Typically a June announcement from Apple would have a significant impact on the wireless industry, but following last year’s announcement adjustment of an updated iPhone to the fall the wireless industry could be breathing a sigh of relief.
Apple is kicking off its annual Worldwide Developers Conference today, with most expecting the device giant to rollout updates to its laptop line up, updated software options and perhaps something related to its Apple TV offering. For the wireless industry, this could limit any form of impact as none of the devices expected to be announced are heavily reliant on mobile carriers or their networks.
The biggest impact would likely come from Apple’s laptop lineup if the company goes through with embedding cellular connectivity into those devices. So far Apple has abstained from such a move even though many of its competitors have been embedding cellular connectivity for years. Apple customers have not been too impacted by the company’s decision as there are numerous wireless modems and mobile hotspots that allow for Wi-Fi enabled Apple products to access cellular connectivity.
If Apple does move forward with embedding cellular connectivity, the biggest move could come if that includes LTE services. Apple earlier this year rolled out the third iteration of its iPad tablet, embedding LTE connectivity for the first time in the device. That move also included partnerships with Verizon Wireless and AT&T Mobility in offering the device with accompanying mobile data plans. A move to embed the technology in laptops could also include carrier support.
A recent report found that transmitting mobile data traffic over LTE networks is significantly cheaper than over 3G-based network, a savings that could entice carriers to lure consumers to those new networks. With laptops generally using more data than smartphones a move to LTE would seem to be an ideal way for carriers to handle the increased usage.
Apple is rumored to be readying an LTE-equipped version of its iPhone device for launch later this year, a move that could indeed alter the current mobile landscape. Apple’s device rivals have recently been pushing the design envelope for their smartphones, including trying to immolate Apple’s well-worn shtick of holding special events to announce devices.
One area that could also have an impact is if Apple rolls out enhancements to its iOS operating system that powers its iPad and iPhone products. The OS is seen as the epitome of user friendliness and one of the main reasons behind the surge in smartphone adoption across the industry. Any form of streamlining to the product could provide a new surge of consumer interest in the products with a resulting increase in cellular network demands for carriers.
Analysts also noted an upgrade to iOS could swell developer support and usher in a new surge of consumer-friendly applications. Rumors have also suggested that Apple could be looking at replacing Google’s Maps application with its own offering across the iOS platform.
“Apple must find a way to replace the remaining third-party services, which are core to many users’ experience on the iPhone, with its own,” noted Jan Dawson, chief telecoms analyst at Ovum, in a statement. “It is likely to fix this problem with Maps in iOS 6, but it has a similar problem in Web search, in social networking, and in PIM (e-mail, contacts and calendar). Without really compelling offerings in each of these areas, Apple’s users will become increasingly ingrained in third party services which may be better supported on other platforms.”
Apple’s recently installed CEO Tim Cook is scheduled to kick off the event with a presentation showing off the new offerings from the company. Cook took over as CEO late last year after former CEO Steve Jobs relinquished his position to battle health issues that ultimately claimed his life.
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