The last time Apple sold debt was in 1996, when the Internet was in its infancy and sales of Apple’s niche computers were struggling. Facing an uncertain future and struggling with a weak balance sheet, Apple had a junk credit rating and was paying 6.5 percent on its debt.
Source: The New York Times
Matt Mullenweg wrote a great post on what he expects from Apple in the near future. I had been meaning to write a similar post, but he beat me to it, so, I figured I would just piggyback on his post and add my two cents to each of his points.
- Maps - Apple acquired Placebase in July 2009. I am guessing Apple signed something like a 5-year contract with Google for maps in 2007 and/or hasn’t felt the re-branded Placebase maps product to be good enough yet. But I do think maps and location are going to be a big push for iOS 6. You can already see hints with the geo-fenced reminders and friend locator in iOS 5.
- iCloud - Dropbox will be fine; people are always saying Apple or Google will kill them.
- Payments - Apple’s sitting on enough cash to start an ING-style checking account and debit card division. Totally pie in the sky, but wouldn’t surprise me. The more realistic scenario would be to launch a simple, hassle-free branded credit card, pre-loaded on all iOS devices.
- TVs - I 100% believe Apple will launch a TV in the next 2-3 years. This $3.9 billion sourcing deal last March was supposedly for TV-sized LCD panels.
- Search - I think Facebook is more likely to jump into head-on search competition with Google, but I bet Apple will continue to add non-Google ‘data services’ to Siri. Every search done through Yelp or Wikipedia will hurt Google. (Also: welcome to the Semantic Web.)
- Cars - My hunch is that once Siri is open to third-party developers, the forward-looking car manufacturers (the first being BMW - and not just because of the famous Steve Jobs quote), will begin to have it/her power the car’s controls and UI. Nice knowing you, Microsoft Sync.
I also think the merger of OS X and iOS in the next couple of years, coupled with the launch of a touch-enabled iMac, is going to change the way workplace desktop computing is done.
MG made a good point last night about Apple and its awkward use of iTunes account emails to connect people for iMessage and FaceTime.
Apple should scrap Ping and launch an Apple iTunes/device-centric social network. Use mutual Twitter follows to ramp it up. It would makes iMessage, FaceTime, and even photo sharing (and tagging) via iPhoto easy to use. Incorporate Spotify-like sharing for music, movies and TV, with the interactivity of Turntable.fm, e.g., social distributed TV watching (which would work great on a dedicated Apple television).