Apple teases ‘new product categories’

Agam Shah
24 April, 2013
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Apple CEO Tim Cook said new products will be released starting in the fall and through the end of 2014

Invoking the success of Apple’s game-changing iPhone and iPad, CEO Tim Cook has hinted that Apple will introduce “exciting new product categories” starting this [northern hemisphere] autumn and through to the end of 2014.

Speaking on the company’s quarterly earnings call on Tuesday, Cook didn’t provide details but mentioned twice that Apple aims to create new categories of products. He also dropped a reminder, as if it were needed, that Apple is the company that brought us the iPhone and iPad.

Guessing what new areas Apple might tackle is a tough business. “If I could imagine the new categories, I’d be Steve Jobs and not me, there’s that problem,” said Roger Kay, president of Endpoint Technologies Associates. Building a new product is easy, but creating a whole new category is much harder, he noted.

The new products may bring the ‘Apple experience’ to the living room in the form of some new entertainment device, he suggested. There have been rumours for years that there will be an Apple TV, for example.

“When they talk about new product categories, I’m just thinking about all the things you can Apple-ise in some way,” Kay said. “Your Apple car? Your Apple refrigerator?”

Apple has said it is working on a successor to the Mac Pro workstation/server, which has received only incremental upgrades in the past few years. But that wouldn’t be a new category of product.

Apple iWatch release date

Rumours abound that the next major product launch from Apple will be a smart watch.

Rumours have also swirled around Apple developing a smart wristwatch, but smart watches already exist, Kay noted. And he doubts a wearable computer is in the works. Apple does a lot of research before it launches new products, and a wearable device might not be well-received. “I’m just concerned about how much people want to wear computers,” Kay said.

The iPad and iPhone ignited new product categories and propelled Apple to success. But since Tim Cook became CEO in 2011, taking over from Jobs, Apple’s most significant new product has been the iPad Mini.

Cook’s comments came after Apple reported a rare drop in profits for its second quarter. Its profit was US$9.5 billion, down from US$11.6 billion a year earlier. Revenue was US$43.6 billion, up from US$39.19 billion in the second quarter last year.

“We acknowledge our growth rate has slowed,” Cook said.

Apple is now looking for new products to drive continued growth in the future.


By Agam Shah, IDG News Service

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