After iPhone 4, What's Next for Apple?

Now that Cupertino has trotted out the latest iteration of its phone, here are five things it might do for an encore

Now that Apple has successfully launched this year's iPhone, what can we expect next from Cupertino? Here are five strong candidates:

1) Apple TV, take two: Apple's set-top box has never garnered much respect from reviewers, consumers, or even the company itself. Steve Jobs famously (or infamously) referred to the device as a "hobby" back in 2007 at the Wall Street Journal's All Things Digital conference. Living room entertainment has changed dramatically since then--video streaming, in particular, has gone mainstream with the burgeoning popularity of Netflix and other online movie sites--and rumor has it that Apple TV will soon undergo a similar transformation. Engadget recently reported that an upcoming Apple TV box will feature 1080p HD video, cloud storage (rather than the hard drive found in today's model) for movies, TV shows, and music, and cost as little as $99. The device had better impress because competition in this space is intense. In addition to Internet-ready TVs and Blu-ray players, set-top boxes from Roku, and upcoming devices like the Boxee Box, the next Apple TV will have plenty of challengers. Oh, and a little company called Google has something in the works too.

2) iPod fall classic: It happens every September. Apple refreshes its iPod lineup at a music-oriented shindig in San Francisco. At last year's event, Apple introduced the video camera-equipped iPod nano, and announced a few minor upgrades and price changes to the rest of the iPod family. While the era of the standalone digital music player (excluding the iPod touch) is drawing to a close, there's still some life left in the genre. This year's happening could bring a Web-based iTunes service borne from the Lala online music streaming service, which Apple bought in late 2009 and shuttered last month. Long-suffering Windows users, forced to use the bloated and slow iTunes desktop client, would certainly rejoice.

3) iPod touch meets iPhone 4: Or Apple might dote on the iPod touch and pretty much ignore the rest of the iPods. Since the multi-talented touch is really an iPhone without the phone (or camera), it's likely the next-gen model will adopt the iPhone 4's slimmer shell and some of its capabilities. How about an iPod touch with a front-facing camera for FaceTime video chat? Considering the touch's popularity with kids, and the fact that it already has Wi-Fi (required by FaceTime), video chatting is a natural. As for the iPhone 4's rear-facing camera, no, the touch won't get it. Apple needs some product differentiation, after all.

4) MacBook upgrade: Too boring? Perhaps, but Macs still sell like hotcakes, even though Apple is obviously more focused on its mobile devices these days. The entry-level MacBook did get a minor upgrade recently, as did the pricier MacBook Pros. But what about the ultra-thin MacBook Air? Apple's once-hip-but-now-forgotten laptop is ripe for an upgrade, although some critics believe the Air's time has passed.

5) iPad 2: OK, the iPad is still new by Apple standards, which is fond of annual (or even longer) upgrade cycles. Still, Apple's tablet is crying out for a front-facing camera, particularly since the shiny new iPhone 4 has one. Tablets and video chat are made for each other, and the camera-less iPad is strangely ill-equipped in this area. Plus, competing tablets will almost certainly include a Webcam. It's unlikely a new iPad will debut by the end of the year, however. January 2011 is a safe bet though.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Applehardware systemsconsumer electronicsapple iphoneentertainmenttablet PCsmac laptopslaptopsportable media playersMedia players / recorders

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeff Bertolucci

PC World (US online)
Show Comments





Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?