I am hoping (no, actually praying) that Apple brings innovation into the TV space in the same way they have done for phones. The modern TV has a few major issues, the way I see it:
- The UI sucks. Period. Its cumbersome and nearly not as snappy and user-friendly as our other screens. If I had one wish for the TV, it would be for someone to fix the UI.
- Its not connected. I know, I know, most modern TVs have wi-fi built in and there are apps. But try using the apps and you will know what I am talking about. Connectivity for the sake of connectivity is just a pathetic cover for lack of innovation. We need ‘always-on’ connectivity. We need apps that make TV browsing easy and fun, not cludgy and outdated. The Youtube App on my TV feels very very ancient, which is not acceptable.
- The TV needs to be smart enough to enhance your viewing experience. This does not mean simply adding 100 apps under some menu item. ‘Smart’ needs to learn from your viewing habits, suggest content and shows you might like. Content and schedule search needs to be quick and evolving the way web search has evolved over the past years.
The iPhone ushered in a whole new wave of phone innovation. Dear Apple, please show us that you can repeat the magic act.
I have been feeling for the past month or so that Facebook has gotten increasingly complex to use. The myriad of privacy settings, the multitude of information streams floating across the screen, and the fact that everyone you know (even remotely) is now a friend on Facebook, are all driving down the user experience from being simple to being very complex.
This thought became even more concrete in my head as I started using Google+ to share my photo albums with close friends. There is a certain ‘lightweight’ feeling about Google+ which is very attractive. The experience doesn’t leave you feeling overwhelmed with information and sharing is infinitely simpler on Google+.
Facebook’s auto list creation feature, while being cool, is also threatening to destroy the user experience. For example, I now have no less than four different lists for my friends at ISB. Three of the four lists were auto created by Facebook, and one was created by me manually several months ago. It is not clear to me if I should just delete the three auto created lists? What value are they adding, I am not so sure. What if I delete them, and they reappear as I add new ISB friends to my network in the future?
Clayton Christensen told us that low-end disruptive innovation happens when a new product attacks the incumbent from the low-end by offering a much simpler, lightweight, minimal, and cheaper alternate product. The audience adopts the new innovation as they are *tired* of bloated incumbent products. This is exactly what I see happening here with Facebook.
Facebook does have the significant advantage of making users feel locked into it. Users have years of conversations, networks, and photos on Facebook so there would be high perceived switching cost for users jumping to Google+.
How this all plays out, only time will tell. The way I see it, Google+ will reach a tipping point where the engagement levels on Google+ will rise fast. The only way I see Facebook stopping this is by drastically simplifying their user interface. Cut out many of the lower used features. This is the only way to maintain user interest and not cede the massive lead it currently enjoys to very promising rivals like Google+.
Read up a bit about the emerging science behind 3-D printing. I must admit, it has lots of promise. If the cost of these 3-D printers falls considerably fast (which already seems to be happening), I can imagine one of these owned by most households. Fantastic stuff, the applications are limitless.