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.
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.