Apple to tackle consumer electronics; iPod "boombox" planned

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Comments

  • Reply 21 of 60
    I like the Ipod the way it is.... but for people who want more this is cool,Even it it seems like a backstep,I was glad to get rid of my sony boombox when the Ipod came out.



    as long as the current ipod stays available as well,their already are ipod boomdocks available so apple will have to really do somthing different here.



    great sound but sleek an not bulky........ that tubular one i saw at the apple store is cool!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 0.2 cents
  • Reply 22 of 60
    telomartelomar Posts: 1,804member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Chris Cuilla

    I actually think that is exactly right. Only, hopefully, even better. Sony plays in a lot of markets, Apple is just getting started. I'd like to see them diversify even more.



    Problem Apple has is unlike Sony and a lot of other CEs companies they need to outsource their components. In the end that'll effect their ability to get the margins they need and make it very difficult to compete in mature markets.



    They've made some attempt to change that with the touch pads and touch wheels but they still have a lot of work to do and that's a massive shift to make.
  • Reply 23 of 60
    That's an interesting point. Apple seems to thrive though, on creating "new" or tangential markets that keep people and other businesses guessing...
  • Reply 24 of 60
    maccrazymaccrazy Posts: 2,658member
    Apple needs to keep their offerings simple. They can't be a Sony with hundreds of different products which do similar things. When Jobs came back in the late 90s one of the first thing he did was to simplify the line-up. This may be frustrating for professionals who know exactly what they want but for the average consumer an easy-to-pick computer is just as important as an easy -to-use computer.



    Incidentally, Apple has learned not to venture into busy markets unless they have a very good solution. A camera would not be a good move - your phone has one and hundreds of companies make digi cams. Apple made a digital camera around 10 years ago and I think that's where it should stay.



    Apple should concentrate on doing what it always has, innovating and creating new products for new markets, or creating a simple solution which wows where others have under-performed.
  • Reply 25 of 60
    I think if we talk about something like "Apple becoming the next Sony" we need to understand a couple of things:



    1. Never exactly like Sony -- This is really just a short-hand descriptive statement to convey the idea of a larger company, more diversified into a variety of markets, with good style and a good sense of technology.



    2. It isn't assumed to happen tomorrow, it would be considered a strategic direction.
  • Reply 26 of 60
    I've been pining for an airport enabled boom box for quite some time. I could use one in my woodshop and one for outside parties. If Apple builds it, I'll buy two.
  • Reply 27 of 60
    Living room: I agree with the statement about a dumbed-down computer that really just does front-row with video on demand, and dashboard, maybe some other stuff like voip.



    Segment the market! a living room box is a lower functionality, lower price-point hardware market. If a fully functional mac mini were apple's candidate to storm the living room, the price would devastate desktop sales. Too much for too little. Remember how we were all waiting for the set-top box when the airport express came out? and how the APEx did like 80% of what we were hoping for a fifth of the price? Think "dumbly" and segment.



    Such a device MUST have a killer app or two. Who's going to buy one of these apple boxes if it's just an xbox 360/ps3 with no power and inferior/no games?



    One: VOIP is such a killer app I can't even believe it. Could you imagine if apple sold a little, dumb wifi-enabled hunk of white plastic that talked to the set-top thing, plugged into the wall and into your phone jack, and talked to your set-top box (which is always on, unlike most computers), wiring the house for VOIP. That would totally bring people onboard.

    Killer app two is of course the media on demand thing we've all been awaiting. Because the iBox thing isn't running osx, getting those precious movies off of it to pirate would be a harder hack.

    Three: DVR (killer only if no monthly fee! A new tivo is 20 bucks!)

    Four: Voice mail and fax repository (sorry, most people don't keep their computers on as much as their answering machines)



    Don't try to make a camera better than nikon or canon. Don't try to make a game console to compete with the big boys.



    Segment. Dumb. Beloved, convenient ecosystem from the people who brought you the iPod.



    Oh, and a car stereo I could stuff my ipod into would kick butt!!
  • Reply 28 of 60
    Exactly. I envision a car stereo similar to an 8-track of old...just slide it in baby.
  • Reply 29 of 60
    This is a great thread.



