Apple has a reputation for being an innovative company, particularly on the design front. In reality, however, they generally take existing technology, enhance it and then squeeze it into attractive packages.
So in asking what they might do next, the question becomes what new technologies are now available that Apple might adopt, improve and make broadly commercially available.
Well, here’s what they might do next:
1. Incorporate a smell delivery system into Macs and iPads (this technology already exists). This would be great for food websites and interactive war games, perhaps.
2. Rollable / foldable digital newspaper (see more at http://gigaom.com/2010/05/26/is-there-a-rollable-display-in-your-future/ and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4tdtzyjFnY)
3. An iPad mini – to match the greater portability of RIM’s smaller Playbook
4. Robots. How about a robotic butler. It could answer the door, monitor your home while you’re away or bring you a bottle of water from the fridge, for example.
5. Wristwatch phones. Watch these demos.
6. iSPY – a device that projects Web pages and other digital images onto regular eyeglasses. Scrolling would be made possible by quick aversions of the eyes, whose position are monitored by infrared sensors. The technology already exists and you can view it in action here.
For sure, to keep their reputation of innovation alive, Apple will need to “come up with” some fantastic technologies like those above. But, with the incredible financial rewards that Apple has reaped from its “inventions” in the last decade, some other companies are likely to jump on the bandwagon soon enough. Would we really be all that surprised, for instance, to see such a renaissance at Microsoft? Indeed, the stage is set for the next decade to be even more innovative.