In terms of money, Apple is on top of the world right now, pulling in more cold, hard cash from punters than ever before. But money isn’t the be-all and end-all, even for companies who live and die by the amount of profit they make.
Apple in particular has built its business on the back of innovating, and it’s in danger of losing its reputation as being the company that goes into areas where others fear to tread. Tim Cook and co. need some fresh ideas. And we’re to help.
Innovative Ideas For Apple
Apple has become rather boring of late. Since Steve Jobs passed away in 2011, the company seems to have lost its creative spark. Sure, we have had the Apple Watch and that Mac Pro which looks like a bin, but the main focus has been delivering incremental updates to existing products.
Our readers are an astute bunch of individuals, so when asked to come up with some ideas to help Apple find its mojo once more, they jumped at the chance. What follows are 10 of the ideas our readers offered to Apple. Some are serious, some are snarky, but all are free.
1. Improve iOS in Obvious Ways
Change is coming..iOS 8.3 will have racially diverse emojis! ????????????????????????????????????????????? pic.twitter.com/wsXUMgWcJC
— Terez Hubble (@terezhubble) March 25, 2015
Apple could innovate by making an on-screen keyboard that displays the proper letter case depending on the state of the shift key, or by giving iOS users the ability to access a local file system on mobile devices. Sure, these are things that a $50 graphing calculator can manage, but for Apple they would represent a real step forward.
You either love iOS or you hate iOS. But even those who love it have to admit it’s far from perfect. There are some really obvious annoyances Apple needs to fix ASAP, as suggested by likefunbutnot.
2. Design iShirts
— Juanki (@Hguuga) March 17, 2015
Given that Apple’s business model is based on yearly upgrades I propose (wait for it . . . ) the iShirt, an Apple themed t-shirt with Apple-esque slogans on the front (e.g. “You’re holding it wrong!)” and the Apple logo on the back. They would change the slogans each year to ensure the faithful upgrade. I’d say $49.99 would be a fair iPrice.
Apple never misses a trick to bring in some extra revenues. A new charging cable here, an almost-imperceptibly-different-than-the-last-version upgrade there, and it’s bonuses all round. Which make the iShirt, as suggested by Hildy J, a no-brainer.
3. Develop a Real Apple TV
I wonder how many times I need to sit on this unused Apple TV remote stuck in my couch for it to buy a movie without my knowledge.
— Levi McCallum (@levi) March 25, 2015
A TV, not like the Apple TV but a real TV that has an updated content similar to the ones in Apple TV, maybe they will call it iTV or MacTV, or MacTV Pro, or Air. Regardless of the name will be, it should have a reasonable price.
An Apple TV that’s actually a television set rather than a crappy set-top box has been rumored for years, but it’s still nowhere to be seen. Both iTV and Air are clever names, but the suggestion from Von Adam Martinez of setting a reasonable price point is bonkers.
4. Cater to Those on a Budget
The new expensive Apple Watch has health sensors. Sadly it doesn't come with common senses for the buyer.
— Bob Kostic (@causticbob) March 21, 2015
Apple can for a change think of the budget conscious and first time smartphone adaptors. Lumia have smartphone addressing practically every strata and class of society. Similarly, Apple should think of a budget conscious entry level iPhone and one addressing the middle tier. With that they will exponentially increase the spectrum of the market they are currently addressing.
Price continues to be an issue for many people who want an Apple product but simply can’t afford the price of admission to this exclusive club. Selling premium, mid-range, and entry-level devices to suit everybody, as proposed by Rajaa Chowdhury, is surely a good idea.
5. Stop Limiting The Max Volume
I just want to know what kind of creature Apple made the volume on the Macs for because there's no way any real human can hear that
— Reanna Pergolizzi (@hireanna) March 20, 2015
Apple needs to change limits of maximum volumes in all their devices. I don’t know if this is a governmental or medical limit but some of us consumers have hearing losses for whatever reason and we should have the option of being able to hear like everyone else if we can. What would even be better is some kind of equalizer so that individual settings per needed ranges would be sweet.
We all know listening to loud music can damage our hearing, but the decision to do so is surely ours and ours alone. Apple has gone from being the revolutionary of 1982 to the dictator of 2015, and Merlyn thinks the lecturing needs to stop.
6. Sell a VR HMD
That Virtual Reality is just now inching to market is astounding. In '95 I rode a scooter ("magic carpet") & w/the headset, did 3D swoops.
