Back to the Future: Apple iPod Predictions from 2005


How Business 2.0 got it all wrong and all right at the same time

Five years ago, Business 2.0 ran a cover story on the future of Apple.

Based on the Apple's product line at the time and the company's innovative history, the magazine made some bold guesses about where Apple was headed.

But what Business 2.0 saw as separate components, Apple saw as an integrated whole.

As it turned out, the least-likely Apple product predicted would be the one that would have it all.

Here's what they came up with, in the order of likelihood to come to market..

1 The Wireless iPod Likelihood: Virtually Certain

"If there's anything close to a dead-bang sure bet on what Apple will do next, it's a wireless iPod."

The magazine was certain that WiFi was the magic that would connect the iPod to iTunes.

2 The vPod Likelihood: 75 percent

"(Steve) Jobs has repeatedly argued that video doesn't make sense on a portable device."

Business 2.0 believed that Jobs was using disinformation to throw the media off the trail of the inevitable video iPod.

3 iHome Likelihood: 70 percent

"What's clearly emerging from Jobs is a vision of the home network that is an entertainment network."

Maybe Apple TV is as close as they came to this.

4 iPod on Wheels Likelihood: 60 percent

"Eventually the iPod will wirelessly communicate with the car, providing an iPod-like (dashboard) interface that handles not only music but also addresses calendar information, and even a navigational system."

Many car manufacturers have iPod interfaces but this hasn't exactly been the most exciting development for Apple's music player.

5 iPhone Likelihood: 50 percent

"An Apple phone's functions could be accessed hassle-free with the iPod's scroll wheel, and the numbers could work with a slide out keyboard or a simple touchpad system on the screen."

What Business 2.0 gave only a 50/50 chance has become the central component of Apple's business model.

Today's iPhone

Will there even be a classic iPod five years from now?
The iPhone and its cousin the iPod touch make some wonder whether the classic iPod has a future at all.

In addition to making a call, the iPhone can download music anywhere, play video, turn off your lights at home and unlock your car.

Business 2.0 had a pretty good fix on Apple's future. Steve Jobs just pushed the envelope and put all the goodies in one package.

While the magazine's prediction of the iPhone of the future wasn't dead-on, it was a sight better than this one:

What happened to Business 2.0 anyway?
The excellent magazine, Business 2.0, folded just two years after this article was published.