You know what they say about life, right? “Different strokes for different folks.” That means we all have a slightly different perspective or opinion on the very same topic. Apple is a technology company that always looks forward, sometimes ignoring the present in the process. Can you say 2013 Mac Pro? Fully ignored by Apple’s executives because 80-percent of the Mac’s sales are notebooks, not desktops.
What’s the technology Holy Grail? Perhaps we should start with an original definition.
noun: Holy Grail
1. (in medieval legend) the cup or platter used by Jesus at the Last Supper, and in which Joseph of Arimathea received Christ’s blood at the Cross. Quests for it undertaken by medieval knights are described in versions of the Arthurian legends written from the early 13th century onward.
2. a thing that is being earnestly pursued or sought after.
“profit has become the holy grail”
The second definition fits one of the quests Apple’s engineers are on these days. The Holy Grail of sensors that can monitor blood sugar levels. Without pricking the skin for a drop of blood. Think of how popular Apple Watch would be if it had a sensor which could read blood sugar levels, blood oxygen levels, or conduct even more non-invasive tests.
That’s a start, but from my perspective, the Holy Grail here is the future of sensors. In Star Trek– from the past but about the far future– the Tricorder was the instrument favored for various functions ranging from medical data to scanning an unfamiliar area ahead.
Three primary variants of the tricorder appear in Star Trek, issued by the fictional organization Starfleet. The standard tricorder is a general-purpose device used primarily to scout unfamiliar areas, make detailed examination of living things, and record and review technical data. The medical tricorder is used by doctors to help diagnose diseases and collect bodily information about a patient; the key difference between this and a standard tricorder is a detachable hand-held high-resolution scanner stored in a compartment of the tricorder when not in use. The engineering tricorder is fine-tuned for starship engineering purposes. There are also many other lesser-used varieties of special-use tricorders. The word “tricorder” is an abbreviation of the device’s full name, the “TRI-function reCORDER”, referring to the device’s primary functions: sensing, computing, and recording.
There’s the Holy Grail. “Sensing, computing, and recording.” That’s what Apple is after. Today’s Watch borrows much from the iPhone but adds sensors that– for now, anyway– don’t make sense in a smartphone. The heart rate monitor. Basically, the device bounces light off the skin and records changes in heart rate.
Imagine a similar kind of sensor with scanning technology that could determine blood sugar and blood oxygen levels. Let’s carry the sensing technology forward, somewhat closer to the Tricorder era, and Apple could have a device that measured brain waves while you hold your iPhone. Perhaps your thoughts could be captured and stored, then sliced and diced by the Ministry of Thought Control to determine if you pose a threat to society in the year 2525.
Alright, that’s an extrapolation of the deluxe variety, but you see where this is going, right? The Holy Grail wasn’t the iPhone, certainly isn’t the Watch. It’s sensors. Apple takes the riches generated by iPhone, iPad, and Mac and devotes research and development money to a variety of technologies, but the Holy Grail for the future is wrapped up in sensors.
Are you lying? Or, tell the truth? The sensor will know.