Ideas Matter




When will a MacBook look like the iPad?



On the CES show floor a couple months ago, walking the outer orbit of low to mid tier manufacturer booths, I saw mini laptop running Win98 for $88 in volume. Yeah, it was underpowered, it was too small(aimed for the education market), but was a reminder of how quickly the commoditization in PC's is accelerating. I'm sure 5 years from now, you will probably be able to buy a small laptop in a Liquor store, near the register next to the cigarettes and energy pill packs.
In phones, Apple surfs commoditization by collecting its share of revenue from Apps, which have a totally different profit profile than the hardware alone. I mean really, other folks do all the work to build these Apps(though Apple creates some and commissions them from others). The curation process at work in the iPhone/iPad Apps store must ask this question of everything at the gate; How high does this App elevate the platform above the commodity experience?
I believe that perfecting this curation aspect of their business model will also shape how Apple builds PC's. In an Apple curated-experience, App-subsidized hardware model, all software purchased for an iMac/MacBook will go through the Apps store for taxation. The hardware and UI itself could begin to mix & mash between the iPhone, iPad and iMac/MacBooks. I'd love to see the CPU power of a MacBook in an iPad form factor, with the best of the iPad/iPhone UI, while retaining the ability to run processor intensive, I mean Applications, like Illustrator or Maya. 

Adsense For Objects

Danny Sullivan mentioned above how funny it would be to have the teams in his kids games sponsored by GOOG/MSFT. This got me thinking, what if Google Adsense could move Ad inventory onto something like a football/baseball uniform(in addition to Billboards & Posters). Would you just use a QR-Code to register when a sponsored media ad unit has been hit by a phone(when taking a picture)? The people who manufacture T-Shirts and Jerseys could be given the QR pattern when they silkscreen.

When parents upload their pic's to Flickr, visible QR codes could be decoded by the site in the background or your browser, or both to figure out what to do with it. Even a partially obscured or fuzzy code could be useful if the other metadata(location, time, comments) in the photo allows a good guess as to whats going on.



FIRST!! (I think): Windows 98 Tablet 


Here is a Paleo-Tablet concept from around '98. I was pretty optimistic that by '01, IBM could make a Thinkpad fit into just the LCD section and the whole thing not weigh 7 pounds. The idea was to have this adapter thing that would accept your Qualcomm Thinphone(BTW, it still has the best ergos ever in a candybar IMHO). The blazing IS-95 14.4kbps wireless dialup connection available at the time would allow you to surf, umm, decently. Remember most sites back then were still designed for dialup. 


FIRST!! (I think): 90's Sliding Keyboard Phone

This is the first of my FIRST!!(I think) posts, where I trot out stuff I think was invented by me. I'm sure somebody out there on the internets will prove me wrong in short order.

Here's a sliding keyboard phone concept done for a bizdev guy in late 1998 for Qualcomm's QCP(Consumer Products) division. I used to dig the two-way RIM pagers IT guys rocked, and loved my Palm Pilot. This was an attempt to combine a pager-like form factor with voice & PDA functionality. Notice the monochrome display common to phones and PDA's of the era. I don't know why the wired earbud mike was rendered small enough to fall into your ear canal though.


A closeup of the fuzzy, cheezy sample UI shown above. As I remember, the product was aimed at the enterprise, so in this example use-case I attempted to portray the indispensable mobile comm unit for the hip cable-guy of the near future. Note the stock prices on the right frame of the display, I miss the pre dot-com crash stock market..


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