There is No Serendipity on Demand
In all these examples, there's a loop of development, a Tech Loop. The very process of improving the hardware brings new opportunities, and that, incrementally, with passion and imagination, refines the original service to something never before thought possible. In fact, that's how the Internet itself evolved.
It can be expected that, along the way, new hardware in the form of a new device might be needed to integrate or support certain new services. That's called a new product category. That could be an elegant home automation server, a new kind of media server, better home backup than simple Time Machine drives, or, say, a new kind of display or input.
However, by now it should be obvious that Apple doesn't just dream up new hardware, as some companies do, because it can. (Like Google (GOOG).) Instead, the hardware naturally evolves from the foundation of the current Tech Loops and integrates with all of them. Just as an example, a home automation server, built on iOS, could interface to all the iOS devices present in the household and open the door to new services.
All the above is a far cry from the product sequence, so often seen as a demand from Apple:
Macintosh -> iPod -> iPhone -> iPad -> Device "X"
Where Device "X" is some mythical hardware that Apple must dream up now, in magical Steve Jobs style, or perish.
New hardware devices can be expected evolve naturally from the synergy of Apple's current services, operating systems and hardware. As the company addresses fundamental human problems, the current hardware will evolve, just as the iPhone has.
Eventually, when the need arises, a new branch of hardware spins out as a result of all the previous development. As a result, there's no urgent need to pull Device "X" out of the hat, urgently and on demand by observers, in order to meet some fantasy timeline.
At the time of publication the author had no position in any of the stocks mentioned.
This article represents the opinion of a contributor and not necessarily that of TheStreet or its editorial staff.