Apple next 2 killer products

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.

Apple PND

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.

> PND in car experience

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.

App or Web, that is the question

App or Web is the question every business is asking its development team. Shall we go the native application route with its nice responsiveness, look and feel or the Web route that is multi platform and is always up to date.

I’ve tried to put the pros and cons in the single table so every decision maker can make his own mind on this question.

app vs web

app vs web

Both approaches make sense, but usualy one fits better than the other with the short term targets.

For instance on Kitchbi we have started the project with a Web application as we wanted to be available on all platforms. In a second phase we are considering applications for a few selected platforms that fit with our target (iPad and Android in the case of Kitchbi).

The App vs. Web question is often a matter of Reach vs. Rich.

Is magazine distribution doomed by Android Tablets?

Android tablets are mushrooming at the CES: 3 ASUS tablets, 4 ACER tablets, 4 TOSHIBA tablets, etc.

And Google is preparing the weapons that will lure the consumers. One the main usage for tablets is reading, and especially reading magazines. In a survey from macplus.net in France, 86% of the consumers wanted to read magazines on their tablet.

And apparently Google got the message as they are reported to be working on a digital newsstand by Fierce Wireless.It is for sure an application for tablets, to be launched along Honeycomb (aka Android 3.0).

If it comes out to be true, this digital newsstand will most probably disrupt the very fragile ecosystem of news distribution. Google have already destroyed the sat nav software industry, will news distribution be the next?

Microsoft TV rumours

Microsoft is said to work on connected TVs to block Google and Apple TV services. Microsoft can build a compelling service by using its Xbox know-how. Microsoft knows what kind of experience consumers are expecting from a TV which isn’t the case of Apple and Google.

Some are expecting Microsoft to offer some premium channels, so I don’t think it will be the case. I think Microsoft will launch an OS and a whole ecosystem for the TV. An ecosystem that will enable TV set manufacturers and cable/DSL operators to have both a piece of the cake, and surely a bigger piece for Microsoft.

In the long run, Set-Top-Boxes will disapear as the TV will get connected. What the industry is missing is a common standard to be able to plug cable operators services and channels directly on the TV set. These services will exist along with the manufacturer’s ones.

Microsoft has been very good at building standard in the past, I believe they are giving the last touch to a new ‘ TV secret weapon’. To be announced at the next CES?