Quick recap: During Apple's fiscal third-quarter conference call this afternoon, CFO Peter Oppenheimer warned of falling margins for the next quarter and fiscal 2009. He gave three reasons, but one really stood out: a future product transition that "I can't discuss today."
Apple plans mystery "product transition" before September's end
The new, unnamed product will continue to have "technologies and features that others can't match," according to the CFO.
Previously, I wrote:
In about a month, I expect the rumor mill to start grinding out whispers of Apple placing an order for screens they’ve never used before, perhaps screens between five to seven inches diagonal.
It's a month later!
We haven't had people track down component orders yet, but Apple itself -- a month later to my prediction! -- has stated Something New is coming.
I will reiterate the salient points here:
1) Apple will produce a larger-screen iPod that is best suited for ebooks. I've been calling this device the iPod Air.
2) Apple will enter ebooks, thus legitimizing them and liberating writers from short-sighted print publishers. (I've just recently sussed out some rough details that I'll flesh out in another post days from now. Some research remains to be done. Let me just say Apple already has many pieces in place.)
3) The iPod Air will also be a productivity tool. The missing Bluetooth keyboard connection we've been waiting for the iPhone to get? The iPod Air will have that (I'm not certain if it will migrate down to the iPhone, however. It might not!). If you don't believe a small-screen device can be an actual productivity tool, have your jaw drop with this post: When An Expert Uses An iPhone.
4) This device will cannibalize sales from low-end MacBooks because it will be Functional Enough -- with its iWorks suite -- to replace one yet much more portable. With its touchscreen, it will also be much, much fun to use. This will be the first true Cloud Computing device in that people will use it to interact with the Internet more than they currently desire to do with existing notebooks and even Asus EeePC-like "netbooks."
5) Apple will count on very high volume sales and its initial price will offer very, very thin margins (especially for Apple!). Apple will count on four things:
a) Economies of scale dropping component prices
b) Sales larger than the iPhone
c) Apple-created software sold via the App Store (iWorks will be bundled, but Apple will offer more optional software too), and
d) Even more Mobile Me subscriptions.
Those of you who witnessed the lines for the iPhone 3G simply don't know what a real line is like. Think iDay 2007 -- at least doubled.
As far as I'm concerned, Apple has just frozen the netbook market to me. Asus 901? MSI Wind? They no longer matter to me. Do I want to spend money and time on one of those when I'm now certain Fall will bring an iPod Air? No! I'm now certain something dramatically better will be coming from Apple. The only thing I'd buy now is an iPhone 3G.
And all of you out there deciding on a current netbook? Forget them. Save your money. You'll get much more from Apple. And what you get will once again change the world.
Oh, one more thing: Thinking of a Kindle or a Sony Reader? Change your mind!
They're dead, Jim!
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