There is something that can be learned from Apple by every company. The Apple iPad conference was a spectacle. People sitting around offices watching live blogs as if it were a sporting event. Can you name any other product that has created such a buzz since.. well the iPhone?
Every year the car industry has their big show in Detroit and barely anyone cares. Why? Because they present the occasionally cool prototype that never sees the light of day or doesn’t hit the street for 10 years in some toned down version. Who cares about those? The iPad will be in our hands in a month. And its absolutely futuristic. A colleague of mine said its like having something from Star Trek. The last time I checked no car company has released anything that we could compare to the Jetsons or Star Trek or anything futuristic. Cars have become boring. They still haven’t figured out how to quiet road noise or do anything un-car-like. Cars are have more features but it does essentially the same thing it did when Henry Ford rolled them off the assembly line.
It would be interesting to imagine all the cool stuff that could come out of companies that had Apple’s sense of vision and quality. Imagine how great our homes would be. Imagine how amazing television would be. Imagine how fantastic travel would be. Instead everything is nearly the same as it was 40 years ago–just a bit shinier. Apple has the audacity to look at a current product and say “what will that evolve to in 10-15 years?” And then they make that version. Think about how boring phones were before the iPhone came along. Even the great Blackberry could barely surf the web. They were really just a glorified phone with email.
Many of us were still carrying around CD players and really lame excuses for MP3 players and then iPod came along and set the standard. Now comes the iPad. You have to wonder what happens with netbooks, laptops and televisions. But just for once I’d like to see an entirely different industry aspire to be as great as a company as Apple. A company that builds homes or appliances or cars look at the current offerings and dream of their product in 10 years and just make that product–rather than waiting to iterate there over time. Can you imagine the power that would have?