10 Things We'd Like to See Apple Do with Its $40 Billion

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10 Things We'd Like to See Apple Do with Its $40 Billion

10 Things We'd Like to See Apple Do with Its $40 Billionby Don Reisinger

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1. Invest In A New iPhone OS

The iPhone sports a fine operating system that reacts well to touch. But after Microsoft released its Windows Phone 7 Series, it quickly became clear that Apple's software is a little outdated. It's obviously expensive to revamp a mobile operating system, but with $40 billion in reserve, Apple has the cash for it.

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2. Build A Real Set-Top Box

The Apple TV has been called a hobby by Steve Jobs and Company for far too long. The reality is, the device was a good idea. But it's underpowered and it lacks many of the features so many users are looking for, including DVR capabilities. The future is in digital distribution of entertainment content. With iTunes and a solid set-top box, Apple can lead the way.

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3. Build A Gaming Console

Apple should build its own gaming console. Yes, it might sound like a bad idea at first glance. But consider that everyone thought it was a bad idea for Microsoft to break into gaming when it first announced the Xbox. Today, the software giant is a leader in that space. Apple understands the consumer, it knows how to deliver solid games, and it already works with developers in its App Store. It's halfway there.

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4. Invest in a Cloud-Based iWork

iWork is by no means a replacement for Microsoft Office. But Apple needs to realize that the productivity market is moving to the Web. Google Docs is already there. Microsoft's Office is too. Apple can't simply wait for the cloud. The longer it waits, the more trouble it will be in as users request cloud-based software.

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5. Bring iTunes into the Cloud

After Apple acquired Web-based music service Lala, some wondered if the company would make iTunes a truly cloud-based service. It should. Consumers shouldn't be locked into using the proprietary iTunes application on the desktop to download entertainment media. What consumers need is an iTunes that runs in the cloud so that all of its functionality is available in the browser like Amazon's MP3 store. If it does, Apple will have a chance to sell 20 billion downloads even faster than it sold the first 10 billion.

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6. Revamp Mac OS X

Now that Windows 7 is on store shelves, consumers and enterprise users finally have the ability to compare Mac OS X Snow Leopard and Windows 7. In many cases, they will find a far superior application from Microsoft. Realizing that, Apple needs to double-down on its investment in its operating system. Mac OS X is a great OS, but it's getting old. The company needs to start investing more into its OS.

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7. Design a Totally New iPhone

Aside from developing a new iPhone OS, Apple should also get to work on a new iPhone hardware design. There are nicer designs on the market. The Nexus One is a beautiful device. Even the Palm Pre offers a sleek finish. Apple is widely considered the best designer of products in the industry. Why isn't it working toward building a new iPhone?

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8. Redesign Macs

The current design of Macs is getting a bit old. The iMac, though redesigned slightly in the past, still boasts the same basic look of years past. The MacBook and the MacBook Pro are nice, but their designs are starting to pale in comparison to other computers on the market. Once again, Apple is the top product designer in the space. If it wants to keep that title, it needs to redesign its aging Macs.

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9. Build a Bigger Tablet

Apple's iPad looks like a nice tablet. But when one considers that it has a 9.7-inch display, it quickly becomes clear that the device is a middle-of-the-road product. It's too big for a smartphone and it's too small for a standard notebook. Apple needs to make at least one version of the iPad bigger to satisfy those who don't necessarily covet non-stop mobility, but want a display that's more functional for work at home.

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10. Acquire RIM

I've saved the best for last. Apple needs to acquire RIM. Recent rumors are suggesting both Microsoft and Google are considering acquiring the enterprise-friendly company. But what about Apple? The company has $40 billion in cash reserves-more than enough to get the deal done-and it can use RIM's infrastructure and technology to solidify its position in the enterprise. Right now, the iPhone is a consumer-friendly product. RIM still competes extremely well in the business world. By acquiring RIM, Apple can capitalize on the enterprise market for the first time in its history.

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