Should Apple Shoot For The Moon?

In the absence of major catalysts, and fueled by an impatient investing public and customer base, the rumor mill has ceaselessly churned out headlines about the future of Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL). Every branch of the company’s future has been predicted by one analyst or another: whatever Apple’s next step is, someone’s probably called it already.

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This type of speculation is predicated on Apple’s historic ability to define a product space with new technology, and then dominate the market long enough to repeat the process. This was a pattern that the company established with the iPod, iPhone, and iPad. Everybody’s made a guess at what the next device will be based on leaked data, supplier checks, industry trends, and any anecdotal evidence within arm’s reach.

With every reasonable idea thoroughly vetted by the public, curious observers are reaching further and further for possible tips. While investors won’t know what the product will be until the launch — at least not without forcing someone to violate an NDA — they can take a look at who could be working on that technology for Apple…

The next best thing to knowing what somebody is up to right now, is knowing what they did in the past. Looking at past performance for top executives is nothing new for many investors. Often times, the right leadership is the deciding factor in a company’s success or failure.

This conversation has surrounded Apple ever since Tim Cook took over. There’s also been a lot of conversation about Jony Ive, the man behind much of Apple’s iconic design characteristics, and how is presence at the company will affect its upcoming products, and the success of those products. Writing for Bloomberg Businessweek, Ashlee Vance invites John Morrell to this table of Apple executives to think about.

Morrell was one of the leading engineers behind the Segway and was on tap to become the director for Yale’s Center for Engineering Innovation & Design, but decided to devote his efforts to the Apple corporate machine instead. It seems reasonable to assume that if Morrell was willing to give up what was clearly a sweet gig at Yale, Apple must have offered him some awesome projects to work on.

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The Bloomberg article suggests that Morrell — and a handful of other ex-Segway honchos now working at Apple –could be working on a “moonshot,” something by definition more daring, and perhaps more revolutionary, that market expectations.

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