As our readers will remember, we have already talked about the well-known auction on wireless frequencies, which will be held on January 16 in America and through which the FCC will assign a spectrum of frequencies previously assigned by US televisions.
We know Google will be in the game; according to rumors revealed by Business Week, another company could participate in the auction and it would be Apple.
Unspecified sources would support Steve Jobs' interest in the future auction and the idea not even implausible: Cupertino has enough liquidity both to reach the minimum amount necessary to participate (4.6 billion dollars), and the figure virtually considered useful to win the 700 MHz portion of the spectrum (9 billion dollars), a frequency that would allow the creation of a capillary network with data transport speed higher than that of Wifi (and of course the cellular network) with the ability to also pass through the walls of buildings.
If we look at Apple's latest moves, the scenario for a descent into the field of networks would be clearly desirable.
Think of the iPhone: Steve Jobs has never hidden his dislike of telephone carriers, defined as little more than "pipes", capable only of offering empty communication routes, which will then be exploited by truly innovative companies with equally innovative services.
It is not for nothing that most of the dissatisfaction with the iPhone does not come from the mobile phone itself, but from the poorly performing AT&T services.
If Apple owned its own network, it would no longer need to enter into agreements with anyone: it could offer connection according to its personal preferences, perhaps with unlimited and free connectivity, basing the revenues totally on the advertising spread through its network.
Undoubtedly Steve Jobs believes much more in wi-fi than in the cellular network, this is demonstrated by his continuous emphasis on the greater speed of wi-fi compared to 2G or 3G networks, the launch of the Wi-Fi Store service and the very nature of the iPhone, designed to give its best with the "hot spots". Then we think of the iPod Touch, the latest born also equipped with wireless technology, also designed to be able to interact wirelessly, but without cellular radio and therefore entirely designed for use via wi-fi. An alternative network could be useful in building new high-performance wireless devices that travel on a proprietary network.
The future horizon may even extend, you can think even bigger, imagining the Apple committed to shifting the center of gravity of its business from industry to services. The Mac, now the main brain of the whole Apple world, would become just one of the many ganglia of a wireless backbone, capable of conveying numerous services and distributing them to all owners of an Apple branded device, if not actually creating a system of network capable of supporting other hardware manufacturers as well, since Appe makes money with its computers and pocket devices, iPhone, iMac, MacBook, iPod Touch and Apple TV would be the main recipients of a series of collective services, no longer only accessible and controllable via Mac, but managed in an independent way, thanks to a simple hot-spot.
A total change of strategy that would fully reflect the forecasts still in vogue today, which see online services as the business of the future. On the other hand, reasoning to extremes, sooner or later all people could have purchased an iPod, the market would be saturated. The services, however, need continuity.
Unlike Google, Apple would also have an advantage at the hardware level, as it already has an installed base of devices, ready to be activated to constitute the junction points between the user and the service. It would also have an advantage at the software level: one of the pride of all Mac users the high integration between all the services offered by Mela, the interpenetration of the solutions, embodied by Mac Os X, operating system that acts as collagen for every kind of experience that can be experienced on Cupertino devices.
A collagen with a Unix heart, a reliable heart that would not struggle to "pump blood" through an even more extensive network, guaranteeing an established and proven reliability.
Finally, think of the .Mac service which, despite the limited success from the day of its birth, seems to be able to embrace the representation of our imaginative lucubrations.
Everything seems ready, only the Net is missing.
Of course, in such a scenario, the imagination also captures problematic aspects, such as Apple's current lack of infrastructures (technical and operational) capable of supporting such a project: structures that know how to manage the customer as they never have. , know how to offer services and maintain them satisfactorily.
Apple would then need to rely on other more experienced companies in the sector, such as Ericcson or Alcatel, above all to meet the latest requests from the FCC, born under pressure from Google and other companies: the assigned spectrum will have to guarantee net-neutrality. allow the transit of services offered to all, regardless of the devices used to access them.
This means that Apple, as mentioned, should ensure its services not only to its ecosystem, but also to Microsoft's Zune or the future GPhone (if ever there will be) of Mountain View or to the online services promoted by Wal-Mart or Amazon … in short, access to the network must be for everyone.
Not to mention the change of strategy, which would see Apple no longer as a company capable of shaping the new and engaged in the creation of highly attractive gadgets, but could lead to a transformation towards a mere service provider; what some would call without hesitation a distorting of the Apple itself.
Finally, the international implication should not be forgotten. Apple in the US would have the 700 MHz network. But abroad? What would become of the products to be exported to Europe or Asia? How would they be supported in these areas? Apple should either create similar networks by spending billions and billions of dollars (hoping to find frequencies) or produce different devices, set up different strategies, which seems unlikely in both cases.
As is evident, the scenario that could arise, if Apple were to really take the field, leaves room for both great development prospects and clearly marked question marks.
Pending next January 16th, we can continue to give vent to our imagination; after which facts will take the place of thoughts.