There are four clear consumer trends that Apple is poised to take advantage of and for the first time since the birth of the iPad I’m bullish about the company.
Wearables is definitely happening. And what’s more Apple doesn’t need to make the first move here. People are waiting to see what they do. Incidentally, I find it ridiculous that people are calling it a watch. A “band” with a display makes much more sense. I still want to wear my own watch and still will. The entire watch making industry isn’t collectively shitting itself.
Fashion + Technology are becoming bed fellows. In many ways they already are. Both Google and Apple have made some significant hires and before that the fashion set were some of the most keen followers of social media.
Personal data is on the rise. Collecting of data about yourself is common place if only in discrete areas. People are interested about the data they produce on a daily basis and want to model it for their satisfaction - and for bragging rights. Calories, distance walked, food eaten, people met, places been, the list goes on.
Health is on the ascendancy again, in part as a result of the the new access to data that have about our fitness, but also because the success of brands like Nike and to an extent smaller brands like Rapha (Sport + Fashion trend remix) who strive to make fitness “cooler.”
So with it’s mystery new device Apple should be looking to solidify it’s position in the above. A device that doesn’t ostracise the fashion conscious who are already fans of technology. That silently collects data in the background about my acitivities. And finally, one that’s interoperable with any app and is not restricted to Apple’s ecosystem.
Nothing is stronger than an idea whose time has come
Modified from the Victor Hugo’s original French which is actually about armies and other things. I find it particularly relevant to technological trends as well as society, politics, philosophy and alike.
On résiste à l’invasion des armées; on ne résiste pas à l’invasion des idées.
I went to the Paul Klee exhibition at the Tate Modern this week - it’s a great retrospective you should definitely go - and felt compelled to update my phone’s wallpaper.
Not wanting to break the stupid no photography rules I did a quick search to find the piece I liked. Unfortunately I was quickly defeated when I realised that none of the pictures I could find had enough resolution to make a good wallpaper.
As I was scanning through Google Image Search (iOS / Android) it dawned on my how beautiful the collages it made were, and that a great screen saver was staring back at me. All I need to do was to grab a screenshot and zoom in enough so the UI wasn’t on display.
The result was great, see here for yourself.
The technique definitely works best when you’re dealing with an artist that uses lots of colour, a Caravaggio wallpaper may be a touch on the dark side, but that doesn’t really limit your options that much. Here’s a few other ideas:
Picasso (Blue Period)
The Thommy’s is an end-of-year music survey run by my friend Thom Gibbs that’s being going since 2001. It consists of 40 questions, primarily on the topic of music which anyone on the email thread can ‘reply all’ to and have their opinions known.
As well as being a great way to find out about new music, the Thommy’s gives its readers a chance to score their year ‘personally’ and ‘musically’ out of ten, a kind of personal year in review but summarised as you might an album .
Having some time on my hands I decided to got back as far as I could (Thommy’s VII - 2007) and extract all the data from the 262 responses submitted by 111 contributors and produce The Thommy’s Happiness Index so that we can plot our collective mood over the past seven years and way into the future.
There’s some great trends you can pick out from just this simple line graph:
- As we’ve got older we’ve got less interested in music
- Like the global economy we had a little dip in 08/09 but we’re getting back on track
- Music now has less impact on our general happiness - see the big divergence
But we can also dig a little deeper and reveal:
- Who is the happiest member of the group
- Which year has the most perfect tens
- Plot individual happiness, and many other things I’ve yet to think up
I’m going to make the whole data set available to anyone who participates in the Thommy’s as I’m sure there is more that can be done with it. If you’re interested, contact me via one of the old threads or get my email address off Thom.
Reading about Google’s acquisition of Nest in the press has interested me this week. Not because of the companies supposed need for better industrial designers, but because of what’s been dubbed the "smart grid" the idea that Nest, when linked up to a countries’ utility providers, can optimise the flow of electricity and gas across a country, in turn saving the consumer money, and the planet, the natural resources we drastically need.
It got me thinking about other opportunities to optimise “the grid” or, put another way, a public utility consumed to a significant degree.
My mind then wandered to transport and Google’s recent acquisition of Waze, the Israeli navigation service that sucks up data from people in their cars and uses it to optimise everyones journey. This technology seems particularly powerful when looking to optimise people’s use of public transport.
Consider a situation like I was in recently, sitting in a cafe waiting to head to my next meeting. Google Now pops up and tells me it’s time to leave. It knows where I am going and when I need to be there by virtue of my calendar. But what it also knows is how busy the road network is and thus optimises my journey based on the data it has. Don’t get the 38! Shaftesbury Avenue is reporting strong traffic. Instead get the 55 and walk from Tottenham Court Road you’ll save 10 minutes. My journey has already been optimised once, as it’s planned the route and told me when to leave based on bus arrival times, but it’s then been optimised further by congestion data from further down the road.
Efficiency gains like this are hugely important for Governments as they try to reduce the environmental impact public transportation has while also saving costs as we know they love to do. Given Nest’s ambitions to work more closely with utility providers, it’s not unfathomable to think that Google could be marching on to being the de facto regulator of future smart grids.
You are basically already late.
The answer Jeff Bezos gave Steve Kessel when he asked how long he had to build the first Kindle.
Electrical lighting will become so cheap that only the rich will be able to afford candles