Apple has a big 2009 planned, focused on mobility:
- Apple will introduce us to the basic features of iPhone OS 3.0 on March 17.
- Apple will release a new iPhone handset in June, powered by OS 3.0.
- Apple will introduce a 10-inch touch-screen netbook/tablet in September, for Fall release.
That’s my take on Apple’s timeline, it makes sense, and here’s why:
- The Mac decks are clear. Apple has quietly updated every piece of the Mac ecosystem hardware (iMac, Mac Pro, Mac mini, MacBook, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air) and software (OS X 10.5.6/7, iLife, iWork) in the last few months so they can focus on their second market, mobile computing. There will be no major Mac hardware announcements in 2009. The upgrades through march were made quietly, as will Snow Leopard, saving the major March and September slots for other announcements.
- Reports are coming in that the March 17 event will focus on iPhone OS 3.0. No matter which features they include, this will be Apple’s core ultra-mobile OS for at least a year, if not longer. It has to support the new iPhone at least, and will probably work on the older iPhone 1 and 2 (3G) as well.
- I’m betting that OS 3.0 will introduce some head-scratchers for a phone platform – multitasking and background third-party apps, OpenCL/Grand Central multithreading, and a file system. None of this will make sense for the iPhone platform, but OS 3.0 will make perfect sense in a netbook or tablet!
- Apple has specifically said that June is the window for iPhone updates, and a third-generation iPhone with OS 3.0 has got to be imminent. It will include a multi-core CPU, much-improved graphics, and not much else of note. It will be called simply “the new iPhone”, not “iPhone 3”, “iPhone II”, “iPhone 4” or any such nonsense.
- We’ve all heard the rumors of 10″ touch screens and massive amounts of flash storage allocated to Apple. A September introduction for an iTablet or MobileMac fits, though I’m betting that shipments won’t come until later in the Fall. Apple won’t push out a cheap and cheesy mini-Air. They’re looking for an exciting market to enter, develop, and dominate.
- The success of the App Store has taught Apple that people will accept a closed platform if it’s easy. It’s also taught Apple that there is a lot of money to be made in quick over-the-air app purchases. Apple wants to own the next computing platform, and they own the iPhone platform. Connect the dots!
2007 was the year of the iPhone. 2008 was the year of the iPhone. 2009 will also be the year of the iPhone. Welcome to the new mobile world!