What new directions should Apple explore?

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014

With such a formidable array  of talented engineers, designers and creatives and their current range of state of the art products, not to mention a great pile of cash, where next? Watches are 'so yesterday', unless they can relate closely to our ever evolving needs. Desktop machines are likely to continue to be needed, but with much greater power, interactivity, connectivity and productivity.

The interconnectivity of iPhones, iPads and  Mac computers is already at the 'useful' stage. How far could this go?

The current decline and difficulties that Microsoft are encountering illustrates the difficulties that companies can get into if they do not place their products in relation to ever changing customer needs.

 

What do you think?

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 46
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,827member
    greatrix wrote: »
    With such a formidable array  of talented engineers, designers and creatives and their current range of state of the art products, not to mention a great pile of cash, where next?
    Well expand the IPad line up but that is really trivial.

    I would really like to see them come out with the often discussed XMac. Yeah I know we keep hearing that the desktop is a declining market but it is still a market.

    While some might object to this idea i'd like to see Apple offer One or Two models of an audio receiver. it would have to work with the "I" devices well and ideally would also act as a server. With todays electronics it should be fairly easy to fit a receiver with multiple channel support into a 19 inch package along with the hardware to support its server duties. Here the server storage could easily be plugged into the receiver if need be. Also Apple TV functionality would have to be built in. Effectively this becomes a media center controller into which you plug in speakers and a video screen of some sort.

    I'd really like to see them take a crack at the education market. Lets face it Mac OS and IOS are nice but they don't by themselves do much for education. Here I'm thinking both mainstream and technical content. I'd even go so far as to suggest that they recycle IPhone controller boards as an educational platform along the likes of Arduino and similar platforms that spark technical creativity in people of all ages. The only problem here is that this would require an open operating system to really work.

    I'd like to see Apple expand its AI work. Siri is an interesting start but we need AI locally on our devices. The AI should go off device as needed but it is rather silly that Siri goes back to an Apple server to set an alarm. Even speech to text should be handled locally.

    It would be nice to see Apple get involved in robotics. It is still early in this industry and getting costs down isn't simple like it is in the semiconductor industry. However I believe that Apple could easily offer up useful robots for the home and office.

    Watches are 'so yesterday', unless they can relate closely to our ever evolving needs.
    I dont get watches either. Back when trains where the major mode of transportation they where status symbols with positive connotations. Today they are just as likely to indicate that somebody with mental issues is near by.
    Desktop machines are likely to continue to be needed, but with much greater power, interactivity, connectivity and productivity.
    The interconnectivity of iPhones, iPads and  Mac computers is already at the 'useful' stage. How far could this go?
    Actually a lot farther.
    The current decline and difficulties that Microsoft are encountering illustrates the difficulties that companies can get into if they do not place their products in relation to ever changing customer needs.

    <span style="line-height:22px;">What do you think?</span>
    MS has many problems none of which I see at Apple so I'm not too concerned. Apples biggest problem right now is outlandish attempts to damage the company and manipulate its stock. This can be seen in the latest mantra directed at Apple that they can't innovate anymore. This is highly laughable in light of all the technology in the new iPhones.

    So the real issue with Apple is that some of these attempts by outside instigators actually have the impact they are gaming for and do damage the companies reputation, market creed, coolness or what ever factor seems to fit.
  • Reply 2 of 46

    A great response. The suggestion that robotics might be a new direction is a good one. Thanks for that. I hope there are lots more ideas to come.

    greatrix

  • Reply 3 of 46
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,827member
    greatrix wrote: »
    A great response. The suggestion that robotics might be a new direction is a good one. Thanks for that. I hope there are lots more ideas to come.
    greatrix

    The forum has bene a bit dead of late. That seems to happen around back to school time. Soooo ideas may be slow in coming.

    The other thing is that there are far more complainers than doers. Generating new ideas isn't always easy.
  • Reply 4 of 46
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post





    The forum has bene a bit dead of late. That seems to happen around back to school time. Soooo ideas may be slow in coming.



    The other thing is that there are far more complainers than doers. Generating new ideas isn't always easy.

