I’ve seen an Apple iPhone inspired future and it’s the stuff of science fiction. All the crucial elements are already in play.
iTunes was the Trojan horse which let Apple loose on Windows giving PC users a glimpse of Mac loveliness as they traded up their mp3 players for iPods and got used to doing things Mac style.
Making a success of the iTunes Store was the next crucial move which has made it (almost) painless to pay for our music, it’s certainly a lot less hassle than all that peer-to-peer nonsense – and with music becoming available at higher quality and DRM free there’s no excuse to steal music anymore.
Switching Macs to Intel CPUs has made it easier for programmers to get Windows software running on a Mac which both encouraged long time Mac users to stick with the platform and enticed more people to switch to Macs offering a comfortable transition.
The recently released Apple TV is a stealth device – it also integrates seamlessly with iTunes and iTunes Store on both PCs and Macs. To the casual observer Apple TV appears over-priced and near-useless BUT it’s being flown in under the radar to provide essential mission support as the iPhone establishes a bridgehead.
I firmly believe the iPhone will do to the mobile phone market what the iPod did to the mp3 player market and history is going to repeat itself – people are going to start trading up their standalone iPods, mp3 players, mobile phones and PDAs to the iPhone. We’ll hear the same old bravado from other manufacturers about how they’re not worried while they frantically scramble to produce iPhone clones but they’ve missed the big picture and there’s no way back for them now.
In less than two years all we will need is a TV (‘cos they’re big and fun to watch together), a computer or games platform (to work and play games) and an iPhone (because they’re Star Trek-like, damn sexy and portable). The stealth role for Apple TV reveals itself as the infrastructure to wirelessly manage everything on your iPhone, computer and TV screen using iTunes and Safari.
The next battle for Apple isn’t with Microsoft or other device manufacturers but with Sky Digital and terrestrial digital TV for control of our eyeballs. Movies and TV shows are already available via the US iTunes Store and these can be streamed wirelessly over the Internet to your iPhone, computer or TV screen. The only question is when Apple TV is renamed Skynet – finally the big picture is clear for all to see.