Analyst Suggest Sony-Apple Partnership

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AppleInsider takes a look at Merrill Lynch analyst Steven Milunovich's thoughts on an Apple/Sony partnership.
"Why did Steve Jobs say that Apple and Sony could possibly work together on computers and music? We think Apple could introduce products based on the IBM/Sony/Toshiba Cell processor," the analyst said.

Merrill Lynch believes that an Apple/Sony partnership could form around an iTunes-like iMovies store online using the H.264 codec and streaming Sony and Pixar content; a high-performance Apple workstation using Cell for video editing; or a network-centric TV with computing for handling the next-generation of entertainment feeds.

"Our thoughts represent logical conjecture and are not based on knowledge of Apple’s development plans," the firm cautioned. "Such offerings, however, would put Apple at the heart of the HD and digital consumer revolution and provide grist for further earnings increases and stock price appreciation."
The news was also posted at CBS Marketwatch's daily email newsletter 'Before the Bell', citing that Merrill Lynch has raised its 12 month target price for AAPL to $102/share, up from the previous $85/share.

As of this posting, the current stock price is $88.50/share. Whether related to this news, or as part of the runup to the upcoming stock split at the end of February, Apple's stock price is at the highest level it has been in years.
 

k2k koos

macrumors 6502a
APPLE + SONY = CELL ?

This might be very interesting indeed, and could even give the mac an edge as a gaming platform, if the CELL is going to be used in the PS3, and is also in one form or other being introduced in the next gen Macs, the games could be compatible, and that is good! As Steve said at Macworld, NO MORE EXUSES! :) :)
 

Kreamy

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Jan 2, 2005
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k2k koos said:
This might be very interesting indeed, and could even give the mac an edge as a gaming platform, if the CELL is going to be used in the PS3, and is also in one form or other being introduced in the next gen Macs, the games could be compatible, and that is good! As Steve said at Macworld, NO MORE EXUSES! :) :)
The cell processor presents a problem though - a huge computer type shift that may require rewriting the OS altogether - and probably no bakcwards support unless by emulation
 

nagromme

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May 2, 2002
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It could be BOTH hardware AND content collaboration, in theory. And software from Apple most likely--except that Cell could mean involvement of Sony software developers too.

I'm skeptical about this suggestion--and about Cell in general. It sounds like it could be great, but it's a "maybe."

I am sure that in SOME form the PowerPC/POWER line has a bright future for Apple, though.
 

Gump

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Feb 14, 2005
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Sony is a wannabe Apple.
The entire VAIO line (with all its proprietary parts, right down to the 'Sony only Memory Stick') is just a PC response to the 'sleek' look and feel of Mac with an Video Audio (hence VAIO=Video Audio Input Output) focus, also like Mac.
 

JonHimself

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Nov 3, 2004
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At face value I would believe that it is just to compete with sites like Movie Link to sort of expand what Apple offers.. maybe? That seems pretty logical. Apple could then create an iTunes-esque program to organize your movie files. (If they already have this, can someone tell me.. I'm still without a decent video program that can organize my movies, tv episodes etc)
BUT a deal with Sony, in my opinion, would seem like it would lend itself to developing an OS for cell processors... I believe that was already a rumour about that happening, perhaps this is just more evidence to support it?
 

TrenchMouth

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Nov 21, 2002
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i cant imagine Apple truely benefiting from the Cell chip. They could benefit from some of its design which IBM will use in creating new POWER chips, but the Cell itself has its purpose already, and for Apple to change game plans to jump on board with a different processor doesn't seem like the best choice either, especially when it doesn't seem as though the Cell is going to spin off a line of future CPU's. You think Apple would have jumped on board with the 601 if there were no plan for its successors already?

Again, the design is cool and it can be used else where. Why go to it when it can come to you? And since we havent actually seen it do ANYTHING i would be a little more cautious.

Partnering with Sony sounds nice. Their PC business isnt all that hot, and it would open the door for Apple into other markets. But then again...Apple is doing quite alright on its relative own right now. I am sure Apple has its finger on the pulse of the direction of the future. They have been doing well for a while now, they should be spending even more on R&D. I am satisfied with that...for the moment.

iMovies....h.264, that could rock my socks however. Buy the movie and DL form a number of options, iPod to TV size (DVD resolution) or full on HD (play on your computer or HD TV).
 

FaasNat

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Aug 30, 2002
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I guess if Sony partnered with Apple, they would just succumb to the iTMS and not go with their own?
 

tsunake

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Mar 6, 2003
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Kreamy said:
The cell processor presents a problem though - a huge computer type shift that may require rewriting the OS altogether - and probably no bakcwards support unless by emulation
Uh, see, the reason this speculation has any gravity to it at all is that the Cell processor includes a POWER derivative central core, including Altivec. It has been simplified and will benefit from compile-time optimizations, but it will execute PPC code just fine. Of course this means that no emulation will be necessary to use a Cell processor. However, software will need to be written to utilize the Cell's vectorized processing elements. These could easily support CoreImage/CoreVideo, instantly allowing software that utilize these libraries to benefit from the Cell processor's unique design.

While use of the Cell processor would certainly catalyze a shift in software design, it would not require software to be modified. It is innovative and powerful, but fundamentally compatible with the existing processor architecture.

edit: Imagine having real time effects in FCP that are 10 times faster than what is currently possible, or blindingly fast HD video encoding. These are the kinds of situations in which the Cell processor will excel. It would be a radical addition to the platform, but could provide an enormous leap in the video/audio processing ability of the Macintosh. Successfully supporting the Cell processor on the Macintosh platform could be a major coup for Apple.
 

