Steve Jobs Planned Out 4 Years of New Products Before Death, Apple’s Future Will “Blow Your Mind”

Oct 11, 2011 - 39 Comments

One More Thing... & Steve Jobs

I believe Apple’s brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it.

That is what Steve Jobs said in his resignation letter from August, and now, despite his passing, we’re starting to understand why. Citing sources within Apple, the DailyMail says that Steve Jobs carefully planned out four years of new products for the company to release. They specifically cite new iPod, iPad, iPhone, and MacBooks, and while these items are highly anticipated, they aren’t terribly surprising.

So what should we really expect from Apple in the years to come? We can get an idea by looking at a recent piece by TechCrunch, citing an unnamed but “veteran” Silicon Valley CEO who says that Apple has 5% of it’s non-retail workforce devoted to chip design and architecture alone:

“Steve Jobs told me he has 1,000 engineers working on chips,” he said. “Getting low power and smaller is the key to everything.”

Why so many engineers on chip design? And how might low power and smaller chips translate into new products?

“form factor no longer becomes an issue,” explained the Silicon Valley CEO

Going further, TechCrunch quotes their own MG Siegler from a few months back, who was told by sources that future Apple products will “blow your mind”:

It’s the longer roadmap that should really be the grand finale in the Jobs’ fireworks show.

Talking to sources in recent months, there has been one common refrain: that the things Apple is working on right now are the best things the company has ever done. These are things that will “blow your mind”, I’ve been told.

All of this adds up to quite a teaser, and so the future of Apple very well may be Job’s final “One More Thing…”.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in News

39 Comments

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  1. Jason says:

    I bet there is far more than 4 years of products mapped out, because really it is like this:

    iPad 2S -> iPad 3 -> iPad 3 Pro

    iPod touch 5S

    Apple TV 3 -> True Apple television set LCD

    iPhone 5 -> 5S

    iPhone 6 -> 6S

    MacBook Pro 15″ and 17″ -> MacBook Air 15″ and 17″

    Redesigned iMac -> Touchscreen iMac

    Redesigned Mac Pro -> Cloud Mac Pro

    They can reiterate on these things again and again and again. The existing hardware is only going to get better, where we really will miss Jobs is on the products that don’t yet exist, and for that it’s not just Apple that loses, it’s EVERYONE, since Steve was the brains behind it all. He led with the PC, the MP3 player, digital downloads, smartphones, tablets, cloud for the average Joe, these are all innovations that wouldn’t have existed had it not been for Jobs. That is where the tech industry as a whole lost something, there is just no further spark to true innovation, everyone else has always followed the Apple lead.

    • Irfan says:

      Actually Steve Jobs Said that Touchscreen Macbookss won’t happen. I Don’t about iMacs. There’s a reason why:

      • MrMcGoo says:

        He believed using a touch screen vertically was not natural enough.

        Think about point your arm out touching your monitor all day, your arm will quickly ache.

    • Laurie says:

      “……The existing hardware is only going to get better, where we really will miss Jobs is on the products that don’t yet exist, and for that it’s not just Apple that loses, it’s EVERYONE….”

      This is EXACTLY what I thought when I heard of his death!!!!

    • Joshie says:

      Oy vey! Mr Jobs was not the messiah. He was very clever, but did not invent any real product in those categories. There were all preexisting exemplars of varying quality.
      What Apple did do is make very, very good examples in these categories. The touch screen on the smart phone made it what it needed to be, apps lead to dominance. iPod + iTunes and later iTunes store is the real genius. iTunes store lead to AppStore for iPhone. The AppStore is why the iPad works. Means people can develop for the platform and get paid, and users can easily get Apps on their device.

      Their cloud offerings have been small to date, but we will see.

      Reminds me of the oft given example of Coca-Cola. Their product is not that much better, but their distribution is par excellence. They can bring a new product to market faster than the competition, and get it in all their stores world wide or city wide.

      It’s the stuff that you can’t really see that lead to their dominance.

      I really appreciate the effort they’ve put into the human-machine interaction. Making nice looking stuff that is easy to use. But they are already starting to mis-step here, starting to care more about looks than function. The misplaced close/minimize/maximize buttons in iTunes, the grey icons in Lion, the grey button text in Lion Server.

      They need a leader with the force to enforce the real quality that they became known for. It’s the quality of the products, and the human/machine interface that drives their market share. If they forget that, they will become just another tech company.

      • Matt says:

        Your analysis is clever but Apple’s bank account says that they lead the industry in mobile (tablet/smartphone) products.

