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Apple stock has been rising since I blogged about Apple's potential for making television remote controls. Today I will give Apple another product idea. You should expect their stock to surge at least 2% by the closing bell. [Disclosure: I own some Apple stock.]

Today's idea for Apple involves making your iPhone your only computer, similar to the way you can turn an Android phone into your only computer by loading Ubuntu over Android. Your software would live in the cloud. If you haven't heard of this yet, check it out here.

In this vision, Apple's computer products disappear - at least in terms of hardware - and their software functions would move to the cloud. When you walk up to a smart screen with your iPhone in your pocket, the screen senses your phone's proximity, identifies you, and immediately accesses your computing profile from the cloud.

Microsoft just announced that you'll be able to pay a subscription fee for Office and access your software in the cloud from up to five devices. So we're halfway there already.

Imagine walking into your friend's house. His iPad on the kitchen counter pops to life looking exactly like your iPad screen at home. Even your Microsoft Word files are ready to go.  For privacy, perhaps a three-digit password code is needed to make your stuff visible. That's just in case the last thing you were looking at before you left home was porn and you don't want that popping up on your inlaws' iPad just because you walked near it.

The second part of this vision is that your iPhone would become the primary way you identify yourself to the world. Someday the store cashier will see your face pop up on a screen when you are next in line because your phone will be transmitting your identity at all times. No more swiping credit cards or writing checks. If your actual face matches the face on the cashier's screen, you're good to go, and your payment preferences (credit or debit) would automatically kick in.

With your phone in your pocket your car doors open when you get near, the front door of your house opens when approach, your lights adjust to your personal preferences, and all of your online passwords do auto-fill. When your phone is with you, the world will continuously conform to your preferences as you pass through it.

Your phone should also be collecting virtual "business cards" of anyone you spend more than a minute talking to. Just introduce yourself at a business mixer, chat for a few minutes, and when you walk away you will each automatically have the LinkedIn profile of the other on your phone. Obviously you'd have to allow that feature in advance.

The only reason I own a laptop is for working when I fly. For everything else, my desktop computer, my iPad, and my smartphone do the job. On rare occasions I might want to do some writing while sitting on the couch with my laptop, but I could live without it. For me, my laptop has gone from 100% necessary to perhaps 10% necessary, and I could live without the remaining 10% if airlines and hotels offered computer screens and keyboards. I don't think I'm alone.

I could imagine Apple paying to have iPads installed in the seatbacks of every plane. Passengers would have access to all of their own software via the cloud just as if they were home. (I'm assuming all flights will soon have Internet access.)

You'd have a bit less privacy with your screen on the seatback instead of your laptop, so imagine that the screen has the privacy screen technology that prevents people on the side from seeing your screen clearly.

Now imagine that your airline seat tray is a keyboard on one side and you can flip it over to become a flat surface when your food comes. While you're eating you just use the touch screen to keep browsing or watching your movie.

For my hotel, I'm happy if I have my iPad with me and the hotel provides a wireless keyboard in case I need it.

For some occupations, such as technical jobs, laptops will remain a necessity. But I think 80% of all computer users are ready to move to a laptop-free world in which all of their software lives in the cloud, free from viruses and always upgraded to the newest version.

So that's my suggestion for Apple. Their laptop and desktop computer hardware should go away in favor of putting all computing resources on the iPhone and the cloud. Apple could make smart monitors, as well as plug-ins to make any monitor smart. And they might make portable keyboards that are better designed than current offerings.

Apples next monitor should include the technology that allows sound to be focused on one user. That way you could listen to your music without headphones while the person next to you hears nothing. That technology already exists. It needs to be in my monitor.

I'm done for now. Watch Apple's stock soar.

 
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Feb 5, 2013
Wow, I am late. Anyway, Scott, this technology is called NFC. It is used mostly for financial identification but slowly expanding in the geek set. At least in Android land. I think it can do everything you list above, except you need to be within an inch or two to activate it.

Interesting that you are still in a last-decade mindset on what exactly a computer is. Kind of like the guys who envisioned candles that could burn forever, or carriages that would travel without horses.
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Feb 3, 2013
I'll up your idea with a better one.

Apple should team up with car makers to develop a universal smart phone/car interface. Your phone is now your cars ignition (thumb swipe or other biometric (possibly a print reader in the car) and password to turn it on), your cars media center, your cars climate control ("Siri, make it 65 degrees in here"), of course your phone, also your nav screen, and could double as a back up camera.

