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Three More Industries Apple Could Disrupt

I predicted that Apple would someday impact the auto, watch, TV and appliances industries. Next: health care, design and retail.


A version of this essay was originally published at Tech.pinions, a website dedicated to informed opinions, insight and perspective on the tech industry.

On Jan. 2, 2012, I wrote a piece for Time Magazine titled “Four Industries Apple Can Disrupt in the Near Future.” In it, I suggested Apple will someday impact the auto, watch, TV and appliances industries. I encourage you to read it to see how close my predictions were three years back.

As I look at Apple today and try and peer into its future, I believe it is going to disrupt three other industries very soon. The first one is health care. Back in 2012, I don’t think any of us could have seen how Apple would link an iPhone or iPad to the health market. Yes, Apple did show one health app when it introduced the iPad in 2010, and we saw others over the first two years that perhaps hinted at this health connection. But what Apple is doing in health now — and, more importantly, how it is positioning itself to be a key broker of health data between a user and their health-care providers — is a very big deal.

Last summer, I had the former CEO of a very large HMO in my office. He told me he believed Apple would be critical to revolutionizing the health-care information system. I believe that Apple’s vision for changing the health-care market is actually an imperative given to the current leadership by Steve Jobs. Sources have told me that when Jobs got sick in the early 2000s, he was dismayed by the disjointed nature of the health-care system. Some of his health records were in one place, others elsewhere and trying to get them under one roof or in the hands of a specific doctor for diagnostic purposes was a nightmare.

As Jobs’ disease accelerated, it seemed that keeping his health records together got even more difficult. By the mid-2000s, Jobs had already decided that Apple had to find a way to help make the health industry more efficient and effective, and set Apple’s future directions in health in motion. I wrote a piece in PC Mag last September that gave a more detailed look at why I believe Apple’s next big thing is related to changing the health market.

That is why Tim Cook and his team are so involved with helping users record their health data and working with the health industry to get that information into a unified format in a safe and secure way so a person’s health-care provider can be more proactive in dealing with anyone’s health. Apple is now on a mission to deliver Jobs’ vision for the market, and it will be the last major contribution to Apple’s future that Steve Jobs left us.

Another industry Apple is disrupting is the design world. Jony Ive and Apple have set in motion a design emphasis that has forced folks in the tech industry to rethink how they design products. But, in talking with people in other industries where design is part of their product’s road map, I am told Apple’s attention to detail and design has spilled over to their world, as well. In the past, for many in various industries, design had not been a priority. At best, it was the second or third issue dealt with when creating a product.

In a piece I wrote for PC Magazine, I stated that design has become a key differentiator for the tech market and mention a report from John Meada, a design partner at Kleiner Perkins, called “Design in Tech Report,” and it is worth downloading if you are interested in how design is going to shape Silicon Valley and the tech world in the future. I am seeing people from all types of industries looking much closer at the way Apple creates and designs products and taking hints from Apple when they create products for their own companies.

Apple is even having a disruptive impact on construction and building codes. In a recent story on Business Insider, company representatives spoke with a former construction worker who was involved with Apple’s new spaceship campus. He states that, in creating this new building, Apple is sparing no cost to build what will probably be considered one of the most highly designed tech campuses ever built. The article quotes this worker as saying:

“The project is so extensive — and Apple is so demanding — that Apple Campus 2 has effectively “raised the bar for construction standards,” our source tells us.
Other tech companies’ buildings apparently don’t even come close. Having worked on other construction projects with tech companies, the person says “this far exceeds that level … with all the local subcontractors and contractors being brought together from around the country it really is gonna elevate the construction standard. You know, if Apple now has raised the bar for construction standards, what’s the next project? Is it gonna be higher than that? Is it gonna be an Apple standard?”

I also spoke with someone aware of the new Apple Campus design and they said, “Apple’s attention to design and detail is as if Apple was creating a new product, not a new building. The Apple mindset for design and the integration of technology into the campus itself is pure Apple and will make it the envy of builders around the world when it is finished.” It appears Apple’s new campus will be studied by architects, builders and building designers and possibly be disruptive to this industry as well.

Apple has also influenced the world of retail with its stores, and has become a gold standard in customer service and customer satisfaction. It’s no wonder, then, that Apple has become one of the most powerful and influential companies in the world, and I suspect the Apple way of doing things will become more ingrained into the fabric of other industries in the future.

Tim Bajarin is the president of Creative Strategies Inc. He is recognized as one of the leading industry consultants, analysts and futurists covering the field of personal computers and consumer technology. Bajarin has been with Creative Strategies since 1981, and has served as a consultant to most of the leading hardware and software vendors in the industry including IBM, Apple, Xerox, Compaq, Dell, AT&T, Microsoft, Polaroid, Lotus, Epson, Toshiba and numerous others. Reach him @Bajarin.

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