     

    It's mostly because every year Apple releases the same things with faster this, better that... It's nothing new that we don't predict in this community. We had the Mac Pro in our minds months before it was released just envisioned it as a G4 Cube, the iPhone 5S and 5C already leaked for us even if the rumours were right from the start, it's not exciting like it used to be. I really think it's something psychological happening at a mass scale that's causing people to loose faith in Apple. We have a new keynote coming and I already know what's in store. The Mac Pro, the 4th iPad, the iPad Mini with a retina screen, and an Apple TV UI refresh to accompany iTunes Radio, and maybe some upgrades to the Macbook lineup but I'd doubt it with the 14nm Broadwell's coming out next year. Until they get their act together and start making things better... say a battery that lasts longer than 3 days on iDevices and charges in seconds I won't be interested in looking at Apple. They need to start innovating again... Give me something that I really want. Like a flying car that drives itself or OLED screens on iPhones, iPods, and Macs.

  • Reply 5 of 46

    Great thread. On another forum, I started a thread where I rejected/challenged the use of the word "smart" when referring to the current crop of phones, tablets and TV's. These are just devices which have more features than the previous generation of devices - but they are hardly (truly) smart. I would love to see Apple charge into the area of artificial or predictive intelligence. And if Apple doesn't do it, I have no doubt that someone will.

     

    Although these tasks would not require a device which was truly "smart" (only capable of reacting to specified if/then conditionals), here's a portion of the post that I made elsewhere:

     



    Siri, start my Jaguar at 6:15AM M-F if I'm at home and if the temperature is below 32 degrees.



    Siri, instead of the Jaguar (RWD car), start my WRX (AWD car) at 6:15AM M-F if I'm at home and if there is more than 3 inches of snow in the 24 hour forecast for a 100 mile radius of my home.



    Siri, start the coffee maker at 6AM M-F if I'm at home and at 10AM on Saturday and Sunday if I'm at home.



    Siri, send me one alert each, on the day before, for all of the birthdays that are in my contacts list - for my mother and my girlfriend, send me daily alerts beginning a week in advance of their birthdays.



    Siri, when I am departing my home location, five minutes after I have left, adjust the thermostat to 78 degrees in the summer and 60 degrees in the winter. When I am within 10 miles of my home, traveling in the direction of my home, adjust the temperature to 72 degrees in the summer and winter.



    Siri, always record any TV show with "F1", "Formula One", "GP2", "Le Mans", or "sports car" in the title/keyword section. And add 1 hour to any live broadcast. Never record a show with the word "Kardashian", "Jersey Shore", "Snooki", "Lohan", "Real Housewives" or "Palin" in the title or keyword. And if anyone other than me attempts to watch such a show, say the word "stupid" 8 times and then change the channel to the History Channel after 30 seconds.



    Siri, send me alerts, until I respond to the alerts, whenever the stock ABC reaches a low of $29 or a high of $39 or when XYZ reaches a low of $44.49 or a high of $68.76.



    Last task, Siri: on the morning of my birthday every year, tell me that Salma Hayek and Sofia Vergara called to wish me a happy birthday, while they were frolicking together in a hot tub on the French Riviera - and they wished I could be there. Note: if you detect my girlfriend's iPhone within 50 yards of me, do not deliver this message until she's left the state.
    Thanks, Siri. You're a doll.

     

    -------

  • Reply 6 of 46
    g-newsg-news Posts: 1,107member

    After Apple has successfully conquered our offices, ears and pockets, it's time to conquer our living rooms.

    The iTV or whatever it may be called is a logical consequence of all the products we have so far that are perfectly interacting with each other. AppleTV was a start, but looking at what the TV industry has to offer currently, especially from a usability point of view, there is a lot, and I mean a LOT of room for improvement.

  • Reply 7 of 46
    marvfoxmarvfox Posts: 2,275member

    Maybe one day Apple will start to introduce a television which might compete with Samsung. Wishful thinking anyway.

  • Reply 8 of 46

    Home Automation. 

     

    The industry has done absolutely nothing worthwhile IMO.   Too many standards  (Zigbee, Zwave, Insteon etc) and clearly not enough interoperability. 

     

    If we really expect sensors to become a big thing then the glue is going to be software that ties these elements together in a way that your grandpappy could install. 

     

    Airplay Services could encompass FaceTime like video tech for cams,  beefier Airplay routing (a la Sonos …synchronized) door locks, Thermostat control, and other connected devices.  iBeacons could evolve so that I could configure triggers when I enter rooms or locations of my home. 

