Feeds

Apple mulls info appliance launch

Expects to ship 40 per cent more Macs this year, too

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet

Apple has been telling market analysts it expects to achieve double-digit revenue and unit sales growth during fiscal 2000. However, what's really interesting about the Apple analyst briefing is the company's hints at an entry into the information appliance market. According to Merrill Lynch analyst Steve Fortuna (as reported by Bloomberg), the Mac maker has targets to sell 40 per cent more iMacs, iBooks, Power Macs and PowerBooks this year than it did during 1999. That translates to revenues rising by around 36 per cent. He also reported that the company is "happy" with Street estimates of Q2 2000 earnings in the region of 80 cents a share. Apple second quarter ends on 31 March. Its first quarter, which included the traditionally lucrative Christmas period, generated earnings of 103 cents a share. Fortuna also noted that Apple bosses "alluded" to the "possibility" of an information appliance in the works. Apple has, of course, been here before with its ill-fated Pippin. The PowerPC-based device suffered at the hands of a developer that simply couldn't make up its mind whether it wanted the machine to be a games console, a cut-down family-oriented PC, an Internet access device or all three. Apple only managed to licence Pippin design to a couple of companies, one of which was Power Rangers toy company Bandai, the only operation to bring a Pippin-based machine to market. Apple went on to develop the iMac, a far more sensible system (from a marketing perspective at least) since people tend to want to by what they consider to be 'real' PCs rather than cut-down boxes. The conundrum for Apple is that having sold the iMac on the ease and speed with which it can be hooked up to the Net, it's now considering an appliance the whole point of which is the... er... ease and speed with which it can be hooked up to the Net. Fortuna is keeping mum on any details Apple may have given him, so at this stage almost nothing about Apple's thoughts on the matter is known for certain. However, it has to be said, for such a consumer-oriented company as Apple not to be thinking about an entry into the appliance market even though no such market really exists yet would be, well, unthinkable (though not, as long-time Apple watchers will admit, beyond the bounds of a company that's not always been known for its joined-up thinking). So can we expect some kind of MacOS-based rival to the PlayStation 2 or Microsoft's not-so-secret X-Box? A games oriented unit seems unlikely, since while a Mac-based machine could be made that offers comparable performance to the Sony box, the parlous lack of A-stream titles would seriously hinder its sales prospects (as it did for Pippin). Instead, we'd expect something more Net oriented, something to tie in with Apple's growing interest in the Internet as a revenue generator. Apple is already offering Mac users 25MB of online storage, that could easily be expanded to allow diskless, TV-connected appliances to store bookmarks, game scores and save-states, etc. Cutting out hardware like drives and a monitor could easily allow Apple to offer a cheat 'iMac Jr'. MacOS X's FreeBSD microkernel-based architecture makes it an ideal basis for a high-stable (if hi-fis and VCRs don't crash, neither can consumer electronics Net appliances) yet compact (store it in Flash RAM) appliance OS. Just add a cut-back Mac GUI and you're away. Oh, and an AirPort-connected wireless keyboard would finish it off very nicely, particularly if a built-in LCD allowed to you use it anywhere within your home... Apple clearly has both the motive and opportunity to execute an entry into the appliance market. It also has the branding and the desire to be seen as something more than a PC company. We'll have to wait and see whether it does the deed. ®

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
JINGS! Microsoft Bing called Scots indyref RIGHT!
Redmond sporran metrics get one in the ten ring
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Murdoch to Europe: Inflict MORE PAIN on Google, please
'Platform for piracy' must be punished, or it'll kill us in FIVE YEARS
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.