Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Gazing into the Crystal Ball

Years of being an Apple junkie has taught me that as a corporation, and in particular with Steve Jobs as it's captain, Apple is remarkably tight lipped.

They play their cards so close to their chest, that the hoopla over last spring's Gizmodo iPhone 4 leak made a small part of me think that it was an intentional ploy to create buzz over the new model (or to see what influencers and techies would say about the upgrade). I mean, come on, that whole farce with the cops showing up at Gizmodo's CEO's house...his incessant whining about Apple...also, the fact that some Apple employee left the device in a bar, is that really the best excuse Apple's corporate espionage and PR counsel could come up with?

Conspiracy theories aside, I try to pay attention to everything that comes out of Apple's press room (it turns out that rumors, much like my predictions featured below, are usually way off). I don't usually have passionate reactions to Apple's publicity, on the rare occasions that I do, my thoughts are consumed by ideas and, in the following case, applications that could revolutionize the world.

Having said that, my interest was sparked when I read that Apple is hiring one of the world's foremost experts on mobile payments. Benjamin Vigier, newly crowned product manager for mobile commerce at Apple is a heavyweight. I foresee greatness and lots of futuristic mobile applications, only, of course, if he fits in with Apple management (a pretty big if).

I'll stay away from the crazy (and frankly outlandish) ideas for now, but understand that even simple applications of mobile commerce technology could be revolutionary. Imagine that two years from now, you fill up your gas tank, pay for your kid's banjo lesson, pass through tollbooths, and ride the bus just by swiping your iPhone over a receiver (obviously, Apple will have to develop some kind of safety mechanism that makes users feel like they won't unintentionally buy something or get hacked).

This is just the beginning, imagine the way interactive entertainment (video games) console developers could revolutionize the scope of user profiles and preferences. With the "iWii" app, you could carry your Mii (and a bunch of other stuff) on your phone. Not that this could ever happen, but you could even use your "iWii" to allow you to play games on any console in the world. That Wii version of Super Mario Brother's 3 you bought over the internet is incredibly small. How hard would it be to with a flick of your wrist download it to your phone, flick over to your friend's Wii and play it on their console?

The development of this technology is going to change not only how we pay for things, but how we communicate with each other and machines (not to mention great strides in the speed and convenience of transferring information). I am even to going to venture a guess that the iPhone 5 (coming out in likely in July 2011...I can't wait, my iPhone 4 feels so old now--these things really only have a 3 week shelf life) will feature some kind of mobile payment and more robust phone to phone/other device technology.

The immense popularity of the new Android phones, and the fact that Apple's antenna PR issues slightly hampered what was supposed to be a home run product, there is a lot of pressure for the next model to be a grand slam. I suppose only time will tell if I've completely struck out here with my gaze into the crystal ball of future technology. Hopefully, by next year, you all will have forgotten that I ever wrote this post, and I will be in the clear!