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Analyzing patents is one thing. Coming up with entirely new product ideas is something else entirely. Back in January, as part of our “What Comes Next?” feature, we asked for your three-dimensional “fauxtotype” designs of Apple’s “Next Big Thing,” whatever that may be. Over 50 would-be 3D designers sent us their creations, ranging from the obvious (iPod alarm clocks galore) to the unexpected (Apple-branded prefab buildings) to the curiously oblique (an Apple-created photo ID card).
After much debate, voting, and gnashing of teeth, we whittled down the selections to our five favorites, which we present to you here for the first time ever. Wondering what you might soon be wearing on your ring finger…or riding in when you take to the friendly skies?
Grand Prize Winner
Victor Soto of Bonita, California
With his innovative and unique iRing, Victor Soto captured everything we love about Apple in one simple, understated device. The iRing is more than geek jewelry; it’s also a Bluetooth controller that interacts with your iPod or iPhone, letting you operate its media controls while it’s stowed away in your pocket or your bag.
Soto did more than just design a pretty device, though. He also gave a lot of thought to its controls and engineering, and even designed a Quick Start guide for the product, along with a charging station. Tapping the Apple icon functions as play and pause, while touching the strips to either side allows you to skip forward and back. A button on the underside of the ring lets you lock out unintentional commands by pinching the ring between your thumb and forefinger.
More than any other fauxtotype we received, the iRing was the product that, across the board, we all wished for the most. It is, quite literally, power at your fingertips.
Joe Ashear of Palo Alto, California
If Virgin and Hooters can have airlines, why not Apple too? Joe Ashear’s jumbo jet cabin design is one of the first airplanes that actually looks inviting instead of off-putting. Skylights, big seats, and bar (stocked, says Ashear, with Green Apple Martinis and organic juices!) are great, but the 17-inch Mac tablets at every seat are what seal the deal. We shudder to imagine what a trip on Apple Sky might cost, but if anyone’s in a position to reinvent the terminally broken U.S. airline industry, Apple is. Now what can Steve do about the line at security?