    • Sandman619 says:

      Touch screens are impractical, except for kiosks, which really isn’t a great market for the Mac, ultra cheap hardware, no user interface, completely custom to purpose. Try working on a laptop or desktop for 10 mins using it as if it were a touchscreen. Fatigue quickly sets in, both physically holding up your arm & mentally you tire moving from the keyboard to the screen. Trackpads are the perfect multi-touch devices. Apple will continue developing the multi-touch trackpad which makes most sense as it is already something that users are familiar with. Otherwise, a touchscreen laptop is just a tablet really. Touch screens will be the 3D TV of the computer market, lots of money spent on rushing them to market, but there’s no market for them

      Cheers !

    • Bastion says:

      Umm, Jason, don’t discount Ive. I’d dare to venture HE was the brains, and Jobs was “the decider”, to borrow a phrase from Dubya.

      Also, I think that is the point of the 4-year (actually, most companies make a 5-year plan) Apple roadmap — Steve laid out plans for not just the (expected) iterations of current product lines, but also what was going to be new, innovative, and exciting.

      The thing I’d be more worried about is what gets ADDED to the 4-year plan. Since Jobs was “the decider”, and a rather harsh one at that, he had no problem s#!t-canning something if he thought it was crap.

      Just witness the recent (perhaps unverifiable and sour-grape-inspired) blog from a former Apple TV engineer who said that the new Apple TV interface was “killed” by Jobs 5 years ago. And now that he’s gone, it is suddenly right back out.

      That’s what worries me, at least. What crap is going to start leaking out, and in much greater proportion, because Jobs isn’t there to fight it back into the smelly, dark corners it came from? THAT is what will tarnish the Apple, and make people wonder if Apple can’t be the star it was when Jobs ran the show. Oh, they’ll still knock one out of the park now and again — but it will be bad signal-to-noise.

      At least, I hope it doesn’t happen this way. The Apple TV story, if true, doesn’t bode well, though…

    • Applefanboys says:

      Only a true blinded apple fanboy would think everyone has always followed apples lead, correcting apple as merely taken the lead in more recent years, sooner are later a company always comes out with something new and great apple has don’t the same thing any other company has ever done redesign things others already made rein vision them and use them to make old products better and new greater ones.

    • krazzerz says:

      Not necessarily true that all these innovations wouldn’t have existed if not been for Steve Jobs. There are more innovations in the world than what Steve done in Apple or Pixar. It may take time for others to think of it but sooner or later somebody will. Steve Jobs copied the “mouse” so I read…

  2. Ed says:

    While the content of the Daily Mail article sounds plausible, non UK readers should be made aware that the paper relies far more on the creative abilities of its writers than on their journalistic skills. Their so-called technology section is particularly laughable. There is as much chance of them having a source at Apple as there is of my dog serenading us on the mandolin.

    Let’s not forget that this is the esteemed publication that reported that the iPhone 4 was being recalled, because their tech reporter read it on a fake Steve Jobs Twitter account.

    Other such gems include a report that Amanda Knox’s court appeal had been rejected, that she was returned to jail, and put on suicide watch. They even made up verbatim quotes from her lawyers. As I say, they have very creative writers. No journalists, but very creative writers.

  3. In regards to all of those low power chips. Guess what they’ll be in. EVERYTHING! Computers were originally logic devices only. Then they evolved into logic and communications devices for humans. The next evolution will be logic and communications between devices. Once everyday common devices can communicate and perform logic limited by human need and desires, almost anything is possible. We already see a collective mentality in social networking. Take that to the next level.

  4. Joseph says:

    They still haven’t taken over television yet. I think their little hobby may mature to be the next game changer. Also they’re making Nintendo nervous perhaps games as the next “hobby” for Apple.

  5. Karl Kürbis says:

    Form factor no longer being an issue gives me the shivers. Think ‘brain interface’.

  6. Mek says:

    I bet a touchscreen keyboard on imacs and macbooks,
    Ios and macos will become one & can run apps of both os
    iphone w/ 4core processor & can run windows smoothly
    512gb crazy iphone & ipads @_@,
    New reinforced aluminum alloy on macs
    I think apple’s going to run all macbooks on SSD
    Siri on macs as well (new siri can learn by itself)

    Wild guesses
    I wonder if these ideas of mine becomes true
    I think their not very stupid

    • Maurice says:

      No these are not stupid thoughts. Touchscreen keyboards in MacBooks could be like a separate one to -click- onto. I mean, a iPad comes with it. So double the fun, and features =]

      Grtz.

    • Bastion says:

      Sure, it’s the evolution to ST:TNG LCARS touch screens. The only thing they didn’t have to worry about in fiction was tactile feedback (which doesn’t seem to have been included).

      That’s what Apple needs to (quickly) figure out is making a touch screen that can give you feedback so you know that you are touching (or are about to touch?) the right thing. Touch typing blows (impossible?) on an iPad…

      • Jackson says:

        I touch type VERY fast on an iPad. Not as fast as a real keyboard, but I’m almost there. Lately though, I don’t even use mine everyday.

