A new email from Steve Jobs that was published during today’s Samsung lawsuit (via The Verge) has revealed a lot about Apple’s plans for its products in 2011 and beyond. As we’ve previously noted, Jobs referred to 2011 as a year of “holy war” against Google, but this document goes above that and describes how exactly Apple planned to wage this war.
A few choice bits are below, followed by the complete email.
The company was already planning the iPhone 4S (referred to as the “‘plus’ iPhone 4”) as well as the redesigned iPhone 5 at the time, and apparently had models of the iPhone 5 case ready to display. The email also indicates that Apple was already working on an LTE model for launch in 2012—a goal they hit with the iPhone 5.
The email also indicates a need for a low-cost iPhone based on the iPod touch to replace the 3GS as the low-end model. Eventually it seems this plan was scrapped, as the 3GS managed to stick around for quite a while.
2011 Strategy: – “plus” iPhone 4 with better antenna, processor, camera & software to stay ahead of competitors until mid 2012 – have LTE version in mid-2012 – create low cost iPhone model based on iPod touch to replace 3GS – Business & competitive update – show Droid and RIM ads – Verizon iPhone – schedule, marketing, … – iPhone 5 hardware – H4 performance – new antenna design, etc – new camera – schedule – CONFIDENTIAL – cost goal – show model (and/or renderings) – Jony
Perhaps even more interesting is the iOS strategy section, in which Jobs points out areas that Android has surpassed iOS and how the company plans to catch up (or, in the case of Siri, “leapfrog them”). Also interesting: Apple apparently settled on the name “Siri” for its virtual assistant before it named the iPhone 4S—notice how Jobs referred to the device as a “‘plus’ iPhone 4” above.
There are also references to iDisk and MobileMe throughout. This is especially interesting because these services were ended in favor of iCloud in 2011. (“Durango” and “Telluride” below are codenames for iOS builds.)
– Strategy: catch up to Android where we are behind (notifications, tethering, speech, …) and leapfrog them (Siri, …) – Timeline of iOS releases from first until Telluride, including Verizon – Jasper tent poles – Durango tent poles (without MobileMe) – Telluride tent poles (with “catch up” and “leapfrog” notations on each one)
Speaking of MobileMe, there’s an entire section of the email dedicated to that service and its future. In that section, Jobs refers to Google as being “way ahead” in terms of cloud contacts, email, and calendars. Jobs sought to rectify that disparity and add new MobileMe features to help “make [the] Apple ecosystem even more sticky” so that customers would have a harder time leaving.
– tie all of our products together – make Apple ecosystem even more sticky – Free MobileMe for iPhone 4, iPad and new iPod touch – Jasper – Sign up with Apple ID, Find My iPhone – Durango – Find My Friends, Calendar, Contacts, Bookmarks, Photo Stream – April – iWork cloud storage – Telluride – cloud storage for third party apps – iOS backup – new iDisk for Mac
As you can above, Apple’s plans for what we now know as iCloud were originally slated for release as an updated version of MobileMe. There were plans to add third-party cloud storage, iOS backup support, Photo Stream, Find My Friends, and all of the other iCloud features we’ve gotten used to since the service launched. Like iCloud, the revamped MobileMe was also going to be available for free to all new customers.
The eighth point of the email deals with the future of the Apple TV. Jobs points out that new content from sources such as NBC and HBO are needed, and suggests that TV subscriptions could be the future. Overall, however, Apple just wants to keep itself in the living room market.
You can read the entire email below: