Either I’m late or I’m early to Mac360’s Mixed Metaphor Mondays, but either way, it should be easy for Apple watchers, technology critics, and anyone with a little common sense to figure out that our favorite iPhone and Mac maker truly employs Think Different™.
Here’s an example. Apple has about the same number of products today that it had when the iPad was introduced more than five years ago. Yet, the company has boosted R&D spending, sent tens of billions in dividends back to shareholders, bought up tens of billions more of its own stock, and advanced the state of the art in each product line. So, where are all the new products?
Incremental, My Dear Watson
Without question Apple has plenty going on behind the scenes. Watch is new. Watch 2 is coming. Ditto for new Macs, new iPhones, new iPads, new OS X, new iOS, and on and on. But where are all the totally new products?
Apple doesn’t seem to care that the R&D efforts don’t have their own public relations director. What Apple is working on is a secret. Sometimes it’s a poorly held secret, but nothing is for sure until Apple’s executives say it is. That’s discipline, folks. Where Samsung throws products up against the wall to see what sticks, Apple takes a different approach. That brings me to two similar and related topics to Apple’s famed discipline.
First, Kickstarter. This is the perfect reason why Apple says no to more products and innovations than it says yes. Package Guard is a Frisbee-sized device that you leave in front of your door. Whenever a package is delivered while you’re away, the deliverer would place the package on top of Package Guard, which then guards the package from so-called porch pirates; those who would steal a package after it’s been delivered, but before you come back home.
What could go wrong with this product?
Essentially, Package Guard is a very loud fire alarm which activates when someone removes the package from the stand. The device comes with a number of ways to deactivate so you or a neighbor can pick up the package, though I wonder what happens when a thief decides to take your package and Package Guard at the same time. Yes, package theft is a problem, but how likely is Package Guard to deter a thief since they won’t know it’s there until they take the package anyway. It might make the thief run faster, though.
Second, a few words about drones. If ever there was a cool James Bond-like technology it’s a drone; those multi-copter devices which can fly high and sometimes far, carry a camera or a payload to be delivered. The U.S. military uses high powered drones to incinerate terrorists. The uses are many and varied and growing.
Where is Apple’s drone?
Seriously, for a company that takes pride in designing and building its own hardware and software, why doesn’t Apple manufacture and sell their own line of drones instead of selling those made by others? That drones are not a cool use of technology is not an issue. Where the drones fly and what they can do are major issues. What will you do when you are followed by a drone (perfect for a private investigator, no?)? What will you do when a drone hovers over your home? Somehow I think that as the drone craze grows and they become ubiquitous we’ll see people attacking nearby drones. Sticks, stones, nets, counter-drones, drone-to-drone warfare, drone surveillance, and the drone crashes.
Sure, that’s a product line Apple wants to get itself involved in. Uh huh. Right.
Hey, maybe Apple’s HomeKit can have a feature which detects nearby drones, alerts you via iPhone, Watch, or Apple TV, and then you can use an app to pinpoint the drone’s location and send your own drone up to do battle.
Apple has enough problems with government authorities already. There’s a reason Apple doesn’t create hundreds of new products every year. Discipline. Ecosystem. Usability. Somehow a drone battlefield over your house or in a nearby park doesn’t seem like something Apple would want to be a part of. That said, an app on my iPhone with AirPlay to my TV pinpointing a nearby surveillance drone with an option to send up my own drone to follow it and record the whole thing on video with a direct uplink button to YouTube would be cool. Maybe too cool.
The fly that ruins new product ointment is the lack of discipline. In a world where anything goes, then anything goes. Apple seems to understand that the road less traveled often is less traveled for a good reason.