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Apple in 2008 – What Likely Lies Ahead

2007 was by all accounts an outstanding year for Steve Jobs and his beloved Apple Inc. But 2008 can shape up to be even better. Here’s why!

The iPhone as Platform

Obviously 2007 will go down as the year Apple changed the mobile cell phone industry with its wondrous iPhone. By all accounts the iPhone introduction was as breakthrough and as big an event as the original Mac. Yet 2008 will be the year the iPhone really takes off as a platform.

For Apple, one of the best things that will happen in 2008 will be the release of the Apple iPhone SDK (software development kit) in February. And one of the surprises for the entire tech industry in 2008 will be its phenomenal take-up. Mark my word, the iPhone SDK and what people will be doing with it will be one of the big discussions throughout 2008.

Although Apple is destined to release both a 3G iPhone and a nano version that is much cheaper, the iPhone discussion is likely going to intensify around its adaptability and flexibility as a true mobile computing device after the release of the SDK. And a by-product of that hype will continue to drive importance and focus to the Safari web browser.

The Mac is an iPhone

Perhaps one of the more delightful twists that should emerge in 2008 will be the way Apple leverages the iPhone’s enduring Multi-touch interface with future Macs, particularly mobiles. Apple will put that interface on the Mac in a way that will make the Mac feel like an extension of the iPhone — not the other way around. In which form this comes is anybody’s best guess but obviously it involves a Multi-touchscreen or screens, as in plural.

Some possibilities include new laptops that convert to tablets. Some folks have written about multi-touch areas near the palm rest area. Yet other possibilities include Apple media slates which simply obtain their image, wirelessly, from another Mac in the house or office.

When one thinks about where Apple is likely headed with the new iTunes movie rentals, and where it has already shunned the idea of competing with Sony on large flat-screen TVs, this forces you to think of new concepts for other types of media screen devices related to AppleTV and where Apple can innovate at the consumer device level.

We have already learned this year that Apple is working not just on its hobby — AppleTV — but on possibly a fifth new leg on which to bear its business. This fifth new product category will no doubt have something to do with the home, a fertile territory pregnant with possibilities on how we manage our lives and the array of electronics that draw energy within our homes. Energy — or how we use it in particular — can become the fifth new hot product category for Apple, something I am sure Al Gore personally would love to see happen.

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