I recently read the biography that was written about Steve Jobs. He was an interesting character with many positive and negative traits. I applaud his ability to raise his family in a normal neighborhood and his ability to see beauty in technology. The later is what I would like to explore with this post.
Apple transformed the way we listen to music with the iPod, a truly innovative product. The impact that it has had on the music industry and society will be felt for many generations to come. People judge other people by their play lists, movies and the books on their apple devices. The iPod is a perfect example of what I am trying to explore.
What other devices and industries could be energized by simply looking at an everyday thing a different way? Would airlines be able to get more people to fly if they made the flying experience part of the vacation? What if you could take a flight where the plane was less crowded, the drinks were free and you got to sit around a table and talk to the other passengers like you were in a restaurant or bar? Is that not how flying used to be? I recently read an article that compared the service, uniforms and experience that we get today with flights in the 1960’s. I think people would pay more for a gourmet meal and better service.
The automotive industry has been binging back cars from the 60’s and 70’s with some success. The Dodge Challenger has been a big winner for Chrysler and the Ford Mustang has been more successful the second time round. People are buying these cars at a much higher price not only for the improvements in technology but because they are a form of art. They remind us of our youth while delivering all the benefits of newer technology. All this is wonderful, but what about a transportation device like the wheel that you sit inside (Men in black II). Cars really haven’t changed much from the Model-T.
So what else could be improved? The roomer mill says that Apple is about to revolutionize the watch and there were roomers that apple was going to ship a TV with Siri built in. We know that higher resolution devices are here now and going to be more cost effective in the next few years. We also know that OLED displays are going to make it possible for displays to be wall paper thin and flexible. That means that displays can be virtually anywhere.
The segway tried to revolutionize the transportation industry, but it fell short. I think that having another go at transportation would be a good idea but what about the light bulb, the mix-master, the shoe, the glass, the couch, the desk? Almost everything that we see around us could benefit from an art/technology based infusion. What if we had a glass that could determine the type of liquid that it held and automatically heat or cool the liquid to the appropriate temperature. Maybe it would remember your preferences or warn others when they tried to take your drink. Maybe a coffee cup that you cannot loose because it has a built in RFID or WIFI locator.
Pick something and make it better. Think outside the box and don’t let current day technology get in the way. I’d like to hear some of your ideas.
As a side note: We do have to be careful that we don’t sacrifice quality as we attempt to create a cost effective product. Apple had to constantly strike a balance between cost, the vision, the art and the technology and they proved that people will pay more for both quality and art.