By Richard Menta 7/27/07
It is amazing all of the trouble a little rumor can start. In the case of Apple these rumors are in constant supply and usually untrue, but as we saw recently when JP Morgan analyst Kevin Chang confidently deduced one such rumor for the iPhone, Apple's stock rose sharply on the news. When three other Morgan analysts refuted the iPhone comments a few days later it caused a bit of a stir. Though the conflict did not push Apple's stock back down it did create an online backlash that reflected negatively on Morgan's credibility.
Of course, predicting a smaller and cheaper second iPhone model after the successful launch of the first is hardly a demonstration of prescience, though ZDNet's Russell Shaw points out that Taiwan-based Chang appears to be on the mark with his initial observations. As Shaw says "Taiwan, incidentally, is a center for mobile device chip making, so analysts there might be presumed to be clued-in".
Every once in a while I feel in the mood to write a wish list article. Such an article contains not rumors, but a "things we'd like to see" of products and features I feel have genuine market potential and may very well be on the horizon. But, I feel compelled to begin this latest wish list by recalling the experience of Mr. Chang because ultimately a few blogs will link to this article insisting MP3 Newswire "Says it's True".
The following items are not true - yet, but they should be and who knows? Maybe, we will see them by this holiday season.
BitTorrent for iPhone
The ulta-efficient µTorrent takies up only 218KB of space and the BiTorrent folk just ported it over to Mac OS X. The iPhone runs on an optimized version of OS X and a BitTorrent client as small as µTorrent would be perfect for the 4GB and 8GB iPhone. Actually, it may be here already. This week µTorrent mUI, aka µTorrent Mobile, was released by developer Sindre Sorhus who claims it will work on any mobile. I can't say how easy it will be to port this over to the iPhone, but I could not think of a more popular app to pair with the iPhone's WiFi.
UMD Writer for Sony PSP
When we reviewed the Sony PSP back in 2005 we were pleasantly supprised at the great image clarity of the UMD movie of Spiderman. At first Sony sold a lot of UMD flicks, but unfortunately full DVD price proved too much for a format that only worked on a PSP. Price drops have spurred a rise in sales, but if you really want the format to take off sell a USB writer that allows users to record from broadcast. I presently do that using the Neuros Video Recorder to view my programs off of memory stick, but the quality of the Neuros is only so-so in comparison. High quality recording would be very compelling to many.
Apple 32"- 42" HDTV with built-in Apple TV/Wi-Fi.
Look Ma, no wires! That's the first thing you probably notice anytime you see an ad for an LCD or Plasma set. Here is this TV commercial for a beautiful widescreen HDTV unit hanging on the wall like a painting, but sans the dark black HDMI cable that links that set to your cable or satellite box. The dark reality is that the average Hi-Def set owner must mask a spaghetti chain of cables and wires linking in the DVD, the Tivo, the surround system, the surround speakers positioned throughout the room, and any other device designed to extend the television experience. Who needs it? We have the technology now.
If you look at the top ten manufacturers of HDTV sets you will see names like Olevia (Syntax-Brillian), Poloroid and Westinghouse. These are all relative newcomers to the American TV market and yet all have found success. Apple proved they could succeed in the mature mobile handset market, so there is little doubt in my mind they can do the same in the less-than-mature HDTV market. Apple already works with the flat screen makers who produce their laptop and stand-alone displays so they already have the connections. The first step is to design a better TV.
Screen resolution and picture clarity aside a great way to win market share is to get rid of those maddening wires. Envision an Apple home entertainment system completely wireless with a sharp 42" display and built-in Apple TV/Wi-Fi. If Apple were to deliver such a set it could spawn a Wi-Fi television peripheral market to serve it, akin to the one that grew off of the iPod. The iPod peripheral market has been a goldmine for many and that will entice manufacturers to fill shelves with Wi-Fi DVDs, Wi-Fi surround systems with Wi-Fi speakers, while the cable companies release Wi-Fi set top boxes. February 17, 2009 is the day that the US will switch off the analog signals and television broadcasts will go completely digital. Within the next year is the ideal time for Apple to make its move into this market.
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