    The iPod division is a year and half old. Given the existing staff, resources and technologies they are able to leverage, I think it's reasonable that a team could develop a solid product to market in this time. Perhaps not from scratch, but I imagine new concepts have existed since the iPod first started to look like a winner.



    I think it's quite reasonable to suggest that Apple will expand their pressence in the consumer electronics industry, and for mind, the intelligent application of Apple's design ideology to consumer electronics would be positive for the entire industry. Whether it would be profitable for Apple remains to be seen.



    Suffice to say it's going to be an interesting month.
  • Reply 30 of 60
    I am hoping that they continue to merge their overall product line by leveraging the success of the iPod. Or rather, integrate the product line with communication between products, much like the software. If new devices are released that help bridge the iPod, the Mac, or even PCs, they will have a winner. And in my book, ANY successes Apple has is a good thing because they can take that many more tech risks in the future.



    On a related, but slightly different note-- this mountain of cash that they've accumulated has to be playing into this "Sony-like" strategy, doesn't it? Maybe it's just an insurance policy for them, but it seems to me that Apple has demonstrated themselves to be extraordinarily calculating lately-- Marklar, music store, videos, Intel... It just makes me wonder.
  • Reply 31 of 60
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,099member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Telomar

    Problem Apple has is unlike Sony and a lot of other CEs companies they need to outsource their components. In the end that'll effect their ability to get the margins they need and make it very difficult to compete in mature markets.



    They've made some attempt to change that with the touch pads and touch wheels but they still have a lot of work to do and that's a massive shift to make.




    Except that you get higher margins by outsourcing your manufacturing. This is why Dell and others do it as well.



    Apple isn't manufacturing their own scrollwheels and touchpads, they are just designing them.



    You don't have to carry the payload, or spend the billions on plant and structure. you don't have to worry about new capital expenditures on a constant basis. You have your partners worry about that. As they build for several companies, they are in a better position to do so.



    The only problem is that they may have capacity problems if one customer needs a quick ramp-up, because of other customer commitments.



    But if Apple still did its own manufacturing like it used to do, it would still have these problems, like it used to. Except that then, it couldn't ramp production up at all. Now, with several partners, it can go from one to the other, as needs arise. This is what they are doing now with the scrollwheels. They are going back to Synaptics to help fill demand.



    In the old days, they had nowhere to go.



    The same thing is true with the actual manufacturing process, they have several companies working for them. In the past, when their factories were at capacity, they were skunked. It takes up to a year to increase plant.
  • Reply 32 of 60
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,099member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Chris Cuilla

    I think if we talk about something like "Apple becoming the next Sony" we need to understand a couple of things:



    1. Never exactly like Sony -- This is really just a short-hand descriptive statement to convey the idea of a larger company, more diversified into a variety of markets, with good style and a good sense of technology.



    2. It isn't assumed to happen tomorrow, it would be considered a strategic direction.




    Right. Apple CANNOT be just like Sony.



    Sony is an industrial powerhouse, even though it's been having problems of late. Their sales are upward of$65 billion. They make basic components from resistors to IC's. They also make large industrial equipment. They are a diversified conglomerate. Apple can never duplicate that. And they shouldn't try.



    But that doesn't mean that they shouldn't have a diversified product line in the computer and consumer space, with a full line of software to tie it all together.



    These are the things that Apple has been excelling in, as of late. It's also what they should continue pushing into.



    Even the XServes have been slowly gaining outside of the media company base. If Apple can begin to understand what enterprise customers need, and deliver it, they will have another arm of products. A highly profitable one.
  • Reply 33 of 60
    MWSF 06 is probably one of the most interesting events for a long time because of all the stuff that COULD be announced. The potential is greater than anything we have seen for a long time.



    I think, however, that the time limit of Steve J's Keynote will bring us down to earth a bit. From past Keynotes we know that we will get:



    Results - some time spent talking about how good things have been in both the Mac and iPod worlds. It will be interesting, but take up time.



    06 versions of iLife and iWork. This becomes important as Apple needs to get the faithful to make annual purchases - meaning they they need to have some new goodies to make it worth it. In iLife I can see Front Row added and some improvements to iPhoto, based on lessons learned from Aperture. On the iWork side I would be surprised if the suite was not filled out to totally replace AppleWorks - mainly because I don't think Apple will want to take AppleWorks to the Mactels because of costs and personnel needs.