  7. Chris says:

    Has no one here read about Siri? Doesn’t anyone recognize that as good as it is, Apple considers it a beta product?

    The future is looking more like Star Trek with computers that can talk to and understand you. Apple wants to get there first.

  8. Curious1 says:

    What a crappy article. I felt worse than a 15 year old trying to cup a feel after reading this.

  9. [...] the next-gen iPhone may have been the last major project with Jobs direct involvement, other reports indicate that Mr Jobs detailed over four years of products for Apple’s pipeline, suggesting that nearly all products the company introduces over the next few years had at least [...]

  10. egbt says:

    It’s not that hard to draft out a road map for Apple…I think most of Steve’s inspirations came from Sci-fi movies.

    Well for example, just watch Knight Rider and compare the similarity to SIRI…see any similarity there yet…

    For future Apple technology, watch the New(2008) Knight Rider series which, was discontinued after Season 1.

    Perhaps we may get some idea from the KNIGHT Command Centre.

    • Bastion says:

      It’s funny you mention KITT — I think Apple is headed to auto soon to revolutionize automation, information, and entertainment on wheels.

      However, the government looks to be reacting badly to increasing accident rates caused by “gizmo” distractions. Possibly even banning them. So, Apple could be working on tech that CAN’T be brought to market…

  11. esaruoho says:

    Well, I for one can’t wait for a post-pc-device from Apple that’s a 360 camera. Oh, and their post-pc projectors controlled by hand-gestures. Mix those two together and you have some really crazy possibilities.

  12. Allan says:

    This only thing I see mapped out is locking down our desktops and iPhones more and more taking away our choice and open ability to use 3rd party software solutions. Apple is now starting it’s war with dropbox, soon after they took away our iDisk (which never worked), so what’s next? After 12 years on the Mac, I’m starting to look at Windows again. I don’t mind a sandbox, but this is starting to look like a prison camp.

    • Rick says:

      Work will set you free, as the logo above Auschwitz said.

      Apple will probably focus on Apple TV, its long held redheaded stepchild of technology.

      Then of course the industry will hail Apple as geniuses while conveniently ignoring the fact streaming boxes have been readily available for years.

    • Michael says:

      What says iDisk never worked? I used it constantly. I miss the hell out of it. I’m not even going to respond to the rest of your post, which is beyond ludicrous.

    • bArt says:

      I am totally on the same page Allan. I have used Macs since System 7.1
      I no longer feel like I am in charge of my Mac. It tells me in so many ways how it wants to do things.
      Everything is monetized, can’t trust the cloud (any cloud).
      Work does not set you free, the truth does and we are increasingly being sold a pup. Steve is gone and the shareholders want pay time.
      Apple has abandoned enterprise because it is so much easier to sell flashy gadgets in the High Street (Apple Store).

    • steve says:

      Allan, boy did you ever nail it!!

  13. Applefanboys says:

    lmfao, if apple is gonna produce bigger and better stuff it wont be because of some road map from there now dead genius (may he rest in piece) or by redesigning the same stuff. In a market that is ever evolving new technology is always on the horizon Steve couldn’t predict what would be invented ahead of time and neither can anyone at apple, if they want to stay up there then there going to need to find someone who can at least come close to Steve’s way of thinking, otherwise they may as well step aside cause they’ll get run over. So stop talking about Apple like its some ultimate company totally dominating the market cause its not and just like any other company that rise it will in time fall if it cant keep paste, Blackberry came everyone wanted one, now teenagers think of a blackberry as nothing, iphone my have the floor now but, with steve gone it will be interesting to see how they compete, after all the ideas he left behind will only be new for so long.

    • Crunch says:

      …get run over? By whom??? Certainly not anyone by Microsoft or HP. I just bought a TouchPad (the tablet that didn’t sell from HP) because it was dirt cheap. What I found after opening the box was just unbelievable, as I hadn’t heard any reporting about this. HP carefully copied in grave detail every piece of the packaging, including step-by-step regarding the PLASTIC around the tablet, the inserts where you find the Apple stickers, “Finger Tips”, etc., even the two-peace charger! You would open it precisely like any mobile product from Apple, such as the MacBook’s, the iPad, in the exact same order.

      Wow, now that’s embarrassing that HP would see fit to copy the entire packaging material and presentation of the product. That’s the kind of innovation that we will have coming out of HP.

  14. Srini Kumar says:

    Isaac Asimov’s Foundation. The Seldon Plan. Read it.

  15. BDK says:

    It’s been almost a year and I’m still waiting for my mind to be blown.

  16. John says:

    @BDK you are very patient haha. Well today is Steve Job’s death’s anniversary… :(

  17. The next iteration of Apple technology will start using transparent screens. The chipsets and mother boards need to be small enough to fit the “form factor” while allowing the used to look through the screen. This is the future for augmented systems, and apple hardware.

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