Ok, I got it off my chest: “I brought my pencil”; and of course the Van Halen reference wouldn’t be complete without “Gimme something to write on man”.
In the case of Apple and the Apple iPad, they gave us something to write on long ago – April in 2010 to be exact. For over five years, the iPad, an iconic productivity device which enables fantastic features with finger and screen, ignored and actually shunned the stylus. Take it from me. I worked tirelessly testing stylus after stylus; application after application; trying to find the best combination to jump start my business note taking abilities. I was finally rewarded for the first time in June 2014 – BY MICROSOFT. The Surface Pro 3 successfully delivered technology which bridged the PC, tablet and notebook experience and freed me to process handwritten stylus enabled notes. Thank you Microsoft.
And thank you Microsoft for creating the compelling competitive feature which has forced Apple to dig deep and develop and deliver a stylus experience to complement the iPad. Now we can really see how these two solutions, the Surface Pro 3, a true PC, and the iPad Pro with Apple Pencil, a true tablet, fare in the corporate world.
Siri, Google Now, and Cortana are interesting as far as digital assistants go. Each have their strengths and weaknesses and each have their quirks and learning curves. Each of the digital assistants do seem to get better with use and certainly as the user gains experience with interacting with the assistant. You can perform tasks with each; each can remind you to do something at a certain time or based on another event, each can track where you are, and each can direct you to some place where you aren’t. They are practical and with practice, can become valuable.
What I’m waiting for is the next wave, the wave of intuitive assistants – and assistants with empathy. Perhaps I’m waiting for this for a very simple reason: empathy is something that is seriously lacking in the world today. With that in mind, wouldn’t it be great if our digital assistants interacted with all the other digital assistants out there and, based on empathy or maybe even some common sense and common manners, could make suggestions which would make the world a better place. Perhaps, when walking into a church or library or another place where being quiet is being considerate (and based on common geofencing technology), our digital assistant could in a hushed instant message suggest we silence our phones. Perhaps, when more of our clothing will be interconnected, when sitting in a restaurant, the digital assistant could suggest we remove our baseball caps because its just not right to sit with a baseball cap on at a table in a restaurant. Maybe when all the digital assistants are interconnected, they could make inferences from each other – when entering a space, if your digital assistant sensed that all the other digital assistants had silenced their ringers, perhaps your digital assistant may suggest you do the same even if other logic isn’t in place to direct you to do so. On and on, I can come up with examples and would challenge others to do the same – this will be the next revolution in digital assistants and also actually improve the environments and communities we live in.