It seems since TIm Cook took the controls at Apple it’s been one ho-hum Keynote after another. Whatever happened to the day when Steve Jobs would say, “… oh, and one more thing…” and then that thing would be revolutionary. I remember when Steve did this in 2007 at MacWorld with the iPhone. It was totally awesome. Then three years later he did it again with the launch of iPad. However, since 2010 Apple has released new versions of existing products, making them better and better, but nothing revolutionary.
Some think Apple’s next big move will be an iWatch device, while others predict it will be a fully integrated Siri AppleTV. However, Apple’s next growth segment will be launching the iOS Laptop.
If you think about it for a moment it makes total sense, and it’s right there in front of us. Yet, once again, Apple will make the obvious spectacular. The iOS laptop will run a clickable version of iOS so that you don’t touch the screen but use a mouse or trackpad. It won’t be a hybrid computer like Surface, where the operating system behaves one way with a keyboard and another without. The iOS laptop will use the same form factor as the 11″ MacBook Air, but instead of running OS X, it will run iOS. It will start at $799 USD and come with 256GB of SSI storage and 2GB of RAM. The key to the iOS laptop is it will not run on an Intel processor but on a quad-core ARM A-series Apple designed processor. This will mean superior battery life as well as more margin for Apple (as they won’t have to pay the “Intel tax” that other hardware vendors must). Everything loved about the iPad will now be available in a laptop format — which for many, will be significantly more practical.
Look at what Jobs said back in 1983. The iOS laptop fits this strategy to perfection.
“Our strategy is really simple. What we want to do is we want to put an incredibly great computer in a book that you can carry around with you and learn how to use in 20 minutes … And we really want to do it with a radio link in it so you don’t have to hook up to anything and you’re in communication with all of these larger databases and other computers.” *
While the iOS laptop is likely to eat into existing iPad sales, the genius of this move is it will put a major dent into Windows 8 sales. Apple knows once someone buys an Apple hub computer (laptop or desktop), then iPods, iPhones and iPads soon follow. It is Apple’s seamless eco-system which makes Apple’s solution far superior to the hybrid, and often clunky, Windows-Android alliance. Moreover, Apple knows the iOS is super easy to use — more so than OS X and way more so than Windows 8. Having an iOS in a laptop form-factor means huge sales to students and family members who want the ease of use and portability of a tablet and the functionality of a laptop.
To make the iOS laptop successful, iOS will get two new features: AirFinder and AppSwitcher. AIrFinder will allow the creation of files and folders bringing maturity to the iOS operating system. AppSwitcher will make it super simple to switch between apps using simple strokes on the keyboard or trackpad.
To distinguish laptops running OS X from iOS, the iOS laptops will come in two colors: black and white. OS X laptops will continue to ship in silver. The new name for the iOS laptop is likely to be the iOS AirBook.
The iOS laptop will be a huge boon for Apple. It will dominate the consumer market just like the iPad before it. PC manufactures will be in deep trouble. Instead of competing with OS X, they will have to contend with the über-popular iOS. In addition, they are already selling far inferior products with razor thin margins. Trying to differentiate PC laptops on price will fail just like when they tried this strategy with tablets — there will be no where to go.
When will Apple launch the iOS laptop is anyone’s guess. The main roadblock is the development of the quad-core A6 processor. When that is ready to ship, Apple can fire away at anytime it would like.