Then when you take your iPhone with you from your car, the car is inoperable for anything other than your iphone (or another approved iPhone, spouse, kids, etc). No more keys, charging cables, cradles, etc.

For the street racers it would be possible to double the iphone as a fuel mapping control system.

For the GoPro street racers it can be used to connect to the different cameras to check views prior to recording.
 
 
Feb 1, 2013
Lysol stock should also soar, as everyone will need to carry wipes to sanitize all these ubiquitous devices.
 
 
Feb 1, 2013
What about http://www.ubuntu.com/devices/android which could relegate Apple and others to 'just' hardware companies. No, Ubuntu haven't cracked Apple, yet.

& there is also an app to unlock your PC when your Bluetooth device is nearby, or lock it when out of range. http://sourceforge.net/projects/btprox/files/ http://bluetooth-pc-lockitnow.en.softonic.com/ etc (and those are just the windows ones)

It's no stretch to have it unlock for different people, download a profile from a central server...
 
 
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Feb 1, 2013
Great post.Some science fiction is good why some is mediocre, but that's the same with any area of literature. <a href="http://science-fiction-books.com.au/ccp0-prodshow/dune-frank-herbert-science-fiction-sf.html,">SciFi</a>
 
 
Feb 1, 2013
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Feb 1, 2013
Will Adam's Apple soar to the clouds? Currently seems stuck in his throat.
 
 
Jan 31, 2013
JoetheWebmaster said: Apple is a slow sinking ship... Their future market will solely be "girl" computing. A feminine / trendy fashion type folks product line.

I believe you're right. After making the decision that we're a Google family, I gave my wife a Nexus 7 for Christmas, then last night she let loose she'd rather have a iPad "like all her friends".

If Apple is sinking, it will be very slow. Gucci has been around since 1921.

 
 
Jan 31, 2013
[shackles jingling]
[woeful spirits moaning]
[suspenseful intro part, where the ghost of options past wakens a terrified octogenarian Scott Adams: skipped]

Ghost: "I bet you never saw this coming"
Scott: "What's that you say?"
Ghost: "That computer embedded under your skin, do you remember? You used to be able to choose a computer, and an operating system, and whether or not to have it embedded under your skin. And the television- you used to be able to turn those off. And nobody said 'double plus good' all the time."
Scott: "..."
Ghost: "And this all started with your great idea post, a few decades ago. That itchy implant- you did that."
Scott: "... crap."
 
 
Jan 31, 2013
Scott,

You keep on referring to having all software in the cloud. This could be acceptable for home use over a good internet connection. As I carry my laptop around from place to place, I quite often find myself working in places where either I can't get an internet connection, or the connection is poor enough that I have trouble just using Google. If all my software were in the cloud, it would be impossible to do any work in such !$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%*!$%* probably going to respond to the above by saying something along the lines of "Well, I assume that internet will become both more ubiquitous and more reliable in the near future." I can't argue with that. However, the other problem with your vision is that it requires all my files to be stored in the cloud, because otherwise I couldn't access them from some random airport screen. I consider this a separate issue from the software thing, because I just prefer to know where my files physically are, and I don't want to have them deleted because I forgot to pay the rent on the server space they occupy. Now, I already use the cloud to back up a selection of my more important files, but that's different from having the originals stored god-knows-where, and it allows me to keep the same files up to date on multiple of my own hard drives if I want. Also, some files I use belong to my company, and I wonder what my boss would think about having them accessible from any screen I happen to be walking by.

I can see why you think this plan is convenient, but I think this is a case where common sense trumps convenience. If Apple does make it, I won't be buying it.
 
 
Jan 31, 2013
Apple is a slow sinking ship... Their future market will solely be "girl" computing. A feminine / trendy fashion type folks product line.
 
 
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Jan 31, 2013
"In this vision, Apple's computer products disappear..."

And there was much rejoicing.
 
 
+3 Rank Up Rank Down
Jan 30, 2013
AAPL's down a little over 2% today. Clearly, The Street liked your ideas from yesterday better.
 
