Apple has had something of an exciting couple of weeks, it has to be said. There was the announcement of the iPhone and the predictable if misplaced media frenzy that accompanied it. Misplaced because, let’s face it, do we really need another smartphone even if it can play music which, in and of itself is not exactly new. Sure, the design looks good as you might expect, but design and practicality are often poles apart and I will reserve judgment on the latter until I have actually lived with the thing for a few weeks myself.
Then, before the ink on the press release way dry, came word of Cisco taking legal action over a trademark infringement by Apple. Again, totally predictable seeing as it had not only already got a telephony device of that name, and what is more had been in lengthy negotiations about use of the name with Apple right up to a few hours before the big announcement.
Continuing the roller coaster ride came the news that Apple posted a record $1 billion net quarterly profit on revenues of $7.1 billion, which equates to $1.14 per diluted share. Again, not altogether unsurprising seeing as it included the run up to Xmas and Apple sold some 21 million iPods during that period. Heck, did anyone not get an iPod of some description in their Xmas stocking?
The real surprise, though, has to be the Apple TV. This digital media adapter which supports draft 802.11n wireless networking to stream standard-definition compressed video from your computer or movie trailers from the Apple website smooth and steady, got largely overlooked thanks to the three other announcements already mentioned. Will it be the new iPod? Will the iPhone be the new iPod? Will anything be the new iPod? The answers are, in order, no, No and NO.
What it will be is an easy to use device that will couple 40Gb of onboard storage and the ability to sync data with any computer running iTunes, and yes that includes a Windows PC. It will work very much like an iPod, and in this sense Apple are doing the right thing in building new technologies on existing concepts, proven brands and understandable interfaces.
The fact that you can do pretty much the same thing already with numerous devices, including perhaps most significantly an Xbox 360 as a Media Center Extender, is besides the point. Apple already has the hearts and minds of the entertainment technology buyer, and that is why the fastest-selling item is something you cannot even buy yet. It might have been largely overlooked by the mainstream media when it came to reporting the launch announcement, but not by the early adopter buyers who have been voting with their credit cards and placing pre-orders in readiness for a February launch.
Have you bought yours yet?