Silencio

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Jul 18, 2002
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Normally I would be very dismissive of any future product theories that stock analysts just pull out of thin air. But Steve Jobs really did say "Maybe even computers and music..." on-stage at MWSF when talking about Apple's working relationship with Sony.

I don't see CELL running a full-fledged Macintosh due to the lack of an Altivec unit. But it would be interesting if Apple could develop a lighter-weight version of Mac OS X geared towards home entertainment to run on that CPU. I always thought that if Apple licensed Mac OS X to anyone, the most logical partners would be IBM for the enterprise and Sony, although Sony's desktops and laptops already overlap Apple's existing markets a bit too much. Doing an OS specifically for a CELL-based set-top would get around that nicely.

Very interesting times. A seismic change in entertainment/technology is coming in the next couple of years. No matter what happens, Apple is very well positioned; in fact, the odds are good that Apple will be the most important player driving those changes.
 

DPazdanISU

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Mar 15, 2004
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I don't know if anyone posted this idea yet but doesn't it seem logical that apple and sony are working together to include itunes music store/maybe movie store too... into the next playstation 3. This would make the playstation a serious media player for not only kids but for adults as well, further increasing their sales (because the rents r the ones buying them). This is the year of HD and sony and apple might be coming out with some HD downloadable movies for your p3- To me this is logical because apple dominated the music download sector and they can easily do so with movies for their H264 coding is the s*** ;)
 

FaasNat

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k2k koos said:
This might be very interesting indeed, and could even give the mac an edge as a gaming platform, if the CELL is going to be used in the PS3, and is also in one form or other being introduced in the next gen Macs, the games could be compatible, and that is good! As Steve said at Macworld, NO MORE EXUSES! :) :)
Yeah, it would be cool if you could play PS3 games on OS X with a PS-type USB controller or something. Reminds me of the Connectix Virtual Game station days.....
 

dashiel

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Nov 12, 2003
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this is just idle speculation. the guy is just reading the same web sites we are and regurgitating it. it was rather scary when they were using think secret as a reference before macworld this year, but this is downright negligent.

i'm not sure what's worse, uninformed analysts predicting the imminent demise of apple, or uninformed analysts making highly speculative claims based on one apple fan's research.

as for a sony/apple partnership. there's a lot of coincidental evidence out there (the cell, sony pres on stage, h.264, etc...) but it's just that at this point. trotting the sony ceo out on stage to show off the HD camera, may have been just that, apple has done it before.
 

coolfactor

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Jul 29, 2002
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Kreamy said:
The cell processor presents a problem though - a huge computer type shift that may require rewriting the OS altogether - and probably no bakcwards support unless by emulation
The PowerPC architecture is at the heart of the CELL processor.. that's why there's so much speculation of Apple adopting this processor... it should run OS X with minimal changes.
 

gekko513

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Oct 16, 2003
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Well, I can think of one common use for the Cell chip in Mac OS X. Cocoa coordinates are floating point numbers and could benefit from Cells amazing floating point capacities. Perhaps we'll finally see som speedy resizing of windows :)

I'm not really that familiar with the deeper details of the Cell chip and about what the main bottlenecks for the resizing are, though, just a though.
 

JJTiger1

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Apr 2, 2003
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... sigh :rolleyes:

another month, another Sony - Apple rumor.

What is it this time? Apple buys Sony, Sony buys Apple?

Apple buys Sony music, Sony buys Apple music?

Next thing you know: Apple will be considered IBM compatible. :p

... wait a minute, The G5 does have the IBM chip !!! :eek:

Does that mean that Windows machines are no longer IBM compatibles? :D
 

relimw

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May 6, 2004
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sworthy said:
Actually, it's APPL's highest level EVER :D
You should really check your ticker symbols before you post. Apple's ticker is AAPL. In case anybody is going to run out and buy some stock :)
 

VincentVega

macrumors regular
Jan 26, 2004
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How reliable is this "analyst"? I keep seeing him and his ilk pontificating about all sorts of things but I have no idea whether they're just guessing or whether there's method behind their madness. I remember one such individual said "Oh, Apple won't be releasing a photo iPod until 2004" and about two weeks later (still in 2003), guess what comes out - the iPod Photo! What an astute piece of analysis - he really earned his salary that month.

To me, it just looks like he's speaking the obvious (gosh, Apple and Sony, working together, just as Steve said in January, how very surprising!). What'll he come out with next "Apple will upgrade the iPod mini, release some new Power Macs in a couple of months and launch a Powerbook G5 towards the end of the year or early 2006"? Well, duh!

An Apple/Sony home entertainment centre (a la Media PC, only miles better) with an Apple UI and Apple industrial design would be nice - perhaps Cell-based.
 

maya

macrumors 68040
Oct 7, 2004
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somewhere between here and there.
SHOCKED, that is the only word and feeling that comes up when I hear this news.

FOOLISH, that is the only word and feeling that comes up when I should have bought Apple Stock when it was $~14.00 USD. And now I hear it can go up to $102 USD. <-- Nah I have no regret AAPL stock is very volatile, just because it is sky rocketing upwards it can take the opposite turn just as quick. I will have to see a stable 3-5 year chart before I even invest in AAPL, this rapid fluctuation is great for the high risk rollers though. ;) :)


This news is still SHOCKING though and Before closing Bell. This is BIG NEWS people, very few companies even make announcements BEFORE closing bell. :eek: :)
 

relimw

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May 6, 2004
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Kreamy said:
The cell processor presents a problem though - a huge computer type shift that may require rewriting the OS altogether - and probably no bakcwards support unless by emulation
Umm, how pray tell?

Prehaps wiser minds have already been through this somewhere before? :cool: