Knowledge Navigator, where are you?

January 28, 2010

Augmented reality

Over twenty years ago, Apple released a concept video to illustrate a vision about computers in the future. The video, simply titled Knowledge Navigator, anticipated wireless networks, steaming video, the World Wide Web and truly portable netbook style computing. To this day, no company has succeeded in achieving that vision. Maybe after 23 years Apple would introduce a product that does. With the launch of the iPad yesterday, we might be waiting a little bit longer.

Sure, it doesn't have the intelligent software agents or the ability to recognize speech like the Knowledge Navigator concept, but that's because R&D in those areas are still years away from a viable solution. What's most surprising is this is Apple's first computing device (i.e., sans iPods) without a built in iSight camera in over five years. Please pardon the expression my dear reader, but Apple, WTF? Luckily, Apple came to its senses when it introduced the iPad 2 and included not just one, but two cameras!

Here's a device that could become the "must have" appliance for augmented reality (poised to become A Very Big Deal™), yet without a camera makes it one step closer to a Kindle. Maybe that's too harsh a criticism. Maybe I'm just getting impatient after 23 years. Be that as it may, if the iPad product release cycle is anything like the iPod, we can rest assured that Apple has planned far enough ahead that we've only seen 20% of what's in store for us in the next 18 months.