The iPhone 5 rumor mill is in overdrive, but the focus of the speculation is misplaced. Looking ahead to the more connected Apple device ecosystem, I actually think that the iPhone 5 will be wider – not taller.
Industry insiders agree the new ‘taller’ screen has a 16:9 screen resolution. This is designed for one purpose and one purpose only: to start the process of updating the entire iTunes app ecosystem to a new standard that will ensure compatibility across a future version of the Apple device ecosystem that includes the Apple TV.
There is a new digital revolution underway in the living room. Google, Apple, Microsoft, Samsung, Roku, Boxee and others are all fighting to own the new TV experience, but our collective focus remains on the smartphone and the tablet. This will change. So much so that I am betting the next phase of my career on it.
Gigaom predicted approximately 250,000,000 Smart TVs will be in play by 2015. Almost half of US based consumers do not understand what a smart TV is according to the YouGov Smart TV Study. Apple, regardless of your opinion of them, is exceptionally good at bringing innovative products into the mainstream. The all but confirmed release of an updated Apple TV, that includes full integration of Apps along with a next generation user experience, will bring the desire to own a Smart TV into the mainstream. The new technology frontier will be forged by Smart TVs and with it I’m expecting an opportunity to arise as significant as when smartphones or tablets became mainstream devices.
But let me say this again, it is not just about another device coming into the market (iPhone 5, Smart TVs), but rather what the interrelationship is between all of the devices and what the long-range roadmap in play to connect everything looks like. The all-but-confirmed release of an updated Apple TV that includes full integration of Apps along with a next generation user experience will bring the passion and desire to own a Smart TV into the mainstream.
The future of consumer electronics will revolve around the connected ecosystem. iPhone and iPad owners will flock to the Apple TV to complete their digital ecosystem as their devices become increasingly interconnected. Android users although excited and inspired by the Apple TV will seek a compatible experience for their ecosystem in the Google TV. The best thing that will ever happen to Google TV is Apple TV.
It is my prediction that in the next year we will continue to see more shifts in aspect ratios around devices, both tablets and phones, as we move to a more complete and connected ecosystem. Will we see this in the rumored iPad mini? Perhaps, but unlikely. Instead, I think Apple will update the full size iPad and then follow up with a new iPad mini aspect ratio at a closer time to the TV. One thing not in question, however, is the pending Smart TV revolution that will enter the mainstream (and our living rooms) and the that implications for changes in consumer behavior will be profound. The revolution will be connected, integrated and require new standards. The iPhone 5 is just the beginning, but one of the most important steps we’ve seen yet.
Click through a gallery of concept iPhone 5 Designs: