From Apple, expect a new blockbuster, not just tweaks

When I saw the details of the Samsung Galaxy S4 launch in New York, I asked myself: has this happened before? It is certainly rare that Apple Inc faces competition in innovation. It usually has rivals who offer cheaper versions of its innovations.

On the other hand, no! The S4’s addition of near-field computing (NFC) and gesture computing features that help smartphone users guide their device with wrist and eyeball movements do doubt are really cool, and certainly take the smartphone beyond Apple's iPhone 5.

But then, Apple is usually known more for new product categories. Apple’s Mac was about home computers, iPod was about a category called MP3 players, its iPhone was about a new category called smartphones (with focus on third-party apps) and the iPad was about the tablet PC as a force to reckon with.

Usually, other imitators take over as Apple jumps to a new category. This time, thanks to Asia, the smartphone game is still wide open. So who knows, Apple's expected iPhone 5S may price itself better. That is so very un-Apple, but there is plenty of money to be made for the company as the category still has plenty of room.

However, I would still be watching out for a new category of products from Apple.

Speculation is on about an “iWatch” from Apple — a wearable computer. But my guess is that a funky version of Apple TV (which is already available as a video-music streaming device linked to TV) could make Apple stand out.

Apple's stock has fallen by 17% this year even as US stocks are booming, but it has $137 billion (R7.3 lakh crore!) in cash. As John Koetsier, who covers Apple for VentureBeat notes, this is “enough cash to pay off the national debts of New Zealand, Kenya, Nigeria, Jamaica, Cuba, Egypt, Vietnam, and Singapore.”

With money like that, don’t expect product tweaks but a wholesome blockbuster.


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