updated 11:50 am EDT, Thu May 1, 2008
Piper on Apple questions
Apple will remain fairly conservative in terms of who it targets in future, but should continue to expand on technological possibilities, says the analytical firm Piper Jaffray. In spite of the iPhone's forthcoming enterprise support, and some continued efforts at business outreach, Piper notes in a list of "unanswered questions" that Apple insists it is primarily a consumer-focused company, and will continue to focus on related products like the iMac and the iPod. Apple realizes that "every consumer is likely [a] PC user at work," according to Piper.
Instead it is believed that Apple will expand by pushing its technology in new directions, for instance by expanding on the concept of the iPod touch as a "mainstream Wi-Fi mobile platform," rather than just a media player. More iPods will gain Internet connections in the future, Piper argues, and the devices will eventually become portable computers, something hinted at by the creation of the iPhone/iPod touch SDK for third-party app development.
Multi-touch technology is likewise expected to continue its expansion away from handhelds into the computer realm, where it can currently be found on the Air and Pro MacBooks. While these systems use touch sensors underneath a regular trackpad, Piper believes the trackpads will eventually become backlit color screens, enabling still more advanced functions. Beyond this lies a MacBook with a full-sized touchscreen, but it is suggested that Apple is waiting for "fully matured" technology to arrive over the course of three to five years.
The Apple TV is meanwhile expected to remain a "hobby" for the company in the foreseeable future, even though the Take 2 revision has greatly increased its appeal. The major obstacle adoption is said to be the need for both a high-speed Internet connection and a widescreen TV, although Apple may yet upgrade the product, and should at least continue to expand the number of movie rentals available on the iTunes Store.