    That's about it on the hardware side, unless we get Aperture Express, which I doubt - at least for this year.



    Then comes the hardware. Anybody's guess (and there are a lot of them) and I hope to see something on the Mactel platform to give us a peek at what is on the way. I tend to agree that it will be the consumer products, and hedge my bet that a dual core G4 PB will hit about April. Expanding the media center concept would be nice, but I'm putting no money on that one, except for Front Row.



    I think this all boils down to the belief that Apple will remain what it is today, a computer company that spends more on developing computers than other products. The iPod Division might get another bump, but they are pretty well set after this fall's announcements.



    The only other thing I am sure of is that, IF Apple announces consumer level Mactels, there will be masses of complaints about the graphics card used!
  • Reply 34 of 60
    maccrazymaccrazy Posts: 2,658member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by kenaustus

    MWSF 06 is probably one of the most interesting events for a long time because of all the stuff that COULD be announced. The potential is greater than anything we have seen for a long time.



    There are three Mac announcement dates a year. MacWorld, WWDC and AppleExpo in Paris. This year WWDC was Intel (oh and Podcasting in iTunes ) and Paris was nothing. All announcements other than the last MacWorld have been press conferences or special events. I just hope Apple isn't going to disappoint in January by continuing the pattern of putting less emphasis on conferences.



    iLife and iWork is certain though. I'll expect talk of Leopard at June and Mactels anytime. Remember Steve said by June 2006. I don't expect any new iPods in Jan - this would be an awful move considering Christmas and Thanksgiving are the biggest buying times. If Apple begin to announce new iPods in Jan people will wait next year for the Jan announcements.
  • Reply 35 of 60
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,099member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by MacCrazy

    There are three Mac announcement dates a year. MacWorld, WWDC and AppleExpo in Paris. This year WWDC was Intel (oh and Podcasting in iTunes ) and Paris was nothing. All announcements other than the last MacWorld have been press conferences or special events. I just hope Apple isn't going to disappoint in January by continuing the pattern of putting less emphasis on conferences.



    iLife and iWork is certain though. I'll expect talk of Leopard at June and Mactels anytime. Remember Steve said by June 2006. I don't expect any new iPods in Jan - this would be an awful move considering Christmas and Thanksgiving are the biggest buying times. If Apple begin to announce new iPods in Jan people will wait next year for the Jan announcements.




    I would expect to hear SOMETHING about Leopard. We would have heard about it last June, if it weren't for the switch. Apple's past conduct was to talk about it at the next conference after the last one was released. That SHOULD have been June. Except that Tiger would likely have been released in June if it weren't for the switch.
  • Reply 36 of 60
    WAIT JUST A DAMN MINUTE!!!!!



    Forget what I said Ive Changed my mind,The current 3rd party Ipod boomboxes and base stations are cool enough,I have to agree with some of you here,they need to get back to the major innovations being with...



    THE MACS!!!



    The Quad core G5 is Boss,so way ahead of the pack!!!!



    But we need the same creative Awesomeness on new Minis Ibooks and Powerbooks people have Waited Frikin Long Enough...
  • Reply 37 of 60
    telomartelomar Posts: 1,804member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by melgross

    Except that you get higher margins by outsourcing your manufacturing. This is why Dell and others do it as well.



    Sorry we aren't talking about computers here and different principles apply. Every CE company has factories that manufacture key items in house in order to improve margins so they don't pay for designs or manufacture.



    CE is dominated by the likes of Samsung, Matsushita, Philips, LG, Pioneer, etc. All do a very large portion of their component manufacturing in house for key components. Again the age old argument of vertical integration.



    Apple can try to compete with them and as long as they're innovating they'll even have a decent chance but once the market matures Apple will be competing on a totally different level. Interfaces and features of other products become good enough and to the consumer it comes down to largely price, or name.



    The longer other companies take money from them for designs or components, the greater Apple's risk. If I were over at Apple I'd be taking a very long look at what could be redesigned in house to improve margins. I seriously doubt they'll ever become a straight CE company. They might go for new markets and aim to take a lead or create the market early but matured markets would be a very bad idea as different factors are important.
  • Reply 38 of 60
    Perhaps it is all about cross hardware integration



    Home theatre evolved Intel based mac-mini (ie HTmac-mini)

    - Front Row 2.0 interface available for all macs

    - Video content download from iTunes store

    - Additional content from .mac



    Boombox iPod

    - built in airport express

    - built in flash or hard drive

    - streaming audio via airtunes

    - can serve as remote speakers for HTmac-mini



    As others have said, Apple needs to make that 30" display support HD input.
  • Reply 39 of 60
    matsumatsu Posts: 6,558member
    Sony started off with a small transistor radio. Apple doesn't need to be Sony, but they could be something different than what they are right now.



    It does not sound so ridiculous to think of Apple as a purveyor of high tech electronica, sort of a Bang and Olufsen or Bose for the rest of us. Now before the snickering Audiophiles come voicing their displeasure at those marques, it should be obvious that 99.9th percentile fidelity is not the goal here. Rather to offer quality and simplicity at a reasonable price and a very high wife acceptance factor.



    Plenty of name brands are largely outsourced parts bin creations. The interesting bits of living room technology are not the parts bin pieces, but rather the design -- which is where most are sorely lacking. Wires everywhere, ten thousand converters, too many black and silver boxes, too many menus, poorly implemented selectable inputs, sloppy design touches...



    What Apple can do, and what can't be bought out of a parts bin, is design something to work.



    If they offered it, would you buy your home theatre, TV, speakers, radio, or set-top from Apple?



    This is not to say Apple would or could, or should, make all of these available, but it's an interesting proposition to think about where home electronics are really bad/clumsy, or what areas they just don't really address, and what sort of product could fill that space.



    As you start to figure that out, and add products, some more groundbreaking, some more conventional, you end up with a home electronics line-up. It doesn't happen over night, but it can lead to some interesting new paths...
  • Reply 40 of 60
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,099member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Telomar

    Sorry we aren't talking about computers here and different principles apply. Every CE company has factories that manufacture key items in house in order to improve margins so they don't pay for designs or manufacture.



    CE is dominated by the likes of Samsung, Matsushita, Philips, LG, Pioneer, etc. All do a very large portion of their component manufacturing in house for key components. Again the age old argument of vertical integration.



    Apple can try to compete with them and as long as they're innovating they'll even have a decent chance but once the market matures Apple will be competing on a totally different level. Interfaces and features of other products become good enough and to the consumer it comes down to largely price, or name.



    The longer other companies take money from them for designs or components, the greater Apple's risk. If I were over at Apple I'd be taking a very long look at what could be redesigned in house to improve margins. I seriously doubt they'll ever become a straight CE company. They might go for new markets and aim to take a lead or create the market early but matured markets would be a very bad idea as different factors are important.




    As I said about Sony, these are all industrial conglomerates. They produce consumer goods partly to the have another outlet for their components. Component sales are a great part of their output. Where does that output go after they use up what they need for themselves? To each others products.



    This has nothing to do with Apple. Companies like Apple are design houses.



    Apple has no chance to compete with them in other than certain areas. Just because they produce most things at home doesn't mean that Apple must.



    Should Apple set up a $3 billion plant to manufacture LCD panels for its monitors? Because that is the end result of what you are saying. Should they manufacture their own power supplies instead of having their designs made elsewhere? Another plant.



    At what point does this stop? Should they get into cpu design as well?



    Do you understand what an industrial process really means? No company is completely independent. Sony uses Toshiba transistors and the other way around. Their suppliers make the metal chassis for their electronics. Others make the knobs. Still others make the power cords.



    Apple got rid of its plants because of the reasons I stated. It costs them less this way. They are less subject to market fluctuations when they don't have a large manufacturing payroll and long term and short term debt. You might notice that in their financials. All of these other companies you mention have appreciable amounts of both.



    If you look at Apple's margins, they are higher than any of these other companies as well. That's what we're talking about. Apple owns its own designs. That's what matters.



    When my company put out a new product, I would try to get as much of it done outside as possible, because it's cheaper that way. When I did a design, I tried to find modules that were already being made by those companies that specialized in them, rather than reinventing the wheel. As long as you have reliable suppliers, you are fine.
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