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Saturday, 4 April 2009

The endless possibilities offered by iPhone's accessories API

The most exciting opportunity for the iPhone OS3 is the opening up of the accessories API. This means hardware developers now have the potential to open up new markets:

Developers will now be able to create apps that work directly with their proprietary accessories, which is something that was previously not supported. Examples given: an FM transmitter extension with an app for changing stations; a blood pressure gauge with app for tracking, organizing, charting blood pressure data.

The possibilities are truly endless as smart hardware developers now have the chance to disrupt many expensive hardware-based markets like medical devices, toys, home monitoring, car entertainment etc with some cheap hardware and smart software. Across the Web, articles have spring up that imagine what kind of new hardware and applications are now possible. If you are looking for cool ideas, the list below is a good place to start:

Ivor Kovic: Details how iPhone can become powerful devices for doctors with additional accessories and applications

Kontra: Talks about how the accessories API is a powerful advantage for the iPhone platform and lists the potential areas where innovations in hardware accessories can take place

Mark Johnson: Thinking about iPhone as an accessory to other devices, rather than the other way around. He then goes on to list the areas where such innovations are feasible

The biggest opportunity however is in forming an innovation network like Li & Fung with the community organisation mechanisms of Threadless. Imagine groups of users designing and voting for their hardware in vertical markets. The most voted will then be made using the supplier network similar to that of Li & Fung. Whoever can pull this off can remake the value chain of how hardware is produced and consumed.

What other potential do you see in the new accessories API offered by the iPhone OS3?