The Floating Interface

I’m a Machead. I’ll admit it. I grew up on PCs, which might be WHY I became a Machead. Since my first “stick of gum” iPod shuffle to our household iMac, my wife and I have come to embrace and relish the iLove.

That’s why I spent half my day refreshing the Apple homepage. I had heard, just in time, that Apple was announcing iPhone 3.0 software. When I realized the video of the keynote wouldn’t be out until afternoon, I sad mac’d the browser window and went about my day.

Little did I know…

The new iPhone software boasts a lot of improvements: over 1000 APIs, push notification, new pricing models, etc. All of these seem to be interesting and useful to iPhone and (hopefully) iPod touch users. One feature in particular caught my attention. It was introduced with a speaker. The kind that music comes out of, not the kind that PowerPoints come out of. What made the speaker interesting was that it could communicate with a custom app on the iPhone. In that case, it was a set of equalizers. Essentially, the phone can adjust the accessory.

This concept isn’t new for the iPhone. Apple released an iTunes remote control app that let you access your iTunes from the iPhone like a remote control (hence the name). That said, the speaker example didn’t really impress me. The blood pressure cuff did. In that example, a blood pressure cuff had an iPhone connector and no guage. The cuff outputted to a custom app on the iPhone. That same output could be saved and sent to a doctor straight from the app.

No one’s going to gush over how great iCuff is, but it does make an astounding point: the iPhone is now the interface.

Imagine that when you hook your iPhone to your car you not only get the benefit of playing your music instead of the radio, but you also get diagnostic info uploaded to a special app. When you take it to the mechanic, you can email the raw data straight from the car itself.

But it’s not just that convenience. There is also the gain that these apps have to go through Apple (and Apple’s development software), a company famous for user interface and experience. These apps also get the benefit of a buttonless, infinitely customizable device. No more cramming buttons onto a steering wheel or wasting manufacturing dollars on hard-to-read guages.

Who wouldn’t want to wake up to a coffee pot singing The Beatles’ “Good Morning Good Morning”? (Insert pun about tapping along with the music implying that a singing coffee pot will cure the world’s ills.)

Written on my iPod touch.

Author: Miles Rausch

I've made a smart playlist of all the songs with 0 plays. I listen to them because I feel bad for them not because I like the music. I'm THAT guy.

2 thoughts on “The Floating Interface”

  1. A similar idea for thermostats where you hit a button on your iPhone on your way out the door and it uses your “away from home” settings, and vice versa when you come in the door. Making your furnace/AC as efficient as possible. This idea can be translated into SO MANY THINGS!


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