Apple hardware will see only incremental improvements and cost reductions. You can also be sure that Apple marketing strategy will tout each increment as an absolutely amazing breakthrough! Apple’s ability to align marketing strategy and Apple business strategy with product development leaves competitors in the dust.

A Verizon iPhone (Verizon wouldn’t be selling the Apple tablet/iPad if they weren’t getting the iPhone), a cost-reduced iPad perhaps with a smaller screen as well as the original, refreshed minimally with a camera so Apple can push FaceTime, their personal video-calling tool. We could easily see some color skins as they’ve done in the past with their iPod line. All in all though, Apple’s going into the barn and milking the hardware iCow for growth and cash.

Apple will put more energy into growing services, including mobile advertising with iAds and social networking via Ping. These are relative neophytes with plenty of room for experimentation and growth. They’ll also expand the reach of the iTunes and the app store to solidify its position as a one-stop source of digital content against Android, Amazon and others.

I expect Apple might also act to leverage the color capabilities of the Apple tablet with magazine and book publishers. Amazon Kindle readers do a fine job with ordinary text but when it comes to photos, graphics and color, they disappoint highly. Competing head-to-head with Amazon in text is a tougher battle particularly since Amazon provides Kindle readers for nearly every cell phone, computer, and tablet.


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