Apple's next dominion: the automobile

Apple's next dominion: the automobile

Summary: Now that Apple has succeeded in the music, smartphone, home and mobile computing, markets, where will it venture next? The automobile.

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TOPICS: Apple
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A guest blog by Alain Grignon.

As you know the products we see coming out of Apple are the result of many years of research and development. Sure many prototype gadgets don't make the cut but those that do take many more years to perfect into a refined and consumable product.

We all know Steve Jobs is quite savvy in seeing opportunities well in advance of the need, even seeing opportunities to create a new need people haven't even thought of yet. Apple TV for instance was launched well ahead of it's time. I think what you'll see next from Apple on that front will really hit a home run, mainly because the time is right.

Now that Apple has succeeded in capturing the music, smartphone (well not quite captured but doing well), home and mobile computing, and soon the TV, where will it venture next?

Not sure many people notice this about Apple, but if you really look at their suite of products, they all have something in common. They all represent a technological extension to Steve's personal passions (music, movies, computing, communicating).

One is missing and I believe this will be Apple's next surprise product which would definitely catch people off guard, to the tune of the first iPod, iPhone, or even the second generation iMac.

Cars!

Car tech is still burgeoning, but moving rapidly, how many cars now have some form of screen and menu system for accessing multiple entertainment functions? Unfortunately, ALL are clunky, proprietary, and limited. I would be surprised if Apple didn't snap up this opportunity for a new techopoly. They've been successful now in cutting deals with well established brick and mortar industries from film, to music, to books.

This would become a new opportunity to leverage Apple's real bread and butter, iTunes. What are people increasingly accessing in their cars? Music? (iTunes) Video? (Podcasts) Radio? (Lala) Think of an Apple made solution for your car, it would do all these things magnificently but in typical Apple style, there would be that pragmatic, added benefit that so far hasn't been explored much in Car Tech... in car diagnostics.

Yes we have gauges, lights, even a compass (feel the excitement!). Apple will come in; build a no nonsense solution, and will leverage its current infrastructure to turn automotive tech on it's head, building in a number of free diagnostics, tools, without mentioning entertainment value and provide it standard in ALL vehicles. What is currently a $1300 add on will be free (subsidized), or cut down to $299.

The irony is, the manufacturer's will all be lining up to sign that dotted line, and Nissan will be first. Add to that yesterday's announcement that GM and Ford are working closely with Google and you can already see battle lines being drawn. It seems the Automotive industry is not blind to its inability to address its clients needs for tech and they've started soliciting help elsewhere.

I was originally giving this five years to come to fruition but judging from Nissan's front and center appearance at WWDC, we may very well see this new product come out much sooner.

Topic: Apple

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11 comments
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  • RE: Apple's next dominion: the automobile

    Nope. Too little volume, not enough money in it. Who are the people who have to be afraid, very afraid, of Apple's next move? Netflix.
    jpdemers1
    • RE: Apple's next dominion: the automobile

      @jpdemers@... Why? Nobody I know is going to switch from Netflix to Apple TV.
      MSFTWorshipper
    • RE: Apple's next dominion: the automobile

      @jpdemers@...

      Unless Jobs is purposely trying to throw everybody off, even he recently declared that TV has too many barriers for Apple to try to dominate that market. Mainly due to the control cable companies exert in that market.
      Tigertank
      • RE: Apple's next dominion: the automobile

        @Tigertank: Not TV. Movies. Apple can do for video what they've done for music. The only difference is bigger files; the only roadblock is dealing for content.
        jpdemers1
  • great

    ..some other gadget people will be fiddling with instead of paying attention to the road.

    User friendly diagnostic tools are a good idea but I don't really see Apple going after this market.

    What would be nice is a wireless connection to itunes that automatically syncs when you pull your car into the garage. Maybe something like this exist already though.

    Either way I see these kinds of things as just another "hobby" market for Apple. I would be surprised if they went after it.
    Tigertank
  • It's called SYNC

    Look it up, Alain/Jason. It's good stuff and does whatever you've just said. And iTunes on cars? Hell no.
    Samic
    • RE: Apple's next dominion: the automobile

      @Samic

      Right! If I am not mistaken the SYNC line integrates both iPod and Zune platforms as well as turn-by-turn directions and a host of other options... Also, a Microsoft product that Ford is using as a base for a growing stack of applications from Google and others... Ford also plans on taking Sync to the cloud in an attempt to "Tech-Out" the Lincoln line. Apple I guess is late to this game...
      apetti
    • RE: Apple's next dominion: the automobile

      @Samic
      As much as I love Apple I also think that Ford/Microsoft are there first with SYNC. Maybe Apple could do something in this area if it was REALLY good, which Apple is capable of, but I just don't know if their going that direction.

      What I have wanted Apple to do is make a car stereo (computer or whatever) that you could just pop your iPhone, iPod Touch etc.. into and have full control (including calling through stereo) with an easy to use interface for the car. But I am still on the iPhone 3G (until my iPhone 4 arrives!!) so I haven't had voice dialing or anything so it might not be that big of a deal after I have that?
      ratz2
  • Uh OK

    I just tried to edit my reply and when I hit save it said "This message has been reported as spam"?

    What the heck??
    ratz2
  • Makes more than good sense

    particularly setting up a wifi or bluetooth network inside a very small perimeter. Currently, a regular car carries about 280lb of cables for electronics, sensors etc... while a luxury car goes up to 600lb. And the nav systems are really, well, not up to the task. They're slow and unpractical, with a good dozen of buttons. I definitely vote for replacing all that crap with one single button and a proper (fast and high res) touchscreen!
    dmendels
  • RE: Apple's next dominion: the automobile

    Apple won't touch autos. Very few people watch video in cars and the kids can use an ipad for that. Not necessary. A re-working of Apple TV will be next with an itunes subscription service. It will also allow you to use apps and facetime on your tv. It will act as a 'hub' for all of Apple's mobile devices and be the base station of the family entertainment center.
    babyfacemagee