Apple (AAPL) is going to unveil its iPhone 5 tomorrow. I'm expecting that it will be a solid product that complies with the leaks we've already heard for the last month or so.
There probably won't be any surprises in tomorrow's announcement. This will upset many who will say that Steve Jobs would have kept at least a couple of tricks in the bag to pull out for the audience, and doesn't this speak badly for CEO Tim Cook?
I don't believe that will matter a whit for how the stock trades in the days after the announcement or for how iPhone 5 does.
But Apple certainly isn't perfect. Here are some areas that Apple still needs to fix in the coming quarters if it is to remain the leader it is today.
- Update iTunes. It's too staid and monolithic. It needs a refresh after 11 years of being the same. Supposedly this is in the works, and it could come as soon as next month.
- Launch a version of Spotify or Songza. There's a new wave of discovering music in the mobile web: song curation. Apple has been content to let other services to go out and blaze this trail, trying to make money from it through ads. As of last week, Apple is reportedly interested in getting into this game itself. It's not clear if it will also try to make money from it or just offer it free to stay on the cutting edge of what's happening.
- Improve AirPlay streaming. It's slow and sometimes unwatchable on my TV. Video is a disaster. It needs to be seamless and immediate.
- Improve AirPlay-compatible devices. I want to walk through my house and be able to constantly play my music or album. It should automatically transfer as I walk in the room and it detects my iOS device.
- Keep improving iAd so it can eventually be ready to take over all ads on Apple TV. There are some who say Apple needs to fish or cut bait with its iAd business. Some don't believe it can ever be a huge business or say it's not in Apple's DNA. That might be true. The company will need to make a call on it. I believe Apple needs to grow iAd because it can eventually be tightly integrated into Apple TV. Maybe you have to make an external acquisition like Yelp (YELP) and outsource iAd to it, where it's more in its organizational DNA to oversee than within Apple.
- iMessage is a great start, but now it needs to go to a different level. It could be "complexified" with more group messaging and more interesting-to-share photos with contacts.
- Take control of photo and video sharing. iPhones are dominant in picture-taking. This is clearly a mobile killer app. Yet photos and video are being shared more easily through third-party apps such as Twitter and Instagram, rather than through an Apple-built product. iPhoto is a great editing app, but it's not a sharing app. It's especially frustrating not be able to quickly and easily share vacation videos with those back home. Now that iCloud is up and running, there's no excuse for not offering an easy share app.
- The Next Big Thing: Google (GOOG) has its Project Glass, which sets out its post-phone vision of the world. Apple needs to also be working on its next big thing for the post-iPhone world.
- Car integration, which reportedly is coming, according to the June iOS 6 keynote.
- Siri improvement to truly become our personal assistant.
- True control of all our devices at home from our iPhone.
As good as Apple is, these improvements would make it significantly better.