The majority (43 per cent) of Macworld online readers think Apple should focus on offering the iTunes Music Store outside the US, before it does anything else.
But a fifth of the 1,181 respondents think Apple should be concentrating on delivering a PowerBook featuring a G5 processor.
Developing Mac OS X for use with Intel powered computers is the choice of an optimistic 10 per cent, while 8 per cent are hoping a quad-processor Power Mac G5 will be the next big thing from Apple.
Another 8 per cent think that Apple should focus on developing a Video iPod.
Less-popular choices were a 60GB iPod (2 per cent), FireWire 800 across range (1 per cent), Gigabit Ethernet across range (1 per cent), and a 23-inch iMac (1 per cent). For 4 per cent of readers none of the options offered hit the mark, with their suggestions being posted in the forum.
Despite the insistance of poll respondants that Apple should focus its efforts on developing the iTunes Music Store for places outside the US, one reader points out: "We all know Apple are coming to Europe with ITMS this year, so they already have the resources in place to achieve this goal. Apple should now focus its efforts on developing something else."
Apple has been dogged by issues with the instigation of iTunes in Europe – like other companies seeking to launch music download services in the area, Apple has been experiencing delays caused by the monolithic levels of bureaucracy within the music business.
The forum is split, with readers offering their reasoning for and against the development of video-enabled iPods. One reader states: "I can't believe that Steve wants to ignore video. Sure, music is nice – but when I'm stuck waiting for a train or plane I'd love to watch a film – not to mention my digital photos."
But two readers agree with Jobs stand on the video iPod. "Jobs is right about a video iPod," says one, "I couldn't hold an iPod up for over two hours to watch a movie even if I wanted to – though I would like to see a colour screen though so I can upload my iPhoto library."
The other says: "I see no real mass-market use for a video iPod as there is no way you can watch films in the background in the same way as you can listen to music."
Not so un-PC
The idea that Apple could develop Mac OS X for use on PCs that currently run Windows is also debated in the forum.
One reader says: "Mac OS X for Intel would be very good – at least then I'd be able to put all those old PCs I have to good use."
But another states: "Mere windows compatibility isn’t going to help much in regaining business market share. It's just a different way of doing the same thing and, unless the status quo is really bad, it's very difficult to make headway – especially when the market dominator keeps saying "next year’s version will be better". Also, the fact that, on top of a change in investment, staff training would be needed – something particularly relevant now with many firms outsourcing the maintenance of their computer system – will put off many".
Another suggestion is that Apple should offer games on the iPod: "Everybody wants to play games using their iPods. There are already some games for the iPod, and there are sites dedicated to iPod games. This would boost the Mac games market," suggests one reader.
The final frontier
Other readers are vocal in their support of Apple's exploration of the enterprise market. "The enterprise is an area in which Apple has a lot to do. The impetus towards Linux gives Apple the opportunity to present itself as a hardware/OS/software vendor with a combination that works well. It just needs to play ball with the corporate vendors."
One reader notes that Apple has been focusing on building these bridges: "The Xserve and the Xserve RAID are all qualified with a whole heap of vendors, including Veritas, as is the Xsan. I know for a fact that they support Veritas Volume Manager SAN system for a start," says one reader.