CNET's Dan Farber thinks that Apple's got a whole new game plan for next year, and he's probably not wrong. While the brand is neither at the forefront of tech with its devices nor the market-share leader, Farber says, that is not its focus anyway. "After its initial breakthrough product and domination of the market, Apple cedes share to followers and carves out a highly profitable niche," he writes. "Like BMW in the automotive industry, Apple is not trying to blanket the market."
For several years now, Apple has been rebranding itself more as a lifestyle company than just a technology one. That's also evident in the hires of ex-YSL CEO Paul Deneve to head up "special projects" and ex-Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts to oversee retail operations. But, how will that shape its products in the coming year?
Farber suggests there will be the familiar "wash, rinse, repeat cycle" of new iPads, iPhones, and Macs. The last game-changing device Apple unveiled, however, the iPad, came over four years ago. Truly new devices must be on the horizon, and many signs (including a registered trademark) point to the iWatch as a prime candidate. While there are similar devices available, Farber says that "Apple hopes that an iWatch can follow the same pattern as the iPod, iPhone and iPad — not the first in its category, but the one that redefines a market and dominates it for the first phase of adoption."
It also might be developing a 4K television with Apple TV tech built in or working with auto companies to integrate its software into cars, according to Farber. And, there might even be a Google Glass competitor — iGlasses, if you will — in the mix. (The company holds a number of patents for head-mounted displays.) "Apple will play the tortoise to Google's hare, watching the landscape evolve and taking its time to create a more perfect device that will attract tens of millions of buyers."
Farber's point is that Apple isn't trying to be the first to develop new tech: It wants to tailor it to a global audience as "a continuation of Steve Jobs' goal to reshape how masses of humans use and interact with technology." It's about integrating technology into people's lives in a useful and, especially, a fashionable way. (CNET)