 
+3 Rank Up Rank Down
Jan 30, 2013
Besides the security concerns, there's the issue of network reliability. Do I really want to be without access to any of my files if I can't get a network connection? Maybe in some parts of the world that isn't an issue. It wouldn't work for me because I'm a software developer and a phone is not going to have the capability to do that, but otherwise it sounds awesome. I thought of this about 10 years ago and still nobody has tried it. I'm sure it's not because of privacy concerns, so what do you think everyone? Is there an entrenched business model that would be threatened, or just judged to be too small a market, or what?
 
 
Jan 30, 2013
I think this idea is bette than your last one and I'm fully onboard for an all smartphone IDed future. A couple of comments:

Walking into a store and having your picture pop up for payment is something Square has already announced they are trying to bring to Starbucks:

http://money.cnn.com/2012/08/14/technology/startups/square-dorsey/index.html

Starting your car with your smartphone is in the works too. There's this:

http://gizmodo.com/5380504/your-iphone-is-now-your-car-keys

But it misses the point of keyless entry like I have on my Prius: not having to take my key out of my pocket. This will come soon though not soon enough.

iPhone to enter and customize your house is possible now as well though it's still in the realm of hobbyists for the most part. You can do it with a number of home automation setups. I'm about to attempt to do just this using Insteon:

http://www.smarthome.com/_/ProductResults.aspx?Ntt=bluetooth door

I wouldn't call this ready for mainstream just yet.

Walking up to any computer and logging in as yourself has been toyed with for years and was actually a feature Apple announced and then retracted before release (sorry, can't find a link but it was 5 or 6 years ago). At that time, your more personal settings, like the Dock, were saved and synced between computers and the idea was that you could go up to a strange computer, type in your ID and password and it would log in and look exactly like your home computer. Log out and it's all erased. I don't know the details of why it was abandoned but with iCloud a lot of synced information was dropped so parity is harder now. It's not impossible to bring back but they seem to be moving away from the idea.

The rest I fully agree would be nice though I doubt full fledged computers will go away completely. They are already being surpassed by smaller personal devices like the iPad and iPhone but there are always cases where you need the extra power and/or deeper control. It used to be that you got a laptop to augment your more powerful desktop with a less powerful portable. Then laptops became powerful enough to replace the desktop for most people so even though it wasn't as powerful as the desktop it was powerful enough. Now tablets and the like are pushing a shift back the other direction with the option of having the full power on a desktop at home and the much less powerful personal tablet taking over the portable role. So in that sense you are right that laptops are being forced out to some degree. Though it's worth noting that Apple still sells far more laptops than desktops so perhaps they are becoming the home computer of choice due to their unobtrusiveness.
 
 
Jan 30, 2013
@AtlantaDude

Cant help thinking the day will come, not too long after this security is implemented, when it will be easier to get a fake thumbprint for somebody than it will be to disguise yourself to look like them.
 
 
Jan 30, 2013
For added security on the payment related stuff, you could take a picture of your thumb when you first set up your phone. Each cash register in the store would have a thumb print reader. As long as your live thumb print matches the one sent from your phone, the transaction goes through.
 
 
Jan 30, 2013
[Apples next monitor should include the technology that allows sound to be focused on one user. That way you could listen to your music without headphones while the person next to you hears nothing. That technology already exists. It needs to be in my monitor.]

This is the first I've heard of this technology, where can I find it, what are keywords to use for a proper Google search?
 
 
+10 Rank Up Rank Down
Jan 30, 2013
Sorry but are you aware of how much power over your life you give to the provider?

If they decide to lock you out of your data you have no recourse to the law, you have no right to any due process, not even the right to learn what you did wrong. See the incident last year where amazon decided to off the kindle of some user.
There was no legal recourse for the lady to find out more than "you violated our terms of business", not even /which/ terms she violated: http://www.bekkelund.net/2012/10/22/outlawed-by-amazon-drm/

This was resolvedby raising a sh**storm too big for amazon to ignore (http://www.dailydot.com/news/amazon-linn-nygaard-deleted-account-restored/) but she still does not know what she did wrong or what she can do in order to prevent this in the future.

Arbitrary justice, here we come.
 
 
+21 Rank Up Rank Down
Jan 30, 2013
Scott, Seeing you give away these ideas for free, reminds me of the one that you did not. Maybe it is time for an update on how that deal has gone. Are your partners making progress and when can the suspense be broken for the rest of us.
 
 
 
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