Thursday, January 31, 2013

New business opportunities for Apple?

Interesting idea about what Apple's core competence is, and what they might do next:
What’s the next act for Apple? Let me start by listing off a partial list of somewhat expensive products that are painful to use, contain at least some electronics, and that would be relatively easy to improve:
  • big-screen televisions and Blu-Ray players (whenever I want to use one the device decides that it is time for it to download and upgrade its software)
  • cable television (flipping up and down through a list of 1000 channels?!?! How is it that an interface developed for a TV with a rotary knob to select among 10 possible channels was ported to the 1000-channel case?)
  • compact digital cameras (a million buttons and menu items, almost none of them relevant to a photographer’s objectives in making a picture)
  • Windows 8
  • Android tablets other than Amazon’s (I have the Google Nexus 7 and it simply cannot hold a charge so it is essentially limited to being plugged in full time; ridiculously poor power management compared to the iPad)
  • automobiles (start with the fact that the speedometer is front an center rather than a moving map; why would I care about my speed if I’m in heavy traffic (which I always am, since I drive in the U.S.) and/or if I am traveling at a legal speed (which the car knows from its navigation system database))
  • houses (even a toilet knows when you’re standing in front of it; how come all of the stuff in a recently built house isn’t smart enough to detect the “nobody is home” case and turn down the heat?)
Apple’s superior profitability seems to stem from the spectacular stupidity of other companies and sometimes industries.
What Apple was good at was forcing the existing channel (e.g. AT&T with the iPhone) to make the changes needed to enable their insanely great game changing technology (said tongue in cheek but only partially tongue in cheek; they really forced some changes at AT&T).  Some of the ideas here would require a similar change in the channel - i.e. cable TV delivery would have to be different or the idea above just wouldn't work.

Interesting thought, though.


Graybeard said...

Here's another one: Streaming video. You have a Roku? Navigation sucks. The oldest cheap-ass VCR or DVR rewinds or fast forwards a bazillion times better. Choosing channels is five steps.

Stone age.

James A. Zachary Jr. said...

The iGun

Old NFO said...

Interesting to see where this goes...

thesouthtexaspistolero said...

Windows 8

.....yeeeeeeeah. That one's so thoroughly fuXX0red that I don't think even the geniuses in Cupertino could fix it. They'd do well to demolish it & rebuild it from the ground up, though.

thesouthtexaspistolero said...

Windows 8

.....yeeeeeeeah. That one's so thoroughly fuXX0red that I don't think even the geniuses in Cupertino could fix it. They'd do well to demolish it & rebuild it from the ground up, though.

Borepatch said...

Nuke it from orbit, Pistolero? ;-)

thesouthtexaspistolero said...

It's the only way to be sure! Especially with THAT festering ball of suck and fail!

knottedprop said...

Well as long as they continue to use child labor everything should be fine.
I suggest the next product should be the iChild useful for sweeping chimneys.

Fred said...

What you're asking for is an increase in "smarts" in everyday devices. Problem is, once incorporating "smarts" begins, designers never know when enough is enough, because when you depend on other people's "smarts" you get assimilated into their culture whether you want to or not.

But, for example, a little learning about what TV channels are regularly selected, and some AI that links to readily available program guides - assuming the TV owner retains control over it and control isn't relinquished to a conehead 2K miles away (e.g. Cupertino or Seattle) - could be a good thing. Or, it could make the device completely unusable. Here's where the idea of user-controllable menus comes up - make 'em as simple or complex as you want. Unfortunately, in each case the maximum complexity option will have to be included, and that will inevitably corrupt the use of the minimum complexity option(s).

(And, why is there no search function in Firefox for bookmarks?)

Ken said...

Interesting you mentioned the Nexus 7. The folks at were gushing over it compared to the Kindle Fire, because of the latter's difficulty in dealing with non-Amazon content.