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Ohh! The PRECIOUS! Give it to uss. We WANTS it: Shiny iThings coming in 2014

'Very, very unique', oh yes, Gollum

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Apple CEO Tim Cook has provided the clearest statements yet that in 2014 his company will launch products in tech categories it hasn't yet touched.

The iPhone supremo mentioned that time frame in answer to a question from an industry analyst about his earlier statements about new products, asked during a conference call after Apple announced its financial results for the final quarter of its fiscal 2013 on Monday.

"I've said that you'd see some exciting new products from us in the fall of this year and across 2014," Cook replied. "And I obviously stand by that, and you've seen a lot of things over the last couple of months."

About new products in previously unexplored categories, Cook – surprise, surprise – offered no definite news. But he did strongly hint that such products are in the works.

"In terms of new product categories specifically," he said, "if you look at the skills that Apple has from hardware, software, and services, and an incredible app ecosystem, this set of things are very, very unique."

As to the question of whether or not something can be "very unique," we'll let it pass. But Cook did emphasise that he believes Apple is in a position to expand its product offerings.

"I think that no one has a set of skills like this," he said. "And we obviously believe we can use our skills in building other great products that are in categories that represent areas where we do not participate today. And so we're pretty confident about that."

What those new categories may be, of course, has been a matter of rampant speculation. There's the long-speculated iWatch that Jony Ive and his rumored team of 100 are said to be working on, one that will perhaps control your home. There's the even longer-rumored big-screen Apple television.

There are also rumors about new products in categories that a marketeer could deem "new" but which industry-speak prefers to call "adjacencies" – a 13-inch maxi-Pad and a Microsoftian keyboard cover for the iPad. There's even a patent application that Apple has filed that could be the basis for a "refrigerator-magnet iPad".

Whatever. There are two lessons that history has taught us about future Apple products: one, that Apple ain't gonna talk, and two, that there will be plenty more rumors to crop up before Cook, head marketing honcho Phil Schiller, or whomever bounds up upon some stage next year to introduce Apple's next "stunning", "amazing", and "incredible" new bit of shiny-shiny. ®

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