A two hour Keynote by Apple at WWDC 14,... and no new hardware. To some this was a big disappointment. Wall Street reacted (as they always do) by sending AAPL stock down on Monday, but on Tuesday they had reconsidered and sent Apple’s stock to another 52-week high. Along with Wall Street others had eagerly anticipated at least a new iPhone or were hoping for something else, something big — like a new category product (iWatch or a new form-factor Apple TV). But a new hardware announcement did not happen, and there are some good reasons why.
WWDC 2014 is just around the corner now, so it's time for our annual show predictions. This year we decided to present it based on percentage chance of a particular item being announced at WWDC, in the Fall 2014 or Winter 2015.
Based upon our own internal information, colleges input and rumors here is what we are expecting to be announced and/or launched at WWDC 2014 and beyond.
It has been 553 days, or 1.5 years, since that last Mac mini update. The current model is dated, and behind a processor generation with its CPU and GPU.
Yesterday Apple revealed some numbers they don’t often break out. One of those secret statistics was about Apple TV — Apple has sold over 20 million of the devices. Moreover, Apple CEO, Tim Cook, called it a billion dollar market — no longer a hobby indeed.
Most intriguing is where this puts Apple in the carrier lineup. DirectTV claims about 30 million subscribers in the U.S and Latin America, while Dish Network has roughly 14 million subscriptions. When all is said and done with Time Warner, Comcast will boast of having 30 million subscribers. Apple revealing 20 million Apple TV's sold puts them right into the mix as one of the big boy content providers — a real player in the space — not to be ignored. Apple’s distinct advantage is there is their ala carte system of choosing programming. With Apple TV a large portion of the programming is pay as you go, for only the content you want. There is no blanket charge of $50-100/month for all the content you want (for a gluttony of bad content most never even watch).
WWDC fever is at an all time high, and there is no wondering why. By the time WWDC arrives it will have been nine months since Apple’s top brass has taken to the stage and introduced something new, or even a scant product update. That’s a long time in technology time. Fans, developers and even Apple’s competition are all waiting to see what surprises Apple has in store.
Newer versions of iOS and OS X will be the foundation to the conference. What is yet unknown will most likely revolve around hardware. What Apple will do to surprise and delight developers and conference attendees is always what drives the show.
Remember when you were in school and there was that über smart kid who finished their test first — and early. That kid would scoot their chair from their desk for all to hear, slowly stand up, walk forward, drop their test into the teacher’s inbox and turn to smirk at the classroom as if to say, “Good luck dumb dumbs.” For everyone else still taking the test, the emotions that would immediate ensue were lead by fear and panic. “How’d he/she finish so fast!?!? I’m behind. Hurry up! Gotta finish!!” would flood the mind.
And that’s when mistakes would be made. When against the clock, people make mistakes they normally wouldn’t. They do things they know they shouldn’t. In business it’s no different. Mistakes are made all the time by really smart people at industry leading companies because of the rush to market by competition and the fear of being left behind. The Set Top Box market is a great example. AppleTV is in the lead and we see the competition trying to catch up — in a panic.
Earlier this week Amazon stepped into the set top box market with Amazon fireTV. This is a direct competitor to Apple TV, with a few extra features such as a gaming option and a voice control remote.
Digging into fireTV’s specifications became a difficult task, and it reminded me of a similar problem when Amazon launched their Kindle Fire HD against Apple’s iPad mini. Amazon cherry picked the Kindle Fire HD specifications in a big way, so as to present their tablet as being superior, and cheaper — to the iPad mini. Amazon, receiving negative press, soon capitulated
I recently discussed the possibilities of Apple holding a Special Event on or before their June WWDC event, with the intent to launch an iPhone 6. The theory is that this leaves the door wide open for Apple to deliver an all new product category in the fall, something akin to a watch-like device or all new Apple TV, which would include more high profile networks, gaming and perhaps Siri control.
Today, on the heels of this speculation comes another report from Zhan Xaixian of Tawain's Business Times online. Zhan claims Pegatron, one of Apple's growing contract manufacturers, has started to put the pieces in place for iPhone 6 production runs starting in 2Q14.
Even though much of the country has suffered a brutal winter, there has been a recent shift that most of us can now sense is on the horizon – Spring! In the world of all-things-Apple, Spring is a time of rabid speculation, accompanied by a big ramp up to WWDC. This year is proving to be no different.
Rumors are flying in from the Far East on a daily basis:
ESPN, Fox News, CNN, NBC Sports Network,... the list of sports and news cable entities living in the past goes on and on as if it were still 2004, not 2014.
The major headache for these sports and news networks are cord cutters — those who have abandoned getting video content via cable or satellite — whose numbers continue to grow. These sports and news networks remain fearful of selling the prized channels directly to customers ala cart because of the predictable blow back, and possible ban, by the cable and satellite providers.