In his latest
“Future Boy” column for Business 2.0, writer Erick Schonfeld says Apple’s ability to make technology “easy to love” is what the digital world needs right now.
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He said that Apple “for all of its considerable problems and quirks, has a knack for making easy-to-use devices that get the gadget gland pumping overtime.” And “in a world teeming with poorly designed computer products and clunky consumer electronics, we could use a little more of the Apple touch,” Schonfeld adds.
Among Apple’s groundbreaking products he mentions AirPort (which helped “establish 802.11 as the de facto standard for wireless networking”), the Newton PDA (which “clearly anticipated the Palm”), the discontinued QuickTake camera (“the first consumer digital camera to hit the market”), and the iPod. In fact, Schonfeld so admires the latter that he thinks Apple could have a string of successes with a whole line of “i” digital devices.
“Plenty of digital devices — from cell phones to set-top boxes — could be Apple-ized,” Schonfeld writes. “Consider the countless attempts to combine mobile phones with electronic organizers: No one has yet been able to create an all-in-one wireless device that truly clicks with consumers … the emerging digital video recorder market also seems like wide-open territory for Apple. Despite the many advantages of TiVo and ReplayTV, which can store TV programs on a searchable hard drive, they’re still just glorified VCRs … Why not give us an iTV that records television, plays DVDs, and makes it easy to share your favorite downloads with friends on their PCs or PDAs?”
Apple CEO Steve Jobs has denied that Apple has any plans for its own personal digital assistant or TiVO like device. However, Schonfeld says that “the kinds of market-acceptance problems plaguing these devices — which suggest just how hard it is to translate new technologies into objects that people covet and crave — have Apple’s name written all over them.” He adds that it’s “easy to envision” a suite of products like the iPod — iPhones, iTVs, iStereos.
Meanwhile, Business 2.0 wants to know what kind of “i” devices its readers would like to see Apple release. You can check out the poll in the latest “Future Boy” column.