I know this is supposed to be a PC blog, but on the anniversary of the death of Steve Jobs, many people are wondering what Apple’s next big thing could be. After years of innovation under the leadership of Steve Jobs, Apple’s product innovation has plateaued in recent years.
Yes, new iPhones, iPads, and iPods continue to be released, but they’re all following a similar trend: they’re becoming thinner, lighter, faster, and more powerful. Sure, there are plenty of improvements, but genuine innovation is sorely lacking.
But can a post-Steve Jobs Apple continue to innovate and change the world as it has done over the past decade? CNET sat down with a team of experts in order to answer that question.
Asking the experts
CNET’s experts had a range of opinions about what was coming up next for Apple. Here are some of the key projects that the company could be working on over the coming years:
A reinvention of the TV: Television interfaces aren’t anywhere near as intuitive as the ones found on today’s smartphones and tablets. As a result, both Apple and Google have been seeking to redefine the television viewing experience over the past few years. Apple has Apple TV, and Google has Google TV. But so far, neither technology has seen widespread adoption.
Expect that to change over the upcoming years. TV entertainment is currently in a state of flux, and there is a multibillion dollar opportunity for companies who are willing and able to capitalize on these changes.
Some have even suggested that Apple will design its own TV, as opposed to just create a TV accessory. However, a more trustworthy report claims that Apple is in the process of creating a superior version of the cable box.
Wearable computing: Google is all over the wearable computing scene. However, many have suggested that Apple could revolutionize the wearable computing industry with a flagship product release. Just like the iPad changed the tablet market, the iPod changed the MP3 player market, and the iPhone changed the smartphone market, the next ‘i’ wearable computing project that Apple produces could change the industry in a similar way.
Robots: Apple is seemingly bent on world domination. Is there any better way to take over the world than through the use of robots? Probably not. The name iRobot might already be trademarked, but Apple robots could play a major role in the way society functions in the near future.
The speed bumps
Apple has hit some uncharacteristic speed bumps in recent years. In 2010, the iPhone 4 was widely criticized due to its poor reception when being held a certain way. Apple’s response to that complaint was to “just avoid holding it in that way.”
More recently, iOS 6 drew the criticism of people from all over the tech community. Apple’s rivalry with Google became more important than pleasing customers, and Apple gleefully removed popular apps like YouTube and Google Maps from its flagship mobile operating system. This would be fine if Apple had offered up a superior replacement, but they didn’t. As a result, Apple was forced to issue a rare apology over the debacle.
As the CNET article states, it’s hard to imagine a Steve Jobs-led Apple that would have apologized for releasing shoddy software. In fact, Apple’s apology was more than just an admittance of failure; it was also an admittance that Google was better. After all, in that apology, Apple suggested that its customers use other mapping applications, including Google Maps. Steve Jobs hated Google, and it’s difficult to envision Steve Jobs ever saying that to his customers.
Without Steve Jobs, will Apple continue to innovate and push forward the boundaries of technology? Or is it going to decline over the next decade? The only thing we can do is wait until Apple’s next big product announcement.