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What is Next for Apple?

Apple’s third quarter financial Conference Call on Monday once again proved their skill in using vagueness as a tool to create buzz.  Look for the mysterious product reference in the paragraph below…

We expect gross margin to be about 31.5%, reflecting approximately $23 million related to stock-based compensation expense, down from 34.8% in the June quarter. This sequential decline is expected due to three primary factors; first, the full quarter impact of the back-to-school promotion; second, a future product transition, which I can’t discuss today; and third, the one-time true-up of our contract manufacturer deferred margin that we realized in the June quarter.

Then there was more:

We are working to develop new products that contains technologies that our competition will not be able to match. I cannot discuss these new products, but we are very confident in our product pipeline.

– Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer, during Apple’s Q308 Financial Results Conference Call, July 21, 2008

“A future product transition” is all they are going to give us?  That’s just pure marketing genius.  So now the speculation begins (which is part of the fun, of course).

Look for one of the following from Apple in the next 60 days:

1. Revamped MacBook ProImages have surfaced showing a possible new casing for the MacBook Pro, though these images don’t tell us very much.  The MacBook Pro is due for change, so this is probably the most likely of announcements for the next 60 days.

2. A Touch-Screen Mac.  I believe the rumors about the “MacBook Touch.”  The timing seems perfect for this kind of product from Apple and if anyone can pull it off, they can.

3. An Updated Mac Mini.  This one is least likely, but this is a product that is due for some excitement with a design change and perhaps some cheaper prices on Apple’s monitors to create an even more attractive bundle.

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