WWDC expected to highlight Apple's focus on being better, not first to marketApple is not usually the first company to introduce a product or service, but takes its time to ensure it's better than the competition —a view that one prominent Wall Street analyst expects to be the defining characteristic of this today's Worldwide Developers Conference keynote.
Mark Moskowitz with J.P. Morgan Research said in a note to investors Monday that Apple has entered the MP3 player, smartphone and tablet markets after other vendors. The difference is, Apple has managed to create a better user experience than the competition.
"At WWDC 2011, we expect this differentiation to be highlighted with both the new iOS 5 (Apple's mobile operating system) and Mac OS X Lion," he wrote. "Also, the iCloud will be the latest iteration of Apple coming to market after others, but again, with a better experience."
A major component of iCloud will be media streaming capabilities to mobile devices like Macs, iPhones and iPads. But compared to already-available music streaming services from Google and Amazon, Apple's iCloud will have "much greater support from the content providers," Moskowitz noted.
"We think that this competitive advantage will help Apple separate its cloud offering from the pack when compared to nascent offerings from Amazon and Google," he said. "While details on iCloud are limited, we expect the service to build off of Apple's MobileMe platform, which provides email and remote storage for users who pay $100 per year."
To that end, iCloud will "disrupt" how users view storage. Apple's push this direction began last year, Moskowitz argues, with its cloud-centric Apple TV packing minimum internal storage space.
"This approach has prepared users for a cloud world, whereby the user does not need to possess/manage all of the data locally," he said. "We think that the next off-shoot will be that future PC offerings will rely more on SSDs, not HDDs.
"So much of internal storage in PCs supports music, video and photo content. If iCloud serves as primary storage for this data, then PC's internal storage will not require as much capacity, particularly in notebook PCs."
Finally, Moskowitz also reiterated the belief that the next iPhone will launch later this summer with the same form factor as the existing iPhone 4. He believes that the fifth-generation model will be a "world phone" with both GSM and CDMA radios built in to one model.
He expects Apple's sixth-generation iPhone, arriving in 2012, to support for high-speed fourth-generation long-term evolution networks of carriers like AT&T and Verizon in the U.S. By waiting to introduce a 4G LTE phone, Moskowitz said Apple will be able to address issues with network technology and battery life.
Finally, Moskowitz expects Apple to issue a "quick blurb" during Monday's WWDC keynote to state that issues with the availability of its hot-selling iPad 2 have been addressed. Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook characterized iPad 2 supply issues as "the mother of all backlogs" during his company's quarterly earnings conference call in April, but since then, availability of the device has improved.
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