A couple of weeks ago I went with Greenwich vintage clothing Emporium’s entrepreneurial owners Jacki Cook and Jon Hale to their second home in Whitstable. OK, it’s a beach hut; but it’s a very nice beach hut.
There, John Hale has created a new sound amplification system at a mere fraction of the cost of a top-of-the-range Bang & Olufsen or Sony sound system.
He puts Jacki’s iPhone into a glass. The sound is amplified by the shape of the glass and, depending on the shape, it delivers different sound qualities: bass, tinny, rich-and-golden, whatever.
It was such an impressive piece of lateral thinking that I went home and bought my own new sound system in a local charity shop. My product testing – putting my iPhone in the glass and playing music on it in the shop – did not go un-noticed but was not frowned-on, as the charity shop got £1.99p for the glass.
I laughed in Whitstable that the sound quality was so good and the lateral thinking by Jon & Jacki so impressive that it could almost be a new product from Apple… the iGlass.
This got me thinking about Apple’s rumoured new iTV (although, of course, they could never call it that in the UK because of the existing ITV television network).
At least twice, when they have been developing new products, Apple have created false rumours that they were working on a wind-up computer which would require no battery or, at least, mean you could re-charge the battery without plugging into an electricity socket.
I cannot see what the new Apple iTV would be… there is already an Apple TV box to screen computer output on a TV screen; other companies make devices which are voice-controlled or which react to hand movements. The thing about Apple is that they will suddenly release a new product which is utterly different.
I read last December that they were working on light hydrogen batteries which could last for weeks without re-charging.
This could be a smoke-and-mirrors re-hash of the wind-up computer stories. But creating a new, light, efficient, climate-friendly battery is a very Apple thing to do and it also made me think that large, inefficient batteries have always been one of the drawbacks with electric cars.
What if Apple were working on an electric iCar?
Powered by electricity not petrol, using a ‘green’ hydrogen battery, controlled by computers and with Siri voice-commanded hands-free links to every piece of information you could possibly want via the internet and iCloud, it would be just the sort of product Apple might suddenly release. No-one foresaw they would start making telephones or become a major music retailer.
Oh, I thought, there’s something I can blog about. If it ever happens, I’ll claim brilliant foresight. If it doesn’t, people will forget I ever mentioned it.
So yesterday, a slow day for anything I could blog about, I thought Oh, I’ll do the Apple blog tomorrow and so I Googled Apple iCar.
And, bugger me, articles have been appearing in the last couple of months guessing that Apple might or might not be working on a iCar. Only yesterday, an article was published on an Emirates website.
Way back in 2007, the late Steve Jobs had meetings with Volkswagen about an unknown project – rumoured only to be the integration of Apple computers into car dashboards. No more was ever heard of this.
But, in February this year, Apple (China) advertised in the LinkedIn automotive section for a “new Product Integration supervisor” with experience in CNC machines and die casting/stamping. Informed online opinion said: “if the job listing is legitimate, the company is once again working on deeper vehicle console/dashboard integration… We wouldn’t be surprised to see the company partner up with auto-makers in the near future to take in-car integration to new heights. Of course, with nearly $100 billion dollars in the bank, Apple could totally be building its own car.”
Apple are not a company known to co-design products. They did not integrate their technology into an existing telephone manufacturer’s telephone; they created their own, new type of telephone.
An iCar now or in the future would make philosophical and economic sense for Apple.
Remember – even if you did not – that you read it here first.
Or maybe the articles which have suddenly appeared about an Apple iCar are an updated equivalent of the Apple are working on a wind-up computer stories of old.
I hope not.
But, then, I always thought the wind-up computer was a good idea.