     

    Wearable items just don't have that much latitude in the real world.   I don't wear my Nike Fuel Band anymore and my gf doesn't wear her Up.  They become too cumbersome and yet another device to manage. 

  • Reply 9 of 46

    Apple should build a real babelfish device that doesn't need an internet connection, i.e. build it into iOS.

  • Reply 10 of 46
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

     

    Home Automation. 

     

    The industry has done absolutely nothing worthwhile IMO.   Too many standards  (Zigbee, Zwave, Insteon etc) and clearly not enough interoperability. 

     

    If we really expect sensors to become a big thing then the glue is going to be software that ties these elements together in a way that your grandpappy could install. 

     

    Airplay Services could encompass FaceTime like video tech for cams,  beefier Airplay routing (a la Sonos …synchronized) door locks, Thermostat control, and other connected devices.  iBeacons could evolve so that I could configure triggers when I enter rooms or locations of my home. 

     

    Wearable items just don't have that much latitude in the real world.   I don't wear my Nike Fuel Band anymore and my gf doesn't wear her Up.  They become too cumbersome and yet another device to manage. 


     

     

    This is the direction that I'm looking forward to. And not just basic home automation but, as I detailed in my post, conditional or "smart" automation. I'm hoping that the new 64 bit processor in the iPhone 5S (and the new iPad?) moves us closer to this. And having Siri and the cloud services "mature" would also be necessary.

  • Reply 11 of 46

    The trouble is, Apple still is in the thrall of Samsung when it comes to making the stuff. Will the Apple TV, when it arrives, be made on a Samsung production line?????

    Greatrix

  • Reply 12 of 46
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,827member
    Interesting post! Must have missed it three days ago, to much home repair.
    hmurchison wrote: »
    Home Automation. 

    The industry has done absolutely nothing worthwhile IMO.   Too many standards  (Zigbee, Zwave, Insteon etc) and clearly not enough interoperability. 
    Zigbee is more of an industrial solution from what I can see. Of course that doesn't matter as it can be repurposed just like WiFi was never initially thought of as a home solution.
    If we really expect sensors to become a big thing then the glue is going to be software that ties these elements together in a way that your grandpappy could install. 
    Possibly but what are the benefits for the average home owner? Before you can have a successful product you need to have a problem people want solved. This is the problem with the home automation industry, many people simply don't want an automated house what ever that means.
    Airplay Services could encompass FaceTime like video tech for cams,  beefier Airplay routing (a la Sonos …synchronized) door locks, Thermostat control, and other connected devices.  iBeacons could evolve so that I could configure triggers when I enter rooms or locations of my home. 
    You may like such but honestly what does most of those functions provide for the average user? Further will you be able to get people to buy into such devices in the large.
    Wearable items just don't have that much latitude in the real world.   I don't wear my Nike Fuel Band anymore and my gf doesn't wear her Up.  They become too cumbersome and yet another device to manage. 

    Exactly! This is what often happens with home automation, it is nice to play with for a bit but after a month or two it is no more useful than more conventional approaches. So if you have a choice between a thirty dollar thermostat with set back capability and a $300 dollar smart thermostat which way do you go. This especially after a little self evaluation of your real desire to access that device from anywhere in the world.

    Remember we live in a world where almost nobody had the clocks set right on their VCRs. You need a compelling reason for people invest in these automation products plus they need to have the willingness to fiddle with them. I just see home automation as a bigger uphill battle than you imagine, most people see their homes as a refuge from modern day problems and a place for relaxation.
  • Reply 13 of 46
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,827member
    Not a bad idea really. As it is Apples iPods have been used in war zones to establish communications with people speaking different languages. This isn't automatic translation of course but that is really out of the scope of today's devices.

    In a couple of other threads I mentioned that Apple needs to move more of the Siri AI onto the devices proper. If they go this route, I see potential in a sort of babel fish functionality. I don't think it would be possible to do it via Apples servers and get the realtime results you want.
    aderutter wrote: »
    Apple should build a real babelfish device that doesn't need an internet connection, i.e. build it into iOS.

