Here’s my contribution to rampant speculation on the “Product Transition I Can’t Get Into” referred to in Apple’s recent Earnings Call. Let’s see how good a pundit I am. Now, there are many things I’d like the transition to be but which are highly unlikely. I may publish the long-winded article I’ve written on the subject eventually, but I thought I’d keep this brief…
By November, every iPod — except possibly the Nano — will be an iPod Touch of some kind, running OS X. To achieve this, Apple will have to drop the basic iPod Touch price down to $149 or less. iPod Touches are kind of expensive to make, so this will hurt margins and cannibalize some higher margin products.
The upside: within 12-24 months, Apple will — arguably — have the dominant computing platform on the planet — the largest games platform except for the PS2, the largest mobile computing platform except for the OSes embedded in commodity cell phones, and the largest platform that, as a whole, can natively run apps compiled against a single OS toolbox API.
For bonus points, they can merge the AppleTV into the Mac Mini (and put AppleTV functionality into every Mac) or simply expose extra functionality in [new?] AppleTVs (such as the ability to run iPhone
Now, I’m not sure this is a Good Thing™. Apple has, historically, been a pretty arrogant company. (Look at its treatment of game developers from 1985-2000.) I’m not sure whether the world would be a better place with Apple in the driver’s seat, but this is, I think, the plan: OS X everywhere.
Another rumor I’ve seen is that there’ll be a MacBook Touch which will presumably draw attention away from Apple’s very successful MacBook Air and also the MacBook Pro (especially if the MacBook Touch has good stylus support). A MacBook Touch would help dissolve the dividing line between Mac and iPhone applications (it’s easy to imagine that some apps will appear that are, essentially, identical on both platforms) and turn OS X into a more unified platform.