What Apple can do with its $90 billion
Note: Some ideas expressed in the following post are purposely illogical so please refrain from patronizing me. :D
Another note: I originally wrote this post on my personal blog at Secondmagazine.com but it's basically the same without a couple of pictures. I hope you enjoy! :D
During Apple's first quarter of 2012, it saw an insane increase in sales which ultimately resulted in $13 billion in profits pushing its treasure chest to hold over $90 billion. What are they going to do with all that cash?
I think that Apple can use its hard-earned money in one of two ways. The safe bet is to use the money to invest in something completely new and as revolutionary as the iPhone. Typical Apple stuff. But what I really want out of apple is something outrageous, something that nobody would expect Apple to do, forget a new phone, or tablet I want to see Apple take a step out of the consumer electronics space. I would like to see Apple break into another industry just as it did with the iPhone and the mobile industry. Remember, the big wigs that ruled the mobile space like Research in Motion were counting Apple out in the beginning, doubting a computer manufacturer could just jump right into the mix. But when Steve Jobs presented the iPhone in 2007, it arguably changed the way people used smart phones and it's possible that Apple can do the same again.
Crazy idea: iCar
I would like to see Apple expand the "iBrand" from their usual line of consumer electronics to something completely new. There are a ton of mock ups and Apple jokes floating around the internet that over emphasizes the "iBrand" but what if Tim Cook and Co. were to fully realize these jokes into actual products?
Now I know you've thought about it, I've thought about it, how about an iCar? There's already cars with iPod compatibility why not just take it one step further and make an entire car, Apple? It would obviously be called the iCar but it would be decked out with an iPad as the central hub for controlling the A/C, radio, music, heaters, emergency lights, Siri and more. And speaking of Siri, the personal assistant will be able to help you automatically parallel park, controls the rear camera, assist in backing up and if you want, she can even drive for you. But when you want to drive yourself, the iCar provides a new steering wheel experience. Completely re-imagined to fit Apple's design language, instead of a standard steering wheel, the Apple iCar features a new Click Steering Wheel. Imagine using your hands to scroll the wheel to the left to go left and vice versa but of course the advantage of having a large Click Wheel as a steering wheel is the fact that you can control your music while your hands are on the wheel as well. Shift knob? Toss it out, this is the Apple iCar where manual transmission is controlled via another iPad-like screen underneath the media controls. Want to shift gears? Just swipe up to shift up, swipe down to shift down. Also let us not forget the design because Apple is known globally for their distinctive design. The car would come in three colors: silver, white and black. The chassis? Aluminum. The engine? Engineered and designed in Cupertino and made from aluminum materials for the lightest, smoothest ride in its class. Finally there is the fuel efficiency. The iCar gets an incredible 100 mpg due to its Super Hybrid Design that combines electricity, solar power and hydrogen. Simple and smooth. The iCar.
Kind of crazy idea: iNetwork
The iPhone is the product that completely transformed Apple into one of the largest companies on the planet but as the way things work in mobile especially here in the U.S. the iPhone has had its share of problems. One of the biggest complaints when the first iPhone was released was that it was only on AT&T and it wasn't until 2011 that the iPhone was finally on another U.S. carrier, Verizon. Since then Apple's flagship phone has made it to Sprint but there's no doubt in my mind that Apple most likely looked into launching their own cellular network to house the original iPhone. This is due to the fact that one of the biggest problems with U.S. carriers is that they like to have a lot of control over the phones they sell but Apple loves to have end-to-end control over all of their products too. Given the amount of money Apple has now it could have owned a large part of America's cellular networks. For example, Virgin Mobile USA was acquired by Sprint in 2009 for $483 million, Alltel was acquired by Verizon in the same year for $28.1 billion and last year AT&T was ready to buy T-Mobile USA for $39 billion. If those three carriers were still up for bidding today and Apple acquired them, the house that Steve Jobs built would still have over $20 billion stuffed in the couch as well as over 150 million subscribers and full reign over their wireless products.
Given all of the negativity Apple has gotten lately perhaps the most logical thing for the company to do is to invest in improving the worker conditions at their supply chains. Recently Apple CEO Tim Cook spoke on this during an investors conference so there may already be plans in the works. Another idea for Apple is to possibly donate to charities or schools. Steve Jobs was never known for his charity work but the company he left behind still has the opportunity to give a lot back to the community. Apple doesn't even have to give a check but could instead give certain schools a donation of iPads. According to the latest Stanford Common Data Set, if Apple gave every student on campus an iPad it would set the tablet maker back roughly $10 million, a drop in the bucket. There's no question that Apple is absolutely loaded with cash and that's totally cool with me as long as they keep pumping out quality products. I've never been called an Apple fanboy and the only Apple product I own is an iPod Classic but I do believe that Apple has the capabilities of improving certain aspects of business but what they do with their money is entirely up to them. I really want an iCar though. Siri, drive.