WWSJD? The Future of the iAppliance

Posted on September 13, 2011

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Source: Author

WWSJD (What Would Steve Jobs Do?) if he were to develop an iAppliance? It has been the ingenuity of Jobs that has driven Apple stock to appreciate over 60X from the time he was named interim CEO to the time he retired in August.  Apple’s simplicity of design and ease of use have led to iconic products and services with the iPod, iPhone, iMac, iPad, iCloud and iTunes. So WWSJD if he were to think different about Smart Appliances?

The announcement of so many Smart Washers and Smart Dryers at IFA in Berlin a few days ago begs the question: “How would Steve Jobs design a Smart Washer or Smart Dryer?” Jobs would think different and change the goal to cleaning clothes rather than just washing or just drying. So below is my vision of the feature list that an iClean product would include:

  • One button Control – The latest Smart Washer announcements from Samsung and LG include as many as 11 buttons and one dial (cycle selector) in an attempt to manage how a user should wash clothes: smart shouldn’t mean complex. Utilizing the iPhone design, Apple would choose to have one button and a touch screen as the control panel. Voice activation would also be enabled. No more, no less.
  • Integrated Cleaning: Apple would take a chapter out of its iPhone design manual that now includes features of a camera, camcorder, MP3 player, GPS navigation system, PDA and cellphone. An iClean would integrate features of a washer, dryer, steamer, presser and stain remover with several scalable options available that would save time, space and energy.
  • iSkins – Many consumers were pleasantly surprised when  Apple announced a Smart Cover for the iPad. Yet for Apple, designing the Smart Covers presented another opportunity to continue developing a personal relationship with its devoted followers. Just as a homeowner can change bedspreads to match each season’s color palette, Apple would give consumers the option to personalize their iClean. When buyers shop for Smart Appliances today, they must chose one fixed color (white, sliver, red, black, etc.) and see that same color for a period of five to ten years or however long the product would last.
  • Noise reduction/cancellation: Just as Bose headsets and other audio products have leveraged their technology to cancel out external noises on a plane, Apple would develop an industry-leading noise reduction benchmark that could one day lead to an iClean that would be as quiet as the Bose headsets.
  • Apple Ecosystem connectivity:  Apple would add an iControl option that would enable a user’s iPhone or Pad to operate iClean remotely, switch to energy-saving mode, convert to using renewable energy, and other user-empowered options,
  • Gray water capture/reuse: Depending on how many cycles the washer uses, an owner could save a remarkable amount of water. An option to capture gray water and reuse it would be an industry first for an appliance.
  • Renewable energy option: Designing an option that would allow the washer to connect to external off-grid energy source through solar panels, wind turbines or other renewable energy supplies would also be an industry first.
  • Anti-Allergen mode: LG has already included TrueStream™ Technology in its Smart Washer that removes 95% of common household allergens. Apple would seek to raise the bar for the iClean to sanitize clothing to be as much as 99% or 99.9% germ-free.
  • iSecurity: The iClean would provide child safety protection features by preventing the front-loading door from being opened without the right voice command, fingerprint detection or password entry. The owner could also have the option of being alerted via motion detection sensors that would send a signal to his/her smartphone that a toddler is in the vicinity of the iClean as a safety precaution.
  • iService:  This would alert the owner via iPhone or iPad that a preventative or service maintenance appointment needs to be scheduled via an Authorized Apple Service technician and would also allow remote software upgrades to minimize interruptions and provide feature enhancements via the touchscreen.

Given Apple’s focus on mobile consumer electronics, it’s not likely that Apple would ever invent an iAppliance – yet we have been surprised in the past by Apple. Thus, this is a useful exercise to determine what’s possible for a better future – for Smarter Appliances and Simpler Appliances. The feature list provides a call-to-action for all Smart Appliance makers to seek simplicity and ease of use.

Leonardo da Vinci, the ultimate Renaissance Man wrote: “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Steve Jobs, the Renaissance Man of the last two decades, will always be remembered for his laser-focus on simplicity: “That’s been one of my mantras — focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”(Business Week, May 25, 1998)

What iProduct would you like to see next? Your comments are welcome.

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© 2011 by Ed Valdez

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Posted in: Eco Leader