FierceWireless peered into their crystal balls and used their fancy digital number counting machines and came up with something that we all already know—Tim Cook (and therefore Apple overall) is the most powerful man in wireless. Of course FierceWireless has data to back it up. The thing is, I don’t this it matters a whit.
Right, so Apple. Makes awesome phones. Contributes 77% of AT&T’s smartphone sales (Macgasm) and can alter everyone else’s production plans if they decide to corner the market on parts. And can force competitors/suppliers not to expand…power? Umm, yeah I’d say so.
What makes him powerful: Tim Cook heads the world’s most valuable tech company–a company that derives close to two-thirds of its profits from the iPhone. Indeed, based on documents released during Apple’s trial with Samsung, Business Insider noted that Apple could generate $30 billion in profit from the iPhone this year. “Apple truly has become ‘the iPhone’ company,” wrote BI’s Henry Blodget.
But will it last? We know iOS isn’t awesome right now. Sure maybe more awesome than Android (if we like to fool ourselves sometimes) and the phones are better (well mostly) and Apple can still exert huge influence over carriers, but Apple isn’t the only game in town and they know it. Which while Tim Cook being the most powerful man in wireless is great, it’s temporary and it’s not Apple’s real play. Like the panelists at Techonomy said yesterday who said when asked who they thought would be the biggest media company in 2020, I think Apple’s play is really media.
Yeah Apple TV is a hobby like people in Vancouver and Seattle like coffee. It’s an understatement.
Apple wants us to first have fabulous devices to consume media on—iPad mini anyone—and offer ways to get the media easily (iTunes), but…
These are just like the free samples at Costco. They are a mere taste of what’s to come. By making great mobile devices and the ability for those devices to connect wirelessly with other entertainment devices (via Apple TV, oh where you can get more content) Apple is preparing us for Apple to become a media distribution giant. What about watching movies that are still in the theaters on your TV, at home (legally)? Why not? It’s possible. The movies are digital. They can be pushed over networks now and bandwidth is only getting better (so are TVs).
Yes, Apple has made some amazing phones and the revolutionized the entire smartphone industry (and essentially killed RIM in the process), but it’s Apple’s media play that will be the next great thing. The phones will remain I think (how else will you watch HD movies on the bus), so will Macs and everything else, but in the end a huge part of Apple is going to become media distribution and consumption.