What’s Apple next insanely great thing? Kate MacKenzie knows already and I believe her consideration to be spot on, and, in a sense, it is staring us in the face. All we need to do is look to history for guidance.
Think Mac. Apple’s iconic personal computer for the rest of us is 35 years old, has over 100-million customers, and gets better with age. Yet, the original Mac was not a hit. In fact, it took about 20 years for the Mac to climb out of niche status.
Blame it on the iPod halo effect, and then the iPhone effect; whereby Apple’s customer base– iPod and iPhone and then iPad– grew so much that Mac sales benefited from extra sales.
Think iPhone. The iconic smartphone was not an instant hit and Apple had to drop the price tag to keep sales moving forward. The rest is history. iPhone is a huge hit but it took a few years to get all the pieces into place to grow the customer base (now about 1-billion).
Think iPad. Yes, the iconic tablet was an instant hit, and sales eclipsed Mac and iPod, and grew faster than iPhone, before tailing off as smartphone displays grew ever larger. iPad enjoys a customer base of perhaps 300-million, but the customer base did not happen overnight.
So, what’s in Apple’s future?
Or, put another way. Health. The original Watch models came with a pedometer and heart rate monitor. The latest Watch has a built-in electrocardiogram. What of the future?
Pedometer, meet heart rate monitor. ECG, meet blood glucose monitor. See how that works? Apple’s next great thing is Watch, and it will continue to improve as Apple adds more features that customers want– just as it did with iPhone every year.
What I failed to recognize when doing my own search for Apple’s next insanely great thing was to understand that few of Apple’s hit products were instantly massive hits; a customer base takes time, and few technology gadget makers are better than Apple at launching a product that is somewhat revolutionary but iterative improvements– year after year– make it a revolution.
iPod and iTunes Music Store. iPhone and App Store. Watch and health functionality.
What about future generation Watch models with a feature to measure blood oxygen levels? Or, the next Watch which can monitor blood pressure? Or, the next one after that which can monitor blood glucose levels in real time? Or, perhaps somewhere between those an Apple Watch which monitors sleep?
Apple’s future over the next few years– especially since the smartphone saturation era is here– is health.