Along with the persistent rumor that Apple is about to hit the television market with an Apple-branded high-definition television, it has recently been reported that Apple is sitting on top of $98 billion in cash. That's clearly enough money to launch an all-out war on an industry with a new product. In fact, that's enough money to launch two new products.
CEO Tim Cook has stated that Apple will stick to their philosophy of focusing only on a few products and doing them to the best of Apple's ability. But if Apple did come out with a completely new product in addition to the so-called "iTV", what type of product would it be?
I've never been much of a picture taker, but after becoming a new father, I decided a camera was a necessity. And it didn't take long into the shopping experience for it to dawn on me that Apple could easily become one of the top-selling camera makers should they come out with an iCamera.
The iPhone camera isn't going to win any awards for quality, and the dual-facing cameras on the iPad can only be described as "sad". But one think these iOS devices bring to the table is Photo Stream. Introduced with the iOS 5 update as a part of iCloud, Photo Stream automatically uploads the pictures you take to a central location and downloads them to your supported devices. This means you can take a picture with your iPhone and have it show up on your wife's iPad without the need of manually transferring it. In fact, she could be a continent away. This functionality in a camera would be pretty cool.
All of the talk of competing with the Amazon Kindle Fire has put some new zip into those iPad Mini rumors, but at the end of the day, the Kindle Fire might actually help iPad sales even without the release of a cheaper iPad. Each new Kindle Fire owner becomes a tablet user, and new tablet users may just want to upgrade to the best tablet on the market sometime in the future.
But what about competing with the Amazon Kindle? There are millions of people who love devouring digital books but don't want a full-fledged tablet. And as far as eReaders go, the Amazon Kindle is the top of the line. It's cheap, it has a great screen for reading, and it has the Kindle store providing books.
Apple introduced iBooks with the iPad. And just like the iPod is a means to sell music through iTunes, an iReader could be a device to sell books through the iBookstore.
Apple is known for creating markets rather than dominating existing markets, so it might seem odd to suggest Apple jump into a video game market already crowded with Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony. But the iConsole could bear fruit that goes beyond just video games.
Microsoft and Sony have done a great job of positioning their consoles as more than just for video games. Both consoles can be used to buy movies and television shows as well as streaming video from Netflix, Hulu Plus, YouTube, etc. This makes these consoles a competitor to both Apple TV and the upcoming iTV.
The iConsole could also be a boost for the Mac OS. If Apple provides a similar platform and the tools needed to easily port iConsole games to the Mac OS, this could give Apple some more leverage in gobbling up market share in the PC market.
Apple has always had a rather interesting history with music, starting with the very name of the company. The Apple trademark was originally registered as part of Apple Corps, the musical arm of The Beatles when they formed their own label. Apple Computers and Apple Corps have what can politely be described as an 'on again off again' relationship, or more accurately, a relationship filled with a lot of lawsuits.
In many ways, Apple has conquered the world of music, with iTunes and the iPod becoming synonymous with digital music. But there is one area that Apple hasn't explored: the musical instrument.
What would a musical instrument made by Apple look like? Perhaps something like the Eigenharp by Eigenlabs. The Eigenharp is a midi controller with "3D" keys that are not only velocity sensitive, meaning they can tell how hard you press on them, but can also be moved left, right up and down, allowing for a more realistic tremelo effect. It also has a breath pipe for a more accurate simulation of horn instruments, a strip pad for recreating bow instruments like the Cello and a step sequencer, which can be used for individualized percussion tracks. Watch the James Bond theme done on a pair of Eigenharps.
Let's step aside from products that Apple could do well and end with a product that would simply be cool. What if Apple tried their hands at making a robot?
No, I'm not talking about one of those robotic pets you can get from Amazon for $20. I'm talking about a real, humanoid robot. Perhaps not so large and lifelike that it will have us thinking we're living in world created by Isaac Asimov, but definitely more than a toy. What would such a robot look like? Perhaps it would be something like the NAO-H25, which will set you back around $16,000. Check out the NAO-H25 in action.