Under the category of "Steal this invention", for anyone looking for a great product idea, here's what I have today:
I've always wanted an "always on" computer device in the kitchen, so that when I walk into the kitchen, I can tap the device or speak to it, and it comes instantly, just like the lights. Once it's on, I'd like for it to be able to do all the usual things, but primarily I'd like to be able to:
- Listen to music, podcasts, or books.
- Watch/listen to videos, including news, movies, tv shows, etc.
- Look up recipes.
- Take audio notes of ideas that I have (ideas, grocery list, to-do list).
A great screensaver for this device would be to rotate my photos, but that's just a nicety. And working as a telephone would also be excellent.
How it works
As you can tell from that wish list, this device is:
- Always on, or ready to come on in an instant.
- Supports touchscreen controls.
- Supports voice controls.
- Has decent speakers, or produce sound over wireless speakers.
- Is connected to the internet.
- Is connected to my other systems, primarily for audio and video sharing.
Form factor and device positioning
Because this device is in the kitchen, and kitchen counter space can be hard to find sometimes, this device:
- Can be mounted on a wall.
- Can be moved to different places.
- It can either stand on its own, like a picture frame with the support in the back, or, it can be mounted on something like the base of a 2002 iMac.
The 2002 iMac
While it lacks several of the qualities I've described above, I've often thought that a 2002 iMac would be nearly perfect for this use, as shown in these images:
The ability to turn and position the 2002 iMac at any angle -- while taking up little counter space -- makes it nearly perfect for this purpose.
I'm not that gifted when it comes to merging images, but I think you can take a look at this iPad image and see how easily the iPad could be mounted on a 2002 iMac base:
Looking at those pictures, this idea seems so obvious, someone must be working on this already, right?
I've actually thought about buying a 2002 iMac several times now just for this purpose, but I've never done it, mostly because it would probably seem pretty old and slow by now. But now ...
More personal assistant computer ideas
The more you think about this, the more you'll realize that it would also be great to have a similar device in the bathroom and bedroom in the morning as you're getting ready for work ... hmm, R2D2 holding an iPad now comes to mind ...
Well, I could go on for a while, giving you all sorts of details about new products you could create, but that would take the fun out of your own discovery process.
As hardware product inventions and ideas go, that's what I have today. Just go out there and make a great product like this, try to make it affordable, and I'll be glad to buy it.
(I didn't get all those 2002 iMac and iPad images from Apple, but I'm sure they're all Courtesy of Apple one way or another.)