We Mac addicts tend to get too close to what is going on. We should step back and try to view to whole picture. We are an impatient lot and feel a lot of angst when nothing tangible seems to be happening. Actually, the rate at which Apple has changed the world is pretty breath taking, but we live from quarter to quarter and from special event to special event.
First, I believe that the iPhone4 will have an outstanding quarter. Last year?s quarter was disappointing, partly because of the infamous lost phone, but also because the 3Gs needed improvement so people were very willing to wait. This year there appears to have been no slack off in sales. I attribute this primarily to the opening of new markets, but also because it is still a very desirable product. Apple (and Foxcomm) has become very efficient at manufacturing this product and costs per unit are undoubtedly at an all time low. Apple has less incentive to rush a new product to market than last year.
Furthermore, iOS5 will improve the capability and competitive advantage of the iPhone4 more than a new product would, and by itself will boost sales significantly. We are conditioned to believe that we must have a new product to do that.
What real improvements do we need for the iPhone5? Most of all, access to the faster networks. NFC would be nice, but I don?t think it would be a game changer. Better battery life, slimmer, lighter, tail fins, brighter chrome, all the usual suspects, whatever design and marketing feel are appropriate. It will happen, but putting all this together will have less impact than iOS5.
I do see a growing need for better price differentiation, so a multi-tiered product structure is likely. Possibly a low-end phone for the college crowd and gifting, an upgraded 4G (4Gs?) for the mass market, and a 5 for the higher speed networks. I trust Apple on the timing. They seem to know what they are doing.
There is also a continuing need for phones that will work on other networks. Go Sprint, T-Mobile and CHINA. India too.
Don?t forget the iPad. Manufacturing has finally come under control, and volume production of lower cost product is at hand. It, too will get a bis boost from iOS5. An updated product for the Christmas market? Possible.
The Lion will roar, and the integration with iOS5, coupled with ?The Cloud? will accelerate Apples growth in the ?old? PC markets, aided and abetted by the MacBook Air.
The future never looked brighter for Apple, so banish the angst to some other world.
The measure of the worth of a product is how much people are willing to pay for it, not how many people will buy it if the price is low enough.