After the New iPad: Apple Has Many Hot-Ticket Items Waiting in the Wings

Really, anticipation is everything

Old news: The new iPad. Who cares about that gaudy slab of metal, silicon, and highly durable glass? So it’s got a pretty screen and cameras that let you film HD video. Who cares? It releases on March 16 and that makes it stale and boring. It’s too close to being something that actually creates revenue for Apple.

Everyone knows that the real fun in obsessively following Apple’s meteoric rise to $521 billion in market capitalization has been in following the scraps of information about what it hasn’t released yet. The new iPad was a whole lot more fun when it was the rumored iPad 3.

Investors addicted to Apple’s latest and greatest goods shouldn’t fret. There is plenty of goodness on the horizon. The year is young and Apple has far more up its sleeves. What’s on the way?

iPhone 5

Of course it’s coming. Like the new iPad, Apple was actually expected to unveil the iPhone 5 last fall. Apple instead introduced the iPhone 4S, which proved to be a sales juggernaut—37 million sold over the holiday quarter, fueling revenue of more than $46 billion—despite being an incremental upgrade over 2010’s iPhone 4. Thing is, Apple really did have an iPhone 5 to release last fall, but it cancelled those plans. The remodeled iPhone 5 is now expected this fall. It will have much in common with the new iPad, namely support of both 4G and 3G networks. The iPhone 5 is also expected to have a new curved shape and it will support near-field-communication mobile payments through MasterCard’s (NYSE:MA) PayPass.

Apple iTV

Last week’s Apple event was disappointing not because the new iPad was underwhelming but because of Apple’s announcement of yet another Apple TV model. Yet another version of the low-earning set-top box was a letdown after months of rumors about Apple’s upcoming HDTV, said to be called the Apple iTV. A smart TV running on the iOS operating system that’s made the iPad and iPhone so popular, the iTV is expected to debut later this year at around $1,499. It will support Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) Skype for video calling. Apple is expected to begin production of the TV by the end of the second quarter.

New iTunes

On the non-gadget side of things, Apple has a number of new products planned. More exciting than the company’s new Mountain Lion operating system, though, is the rumored revamp coming to iTunes. Apple’s digital music and video sales, as well as the iTunes branch of the App Store, will be completely overhauled, with the new interface built to improve interactivity and to better help users find new media they aren’t seeking out explicitly. The last attempt to rejigger iTunes was in 2010 when Apple introduced its failed iTunes social network Ping.

MacBook Pro

Apple’s line of high-end laptops is expected to see a dramatic overhaul before 2012 is out. The MacBook Pro was actually refreshed in October 2011, with the new 13-, 15-, and 17-inch models that included an improved processor and video card. Rumors popped in February, though, that Apple may introduce new MacBook Pro models as soon as the second quarter. These will be even thinner and lighter than current models and run on Intel’s (NASDAQ:INTC) Ivy Bridge CPU.

iPad 4

It’s never too soon to start talking about the next model. Much as rumors about the third-generation iPad started circulating on the Web days before the iPad 2 released in 2010, so too are rumors about the fourth-generation device. Said to be due out in the fall, the iPad 4 will feature more-significant improvements than those offered by the third-generation model with, according to Digitimes, “upgraded hardware specifications” intended to help it trounce competition like the new Microsoft Windows 8 tablets expected out at the same time.

As of this writing, Anthony John Agnello did not own a position in any of the stocks named here. Follow him on Twitter at @ajohnagnello and become a fan of InvestorPlace on Facebook.

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