Apple’s Next Big Product Ideas

In today’s highly competitive market, Apple is still one of the most innovative companies in the world at this time. Considering that they are over 35 years old, their creativity should be waning like that of Yahoo, Microsoft, HP, Dell among others. Instead it is never been stronger. So what new products can come out of their product line based on what they have in store for us.

Based on the patents filed, product maturity and development, the following are most likely to be revealed in the next 12 months.

iPhone Nano

Nano iPhoneWould it not be great to use my Nano touch to make calls, and run some apps. Yes, the screen interface is too tiny but hey, the next version of Siri could simply make that voice operated. It would be much easier for most of us to wear our phone on our wrist than carry one in our pocket. For example, when we go running/jogging in the morning.

Sort of like the KITT watch from Knight Rider. You speak into it rather than type/touch the screen.

Siri is a problem today. It is not mature enough. But a revamped version is expected with iOS 6 later this year. Maybe that or a later version will bring us closer to reality of launching such a phone.

The only other downside will be battery life. Can a device this small last a whole day on one charge?

Read more of this post


>Kindle or Paperback?

Kindle or Paperback?

That is the question which my digitally inclined friends and I are pondering. So at our home, we have painstakingly collected close to thousand book personal library. The collection is still growing as we speak as each week a new book is added from somewhere. 

These books are stored in nicely built custom wooden book shelves line the walls of our home including bedrooms. Yet, I have even more books in boxes stowed away in storage. Sadly some of them have to remain there till I find time and money to build more custom book shelves to house them.

But now, with Kindle, iPad and other ereaders, the concept of a home library seems quaint, heavy and expensive. I can fit almost all of my books (they take up over 30+ cartons) of them and many more onto a book reader thinner than the Time Magazine that I get delivered each week. Or is it?

I have my dad’s edition of Charles Dickens novels which themselves are over 50 years old. I have Shakespeare in a special hardbound collectors edition to share with friends. And oh, Homer’s Illiad and Newtons books in Great Books Americana edition. But Kindle have them too and they are all free (atleast at the time of writing this).

Suddenly my multi-room, multi-shelf book collection can now be housed inside a magazine size Kindle.

So is Kindle and iPad the future of book reading? 

Hmmm. Something to ponder.

What happens when Apple goes bust or Amazon no longer exists? What happens to my books bought through electronic medium for e-readers? Will they survive the decades ahead in digital form and can I pass them on to the next generation like my dad shared them with us?

Can iPad books be still the thing to read in say 2030? Or will they be dead along with the technology that housed them? I can still read paperbacks that I bought during highschool (1980s era) without any trouble. Will that be true with an iPad?

History of digital world tells us that we wont have a Kindle in 2030. Today’s “in” and “hot” technology will be lost, old fashioned and forgotten by that time. Does anyone remember Newton from Apple? The world’s first handheld PDA that died unceremoniously during Steve Jobs second coming. Does anyone remember a Palm PDA that once controlled 95% of all handheld market? Where is it now? 

And then, we went through the same crazy world with music. The LPs, cassettes, CDs all replaced and rebought in mp3 format. Yes, we all ended up buying again and again the same song after every so many years. And then the same happened with Videos. My Star Wars VHS collection no longer plays on modern players. Heck, I need to buy HD versions again just to keep the movie playable.

Technology changed so fast that we lost information that we were unable to transfer to the next medium. Palm games and content is not necessarily available onan iPhone or Android phone. I do have my Atari (1982) still with me with the original Pacman, Space Invaders and Astroids. But Atari is defunct and those game cartridges are worthless and not playable on the current hardware. 

So the question really is will my books bought today be usable on a hardware 20 years later?

This is a problem and we need a solution. A workable solution.

The book readers from Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble need to agree on a common protocol to share content. The hardware should be independent of where the books were purchased from. In other words, if I buy something from Apple, it should be readable on Apple hardware or even Barnes and Noble or any other reader that uses the same protocol. Currently, a Kindle book is only readable on kindle (be it on ipad, PC or a kindle hardware). But a Kindle book should be readable on iBooks as well. And an ebook from iBooks should be readable on Barnes & Noble Nook.

Without this collaboration, it is difficult for any serious book reader and collector to move to the digital world.

So till then, I will prefer to buy paperbacks for all the great books that I find in the market and will only occasionally purchase ebooks as I want to pass on the library of books to the next generation to enjoy.

>Apple vs Amazon — Let the Games Begin


Around the turn of this century (21st that is), Apple was getting itself ready to go beyond the highly competitive (and low margin) PC business and into the feverishly controlled and secretive music industry by introducing a tiny cigarette pack size device called an iPod. Driven by 5GB micro hard disk which promised to hold thousands of our favorite songs and could run them for many hours at a stretch was something that we did not even know we wanted. And the industry giants like Sony thought it made no sense and just outright went on an anti-mp3 crusade.

For Apple, it was truly a radical departure from its core business of making computer hardware and software. But with Steve Jobs cunning insight, and ability to see what we want before we know we want it, has turned the company into a media giant. What happened since that day is nothing short of a revolution for the electronic industry. Today, iPods are no longer just music players, they are essential accessories in our lives. It is hard to not run into someone who is not listening to a Podcast, a song, or watching a video, playing a game or gesturizing something on their iPods/iPhones.

What Apple got right and what Microsoft, Google and Nokia don’t get is that Apple is not trying to get into the music or phone business. No, it’s not into a PDA or gaming market either. It is essentially about being a leader in the distribution, use and viewing of digital media using an electronic device preferably a hand-held like an iPhone. Something that Amazon has been aspiring to do with its Kindle devices for the past many years.

Apple with its well and tightly integrated iTunes desktop, store and hand held devices (iPods and iPhones) has created a unique eco-system that is hard to rival or match. Kindle, from Amazon, comes in close with its ability to let users download what they want to read at a touch of a button. However, it still lacks as a complete device in many ways including not letting them run interactive media (like games, videos or even music). It does not support Wifi and still runs on some proprietary mobile data network (making it hard to use outside the USA). And worst of all the display is still black and white. Which is great for reading books but makes a boring display for doing everything else. And oh, it is heavily dependent on tons of buttons as the screen is not yet touch sensitive.

It is touted that within a few months Apple will announce an iMac Touch/iPad, a tablet PC with no keyboard or mouse, but just a huge touch screen. In short, a glorified version of iPod Touch that will probably have built in access to a 3G network (along with Wifi) allowing users to do anything and everything digitally. A device that will take on Amazon at a game that it thought it had created and had a complete monopoly over. Users who are already more comfortable dishing out money at iTunes Store will probably use it to buy/read books, watch movies, share photos and do whatever their heart desires online.

Apple’s strategy of going after the digital content and dominating that space has truly secured their place for the next decade. They are likely to dominate this market place for many years to come while traditional rivals like Microsoft and Google (with Android) will be left behind wondering what hit them. And for Amazon, it finally has a competitor that has its game plan all worked out against them.

The next decade is all about digital content. It will be all online and will be fueled by handheld devices. Apple has already geared itself to that challenge and will likely dominate this segment while its rivals will be once again left wondering what did they do wrong.