Apple Optimistic About Future, Lots of 'Surprises' in the Works for Fall
During today's second quarter earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook reiterated Apple's commitment to creating innovative products:
Work we do to produce truly innovative products is very hard. Challenges that we'll face in the future, but we're working very closely with our manufacturing partners and we are executing a very exciting roadmap.
According to Cook, Apple has a lot of surprises in store for late 2013 and 2014, stating that "amazing new hardware, software, and services" will be coming this fall and "throughout 2014."
Apple is expected to release an updated fifth generation iPad with an iPad-mini like design along with the iPhone 5S later this year. An upgraded mini with a Retina display is also rumored to be in the works, along with iOS 7 and Apple's rumored streaming music service.
When asked to reiterate on the fall announcements, Cook had this to say:
We don't want to be more specific, but we have some really great stuff coming in the fall and across all of 2014.
In addition to its standard product lines, Apple is also rumored to have projects like the long rumored iTV and the iWatch in pipeline. Cook confirmed that future growth could come from "potential new categories." From the Q&A session:
Q: Did you mention new product categories in the introduction?
A: One of our areas for growth are potential new categories.
Q: Would that be in the next year?
A: We didn't announce a specific time frame.
In emphasizing a fall timeline for Apple's product updates, Cook is downplaying the potential for summer 2013 releases, possibly hinting that new versions of the iPhone and the iPad may not come until September or later.
The above quotes are from a rough transcript of the earnings call
Top Rated Comments
That's what they should be focusing on right now. We don't need a revolutionary product every year. We need the last few years worth of revolutionary products to become fully realized. And we need internet services to improve, a lot. That is more important than a TV right now, especially considering that the TV problem that needs a solution is much harder to come by due to the content issues, and Apple can't do much about that real fast. There will be more, and I have a lot of faith in Apple's ability to stay relevant and on the cutting edge if they stay true to the Apple philosophy, but right now, I really think "evolutionary" and "refinement" are of the essence.
They have a huge lead in the mobile market space (based on every statistic that matters) and look set to be the most resilient of it's mobile competitors today. That's great, but it doesn't mean anything if the core products don't continue to get a lot better. As great as iOS is, there are a lot of core issues that could stand to be improved early on in this game so as to ensure future success and more great products. And obviously, iCloud needs to get a lot better, and I'm not even one of the people that thinks it's that bad. But "mostly good at syncing documents, great at backing up your devices," is just not going to cut it as time goes on, and despite their obvious secrecy, don't think for a second Apple doesn't know this.
That's why they don't release "revolutionary products" every year.
What do you expect him to say? To 99% of Apple's customers, new product announcements are surprises. And even the nerds who read the rumor sites rarely get it all right. I don't think Apple's too worried about the level of "surprise" with the iPhone and iPad anymore. Everyone knows that we're likely to get a new one every year.
And let's be frank: the iPhone and iPad are screens that sit above a single home button that hasn't changed since the original iPhone. The part of the iPhone and iPad that makes them what they are hasn't really changed since the beginning from a hardware level. It's gotten taller, it's gotten more pixels, and it's added a camera, but it's basically the same thing it's been since the first iPhone, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that at all. That's absolutely bound to take some wind out of nearly every new devices "surprise" sails, but it really doesn't matter so long as the devices keep getting better, which they absolutely have.
The secrecy they're "doubling-down" on is no doubt focused more on new product categories, such as a true Apple TV or greatly-expanded Apple TV box, the much-rumored Apple Watch, and what is likely a half-dozen other products being developed right now in the lab that will at some point be good enough to hit the market once the time is right. And there are probably countless more ideas kicked around that won't go anywhere. Those are the real secrets and surprises, and I highly doubt that anything that's leaked out about anything will be very accurate.
Just think about whether this watch thing comes to pass: realistically speaking, we don't know anything about it other than it will likely allow us to learn what time it is when we look it. There were rumors about an Apple phone before the iPhone too, but no one saw the iPhone coming. New versions of products that are already released will always be presented as "surprises," but we generally know what we're getting into. The true surprises will likely stay surprises, because much like the original iPhone and iPad, they'll probably be announced far enough ahead of launch that they won't have as many production leaks to worry about. Plus in new categories, people won't know so well what to look for.
I think more exciting "surprise" surprises are in store in the next few years, and I do think we'll come back to Tim's comments again in another light the next time they launch a product in a new category.