To Think Differently, What Apple Should Introduce Next
Given Apple's chunky $740 billion market cap, it needs to keep innovating to stay on top. With the iPhone making up more than two-thirds of its sales this past quarter, there will have to be more than the Apple Watch. Let's take a look at a few things that have either been rumored to be Apple's next big new thing or just make a lot of sense for Apple to pursue at this point.
A rumor that has been floating around for years is that the consumer tech giant will go from merely making the Apple TV set-top box to introducing full-blown high-def televisions. It makes sense as a big-ticket item. Apple TV is all about software, and Apple is a company that prides itself on stylish hardware that's worthy of a healthy premium.
It won't be easy. Folks aren't going to upgrade their costly TVs every two years the way they do with their iPhones. It will also look awkward lugging TVs to an Apple Store Genius Bar. However, Apple's a pioneer in the digital delivery of media, and there are plenty of Apple fans out there who will buy anything that the tech darling puts out.
Some of the coolest chatter in recent weeks revolves around Apple entering the car market as early as 2020. Apple has reportedly hired away folks from Tesla Motors (TSLA) and auto battery maker A123, adding fuel to the fire.
Apple's already taking baby steps in the automotive realm, but right now that's limited to dashboard technology. Apple's CarPlay will be rolling out in 40 models of cars later this year. However, the real goal has to be an actual car, especially a self-driving car. As long as Apple Maps improves by then, this would be Apple's biggest-ticket market ever.
Smart Home Gadgetry
Google (GOOG) (GOOGL) has made the smart home a battlefield, acquiring the Nest learning thermostat and surveillance camera maker Dropcam. Now it's time for Apple to catch up.
Sure, Apple has HomeKit, a software developed to allow appliances and accessories to communicate with one another in the home. The next logical step is to introduce a line of products to put it all together.
Google crashed Apple's iOS party with its open-source Android platform that now dominates the smartphone and tablet markets. Isn't it time for Apple to fight back, hitting Google where it hurts?
Apple relies on Google as the default search engine on its Safari browser, but that contract is reportedly coming up for renewal. This comes at a time when there's chatter about Apple introducing its own search platform. We saw Apple do this with Apple Maps, and there's more money to be made in paid search.
Shares of GoPro (GPRO) took a hit in January on news that Apple was taking out a patent for wearable cameras. Digging a little deeper, the application wasn't for a GoPro killer: It's merely a patent for a remote viewfinder, which basically allows for the Apple Watch to be used as a viewfinder for the iPhone camera. Does this mean that folks will strap iPhones to their heads and use Apple Watch to take snapshots and shoot video? We'll see, but Apple can do more here.
If the patent does live up to the initially unfounded fears, we could see Apple make a bigger splash in digital cameras in general and wearable cameras in particular. After all, if the company prides itself on the quality of its cameras and its Retina Display imaging, this wouldn't be that much of a stretch.
There are so many directions that Apple can take as it prepares for its next step. The only thing that's certain is that there will be a next step.
Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Apple, Google (A and C shares), GoPro and Tesla Motors. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, Google (A and C shares), and Tesla Motors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. Check out our free report on the Apple Watch to learn where the real money is to be made for early investors.