— Pablo Guzmán (@yoruba69) March 18, 2015
The most awesome Virtual Reality HMD for phones that anyone has even hinted at. Of course open content installation would be great but Apple being Apple. And, of course, a phone with display resolution that can give a real 1080 vertical resolution over a virtual cinema screen (greater over full display.)
Apple has a somewhat deserved reputation for stealing ideas from others but then improving them so that they actually work. Several companies are jumping on the virtual reality bandwagon, but perhaps, as suggested by DonGately, it’ll be left to Apple to perfect the idea.
7. Develop a Modular Computer
— Michael Withem (@mwithem) January 8, 2014
How about making a computer for the people instead of single-use sealed-unit luxury items? Something customizable, repairable, expandable, plug and play that anyone can build from reasonably priced parts that don’t require specialized knowledge to assemble and use? They are trying to do that with phones, why not computers?
Apple currently makes computers which only Apple geniuses are meant to open up to explore the inner-workings. Perhaps, writes Kenneth DeVries, Apple should turn this approach upside-down by developing a modular computer that works in a similar way to Project Ara.
8. Learn From Google Android
Today, someone in front of me in line asked the cashier if Apple Pay would work on Android.
— Bryn Bodayle (@brynbodayle) March 25, 2015
Here’s an idea: stop locking down iOS devices and shift to a more freedom-oriented, democratic, non-censoring policy like most Android users enjoy. Think “Unknown sources”, alternative app stores, no app-submission panel to deny your apps, etc.
There is no love lost between fans of iOS and fans of Android. Which is dumb really, as they’re both just mobile operating systems which share a lot of things in common. If only Apple would borrow the whole let-users-have-control-of-their-own-possessions mentality from Google, as suggested by Christopher.
9. Create a Foldable iPhone
I just discovered today that my iPhone 6 Plus is slightly bent! I guess I’ve been folding it wrong. pic.twitter.com/EJDjzyLIBn
— Alex Markley (@AlexMarkley) February 27, 2015
How about a “phone” with a foldable screen technology? I imagine it being like a folded up map. At its smallest it would be about the size of current smartphones. Unfold once and it’s a phablet. Unfold again and its ipad size. You could make it whatever size you want depending on your needs. A whole Ipad in your pocket.
This is probably the most innovative thing anyone suggested, but it’s also difficult to see how it could be achieved. Also, we suspect Apple would be against anything which would harm its bottom line, as releasing a smartphone/phablet/tablet all-in-one would surely do. Still, Mateo deserves credit for thinking outside the box.
10. Start Reading People’s Minds
When you and your best friend can read each others minds pic.twitter.com/VAGVg7UJa3
— Sara (@sarageh_) March 16, 2015
The ultimate dream would be an iPhone that could read your thoughts. How about wireless headphones that double as an EEG? I can imagine it now: version 1.0 would only allow you to open apps, simple web navigation, maybe play a game like pong. But as the technology gets better, you finally are able to do advanced things like word processing and coding with your mind. No more need to use your clumsy fingers and smudge your beautiful display. Why type when you can just think it??
An iPhone that can read your mind is either a Utopian dream or a dystopian nightmare, depending on your relationship with technology and attitudes to privacy and security. Either way, it could happen one day, and Apple is sure to be a pioneer when it does eventually arrive. Mateo strikes again.
Continue the Conversation
We doubt anyone working for Apple will actually ever see this list, but that’s OK. Perhaps the competition will steal the ideas instead, and beat Apple to innovating once again. Not that the Apple faithful will notice, because unless it’s on an iDevice it’s not a real thing. Apparently.
To be honest, this was all meant to be very lighthearted anyway, even though the responses suggest there are a great many people out there who do actually think Apple has started running out of ideas. Money in the bank is great and all, but the widely accepted belief you have stopped innovating could be damaging in the longterm.
Please continue the conversation in the comments section below. While some of you took part in the original discussion, there is always room for more opinions. Do you think the idea selected for the list are good ones? Or could you do better? If the latter then please add your own suggestions to the conversation happening below. Remember, there are no right or wrong answers here, just opinions.
A Debt of Gratitude
In order to compile this list of ideas to help Apple innovate once again, we asked for help from the MakeUseOf community. As always, our readers proved to be an invaluable part of the site you’re reading right now. The readers we need to thank took the time to answer the question, Apple Has Run Out Of Ideas: Can You Help?, and their responses helped us compile this article.
Image Credits: Ilya via Flickr