Apples new iPhone for 2010?

Posted: December 7, 2009 in Business 2.0

Every year as Macworld draws near the blog-sphere opens up and a veritable deluge of predictions rain forth. I overheard a colleague this week talking up Apple shares and speculating on what direction everyone’s favorite company would turn in 2010.

I did some thinking and decided I would get my predications in for next year. At least if I’m wrong people will have forgotten and I can quietly compromise my credibility by removing this entry on the sly.

So let’s walk through the facts. Life is good at Apple, Steve is back and the company is booming. MAC sales had flattened to 4% in Q3 but in Q4 chalked up a respectable 3 million units which is up 17% from last year.

They sold 7.4 million iPhones in Q4 or 7% growth from last year. To offer a more telling contrast in Q3 they sold 5.2 million iPhones or seven times as much as the previous year. 700% !

Ipod sales however are down, declining consistently around 8% when compared to the previous year. So it looks like people are finally moving away from music devices towards smart phones. iTunes hit 2 Billion downloads some time ago and continues to dominate online music sales, which one can only assume will be the only type of music sales in a couple of years time.

So we can establish that Apple is now becoming a phone company. So what do smart phone companies do after releasing their flag ship model? To substantiate the answer let’s look at two examples, Palm and Blackberry. We all remember what a hit the original half foot wide Blackberry was. The company followed that up by producing a smaller slimmer cousin called the Pearl. This phone made Blackberry a standard issue amongst corporate warriors and wannabees alike. Somehow it even managed to briefly bring back the rush of prestige business people felt when using a car phone during the late 80s. Once again people started putting their phones back on meeting room tables.

So what about Palm? This year they released the beautiful Palm Pre which gives the iPhone a run for its money, at least in the sexiness’ stakes. With 500,000 units sold exceeding expectations it still comes a little short of the 1 million units the iPhone 3GS sold in its first week. With its sexy flag ship in place Palm are making the obvious move by releasing a second webOS device. The smaller Palm Pixi will be available before the end of 2009.

My guess is Apple will follow suit. The mobile phone market is notoriously fickle and today’s hot phone is always tomorrow’s brick. The iPhone is the undisputed aspirational product of the year (again) and its success has already affected iPod sales negatively. The local step is to bring out a slimmer, cheaper and more pocket friendly version for generation Y.

To see how this would look, just check out a picture of the iPod range. Now image an iPhone range, one large touch screen like the Blackberry or the Palm Pre, then a smaller unit possibly with buttons like the Pixi or the Pearl. That is my pick for next year’s hot product, check out my hacked photo and let me know if you have any predications.

Horrible Hack

iPhone 2010

Here are some other predications of how it might look.


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