01 November 2011

Steve Jobs Next Big Thing?

Steve Jobs has a penchant for re-imagining an existing idea and making it cool.If he didn't pass on, what would Apple's next thing under his leadership?

Apple re-did the mp3 player with the iPod. And the music industry turned upside down. After releasing the iPhone, Steve Jobs made the company a serious contender in the mobile phone market. The iPad created a market segment that Microsoft failed to do with its Windows Tablet PC when it was introduced years ago.

It's really misleading to say that Steve Jobs invented these. They were existing long before Apple went into it. He just tinkered around with it and made it more acceptable to the public. Let's look at what made these devices "cooler".

With the iPod, Apple introduced iTunes which made it easier to organize music files. The iPhone introduced apps that made it more than a phone. The iPad, well, it liberated browsing from the computer and made the internet accessible from anywhere.

Here's a Forbes video on the seven principles of what drives Steve Jobs:

Given these, what would have been Steve Job's next big thing? What would be Steve's next invention?

Well, we know that Apple doesn't really invent, they re-invent. So the new device should incorporate existing technology. Looking at the last 3 devices, it should be portable, accessible, easy to use, interactive and most specially, cool.

They introduced Siri. A voice based interface module if you think about it. It understands what you say and follows voice commands. Voice commands have been in existence for a long time now so it really isn't ground breaking. What Apple did was improve on it and gave that voice some character. There are also rumors that Apple will get into the Google Map market. Add to this, the core product of Apple, the iMac seems to be in the background all this time.

It would be logical that Apple may make some sort of GPS device. But it limits the device to the car. Nothing really cool about a device that tells you where to go. And there's not much interactivity.
What we're looking for is something that would tie up all these devices together and something from way off left field.

Now, the way I'm looking at it, we just need to add one more existing device, the Roomba, by iRobot and we may be looking at what Apple under Steve Jobs may be planning.

An Apple Droid. A robot that helps you around the house; the electronic butler.

Think about it. A robot that takes care of your house when you're not around. You can tie up all the other stuff like RFID technology to keep track of what's in your ref and catalog your stuff. It can call you in the office or wherever you are if there's something important going on. Even answer your calls and alerts you. With apps, you can have thousands of different uses for it like ordering online for groceries, tell you what's interesting on TV or the movies, and even guard your house at night. With Apple Maps, it can track where you are and tell other family members how long before you get home!

Of course, something like this doesn't have to move around, but what's cool with that? An Apple Droid would be visual. People see it. Can call it. Talk to it.

The possibilities are endless. Plus of course, most everyone has had this dream of owning a droid or robot.

It's like R2-D2! But with Siri technology, you can talk to it and it will interact with you not with beeps and whistles but with actual words. And the growth and development is not just limited with apps, Apple can start producing other devices that will connect and interact with this. Cameras, sensors, even RFID tags. The brain of the operations? Well, the iMac of course. Live in a multilevel house? Well, the cheaper option is if Apple can integrate a rotor/propeller into it then we have a floating/hovering robot that can go anywhere inside. It also can go real expensive and do it like Honda's Asimo robot.

But this is all conjecture. Cost may still be prohibitive. Design should be spot on and Apple can go other ways right now. But the way I see it, the robotic technology is already there. Artificially Intelligent computers may be a decade away. This is something Steve would think about doing. And hmm... what would you name the robot?

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