When Apple created the Apple II it clearly had no idea of the impact it would eventually have on the computing market. It was simply trying to create a better product for hobbyists. When Google fixed search by finding a way to monetize, it they had no idea of how big that would become, and it likely will be years before we fully understand the full impact of the Tesla car effort.
I think the HoloLens that Microsoft showcased at the their latest Windows 10 preview has the potential to be just as revolutionary and that folks need to look beyond what it is to what it can become.
[Disclaimer: Microsoft is a client of the author.]
Let's talk about that this week.
The Apple II and the Danger of Disruptive Innovation
You'd be hard pressed to find anyone who has ever seen an Apple II in a picture let alone seen one in person. Yet the product changed an industry by getting a lot of other people to see computing differently, which lead to freeing up investment and funding start of the companies we know as Apple, Dell, Microsoft, Acer, Asus and others that make up the computing industry today.
Apple benefited from this creation, but I think you can argue that Microsoft benefitted more and other pioneers didn't do as well. IBM's Simon started the move to smartphones, Phillips actually had the iPhone idea first followed by Palm but neither benefitted from it. Even the core technologies that made Apple and Microsoft came from Xerox PARC who really didn't benefit at all but at least survived the change it helped start.
This suggest that there is always risk in coming up with a revolutionary idea in that someone else may see the potential better than you do as Steve Jobs did with the iPad after seeing Bill Gates' Windows Tablet.
So while I think Microsoft has something amazing with the HoloLens, I also don't think it is thinking big enough, and that someone else that sees what Microsoft doesn't could take this concept and do things that are even more amazing. In short, Microsoft started a race they now lead, but will still have to run really hard so that someone even more creative doesn't take this lead from them.
How HoloLens Changes Your World
As presented, the HoloLens is pretty incredible. It is a device that couples with eye movement, voice commands and hand gestures and can create holographic images that blend seamlessly with the real world.
You can easily design virtual places and even 3D print things, changing the world around you, first virtually and eventually physically. Even though that is incredible, it's just the tip of the iceberg when you step back and really think about it.
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