Steve Jobs, the $60 light bulb, and the future of technology

“During an Apple earnings call two years ago, the late Steve Jobs made a comment that’s having a profound impact on not only the tech industry but also many other industries whose products and services are becoming infused with and enriched by technology,” Bob Evans writes for Forbes. “Jobs was talking about the indispensable value of software, and about how companies that have focused almost exclusively on hardware and have not invested vigorously enough in software will find it increasingly difficult to innovate, to dazzle customers, and to compete.”

“It’s also important to note that the circumstances surrounding Jobs’ remark: while he typically did not participate in Apple’s quarterly earnings calls, he chose to join the call on Oct. 18, 2010 because it marked the first $20-billion quarter in Apple’s history,” Evans writes. “of all the comments he made during that call, here’s the one that sticks out most in my mind—and it’s the one that connects Apple’s strategy with the $60 light bulb and indeed the entire future of technology: ‘You’re looking at it wrong. You’re looking at it as a hardware person in a fragmented world. You’re looking it as a hardware manufacturer that doesn’t really know much about software, who doesn’t think about an integrated product, but assumes the software will somehow take care of itself… And you assume that the software will somehow just come alive on this product that you’re dreaming of, but it won’t.'”

Evans writes, “earlier this week, I was reminded of Jobs’ powerful perspective when my colleague Bob Shimp, Oracle group VP of product marketing, sent me a message about how an emerging new breed of intelligent light bulbs are the latest examples of software and hardware engineered together. ‘If a 100-year-old technology can be transformed by combining new hardware and software, then anything is possible,’ wrote Shimp.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related article:
Philips Hue smart LED light bulb hits Apple Stores exclusively on October 30 – October 29, 2012

19 Comments

          1. I’m sure those buttons are even more fun when they are encrusted with piss!

            A better idea would be a networked sh!tter controlled via an app…..(I know. Girlfriend goes to bathroom, you stand outside door and highjack it with your iPhone. Fun ensues….)

    1. What? Would it light up your ass?

      Does it beep when fecal matter is no-longer detected?

      I am still waiting to hear how the 3 sea shells work first. I bet they will cost $120. And your $60 toilet paper can be used something less important.

  1. Here’s some more illumination from Steve on the same day two years ago:

    “Many Android OEMs install proprietary user-interfaces to differentiate themselves from the commodity Android experience. The user is left to figure it all out. Compare this with iPhone where every handset works the same. (…) We think the open vs closed is just a smokescreen to try and hide the real issue, which is: What’s best for the customer? Fragmented vs. integrated. We think Android is very very fragmented and becoming more fragmented by the day.”

    And now the tasty lesson courtesy of Google just this week:

    “Section 3.4 of Google’s new terms, which were updated Tuesday, reads, ‘You agree that you will not take any actions that may cause or result in the fragmentation of Android, including but not limited to distributing, participating in the creation of, or promoting in any way a software development kit derived from the SDK.'”

    Here’s the link for some smooth spin:

    http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57550824-93/google-modifies-android-sdk-to-battle-platform-fragmentation/

    “Open” iz WINNING!

    1. The key issue is the meaning of ‘fragmentation’ in Google’s parlance. For all of us here (and for the rest of the normal world), fragmentation is described exactly as in Steve’s quoted text above: dozens of different user interfaces, leaving user to figure it out on their own.

      For Google, it may well be just the (in)ability to run applications from the Android Market (Google Play, or whatever it’s called today). As long as the phone can run the applications that the Android version level (and the available hardware) is supposed to support, Google may find it fine and non-fragmented… In other words, an app is developed to run on Gingerbread (2.3), and requires motion sensor and GPS; such app should run on any Android flavour that is based on gingerbread (regardless of the bolted-on carrier user interface), as long as the phone itself has motion sensor and GPS.

      The practical fragmentation continues unabated…

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