Where Will Apple Be in Five Years?
It was spring 2005, just five years ago, and I found myself standing in front of the Apple Store at Barton Creek Mall. The big signs advertised the arrival of the new iPod Mini. I was able to look at one, but they were all sold out.
As a long time Windows user, I had no interest in Mac computers. I used to make fun of them in fact, because everybody knew that Windows computers ran all of the most popular software.
Well, I went back and bought the iPod Mini, later to be renamed the Nano. Then, within a couple of short months, I was back in the store. This time I walked out with a dual processor Mac G5. Gradually, I became converted. Every night I started listening to podcasts about the latest Mac rumors. And I bought Apple stock – for $43.00 a share.
In that summer of 2005, one of the rumors was that Apple might come out with a video iPod. Most of the media people doubted it would happen. Steve Jobs didn’t think anybody would watch video on an iPod.
Fast forward to 2010. Microsoft, Dell, Sony, Google, and lots of other companies have tried to outdo Apple, or at least catch up with them in innovative product design. A recent survey found that 22% of Blackberry users want an iPhone.
After the Kindle came out, people began asking if Apple would develop an electronic book reader. Most of the media said it would never happen. Steve Jobs allegedly said that people don’t read enough books. Now, this weekend the iPad will be released. It’s a heck of a lot more than a book reader. It’s a whole new category of touch screen portable device. Its most popular use probably hasn’t even been discovered yet. Who ever heard of Facebook five years ago?
So, where will Apple be five years from now? It’s hard to know for sure, but this week they passed Walmart in total market capitalization. Some of the things that are coming are pretty interesting. The Internet may be 100 times faster. Computers and other devices will zap data back and forth wirelessly. In the spring of 2015, people will be lined up around the block at Apple stores all over the world, wanting to be among the first to get “it.” Whatever “it” turns out to be.
I still remember the panic that I felt that first May afternoon in 2005 when I opened up that big Mac G5 computer. I couldn’t find my installation disk with all the instructions and software drivers to get my Internet connection set up. So, I called my nephew who is from an entire Mac family.
He just laughed. “Uncle Bill!” he insisted. “You don’t need a software installation disk. With a Mac you just turn it on and everything works.” I still use windows every day, but only to look out at the trees, the flowers, and the clouds.