A number of articles are making predictions about the future of Apple – evaluating whether the company would be wise to move its focus from the PC market to concentrate predominantly on consumer electronics.
eWeek explains that one reason why Apple has survived is due to its "constant knack of reinvention". The report notes: "In its latest fiscal quarter, the company showed its greatest gains not in its lines of Macintosh desktops, notebooks computers, Mac OS X operating system, or in its Xserve servers, but in its consumer market iPod audio player. For some, the success of the iPod signals yet another potential new direction for Apple. And a chance to get out of the PC market."
The report points to the opinions of Ziff Davis Internet editor Jim Louderback and Enderle Group analyst Rob Enderle. Louderback argues that "Apple's time in the PC market has come and gone," suggesting that Apple should now focus its attention on the consumer electronics market, while Enderle opines: "Were Apple to exit the PC business the company simply would cease being Apple."
Enderle believes that putting all its eggs in the consumer electronics basket would be a bad move for Apple because "while the PC market is clearly competitive, the consumer electronics market has, historically, been more so".
And, despite the success of the iPod, Enderle notes: "The MP3 market is a rapidly changing market with little sustained loyalty and where power is controlled, for the most part, by the content owners not the device makers. Apple isn't a content owner and its recent demonstrated unwillingness to license its DRM scheme to Real Networks, Musicmatch and others insures they probably won't win the standards fight."
Enderle concludes: "An Apple without PCs would probably lead to a world without Apple, and we should do whatever we can to ensure that result doesn't happen."
Louderback sits on the other side of the fence. He believes that "when it comes to servers, notebooks and desktops, Apple is now a follower and a failure, not a leader". But he predicts: "Luckily, the innovative company still has a bright future," suggesting that "Apple should focus on its real opportunity – consumer convergence".
Louderback gives a number of examples of where he thinks Apple should switch its focus, suggesting: "Apple has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to dominate the emerging convergence world. But its legacy operations are dragging it down."
Apple should stop making iBooks and instead look at bring video to the iPod: "Why does the iPod remain an audio platform? Because Apple's too busy refreshing the iBooks to embrace this emerging category," Louderback says.
And he suggests that Apple should look at developing a "NewtPhone" because: "There will be 2 billion intelligent phones sold over the next few years. With Apple's device, form factor and OS brilliance, they could dominate here too."