OK, I’m neither working at Apple, nor with Apple and I’m not a friend of Steve Jobs.
But when you look at Apple’s growth over the last 5 years, you cannot start to wonder how will they sustain their growth pace (nearly 40% on average the last 3 years)? Tablet is one thing, and iPhone another but it wont be enough. Apple needs to enter new spaces in Consumer Electronics with some exciting new products.
I see two arenas where Apple know-how could be put at work almost instantaneously: PNDs and connected TVs.
Personal Navigation Devices are a declining market but navigation is still increasing. Google and Nokia are offering navigation services on their device for free. So I think Apple could acquire a company like TomTom. TomTom with a Market Capitalization of 1.4B € is a small bite for Apple 50B$ cash chest.
This acquisition would give Apple access to a navigation software and services, maps and a unique know-how with car makers to have PND (or other devices like iPod, or iPhone) embedded into a car dashboard. Furthermore it will strengthen its value proposition against Android and Nokia Windows Phones launching soon.
Apple connected TV
Connected TV, the other killer product doesn’t require any acquisition. It is a straight forward route.
Imagine a TV set with an Internet connection so you get access to iTunes (like in Apple TV set-top-box) for VoD and music. Furthermore Apple can leverage its Face time application in making video calls entering the living room by adding a camera on the TV set. Add a touch of magic with a “Kinect like” gesture recognition UI.
Next stop would be to provide a nice SDK so developers can develop services and applications for the platform. Last but not least, add some nice home content streaming application to watch on the TV set the contents from your iPad, iPhone, iPod, iMac. Then call it iTV or iSomething…
With these two new categories of product Apple will emerge as a tier-1 Consumer Electronics brand playing in every domain: phone, PND, multimedia player, tablet, PC, and TV, along with Sony, LG and Samsung.
I think these products will materialize in the next 12 months.