The Last Screen

I was thinking the other day how Apple now has a contiguous line of screen sizes from 30 inches down to just a couple of inches (Desktop Mac, MacBook, iPad, iPhone, iPod nano). They don’t do TVs, so there is still room at the large end. But they have all other sizes covered.

So if I were Apple, and there aren’t any screen size holes to fill any more, what new device would I come up with?

I can think of only one, and that may turn out to be the most important of all: smart glasses. Heads-up goggles that is, using the same form factor that has worked well for glasses for centuries.

My understanding is that in 2010, nobody has technology that could do that. But I wouldn’t be surprised if the following chain of events occurred through 2020:

  1. 3-D movies like Avatar are a huge hit, so mass production of 3-D screens commences (already happening).
  2. Computer desktop monitors go 3-D and the main Mac Finder / Windows Explorer user experience becomes 3-dimensional. (In the past month, the first 3-D monitors have gone on sale at Fry’s, at a rather reasonable price. I think this one is unstoppable.)
  3. People get used to wearing glasses to look at monitors (they are needed for the 3-D effect), and the monitor manufacturers are bundling them with their monitors.
  4. Then they might as well incorporate Bluetooth audio in the 3-D glasses. They sit on one’s ears already anyway, and it helps with watching TV in a room with other people.
  5. Now the stage is set to make the glasses smarter: first, only a few pixels might be projected into the glasses. Perhaps the volume control indicator for the audio, or an alert.
  6. They will also start to connect to one’s cell phone, so one can use the Bluetooth audio already on one’s head to take an incoming call. And before we know it, we’ll keep wearing the glasses even when not looking at a 3-D screen.

Of course, this is total speculation. But I’m quite certain we’ll have intelligent glasses, even if it takes a long time there, and this adoption avenue sounds plausible to me. They will then be the last screen we’ll buy.

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