    This would require that some of Siris functionality be handled locally on the device. I believe it is in Apples best interest to spread the AI between the device and Apples servers in the future so maybe this functionality would just be an extension to the local AI. The big problem here is CPU power and storage, I suspect a lot of flash would be needed for a real Babelfish device.
  • Reply 14 of 46
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,827member
    greatrix wrote: »
    The trouble is, Apple still is in the thrall of Samsung when it comes to making the stuff.
    People make way to much out of Apples relationship with Samsung. There is little advantage for Apple to switch to low quality suppliers just because they are in competition with one of Samsungs divisions. It can be argued that Samsung is no longer the technology leader when it comes to the foundry business. If that is true, you will see Apple move to another supplier. It may be a partial move too as Apples chip demands continue to soar no one plant will be able to keep up.
    Will the Apple TV, when it arrives, be made on a Samsung production line?????
    Greatrix
    Who cares? Really I don't understand the angst here, Apple will likely go with the best manufacture they can find for the product at hand. Frankly I still have a hard time seeing the value in an Apple TV when they can do a set top box without all of the issues of doing the whole TV. In any event let's be honest here, pop open the back of any TV today and you will find hardware from many manufactures inside. It is the nature of the business, nobody makes 100% of what is inside the box anymore.
  • Reply 15 of 46
    Originally Posted by greatrix View Post

    The trouble is, Apple still is in the thrall of Samsung when it comes to making the stuff. Will the Apple TV, when it arrives, be made on a Samsung production line?????

     

    No, because Apple’s not wasting time on a television.

  • Reply 16 of 46
    Truly, and I know it may be a far way away, but what I want is the real iHome. Air conditioning, lighting, television, refrigeration, really anything in your home that can be programmed. I'm ready for an Apple Home. All I can say is, someday.
  • Reply 17 of 46

    Apple needs to do tv, cars, and home automation.  

     

    I know Apple has their Apple tv but they need to move from hobby stage to full blown cable replacement.  They need live tv for sports and news and they need to offer shows a la cart.  I could see 99 cent per hour show or something like that.  Maybe let us choose whether we want commercials or not.  That could lower the price  quite a bit.

     

    Cars are a no brainer.  Cars need to make slots for iPads and iPhones.  You just insert your device and run the app for the vehicle.  You take the app when you get out of the car.  Car companies can then just create the i/o and the software and let Apple do the computer side of things.

     

    For home automation, I had always been a skeptic until I was trying to make my new cabin more energy efficient.  In sizing generators, solar panels, and all the appliances, it hit me how important having smart appliances really would be.  It is really important that appliances talk with each other, know typical daily usage, typical temperature changes, etc and schedule which appliances get the electricity when.  If the appliances, hot water heater, air conditioning, generator, etc all talked, they could cut our electricity needs quite a bit. 

     

    By smart appliances I do not mean $300 extra per device.  It should be more like $50 per device.  But this would save lot more money in the long run.  This is the killer app for smart appliances, not knowing when to order milk in the frig.  

     

    I don't want is my frig compressor turning on when my hot water heater is working as my dryer is working as my toaster is working as my microwave is working as my AC kicks on as I turn on a light.  One needs a huge generator to handle that load.  However, if all the devices talk to each other, they could schedule when they kick on and off and balance the load.  This would not only help a local generator but also the whole electric grid.  They would have a lot less peak needs and a steadier demand which could lower their supply.

     

    In addition to these three areas, I would love to see Apple get into security type systems - home, car, other significant gear.  Steal my car and I know where it is at.  Break into my home and I get instant notification and video.  Find my iPhone is already in that direction.

     

    Also, I would love to see Apple do more software - Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver alternates.  I love Pixelmator.  Don't tell me Apple could not buy them out and make it a full-featured replacement.  Free me from Adobe and don't let them hold Apple hostage.

     

    And bring back iWeb but make it a consumer level app and a pro level app.  Easy forums, web store, mercy account tie-ins for the pro level app.

     

    I would also like to see Apple release an accounting program for businesses and make the source code available to programmers for customization.  Do this accounting app for low cost and they would have businesses leaving Microsoft in droves.

     

    Apple also needs to move their OS to a full metadata based system and bring back OpenDoc.  They already have most of the pieces to do this.  In fact, it would surprise me if they aren't doing this already piece by piece.  It didn't work in the past but we have enough processors, RAM, and core libraries to do it now.

