This is part prediction, part wish.
First, a confession: I’m a tech junkie and the worst kind because I know not how it works. I care even less. I appreciate the knowledge and those who know that, er, knowledge. But if the tech isn't simple enough to work for me without having to know it—I don't want it. Be a simple tool and get out of the way.
And that right there should tell you with all certainty: I’m an Apple guy. Since my first fumbles at pagination on an Apple LC in college, I was bought in. I won’t get into the Mac vs PC debate or iPhone vs Android debate other than to say: Don’t start nuttin,’ won’t be nuttin’.
I stick with Apple because throughout most of its history, it has achieved its goals, my goals: To make technology work for me without having to work on it. They allowed me to go paperless since 2003. My iPhone put my computer in my pocket. But as soon as it came out, I said I wanted it to be 8.5’ X 11’—the size of paper—and they built the iPad. I think we know how the iPhone and iPad worked out.
I certainly know what my shares have done.
Now I know it’s been almost five years since Apple changed the world, three years since Steve Jobs died, and everyone thinks it lost its innovative mojo, but I think I know what they’re planning. Or at least, I know what I want them to do next.
CEO Tim Cook has promised some new categories this year. Not just new products, but new product categories. All the talk surrounds an Apple TV. But they’ve said that for years already. And Apple wouldn’t just make a TV unless they revolutionized it. Then the talk moved to ‘wearables’—an iWatch. But if they made some kind of wearable, the least significant thing it would be is a watch.
Lately the tech press is talking about Apple buying Beats Electronics, but that makes no sense either unless, well, maybe.
OK, so I have no track record on this subject, no reason for anyone to take this seriously, but just follow me into the Internet of Things, where all your devices, appliances, screens, lights, water, power, furnace, vehicles are connected to the internet. Right now, everyone is trying to do that individually and that would take forever and be largely useless.
Instead, they should be controllable by a single machine, a home computer aided by the cloud. See, it’s not a TV or a watch or headphones or new iPhones or iPads they’ll make, it’s all of them. And more. And it goes back to Steve Jobs’ old concept of the Digital Hub—one computer, one user interface to rule them all.
Only that computer looks more like a big screen TV and works more like an iPad bringing together all appliances in a giant wifi hub.
I see all these simple appliances we own plugged into simple power receptables. But a new product sits between the appliance and power supply and adds USB ports and wifi (like Airport Express) to connect wirelessly to a home computer as AirPlay does now.
That’s important because it keeps simple machines simple. Appliance makers can build integrated apps to add functionality through a simple operating system. With a wifi hub, the interface becomes consistent. Control these devices through Siri’s voice recognition (presuming it gets better) or touchpad on your new big screen TV, perhaps also by instant connection through secure, fingerprinted and personally verifiable devices like iPad, iPod, iPhone, iWatch or even your (maybe Beats) headphones with always-on open mics.
Last year, Apple bought indoor GPS company WiFiSlam. Perfect for mapping WiFi spots and tracking you through your own house (of course without sharing your movements with advertisers and other nefarious entities like Google and Amazon would.) Your wifi hub follows you throughout the house taking contextual commands—’find me a recipe for beef stroganoff’ ‘add onions to my grocery list’ ‘I want to see reruns of House Season Four’ ‘play Frayed Ends of Sanity by Metallica in the kitchen.’
No more inputs on your TV, program your PVR by voice, program the coffee maker, control heat and lights from anywhere.
And before I take full credit for this, maybe this will be clearer: Have you ever seen Ironman? Well this is where Jarvis weds Siri and creates something only science fiction writers and dreamers can conceive.
I can’t wait. And neither can my stocks.
— Marshall Jones is the editor of Infotel News.