Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The Real Steve Jobs and the Future of Everything

If you haven't already done so, check out these ads for the soon to be released Apple iPhone. It may or may not become a commercial success, but it is already a big, long overdue step in user interface design. Note: I didn't mention computer interface. Certainly the device is based on a digital computer, synchronized with the internet (more computers) and handles digital information. But what this thing does (if it works as well as it looks) is finally liberate the input device from a keyboard or buttons. The interface mimics buttons, but because it is just a screen, it can be reconfigured to do anything (it's what the Newton wanted to be)

It is no coincidence that Apple came out with the Apple TV earlier this year. That product is not yet fully realized, but will be soon. In two years the US will change its method of broadcast television, effectively destroying the old system. What Steve Jobs is aware of, and not talking about yet, is that this is a opportunity to put together a bunch of existing technologies into a system which will be greater than the sum of its parts. (He did that once already, with the iPod, which is really just one part of a system- iTunes.)

Imagine this: It is the not too distant future. You are sitting at home, in your media center with your display/monitor. It is connected with satellite or cable, the internet (including movies on demand), a hard drive or some other way to store media of all sorts, even your home utilities/security/appliances. All of these things (with the exception of movies on demand) are possible now. You could, with great effort, assemble this system, have about a dozen boxes, scores of cables, and a coffee-table full of remotes.

Or you could have two things, a Mac TV (with monitor) and the iPhone. You wouldn't even need a personal computer! An elegant small device you could take with you, helping you throughout the day, and at home it would also integrate a suite of "intelligent appliances."

For a more technical treatment check this out.

And for a different perspective, you should read this.

By Professor Batty


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