     

    I also would like to see Apple get into DMW lighting, video switchers, and audio mixers. Final Cut X has the code to do the video work, Logic X has the code to do audio work, and DMX is even easier.  I would love to see Apple embrace the professional production world and step on the rest of Avid's toes.

     

    Apple needs to expand iTunes U into a full blown education place that replaces most brick-and-mortar schooling.  They made the music stores and video rental places extinct, why not traditional schools?  The sooner we get government out of this area and let the market place/parents run things the better.

     

    Apple has lots of room to grow, but only if they are willing to embrace these areas.  Some are consumer areas and some are pro areas.  Some are hardware, some are software.  But all touch on areas Apple is already involved in.  Apple needs to embrace their destiny and do what needs to be done.  If they don't, they form a barrier to others who see the potential is all these areas.

  • Reply 18 of 46
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    Originally Posted by visionary View Post

    Apple needs to do tv, cars, and home automation.  

     

    [rest of post]


     

    Until I get a large enough power drill, you’re probably the living-up-to-est of the usernames here.

     

    By smart appliances I do not mean $300 extra per device.  It should be more like $50 per device.


     

    I mean $0 extra per device. I should be upstairs in my home, listening to music on my house’s speakers and the music should fade out and Siri tells me the oven’s preheated. I should then be informed when said baking is done. Same with (dish)washer/dryer. Same with the furnace filter. The HVAC system should also be at least as intelligent as the Nest. Combine that with your power ideas and we might have something big.

     

    Free me from Adobe



     

    And I don’t care how this sentence ends; it can only be agreeable.



    The rest of your stuff, I dunno. Seems like Apple shouldn’t get into the accessories game. Years of printers, cameras, and assorted junk don’t make me feel very good about Apple trying to do something better than the guys already in the audio game, for example.

  • Reply 19 of 46

    Here's the problem with audio.  

     

    Apple does a great job with their digital audio workstation (DAW) Logic X.  They sell it for $200.  

     

    Avid, which makes Pro Tools, Apple's big competitor in audio, sells their DAW for $700.

    Apple is killing Avid and all the other competitors.  Avid is going bankrupt.  Other DAWs are being sold off.  They just can't compete with on price.

     

    The problem is that Apple only does a DAW but their competitors do so much more.  The competitors have hardware surfaces and live consoles.  We musicians need these extras to do our work.   Avid does all these extras but is getting killed off by Apple.  But Apple does not step in and do all the things Avid is doing.  That is why I think Apple needs to expand into these areas.  Apple helps us, then hurts us.

     

    Musicians and audio engineers are afraid the other audio products that we need are going to disappear also.  The companies that have DAWs are the leading innovators.  For example, I have a $25,000 console by a British company.  It really is a PC running Windows encased in a custom mixer with touch screen and audio interface.  The heart and soul of this machine is the DAW-like software underneath.  Apple could repurpose Logic into a live performance app like MainStage, just with more horsepower.  Make it robust and release a slim control surface and let me ditch the $25,000 glorified PC.

     

    By the way, Avid also makes video editors and Final Cut is killing Avid mainly that way.  But the audio side is also a fight.  Apple needs to step in a do the pro thing all the way.  It may not sell millions but it still is profitable.  That hardware and software trickles down to the consumer.  This is the same reasons why car manufacturers do racing.  Apple needs to embrace their destiny.

     

    Back to audio, Apple did have a partnership with Apogee and Euphonix.  But Avid saw this combo was going to devastate them and bought out Euphonix, the company making the slim controller/mixer.  Apple should have bought the company themselves first.  If you look how Avid is now repackaging this Euphonix controller, you can see what Apple should have done.  At the heart of this new Avid system is a PC running Avid's DAW software.  What I wish we had was something similar but with a Mac running Apple's DAW software.

     

    What is really nice is how I could run the same plugins live as I do in the studio.  Heck, even the automation could be used.  Non-musicans might not follow all this but trust me, this is a big deal to musicians, producers, and audio engineers.  There is lots of innovation going on in this space right now and Apple could be eating it all up.  I wish they would.  They understand best how to integrate systems of systems.

  • Reply 20 of 46
    marvfoxmarvfox Posts: 2,275member

    Great to dream.

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