We're now apparently about a month away from the official launch of Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL ) new iPhone.
The lost/stolen prototype may steal some of the Cupertino thunder, but at least the one thing that everyone can agree on is that the fourth generation of Apple's popular smartphone is going to pack some serious camera upgrades.
There's the built-in flash and improved five-megapixel camera. MacRumors.com is also reporting that the new mobile operating system will support high-def video at 720p.
In other words, Apple may be about to take a serious bite out of the entry-level digital camera market. This is bad news for Cisco's (Nasdaq: CSCO ) Flip and Sony's (NYSE: SNE ) Webby. The front and back cameras -- ripe for video chat and videoconferencing -- would probably dent Logitech (Nasdaq: LOGI ) as well.
It's also pretty much a foregone conclusion that Apple's next iPod touch update will include a camera, because even the cheaper Apple nano is equipped with one.
Naturally, this may hurt plenty of camera companies, but let's bring up Sony again.
Poor Sony. It seems as if everywhere Apple points, Sony happens to be in the line of fire.
- Apple's iTunes offers digital video downloads that sidestep the need for optical discs. Sony sells DVD and Blu-ray players.
- Apple's iPhone and iPod touch -- and now iPad -- play thousands of free or dirt cheap video games. Sony's PlayStation3 console and PSP handheld require brisk software sales of licensed titles.
- Apple's monitors continue to get bigger, and even the iPad is a worthy platform for digital video. Sony sells Bravia TVs.
- Apple's iBookstore program for the iPad is winning critical praise for its colorful content. Sony's e-book reader was already having a hard time against Amazon.com's (Nasdaq: AMZN ) Kindle.
Life would be so much easier for Sony if Apple didn't exist. Unfortunately, it does -- and that seems to threaten Sony's existence at every evolutionary turn.
Will Apple really be the end of Sony? Share your thoughts in the comments box below.