By John Hiesler:
The Apple rumor mill is in high tear today ahead of tomorrows long awaited iPhone 5 announcement.
Earlier today, Robert Scoble penned a post on Google+ (I guess some people do actually use it) articulating some thoughts about tomorrow’s event while also giving us a few rumors to chew on overnight.
First, Scoble claims that Apple will announce a deal with Facebook tomorrow that will be “stunning in its depth.” That’s interesting in light of reports that Facebook will finally unveil its official iPad app tomorrow. There have also been reports, somewhat sketchy in nature, claiming that iOS 5 will feature systemwide integration with Facebook similar to Apple’s work with Twitter.
The press will be caught off guard by the expansiveness of the Facebook deal. Zuckerberg isn’t playing around. If the deal got done, it won’t be a minor one, but will be a major one with lots of implications for the future.
Earlier today we detailed how Apple and Facebook have recently moved past previous squabbles to become partners in a mutual war against Google.
Next, Scoble writes that Apple’s iOS 5 presentation tomorrow will be AirPlay heavy. AirPlay, since it has been a few months since WWDC, enables users to wirelessly watch video playing on their iOS device on their HDTV via the Apple TV – which, as luck would have it, Apple just so happens to be rolling out to seven new European countries tomorrow.
But AirPlay is only as useful as the content you can stream, and we imagine homemade movies and YouTube movies might get tired after a while. So expect Apple, Scoble writes, to announce a bevy of content deals tomorrow as well.
And here’s where things get interesting:
I’m hearing that Apple is working on a new iPad app that looks a lot like DirecTV without the dish, too. Again, that app will have Steve Jobs’ fingerprints all over it as it will be more expansive than the press is expecting in its content availability. There’s a reason Apple built a 500,000-square-foot datacenter (about twice the size of a Facebook one, by the way) and that new datacenter is for video and the data that video causes to be shared with everyone. WillCEO at Netflix be on stage tomorrow to help Apple explain its three-screen strategy? I sure hope so, because that would explain further why Netflix split up its streaming and DVD businesses a lot better than Reed’s been able to so far.
It’s hard to say, one way or another, if Scoble is onto something here. But Scoble does make an extremely salient point that’s easy to overlook simply because it’s so obvious – this is the first time Apple has faced significant competition to the crown jewel that is the iPhone in quite some time.
When Steve Jobs first introduced the iPhone, he explained that Apple was setting out to create a leapfrog product that was at least 5 years ahead of the competition. And in many ways, Apple did just that – an amazing feat in the technology sphere no matter how you look at it.
But we’re now pushing up on 5 years since the original iPhone was introduced and Android handsets from the likes of HTC and Samsung have steadily caught up to Apple.
That being the case, Apple might be feeling the pressure in a way it never has before. We can only hope and expect that Apple will rise to the challenge and deliver a few homerun announcements tomorrow to maintain its status as the consumer electronics company that everyone else looks to for inspiration because they can’t seem to innovate in a meaningful way on their own.