COMMENT: What's next after the iPhone for Apple?

If Apple, as everyone expects they will, launch a 3G iPhone on Monday 9 June the big question is not when will it be available or whether or not it will have GPS, but what will be the next big project for the Californian corporation?

While some of you will be thinking, let’s just get one launch out the way at a time, the fact is, that the 3G iPhone is the end of a chapter for the company as its their last big project that we currently know about.

3G capabilities and GPS are the two big things from a hardware perspective that are currently missing and if rumours are to be believed, likely to be added to the latest version. This means it’s likely to be software enhancements going forward rather than radical new tech being added.

What is the next big thing for Apple fans to get excited about? Here are just a few suggestions:

Tablet-based Mac laptop
There has long been talk of Apple developing a touchscreen-based laptop tablet. The idea comes from the popularity of the iPhone’s touchscreen interface, the company’s trackpad that now allows you to do more than just move a pointer around the screen and as some commentators point out, a shift in design to big buttons that would make it easier to use your finger (the Time Machine on/off button for example). My feeling here is that while I believe we will see a touchscreen device that sports a considerably bigger screen than on the iPhone, people aren’t 100% ready for touchscreen computing. However like the iPhone was in the rumour mill for a good 2 years before its launch, my prediction is that we’ll see a touchscreen computer from Apple by the end of the decade.

Greater push into the home cinema arena
Apple has always professed that its Apple TV device has until now been a pet project, but with the iPhone now in a suitable place to develop on its own thanks to the Apple App store, Apple is likely to turn its attention to the home entertainment arena.

My prediction is the ability to seamlessly connect the iPhone or iPod with the device so you don’t need to have your computer on, and a TV tuner option so it can challenge Sky in the UK and Tivo in the US.

The size will be expandable, however going forward Apple will also look into creating a networked hub version that allows you to stream around the house.

iPod touch nanos
Why should Apple stop at just its iPod touch range when it comes to using a touchscreen interface? My prediction for the years ahead is that apple will move this touchscreen interface to all its devices and with it create a touchscreen nano.

More laptops
Of course there will be more laptops to come with faster processors and thinner designs. It will be interesting however to see whether or not Apple is tempted by the netbook movement and create an ultraportable device that most were hoping the MacBook Air would be.

Gaming
When Apple launched the iPhone and iPod touch nobody really perceived the device would become a PSP or DS challenger. Skip through time to a year later and the iPhone is heating up to be just that.

I’ve already seen some amazing looking games on the device from first person shooters to puzzle games suggesting that Apple could turn to the gaming arena to make its next fortune.

Amazing when you think that the company has never really tried to do games before.

The future
Whatever the future holds, you can be sure of two things. Firstly there will be plenty of rumouring about it, and secondly, Pocket-lint will do our best to bring you the lowdown as it happens.


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