There. Somebody said it: Apple will succeed at its ultimate goal of taking over our living rooms. That's living room as metaphor for the center of modern entertainment. A new report from market analysts at Forrester Research says Apple will become the "hub of the digital home."
That's precisely Apple's goal, which seemed brazen when CEO Steve Jobs first voiced it in 2000. But the company has moved with amazing success beyond its PC roots. Apple has captured leading positions in digital music and video as well as the wired and wireless devices for playing them.
Apple is now best poised to tame the mess of gadgets, cables, and software that befuddle digital music and video, write analysts J. P. Gownder and James L. McQuivey in their report, "The Future of Apple Inc."
"Apple intends to reinvent itself as a digital home provider over the next five years," they say. "Its goal, we believe, is to provide hardware, software, and installation services to create an integrated digital experience."
Expect, for example, that Apple will release a central device for storing and sharing all those digital music and video files that we have scattered around. Microsoft sensed the same need and is selling Windows Home Server, which reviewers (including me) much like.
Apple, however, will have the marketing sense to never use the word "server," the analysts say. Think about graceful Apple names like "Time Capsule" for what others stoop to calling "NAS," which is short for "network attached storage."
It's hard to disagree with Forrester's analysis, except for nitpicks. Forrester imagines that Apple will turn its retail stores and their "genius bars" into a launchpad for installing home electronics. That seems a stretch. It's a big change from running a few retail stores to rolling trucks with crews of well-trained techs. I still think the cable and telephone companies are in the best position to become our home integrators.
Then again, a van (gleaming white, of course) with that Apple logo would look so much more chic at the curb than some beat-up telco truck.