How Steve’s Devices Curtailed Innovation In Smart Devices

February 11, 2013 12:25 pm

Steve’s Devices have been great: they seem so very natural, they empower you like never before, and finally, information is truly in our fingertips. But by selling in the hundreds of millions, this is what they have done to the whole concept of mobile devices: the hardware is overly generalized; all the innovation has been forced to the software layer. Headphones, charging decks and other such kickstarterish stuff are the only exceptions on the hardware layer. You basically build ‘something for the iPad’ – nobody builds ‘the iPad for something’.

So for example, we could have touch screen, app friendly devices with hardware that is specific to professions – we can imagine the commonly used tools by people in those professions getting better, consolidated, networked, and so on. That is an innovation path that looks like our Road Not Taken at this moment – we have tied ourselves to limitations since everything has to be an iOS app or an Android App now.

With half-a-billion iOS devices and more than half-a-billion Android devices on the planet, maybe it is too late to change direction now. But all these strange hardware extensions getting funded on Kickstarter show that there is huge pent-up demand for profession specific smart devices. The iPads and iPhones for many things. An era of profession-specific smart devices is not far away.

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