The clock is ticking. We're now just days away from Apple's (NAS: AAPL)
iPhone 5 unveiling, and even the Apple shorts are moving out the way, having let the world's most valuable tech name steamroll toward fresh all-time highs this past week.
We've heard plenty about what Apple (NAS: AAPL)
is likely to announce on Wednesday. So instead of rehashing the rumors, let's dive into the things that investors, fans, and potential smartphone buyers are unlikely to hear.
1. "We call it the iTV!"
There was plenty of buzz earlier this year that Apple would roll out a full-fledged high-def TV. The design would be slick. The remote control would be a touchscreen iOS work of wonder. After all, if Steve Jobs finally "cracked" the code in the realm of smart televisions -- as he told his biographer shortly before he passed away last year -- Apple (NAS: AAPL)
would have no choice but to honor his legacy by putting out Jobs' final toy.
Well, no one expects a TV to come out in time for this year's holiday shopping season. Apple (NAS: AAPL)
reportedly hasn't been able to negotiate with cable networks to deliver the programming service it thinks it needs to raise the bar in video consumption.
For now, Apple is now forced to dream smaller and possibly work on improving its set-top Apple TV box before it can become a true TV star.
2. "The iPhone screen is now as big as the leading Android devices."
It's hard to go by allegedly leaked photos, but it seems as if the iPhone 5 is getting a bigger screen. The revolutionary phone's 3.5-inch screen just isn't cutting it. However, it seems as if Apple is settling for closer to a 4-inch screen.
Apple apparently isn't ready to take on Samsung's 4.8-inch Samsung Galaxy S III or the even larger 5.5-inch Galaxy Note II, but it appears to be half-inching closer and closer.
3. "You're going to love our new music-discovery service."
Despite Friday's news that Apple would roll out a Pandora killer, even the sources are discussing what's currently happening simply as licensing negotiations. It doesn't seem as if a full-blown service is something Apple will have ready in time.
Sure, streaming music is a big part of the smartphone experience. Nokia introduced Nokia Music this week, a streaming service that it will make available to Lumia smartphone owners at no additional cost.
How can Apple let Nokia beat it to the punch? Well, you know Apple (NAS: AAPL)
. It won't put something out until it's ready. The reason you won't see an Apple HDTV this season is the same reason you won't see Apple's Pandora clone.
4. "We're not going to let Amazon beat us on tablet data plans."
One of the more interesting announcements out of Amazon.com on Thursday is that it will offer a 4G LTE data plan on its high-end Kindle Fire for a flat fee of $50 a year.
Don't get too excited. The plan comes with only 250 megs of monthly data from AT&T. This will appeal primarily to folks who typically have reliable Wi-Fi but need a little bit of bandwidth every now and then. However, a similar plan for iPad owners on the same wireless carrier would set them back $180 over the course of the year.
Amazon must be doing some kind of subsidizing to get this special pricing. Either way, it's introducing a new wrinkle here by trying to compete on the price of connectivity. Apple may need to respond eventually, but it's too soon to go down that road just yet.
5. "Ladies and gentlemen ... say hello to the iPhone 4GS"
What's in a name? Plenty. Investors were mostly disappointed last fall when Apple unveiled the 4S. They were hoping for the iPhone 5 and all of the rumored features that came with it. They wanted a radical redesign, 4G LTE connectivity, and NFC chips.
Well, they'll probably get two out of three on Wednesday -- and they'll definitely get the iPhone 5 name. Having a shadowy "5" on the media invitations pretty much cements that certainty. Even if the upgrades ultimately prove to be minor, Apple knows the market's been clamoring for the iPhone 5 in name at least.
Apple will keep around the 4S as a cheaper alternative to the iPhone 5 the way it has in recent upgrades, but there will be an iPhone 5 queue at an Apple Store near you later this month.
- Apple I (1976)
Apple I (1976): Apple's first product was a computer for hobbyists and engineers, made in small numbers. Wozniak, left, designed it and Jobs dealt with the funding and marketing. The computer went on sale priced at $666.66</p>
- Apple II (1977)
Apple II (1977): One of the first successful personal computers, the Apple II was designed as a mass-market product, retailing at $1,298, and was the first personal computer to feature colour graphics. Several upgrades for the model followed, and the product line continued until 1993. It was so popular that Jobs' fortune exceeded $100 million by the time he turned 25.</p>
- Lisa (1983)
Lisa (1983): Following a visit to Xerox's research centre in Palo Alto, California, Jobs was inspired to build the first commercial computer with a graphical user interface, with icons, windows and a cursor controlled by a mouse. It was the foundation for today's computer interfaces, but the Lisa, which cost a whopping $9,995, was too expensive to be a commercial success.</p>
- Macintosh (1984)
Macintosh (1984): The Macintosh was heralded by an epic advert shown during the Super Bowl, directed by Ridley Scott, which referenced George Orwell's 1984. Like the Lisa, the Mac had a graphical user interface, but it was faster and at $2,495, a quarter of the price. People soon realised its potential for desktop publishing.</p>
- iMac G3 (1998)
iMac G3 (1998): In 1985, Jobs and Apple's CEO, John Sculley clashed, leading to his and Wozniak's resignation from the company. When Jobs returned to Apple 11 years later, Apple was struggling. The radical iMac was the first step towards healing the ailing company. It was strikingly designed as a bubble of blue plastic that enclosed the monitor and computer. It went on sale priced at $1,299.</p>
- iPod (2001)
iPod (2001): In 2001, the game well and truly changed when the first iPods went on sale. The first generation of iPod cost $499 (£400), but as Apple updated and modified the winning formula, prices came down. Of course, it wasn't the first digital music player with a hard drive, but it was the first successful one. The iPod's success prepared the way for the iTunes music store and the iPhone.</p>
- iTunes (2001)
iTunes (2001): Apple also introduced iTunes in 2001 - a media-playing computer programme, useful for playing and organising music and videos. The music store was added in 2003, with 200,000 songs at 99 cents, or 79p, each, giving people a convenient way to buy music legally online. iTunes is now an integral part of Apple software: the iPhone cannot be used without first 'synching' with the owner's personal iTunes.</p>
- iPhone (2007)
iPhone (2007): If the iPod laid the foundations, then the touch-screen iPhone is Apple's towering glory. The world was introduced to 'apps', which made the phone a device not just for making calls but for managing money, storing photos, playing games and browsing the web. Apple is now the world's most profitable maker of phones, and the influence of the iPhone is evident in all smartphones. The current model, the iPhone 4, sells for $749 (£612), and the arrival of the iPhone 5 is eagerly anticipated.</p>
- iPad (2010)
iPad (2010): Dozens of companies, including Apple, had created tablet computers before the iPad, but none caught on. The iPad finally cracked the code, creating a whole new category of computer practically by itself. In the case of the iPad, Jobs, famed for identifying and creating the next big thing, seems to have created a market where none existed. The highest spec iPad currently retails at $699 (£659).</p>