Motley Fool on Apple in 2012: Tim Cook CEO, iTunes Subscription Music, More

Motley Fool Rick Aristotle Munarriz predicts that in 2012 Apple will be headed by CEO Tim Cook, offer a music subscription service through iTunes after buying RealNetworks, have iPhone deals with multiple carriers in the U.S., will continue to ignore the netbook market, and return to Macworld after a couple of ho-hum appearances at CES.

The prediction piece is based on the artifice that Mr. Munarriz, one of the founders of The Motley Fool, has a time machine that he uses to report on how some companies are faring in the future, in this case, in the year 2012 (no mention was made of Quetzalcoatl). He first did with Apple in 2008, peering ahead to the year 2010.

His first prediction is that Tim Cook will have become permanent CEO of Apple after Steve Jobs fails to return to the company in the summer of 2009. According to his time travelling, it took some time for the markets to warm to Mr. Cook as CEO, but, "his operational prowess is delivering the financial performance that investors expect out of a maturing growth stock," and Apple is "firing on all cylinders."

He also predicts that Microsoft will reintroduce the Zune as a phone, music player, and handheld gaming device -- Microsoft "simply followed Apple's lead" -- and that the Zune and iPhone and iPod touch are eating into handheld gaming markets, and beating Research In Motion's BlackBerry, too.

With netbooks the hottest growth sector in PC sales right now, Mr. Munnariz said that Apple had to make a decision on whether or not to sacrifice the high end in pursuit of the low end, or "stick to its knitting," which he said Apple will decide to do. Eventually, according to him, Mac market share and sales will begin to recover as the economy recovers in 2010.

There's more in the full editorial, which offers an interesting way to look ahead at Apple's future.