Tuesday, May 28, 2013


Apple has not done a major new product intro for the better part of a year and these days, the Apple headlines are about how it avoids paying US Taxes. Sony, the Apple of its day, suggests that it might just be better off selling insurance rather than making electronics. PC sales are declining in favor of much cheaper tablets. Indeed the only excitement in consumer electronics these days seems to be Google Glasses; even there, there are significant questions about whether this may ever be a mainstream consumer product due to concerns about privacy, distracted driving, distracted walking, eyestrain, etc. Ahead, there is possibly an Apple watch, an Apple branded TV set, or some new consumer device from an unexpected source. There is also always the next generation of the iPhone. However, the digital-out-of-home market may be switching its emphasis from stand-alone consumer devices to a more interactive world where those devices are designed more to interact with each other and with public information displays…. digital signage.

Digital signage is one part of electronics that is certain to grow in volume and in scope of its social impact. Near Field Communications (NFC) and possibly other point to point or net linked communications services will offer new ways for retailers or service providers to interact with the public and for the public to interact with each other. With Apple opting out of NFC for its last version of the iPhone, the door is left open for someone with a business model more accommodating for the growth in digital signage, perhaps one of the other electronics companies, perhaps not an electronics company at all. Now is one of those times when someone with a completely new vision can change the direction of consumer electronics, much as Apple did when it jumped into the cell phone market.

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