Surely we won't have to wait until 2019 for The Next Big Thing from Apple. After the company's recent Earnings Report, I've been pondering what goodies Apple might give us in the years leading up to the Apple Car in 2019-2020. After all, it's all about the product pipeline.
When I think about what qualifies as a new Apple product, I think about Apple's legacy. From what I've gleaned:
- It may not be the first of its type, but it sets a standard in new ways. It disrupts the current ho-hum products. (iPod)
- It fits in with Apple's current family of products and infrastructure. (iCloud)
- It moves the state-of-the-art forward. (MacBook)
- It has broad appeal and can make money. (Apple Watch)
Here's a list (by no means exhaustive) of things I think Apple might do over the next 3-4 years, while we wait for the iCar, that meet those criteria, in no particular order. It's also a chance to point to some interesting articles I ran across during the week.
1. iCloud Time Machine. There are several different services right now that can back up a Mac to the internet cloud. This list makes me think that this is a service that's ripe for disruption by Apple. That's because one has to research, digest, and evaluate the features and security and (generally) pay for the service separately.
Apple could roll this service out in a version of OS X and charge the customer's Apple ID, perhaps as one of its emerging subscription services. The company could leverage off its security policies and its direct connection to customers. Users of other services might well defect for Apple's integration into the OS and peace of mind working with Apple. See, for example, "Apple’s 'first' subscription service paves the way for more."
2. Siri 2.0 as an AI Agent. Right now, Siri (loosely) is generally natural language parser that's connected to a lookup agent. If Siri thinks it has a digestible question, it looks up the answer from data sources.
However, one can imagine an AI agent inserted into the mix that could not only look up information but also become intimate with the user. The issue here is that for the AI agent to be really helpful, it has to know a lot about the user, user habits, the apps, and the data on the device. It's what I call the Creepy Factor.
If Apple could figure out how to deliver an AI agent that protected—and felt as if it were protecting—one's privacy rather than invading it, Siri 2.0 could really be helpful. And it would be a precursor technology of great assistance as the UI in the (rumored) Apple car. It also might be so advanced and so cool, it would be another candidate as a subscription service.
3. A 5G Apple TV with 4K+HDR+DVR. This looks fairly easy and obvious. It seems Apple concluded that 4K technologies were not yet ripe in October of 2015. But in the coming 8-14 months, it's almost certain that Apple will jump on the 4K bandwagon because the industry will have settled on High Dynamic Range (HDR) standards for streaming video.
Plus, the major ISPs are likely to get more on board with 4K streaming and re-evaluate their data caps. See page 2 right here, linked below, for more on that.
One nice feature that I'd like to see added is a terabyte of Flash storage and DVR technology (under license) for recording Over the Air (OTA). That would make it a no-brainer to upgrade from the current 4G model, especially for cord-cutters. It's a splendid idea.
4. Apple Watch becomes a super enhanced wearable. I have a feeling that the Apple Watch is just getting started. Nowhere will advanced technologies make themselves more obvious than in the Apple Watch as it also cuts the "cord" from the iPhone: LTE cell phone, sleep monitoring, blood chemistry (starting with blood glucose levels), Dick Tracy-like FaceTime calls, to name a few. While the Apple Watch 2.0 of 2016 may not set the world on fire, by 2019, the Apple Watch will be an amazing, indispensable must-have.
5. New Kinds of iPhone Displays. I've talked about this before, and so have Dave Hamilton and John Braun in MGG 600 (at 1h 12m). There's a basic problem at hand. We are constrained by our device's display size. If the device is large, it's not very portable. If it's small and portable, it's hard to see fine detail in the display. Solving that problem has to be one of our Holy Grails for the near future.
There might be ways to use certain kinds of optical technologies, perhaps combined with inconspicuous eyewear, to interact with a small device but a big display. For example, if the iPhone could project its display in some fashion in space before us and maintain the user interface (or use Siri 2.0), we might be no longer tethered to physical displays. Whether this could be done by 2020 is a long shot, and it depends on whether Apple has been thinking about this all along or not.
Another concept that's often discussed is the rollout/rollup display. This concept was used prominently in the SciFI series Earth: Final Conflict (1997-2002) It seems somehow un-Apple, but Apple may have its own, better take on a graphene-based rollup display.
I could go on, but that's enough for now. It's time for page 2's news debris—which is a little different this week.
Next page: The Tech News Debris for the Week of April 25th. Will Onerous ISP Data Caps Disappear?