Friday, May 28, 2010

Steve Jobs' June 7th Big Stories -- I Predict iTunes in the Cloud, Two-Way Mobile Video Chat & Apple TV on Steroids

Steve Jobs will take center stage at Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco on June 7th. And, Jobs has promised big things.

Here are my "big story" predictions -- I anticipate at least 2 of the 3 following announcements (now, we all expect the iPhone 4G announcement, so that one doesn't count!):

(1) iTunes finally will move to the Cloud! And, it's about time. Now, you will be able to access your music anytime, anywhere via a browser. No software needed. And, accordingly, it won't be strictly about downloads anymore (despite the fact that Jobs' definition of "ownership" for years has been downloads) -- now, a la its recent acquisition of Lala, music will be offered additionally in one or two (or both) of the following flavors: (a) web-only-accessed music "ownership" where you purchase any songs for perhaps something like $.29/song and can access those songs forever from any browser; and/or (b) subscription access where you can access virtually any song for a set monthly or annual subscription fee so long as your subscription is active;

(ii) iPods, iTouches and/or iPhones will come with video cameras on both sides so that users can engage in two-way live video chat, among other things;

(iii) Apple TV will finally take the stage front and center. Although Apple has touted Apple TV for a long time, Jobs has not given it the care and feeding it has deserved. This may change at the Conference, especially as Google makes an all out assault into the living room with its recently announced Google TV initiative. It goes without saying that there are billions of dollars at stake in the living room, and Apple can't let that go.

In fact, ultimately -- not on June 7 (but not that long from now either) -- expect a true seamless iTV hardware big screen for the living room. Think of the iPhone, iPod, iPad -- but bigger (essentially your flat screen TV) -- that seamlessly combines the hardware and software experience to easily access your "television" content without the need for any separate set-top box of any kind (unlike today's Apple TV).

Why is Sony hooking up with Google for Google TV? Because this is war from Sony's perspective. They see iTV as being inevitable. And, Sony lost its Walkman dominance in the digital music era to Apple and the iPod -- the rest is history (they have never recovered). Sony cannot let that happen in its last bastion -- the living room. Otherwise, Sony truly would be toast.

Make no mistake, an iTV is inevitable -- an Apple branded seamless hardware and software experience.

Let's check my score-card after June 7th ...