Thursday, June 21, 2012

crazy iPad stuff

As the iPad already seems to do nearly everything most users need of it, it's hard to think of obvious features to add.  But there are plenty of wacky ones that would be great:
1. e-ink smart cover.  There seemed to be a time when some cared about the use of the iPad as an ebook and its use in sunlight.  Given the exorbitant price for covers (leather smartcover - $70!), couldn't it make sense to have an e-ink cover?  If amazon can sell a kindle for $79, it seems credible that a cover can come in at a reasonable price as a lot of the work would be handled by the iPad itself.  And, as a way to present infrequently updated information, it could even handle some of the widget issues.
2. video-in.  iPad has a great screen that can pull in data from lots of sources.  But all of those sources need to be on-board or, at best, stream from something else using a wifi network.  I'd like to see iPad to iPad streaming so a single video can be played simultaneously on two screens using bluetooth or some sort of parallel ad hoc wifi.  Or, even better, add the ability to allow hardware connections to use the iPad as an auxiliary screen - parents would love this in the car.
3. waterproof.  As tough as the iPad is, we still take great care to keep it from getting wet.  Reading in the bath, using in the kitchen, taking to the beach - all of these work much better if the enclosure is water resistant (I'm assuming water resistance covers sand as well).

Monday, June 18, 2012

unlocking liquidity, Ebay and UPS

Ebay made great advances in helping regular people unlock liquidity by finding buyers for otherwise idle property - the "national garage sale" concept meant that, with modest effort, regular people could reach millions of potential customers and turn near-junk into cash.  But I feel that Ebay never reached the finish line of this and, instead, became more of an alternative marketplace for professional retailers.  And I believe this more populist vision stalled because of concerns regarding fraud and reliability.  One solution would be for Ebay to make the very large infrastructure investment to take over the small scale "sell it on Ebay" stores to professionalize and standardize these efforts.  Barring that, the next best choice would be a UPS - not merely adding "sell it on Ebay" to the existing UPS stores but, rather, using the massive UPS warehouses to reimagine the entire business.  The warehousing and shipping power of UPS could bring the necessary reliability to give everyone access to the liquidity that Ebay promised.  Counterparty risk, quality risk, shipping risk and payment risk could all be handled through UPS acting as a middleman.