Apple has changed the way I use technology for the better in 3 major ways. In the late 1980’s I first used a Macintosh. It was a revelation that changed the way I thought about and interacted with computers. There was no going back. I’ve been a Macintosh user, and evangelist, ever since. That was the first major change they delivered to me.
The 2nd was the introduction of the iPod. Coupled with iTunes it completely changed the way I listened to music. No need to go get a CD if I wanted to hear a song. Think of a track and boom, it’s playing in seconds. Apple devices are still the way I listen to music. I can’t foresee that changing any time soon.
The 3rd major change in technology they provided was the iPhone. This put a powerful computer in my pocket that I actually wanted to use. As a side benefit it was also a phone. iPhone is also my iPod now. I see iPad as an evolution of the iPhone technology. This does not mean I see the iPad as a big iPhone!
Those 3 major technology introductions were spread over the last few decades. Sure they have been tweaked and refined over the years, but the core ideas for the technologies were separated in time. There has been a lot of talk on the technology blogs of late about Apple having to come up with something new and groundbreaking in technology. It seems to me that most of the people talking about this see innovation as entertainment. They often don’t articulate what part of modern life they think Apple could innovate in. They just want something new to talk about. The technology sector as soap opera.
If they do mention something it’s television that usually comes up. I’m not an avid watcher of television. My limited needs are met by current BBC iPlayer services and AppleTV, iTunes in the Cloud and iTunes Match.
I can’t think of any need I have where Apple could make a major difference with a hardware/software solution that would sell the numbers required to make it worth their while. Something in the kitchen? Not really. Household appliances like cleaning robots? Cars? No.
What I would like is more incremental improvements in the areas they currently play. Faster devices with better battery capacity certainly. Retina displays everywhere. Apps from 3rd parties on AppleTV would be good. Better software tools and services linking the devices. More push services based on location to tell me about things happening where I currently located. Better interaction with 3rd party household appliances and cars would be great. Dock my iPhone in my car dashboard and it sets the car up the way I like it if someone else has adjusted any settings. Plus logging my journeys and adding to my daily journal.
So the innovation that I think we need over the next 5 years is in software. Software on the devices, software in the backend systems linking various information sources together, and analytics software so that relevant information is pushed to me.