On AirPods: You’re seeing it wrong…
I guess that on first glance it is ever so easy to dismiss Apple’s AirPods as nothing more than a set of super-expensive earbuds that make you look like an Apple user anywhere you happen to go.
After all, what do they do? They let you take calls and listen to music and wander around looking like you’ve got more money to shove inside your ears than some people (through no fault of their own) can put together in order to feed their family for a week. These weird white sticks look just like those Apple earphones we’ve all grown up with. You can access Siri. So what?
So what a lot.
Apple upgrades its products over time, so when you look at a product introduction like this one you don’t look at what these things can do now, but what they will be doing in the near, mid and distant future.
You see, AirPods aren’t about the music, not at all. They aren’t even about phone calls. I don’t think they are even (primarily) about Siri. No. These things suggest Apple’s wider plans for a connected platform.
Think of it this way, wearing your AirPods you ask Siri to start your Apple Car. While travelling to the next destination making a bunch of business calls you remember you need to lower the temperature of your thermostat, so you ask Siri to do it for you. When you get home as you wander around your home music follows you room to room through your Apple Echo speakers, using your AirPods as a marker to follow you with.
That kind of thing.
You see, not only do I expect AirPods to become more intelligent (at least in the sense that the cloud services they access will diversify and become smarter) but I also suspect there may be developer opportunities in creating things for these things.
Think about retail. In a shop, you might ask Siri where the Basil is kept, it may ask you “fresh or dried”, and then get you there, as the retailer makes indoor mapping information available. Why not? Why do you need to peer at your smartphone to get price comparisons while you are in a retailer’s shop? Do you need to see the answer, or just learn it?
The way to see AirPods is as all the auditory components of your iPhone in your ears. The way to see the Watch is as all the UI control elements of the same device. All that’s left is the screen. What could replace that? And what would be the ideal 3D user interface for a combination of all three?
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