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.