Apple's two-year roadmap: Think cloud services

Apple's two-year roadmap: Think cloud services

Summary: Apple's upcoming year is expected to feature upgrades to its existing product line, but the company is expected to prep a bevy of cloud services running into 2012.

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Apple's upcoming year is expected to feature upgrades to its existing product line, but the company is expected to prep a bevy of cloud services running into 2012.

According to Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, Apple won't enter new categories in 2011. This year will be about harvesting gains from the iPad, iPhone, App Store, Mac and iPod and upgrades.

In 2011, Apple is expected to launch the iPhone at Verizon in the March quarter with iTunes cloud services also due this year. Munster reckons that the fifth generation iPhone will have NFC (near field communications) technology. NFC allows you to swap data with other devices and use your mobile device for payments.

Munster estimates that a NFC enabled iPhone sets the stage to use your iTunes account as a point-of-purchase tool. Apple has payment information for 160 million active iTunes accounts. That fact means Apple is best suited to turn the iPhone into a wallet.

Going into 2012, Apple will have the stage set for cloud services. Munster writes:

Apple has largely failed in cloud services to date. Its first major push into web services for its connected devices, MobileMe, was riddled with issues surrounding the July 2008 launch. Following the failed launch, MobileMe has improved under new leadership but we believe the service has gained little traction considering the estimated 60.7m active iPhone users (last two years of sale) compared to an estimated 5m MobileMe users. Likewise, Apple has rolled its advertising services platform, iAds, out at a measured pace. But recently, the company made its "Find My iPhone" service free to any iOS user (previously a MobileMe paid service) showing a rising interest in web services for its connected devices. We believe iTunes streaming represents Apple's largest opportunity in services with an addressable market of 160m iTunes active accounts, each with a real problem that Apple can solve (accessing music on portable devices). We expect to see an iTunes streaming service in 2011, but we expect Apple to continue its focus on web services beyond 2011 in order to leverage the connected nature of its devices. Other web services could include expanded support for document storage in the cloud, or even remote computing capabilities using the cloud to access your Mac and all its files and settings from another Mac (or an iPad) via the cloud.

Topics: Apple, Hardware, iPhone, Mobile OS, Mobility, Networking, Smartphones

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28 comments
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  • RE: Apple's two-year roadmap: Think cloud services

    I have often thought that itunes as a payment vehilce is a logical step. I do wonder about NFC in the States, I think it is at least 18 months away if not 24 months. Sure there will be some early apodters and Apple is often at the forefront, but it will cost retailers, hospitality, etc a good deal of money to rollout the readers for this. There are cheaper ways to get payments into a POS than NFC. I would bet Apple has something more interesting in mind for NFC. No idea what that might. On the other hand the overseas market may be big enough to justify NFC, we catchup in the states.
    jhuddle
    • imagine...

      @jhuddle
      something like square up (https://squareup.com) without the ackward thingy and itunes as the clearing house as step one.
      banned from zdnet
    • Apple uses an interesting wireless POS system at their retail stores...

      Apple uses an interesting wireless POS system at their retail stores. They're essentially iPods and iPhones with a mag strip reader, with receipt printers strategically located throughout the store (or you can have the receipt emailed to you.)

      While Apple's is an inhouse implementation, there are already several 3rd party solutions that are nearly identical.
      olePigeon
      • RE: Apple's two-year roadmap: Think cloud services

        @olePigeon

        The Apple POS system is called EasyPay, and Gap is using it on a limited test basis.
        msalzberg
      • EasyPay

        @olePigeon @msalzberg
        I was working at the Apple Store when EasyPay first appeared, and at that time it ran on WindowsCE on a large clunky piece of hardware that everyone hated to carry around.

        Card readers for the iPhone were on the "wish list" of Apple Retail employees for a long time just to get away from that big handneld box.
        use_what_works_4_U
    • RE: Apple's two-year roadmap: Think cloud services

      Both squareup, and wireless POS are about payments. Wireless POS is nothing new, still not common, but has been around for over ten years. Squareup is great service, actually use it myself, but it still uses the physical card. NFC, requires no card, just pass your phone near the register, vending machine, etc. for payment.
      I think Apple has something cooler in mind for NFC, I have no idea what it is. Maybe purchasing the "now playing song" in Starbucks by waving your iphone near a pod/kiosk. Maybe getting access to additional information/content at events. Whatever it is I think it will be outside the box. If NFC is a play in the states, it is too early for payments. Very early adopters yes, widespread no. As I said earlier there maybe enough market overseas to justify NFC for payment.
      jhuddle
  • .

    removed
    banned from zdnet
  • RE: Apple's two-year roadmap: Think cloud services

    I'm sure Apple and the cloud will be... well just look at Ping. LOL!
    Loverock Davidson
    • You mean Bing?

