With the iPhone, Apple TV, and a name change, Jobs & Co. are setting a new course for the outfit once known only for its computers
by Arik Hesseldahl SPECIAL REPORT January 10, 2007, 12:00AM EST
If there was anything on the minds of higher-ups at wireless handset manufacturers on Jan. 9, it was very likely what to take for a headache -- a pounding one caused by a new competitor, the company formerly known as Apple Computer (AAPL).
In unveiling a device called the iPhone-the subject of rumors and speculation for years-Apple also officially changed its name, dropping the "Computer" that had been part of the moniker since the computer maker was founded in 1976. At the same time, the newly incarnated Apple stormed into new markets, turning the biggest names in cell phones-Nokia (NOK), Motorola (MOT), Research In Motion (RIMM), and Samsung-into overnight competitors.
The new name and device represent Apple's strategic shift away from its origins as a personal computing company that has at points struggled both to survive and to set the computing world's agenda. The shift was enabled by the five-year-old iPod line of digital media products, which have produced enormous sales and profit growth, propelled Apple into the forefront of the digital media age, and now leave it poised to set the wireless phone industry on its ear. "This is a day I've been looking forward to for two and a half years," Apple CEO Steve Jobs told the capacity crowd at the MacWorld Expo trade show in San Francisco. "Every once in a while a new product comes around that changes everything."SPECIAL REPORT The Apple Economy * Apple's iFuture Depends on Partners * Apple's Chinese Supply Lines * Apple's Wireless Effect * Companies Embrace the Mac-Slowly * Apple Sets the Design Standard * Getting to the Core of Apple's Influence * Apple's Cinema HD Display Has Star Power * iPhone and Apple TV Unleashed * Interactive S&P Stock Report: Apple * The Future of Apple