What’s Apple’s next trick? Jon thinks it’s gamey

Posted: 02.07.08

Apple, which used to be known as Apple Computer, is today possibly one of the greatest consumer electronics companies in the universe. It's interesting and admirable how the Mac transitioned from the computer of choice for artists and photographers to a consumers delight, and didn't lose any of its artist photographer fans — in fact if anything, they are stronger and more convinced (vindicated?) than ever.

Apple has created customer loyalty as great as Sony used to enjoy. It used to be Sony that was the one to bring out the marvelous new consumer products, and they charged more because they could. They could because they had style, performance, and pizazz. But Sony lost their way and Apple took the flag.

It started with the iPod, followed by the Nano, then the iMac, and then the all time blockbuster - the iPhone. The newest marvel from the wonder company is the Air laptop. But what's next? Apple tried Apple TV, and it never really took off. Fashion accessories like sun glasses and scarves maybe, but not likely. I think it will be the iGame. Apple's next killer device will be a game console.

Now, there are game consoles that have power cords attached to them, and then there are game consoles that you toss in your backpack. What will it be for Apple? Both of course, but not all at once.

First will be a handheld unit. It will have a large screen like the iPhone, iPod Touch, or PSP, and all the features of a PSP, and a closed network for gamers on iMacs to play against gamers on the iGame. Once the community gets large enough, then Apple will roll out the living room unit - iConsole. And it will be powered by an Intel processor. Intel got pushed out the game console business by IBM, and they've never gotten over it. But there's a new Intel now, they've got great new processors, and a new attitude about how one deals with customers, and hence the Air that I spoke about last week.

Apple will lead Intel back into the game console business. In fact, the iGame may even have a Intel processor it in. Intel thinks it can scale down the Penryn to any application level, Apple's iGame may be just the test platform Intel is looking for.

And of course the iGame and the iConsole will do everything the Wii does, and more. In fact, it's not Microsoft or Sony that scares Nintendo — it's Apple.

Next week I'm sending our lawyers down to Cupertino to start the NDA negotiations with Apple so we can become a beta site - I hope this isn't going to cost me too much.