      The real joke from Microsoft.

      @Loverock Davidson
      GoPower
      • RE: Apple's two-year roadmap: Think cloud services

        @GoPower
        oh noes!~
        Loverock Davidson
    • RE: Apple's two-year roadmap: Think cloud services

      @Loverock Davidson
      True.
      Knowing Apple they will likely try to link it via iTunes which will die a very ugly death.
      iTunes... another name for crapware..... (at least on Windows).
      rhonin
      • RE: Apple's two-year roadmap: Think cloud services

        @zenwalker
        techconsumer1
      • RE: Apple's two-year roadmap: Think cloud services

        @zenwalker

        Having used iTunes on both Windows and Mac (nearly a year using on this) iTunes is bug-laden. It loses images when I have downloaded them legally from my own discs, it mixes up artists and albums not on the database (instead of leaving them as I have fixed them manually). It crashes quite often and I can't understand the large updates so frequent yet there is no concrete improvement of functionality. Each new iTunes update just seems to get more focussed on pushing possible products we might want to buy, hence increasing our spend on iTunes. That is not innovative, it is shrewd and certainly not consumer-focussed. I would much rather have the option to use iPods and Apple TV and Airport all of which I have with a standard computer without glitchy iTunes. I would be very wary of a company who having almost gained the entire market of paid music downloads then want to sell me other products and monopolise the software tool (iTunes). People wake up , this wil give Apple more of a monopoly and allow it to charge whatever it likes. We need the likes of HTC, Google, Samsung etc to keep Apple in line..don't get me wrong I love Apple products but I do not favour monopolies especially in technology (cf. Microsoft and Windows, it does NOT encourage free thinking and innovation or better alternatives)
        techconsumer1
  • IPad & Mac Integration

    Seems like an obvious thing for Apple to do would be to allow an IPad and a Mac to work together. The Ipad would become an input device and would allow you to use some of the Ipad operating features work on your Mac and also be a big Magic Pad or an artists sketch pad. There are lots of possibilities.
    Prime Detailer
    • Recent patents show they're working on that...

      Recent patents show they're working on that. An iMac with a multi-touch screen on an adjustable stand. You flip the iMac onto its back and pull it down in front of you (so it's laying flat or at a comfortable angle), and the iMac automatically switches into iPad mode with all your iPad apps. When you orient the iMac back to its vertical position, it switches back to the desktop OS X.
      olePigeon
      • RE: Apple's two-year roadmap: Think cloud services

        @olePigeon This is the out of the box stuff I was talking about. NFC has to be bigger than payments. I knew there werw bigger brains out there than mine. God help us all if there aren't :).
        jhuddle
  • That big server farm Apple just built out East...

    has to have something to do with the "cloud", don't you think? Maybe free MobileMe???
    Userama
    • RE: Apple's two-year roadmap: Think cloud services

      @Userama
      Do you actually use Me?
      rhonin
      • RE: Apple's two-year roadmap: Think cloud services

        @zenwalker Yep.
        Userama
  • Something useful about MobileMe

    If you actually use an iPad for productivity, iDisk enhances it ten-fold. At least with iDisk, you don't need to sync with iTunes to get your iWork documents over to a real computer, if necessary. This kind of functionality shouldn't cost anything though.

    What they need to do is fix the printing support on the iPad. It's horribly broken in its current state. I'm not buying a new printer just to print with this thing. Instead, I had to buy a $10 OS X app just to make it work (good thing I have a Mac mini - it hardly gets any use except for this). AirPrint was supposed to be supported on any Bonjour-equipped Mac or Windows PC, but Apple hasn't finished it yet.

    Even with "multitasking", the iPad is very much a 1.0 device. By the time version 3.0 ships, Apple will probably be thinking about moving their mainstream computing to iOS.
    Joe_Raby