Saturday, November 12, 2011

I Want My iDishwasher

For years now, the world has been raving about the success of Apple products. Not just the computer platforms iMac, iPad and iPhone but also gadgets such as iPod and Apple TV have enjoyed a phenomenal success. Most pundits and consumers agree that the design, user experience and ease-of-use are key factors to their success.

For months now, the world is expecting the next line of devices from Apple that will surely yet again turn an established industry upside down. The device the iTV, or at least that’s what we think it will be called, is supposed to be an Internet-enabled TV set, no doubt seamlessly integrated with the iTunes store and all the other Apple gadgets in my house. iTV will most likely be a runaway success in an industry with many players, no differentiation and cut-trout margins. Apple will apply its magic and a boring TV set will become a must-have gadget at double the price of a regular TV set from Sony or Panasonic. My wife - who is not really the type of geek I am - is already planning on where to set it up in our house.

But I am seriously hoping for more. Looking around my house, I see many devices and appliances that need the Apple magic really badly. In our kitchen, we have a modern stove. It has 22 buttons plus a 10-key numeric keypad, not counting the knobs for the gas burners. I don’t know what all of those buttons are for. Nobody knows. Basic tasks such as preheating the oven require multiple button sequences which is usually done by trial-and-error. This is the MS-DOS v2.0 equivalent of a stove. I want an iStove.  

The iStove would have very simple controls, designed for what people do with a stove - cooking, baking, heating up food etc. The controls would be logically arranged and the operation would be easy to learn with no need of a manual. Think about the differences between the controls on the old MP3 players and the iPod. I want the iStove to be like the iPod.  

What’s more, the iStove would be cool looking. It would become the central point of the kitchen. I would love it just like I love my iMac, iPad, iPhone, and the iPod Nano that I’m wearing like a watch.

I want more than just the iStove. I want the iDishwasher. We have a brand new dishwasher that we absolutely hate. I want a dishwasher from Apple that I could love. I also want the iRefrigerator, iWaterSoftener, iWasher, iDryer, and iFurnace. I don’t want any more mysterious buttons, knobs and dials. I don’t know what they do and I don’t want to be spending hours figuring it out. I just want those devices and appliances to work. That’s all.

I am very encouraged by Nest and their new learning thermostat designed by former Apple designers. I’m pretty sure I will buy one as soon as it’s available. My current thermostat is very sophisticated with many programmable options but it is a pain to control. It is so hard that we rarely bother and instead either suffer in the cold or waste money and energy on heating. I love the idea of an iThermostat.

The way Apple has shaken up one industry after another is great for us consumers. Many of these industries have been piling up cash for years without ever caring about the customer. The home appliance and consumer electronics are such industries. For years, they have been competing with each other on useless features like a glass-top range (which sucks, by the way). As a result, it takes my ultra-modern TV set almost two minutes to boot up - longer  than it used to take those vacuum tubes to warm up. It’s time for the Apple magic to shake things up. I can’t wait and I will buy those gadgets!


  1. Bravo. We are experiencing similar issues with the gizmos in our new home. Why stop with electrical stuff? I could use an iExtensionLadder and an iLawnmower too. BTW, I like Martin Havlat as our newest Shark.

  2. Excellent article, thanks! Made me laugh. But you are absolutely right: A little B&O and Apple magic will go a long way in the kitchen... :-)