could get up to 15 -25%, it would have room to screw up once in a while and the psychological effect on business adoption of the Mac would be enormous.

    And yes, the iPhone is just the beginning. OS X running on something with 4 gigs of memory and less than 1/2 inch thick will open whole new Vistas of opportunity for the Apple OS. Things we haven’t even dreamed of a couple weeks ago.

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