Some of the iPod and iPhone ideas were mine!

So, if you have ideas for apple products you’re welcome to submit those ideas. But, if you want them to look at your ideas without putting them in the garbage then you have to agree that all of your ideas become Apple’s ideas.

I want the products that I use to be great, so I’m always ready to provide feedback and suggestions for free, so I agreed that my ideas would belong to apple.

Idea #1 was implemented in the iPod firmware EXACTLY as I proposed it, and if you had a 5G iPod you know that it didn’t do this originally and was added later through a software update. I don’t want money and I don’t need any credit, but it would be nice… especially in the form of a 3G iPhone when available (you can have my non-3G iPhone back).

I should note that looking back, some of these ideas are terrible… but apparently 3 of them were good enough. Here’s the document that I sent Apple:


Dear Apple

I have read the unsolicited ideas verbiage and I agree all my ideas become property of Apple.

I appreciate apple products for their intuitive design and usability, but here are some short comings.

1. Backlighting should be adjustable, just like on my laptop. When I am in a dark room and I don’t want to blow out my eyes, or when I want to compromise brightness to save battery power I can dim the screen. My iPod should do the same, that will give me more power to watch movies during travel. I propose if the center button is clicked again after the shuttle/scrub state then the wheel will be in backlight dimming state.

2. The back of the ipod should have a belt clip/stand that can be deployed in a way that it will sit upright on an airplane seatback table to watch movies without having to hold it. This could be an accessory but it would be nice if it was built in or at least included.

3. iTunes should allow me to flag content and re-organize which folder it will appear in on my iPod.

4. While listening to music, there should be a built in trippy video or real time rendered visualization I can watch or use to show off how great the screen is on the iPod.

5. The next generation iPod should have a 16:9 screen ratio. When I hold it vertically, the screen is much taller than wide for easy grip and click wheel usage, but when I want to watch a movie I can turn it sideways and it will flip the screen. My Nikon digital camera has a mercury switch it in to sense which way I’m holding it, the next iPod should do the same to take advantage of a wide screen and still offer the comfort of the current generation while browsing music.

6. It would also be amazing if the next generation could be the same size as my 5G except with the entire front a wide screen / touch panel. Click wheel goes touch wheel… sweet. That could open the doors for a lot of other applications, like a full QWERTY onscreen keyboard for typing emails and text messages on the go. Even if it just acted as a Bluetooth keyboard for my cell phone.

7. A built-in camera to capture video and snapshots would be awesome. This could be an accessory.

8. Support for flash lite, (adobe/macromedia’s) flash’s mobile display engine would guarantee a bunch of really cool applications could be built for the iPod. The most obvious would be skinning the UI. Even proprietary apple UIs that could be bought at the iTunes store. People pay for cell phone ring tones to customize their phone, they’ll do the same to customize/personalize their ipod interface.

8. The next generation nano should be the same size as a PCMCIA card and fit into that slot for charging/docking/protection/transportation/removable storage.
Thinking Different…

– Chad Upton

Occasionally Connected Wide Area Gaming

Imagine playing a “video game” (casually) over a few hours, days or even weeks as you go about your daily business.

I suggest the name “Occasionally Connected Wide Area Gaming” which could be short formed as ACUA Gaming (“Aqua Gaming”). This concept was inspired by my introduction to Dinner Murder Mysteries. If you’re not familiar with Dinner Murder Mysteries, kits to host these events can be purchased where you buy board games.

If you’re familiar with the game (or Movie) Clue, then this is where the idea comes from. People attend your event and Role Play as a Character; they have a script which tells them how to act, what to do and when. Each person has a different script which directs the outcomes of the evening. After a sequence of events, a murder will take place out of room and shortly after be discovered by someone. It is the job of everyone to figure out who committed the murder. Was it the person who discovered the body, the maid, the person who left to use the bathroom? It has a video game like story, but it’s happening in the world around you rather than on a screen.

These events can be extremely fun for most people involved, except for a couple people, especially the person who gets murdered. Some people will know ahead of time the outcome and how it happened. In this age of digital communication there is no reason why we should snail mail invitations and instructions.

What if a computer could send out all of the instructions in real time as they should be carried out. Ideally these instructions would be sent by text message (or email) to each person’s mobile device. That way, no one would know ahead of time what was going to happen next and the instructions could be extremely up to date, referencing current issues or even using the current date and time to instruct participants.

To setup this type of game there would need to be a web based console where it could be managed. The host would enter all of the mobile device contact info for each person, the date and time the event will start and other event information (will there be drinking or dinner). The server will take over from there, sending invitations to all users listing any props or costume pieces the participant will need for the event (fake gun, Swiss Army Knife, flashlight, money…etc).

At the start time of the event, users will start to receive instructions on their mobile devices: “Tell everyone you must go outside for a cigarette, ask Dr. Woz to join you. Stay outside and wait for further instructions” Dr. Woz will also receive a message telling him to go (or not) with you. A few minutes later they could receive a message telling them to drive to the local convenience store and wait for instructions. Then a message instructing them to phone Mr. Smith and tell him their car has broken down, and requesting he come pick them up. While this is happening a murder could take place back at the house. When the three other people return home they could be considered suspects, although they could claim they weren’t even at the house. Because the instructions are delivered in real time, the server could assemble the event as it goes, inserting or removing instructions to lengthen or shorten the event.

This would not be limited to murder mystery events either. All kinds of real time events could be developed such as scavenger hunts, checkpoint missions…etc. These events would be great for corporate events, dinner groups and fund raisers.

The possibilities are endless, and unlike other computer games it gets us out of our desk chair. Also, there could be games that intertwine with you daily life. As messages are received throughout the day or week, you could respond to them or follow their instructions. Today we play computer games; someday, computer games will play us.

Bulleted List

  • This is a
  • REAL
  • bulleted list

When I was creating the styles for this blog and I got to the bullet style, I decided the bullets had to really look like bullets, not pellets. I think more bulleted lists should have real bullets as their symbols!