Seven Years Ago Today - Steve Jobs' iPad Keynote

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Seven years ago today, Steve Jobs invited Apple fans to to "come see our latest creation".

He showed us the iPad, and almost immediately, it seemed familiar.

In fact, it seemed as though the thing had always existed.

It's hard to believe that we've only had iPads for seven years.



I was in Atlanta, at a client office, during the iPad keynote. It was just assumed, by everyone in the room, that 1) yes, it was just a big iPhone, and 2) we would all be buying iPads as soon as they were released.

Later that spring, I was running a forensic data collection in London, and we were instantly able to bond with the (very British) IT staff simply by putting the iPad on the table.

It wasn't out in the UK yet - but it was universally desired.

Everyone stopped what they were doing and immediately walked over to the iPad.

The iPad seemed to be the final step in technology - the Star Trek datapad we'd all imagined we'd have in our flying cars.

The iPhone, and then the iPad, were not so much out-of-the-blue mind-blowing innovations, as they were a universal dream made real.  It looked like our shared vision of science fiction.

We've been living with iPhones and iPads for a decade - and the world is substantially different for it. These devices have fundamentally changed the way we receive information and interact with each other.

Does Apple Have Another Magic Trick?

It's been a while since we got that same feeling from Apple. The Watch is useful - but it doesn't make everyone in a room stop in their tracks.

I'm not sure that there IS another iPhone/iPad level Great Leap Forward to be made with technology.

(I'm hopeful that the Google/Amazon/Apple/Microsoft AI partnership will lead to a single, shared AI engine - accessible from devices made by all manufacturers. But I'm not holding my breath.)

Apple's touchscreen devices will be refined, and will become more powerful. But touchscreen input, glass screens... we're going to be using these for a while.

Instead, I hope that in the next few years, Apple can find its next great innovation with a Great Leap Backwards.

Apple should continue to innovate with its multi-function powerful touchscreen devices.

But the fields that are truly ripe for transformative innovation and integration are the SINGLE-FUNCTION devices.

Apple can - and should - expand its ecosystem with a range of single-function devices. Homekit light switches and sensors. An Airport Mesh system - with Siri speakers built in.

And a relaunched iPod. 

Right now, Apple sells iPod Touches. They sell iPod Nanos. They sell iPod shuffles.

There is no device called THE IPOD.

A relaunched iPod WOULD have a purpose. It would be designed for exercise - and it would free us from having to exercise with our expensive, fragile iPhones.

The iPod should be plastic - and designed to handle impact. It should be waterproof. It should have GPS, to track run distance.

A tie-in with Apple Music would be fantastic - i.e., a cellular data connection ONLY for Apple Music, at a discounted rate, or free for customers of certain wireless providers.

It should be easily strapped to your arm, and paired via bluetooth with your Apple Watch for voice control.

(If you don't have an Apple Watch, it can also be strapped to your wrist, where it provides heart-rate information.)

The best part about the Apple Watch is that it allows us to ignore our iPhones, for certain tasks.

It would be fantastic if the iPod could remove the iPhone from our workout routine entirely.

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