The world, as seen by Karan Navani.

Dear Apple, Here’s an Idea

Hello hello! 👋

I’m going to try something new in this post. I’m going for a blend of user experience and business strategy. Trust me, it’s more exciting than it sounds.

Ok, let’s go!

Apple, it’s a company we all know and love (for the most part) and as a business they’re doing great! Record after record, there seems to be no stopping.

However, if you look at their long term strategy, things seem a bit blurry. If you compare the pile of cash they have vs truly innovative services/products that they launched recently, it paints a different picture.

With their scale and resources, surely they are capable of more disruption? I don’t know if that is a choice or an oversight but it got me thinking…”What else could Apple do?”

A quick scan around the office and I had my answer.

Speaking from personal experience, interacting with the physical space in the office hasn’t quite kept up with the speed of digital. As an intern in Internet of Things (IoT), I think about this a lot.

How do we maximise our interaction with the physical world around us? How do we use IoT to not just gather two-dimensional data but use it to drive real world social outcomes for humans?

The whole IoT revolution, in my opinion, has failed to create rich experiences for us as end-users.

You know who does user experiences really well?
Apple.

They take immense pride in delivering exceptional experiences within their ecosystem.

All of my Apple products connect with each other seamlessly, and now they’re slowly moving towards the home market. All of your smart home devices, in one places, via the Home app. It’s great!

So, I’m sat in the office, looking around and wondering….nearly every desk has at least one Apple device on it, and I imagine this is the case for many companies, at least in the West.

Why in the world has Apple not capitalised on this?

Cheeky Amazon is already making moves with Alexa for Business. Apple is nowhere to be found.

There are two interesting trends that Apple has going for them – explosion of Apple devices at work and the need for corporations to manage their office spaces better.

I think there is a big case to made for Apple to jump in on this space and make something really cool happen.

Since they don’t seem to be doing anything about this….I decided to give it a whirl.

I present to you – Apple Work.

I’ve designed this to resemble Apple’s Home app which comes pre-installed on all iOS devices.

There are 3 main screens to this: Home, Around Me and For You.

Let’s start with Home.

This is your main hub. Frequent office interactions are stored by the user under Favourites.

Siri Suggests is contextual information based on where you are/ what time of the day it is/ what’s in your calendar, etc.

As per the screen, you are currently in Conference Room B, thus, there are room specific functions such as adjusting temperature and lights.

Moving on to, Around Me.

As the name suggests, this is to help enrich your interaction with your surrounding environment.

Want to find someone in Finance? Use Find Someone to find their desk.
New to a specific office branch? Use Wayfinder to find the nearest toilet.

Also, in IBM I’ve noticed that there are so many events happening around me that it is impossible to keep track. What’s On is meant to be a nice little hub for all internal/external events taking place around you.

Food & Drink is interesting because it does not need to be limited to the company cafeteria. Organisations could partner with local restaurants, and push special discounts to employees through the app (with permission, of course).

And my favourite one – Network.

In a big corporation like IBM, and I imagine this is the case for most big organisations, there is no easy way to find interesting or like minded people, unless you run into them at events or by chance.

With Network, you can meet cool people suggested for you, based on your interests.

I imagine 2 major use cases for this.

  1. It’s just a normal day at work and my phone detects that someone who works in a field that I am interested in is nearby. I can instantly text them to grab a cup of coffee.
  2. I’m about to have a meeting with people I’ve never met before – my calendar is smart enough to understand this and notifies me with some general information about them.

The same can also apply to corporate events, and similar group situations.

To finish things off, let’s talk about For You.

Ultimately, a large part of any job is about you staying on top of your shit. Any thing that can make that remotely better is a life saver.

With For You, I imagine a place where everything you need to know to about your day is nicely populated.

For this initial version I have included a Day-view, Suggested events around you and News Headlines based on your organisation and field of work.

The scope can be so much greater when minds more creative than mine start thinking about what can go here.

How would this work?

Apple is generally good with allowing developers to build tools for their platforms with SDKs (Software Development Kits), they have ARKit for building AR applications, HomeKit for smart home apps and so on.

I reckon Apple could quite easily launch a WorkKit that developers could tap into and build for the Work app.

How will Apple make money?

They could use a subscription model for organisations to implement Work. Possible pricing plans based on number of employees who will be getting access.

This is especially effective because enterprises are ripe for disruption and they are sticky customers. A subscription model means recurring revenues for a long long time.

There also is a clear incentive for third parties to develop their systems as “Work compatible” because then their offerings are more likely to be implemented in offices.

But yeah, that is my brain dump + design sprint + business justification, all rolled into one concept.

I am trying to do more of these where instead of just wishing a company did something, I’m just going to go ahead and build a concept. It takes a bit of work, but it’s a lot of fun and serves as good practice to think more from an end-user perspective.

I’m always curious to hear your thoughts so please drop them down below!

Until next time,

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