Noted Apple prognosticator Gene Munster, an analyst at Piper Jaffray, said that Apple will launch a disruptive TV next year. Of course, Munster has said that each of the last three years.
But this time, he says he's certain. Speaking at the Business Insider Ignition conference in New York today, Munster joked that "it's an understatement that I've been wrong about Apple TV." Nevertheless, Munster noted recent comments by Apple CEO Tim Cook regarding the company's need to push into new product categories—as well as signals from Apple's supply chains and patent filings, along with healthy consumer demand—pointing to an Apple TV push next year.
Munster also thinks an Apple watch is coming in 2014, as well as bigger iPhones and iPads by 2015. At that time, Apple's biggest push will be toward wiring Americans' homes, with a TV at the center.
Apple is also poised to make a huge push into online payments, predicted Munster. According to his data, Apple's iTunes boasts of 575 million accounts, versus 224 million for Amazon and 132 million for PayPal, putting the tech giant in perfect position to own online shopping.
Mobile would seem to be the perfect place to start such an endeavor. But Apple's year-plus-old attempt at a digital wallet, Passbook, has been "pathetic" to date, per Munster.
Munster's Apple prediction was just one of a handful of entertaining sessions at the Ignition event.
Russell Simmons, speaking about his new YouTube network, All Def Digital, talked about how strangely white and segregated Hollywood is, despite its liberal tendencies. He said he attends various Hollywood parties and often encounters just a single black face, "and he only speaks French ... Hollywood is more segregated than Jerry Springer," he joked.
Simmons hinted at some of the issues YouTube talent has had with other multichannel networks (MCNs). "We're not out to take big commissions," he said.
Regarding TV, Simmons said he's thought about entering the business, only to hold back. "It didn't seem like a lot of fun," he said. But his friend and colleague Diddy should succeed with his cable net Revolt "because he's so fucking aggressive."
Today's sessions closed with a keynote interview with a surprising low-key and humble Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla and SpaceX. Musk spoke insightfully about how close Tesla came in 2008 to bankruptcy, and his frustrations with reports about some of his electric vehicles catching fire. Taking a deep breath, he said, "I'm not sure what to do [about these types of stories]. This is the safest car in the world."
Regarding his much hyped and mysterious plans to build a Jetsons-esque transportation system, the Hyperloop, Musk dismissed criticism from some engineers that it won't work. Musk hopes someone else builds the Hyperloop, but acknowledged he may end up doing it himself. "It will be like Space Mountain, but you get out and you're somewhere else," he said.