Can the world see the next major innovation fromApple in the toys industry? Here are my ideas on why it might make sense.
November 09, 2017
How cool that would be for a headline huh. Let me tell you that this thought was running through my mind as I was reading through some of the articles where critics were talking about lack of innovation from Apple. Some of the articles even discussed how Steve Jobs would feel if he looks at iPhone8 or iPhone 10. The only thing Apple had done innovative is coming up with the iWatch after Jobs left Apple and the physical world. It is clearly evident how one person's absence makes a difference. An interesting perspective of highs and lows of Apple post Jobs tenure can be found here.Apple post Jobs
No doubt Apple as a company has a strong design culture, some of the products in the recent past didn't meet their own standards, but they are really good at design. In some of the design classes, I remember talking about the MacBook Pro 13'' inch edition's sleep light and how a hairline LED was used to build that and the way it blinks it feels like it is breathing while it's asleep. I was like that's a brilliant design. Same was with the exhaust(it wasn't visible directly to figure out where the exhaust for the MacBook was). I was impressed with the touch bar and the way the integration scenarios were thought through for various apps.
So, what am I here for. Going through these thoughts, I sat down thinking what is that really cool thing Apple can do right now. This has been going through my mind since few weeks and I saw a trending article on facebook ToysRUs going bankrupt.
I have been reading through both stories and thoughts were twining. Then I started to think, how is the tech world going to react if Apple acquires ToysRUs. I just imagined myself reading that article, and my first impression was wow, I am going to see really cool toys now? Thought let me give this thought some structure. What if Apple really acquires ToysRUs
Apple in the form of a phone/tablet/computer is present in most of the adult's life(at least in the US). The results of this survey support that.Americans and Apple Devices
It's only kids who don't get specialized Apple products. They might be using iPad or iPhone for playing games or watching videos or might watch the Apple TV. Not any specialized ones. Apple has got a significant advantage to venture into this market and make it really Apple family. The product opportunities are tremendous across the age groups. Right from playing with toys to kid trackers, bikes etc.
A careful study can evolve to a significant product line. The following are the products I thought would really benefit.
An amalgam of the technology catering to safety, smart and usability and crafted product design, Apple can create really cool kid's Bike. Think of the scenarios where it comes with a default tracker integrated to an iPhone, you can even see where your kid is cycling and set GPS alerts, have facial recognition to people around, share the data with someone else in case of emergencies etc.
Have prompts setup for kids from parents when they are getting close to roads or it is getting dark and parents can set up recorded messages. A hazard light and key finder, built in helmet and knee caps would make it even cooler. This opens up a whole new world of scenarios for them. You can argue with me why other bike companies can't do this, Apple is the best platform people(in the US) are used to. It is much easier for Apple to position this product and open up this segment.
The next question would be why through ToysRUs. Like we do kids are brand conscious too. Every time we pass through the ToysRUs store I see my son's eyes lit up.
Now coming to the actual segment of kids toys, there is a significant opportunity in conceptualizing and building a business line for toys. There is no family without toys need when they have kids. Parents are willing to spend money on the toys that are safe, fun and helpful to kids in some way or the other. We can see loads and loads of options from all the leading toy brands on how innovatively they have built their product lines. still, the toy industry hasn't seen a significant revolution in the last decade. Refer to the below article on how Margo Georgiadis explains about a Tech makeover for the toy industry.
I really don't want to get into details of what kind of toys can Apple make to do that, it is not the point I am trying to convey but Apple with this acquisition can open gates to significant avenues which are never explored till now.
There are various smart devices adults use and a lot of data that is collected because of which we get insights into our health, eating habits, productivity etc. If used in the right sense and purpose the data that is collected is really helpful.
Apple can carefully build a platform which captures data from kids the way they play, the way they move their body and build them into an intelligence arena helping parents to monitor and moderate a kid's lifestyle.
Apple can build adaptive toys which change (enhance or downgrade) depending on how the kid is interacting with the toy. We can bring in certain product lines to support controlled improvements in kids.
This is the coolest thing apple can do. Say there is a toy that helps the kids learn Alphabets by showing objects or playing some music etc. The parents have can have the ability to chose what kinds of pictures can be shown change them accordingly. This will really help for kids across cultures and geographies. You can even improve the vocabulary and usage of the toy by driving scenarios like this.
Then it can open up space for partners to write apps for their Toys and make it a really good option for parents to buy for.
This is a market where Apple's competitors(Microsoft, Amazon, Samsung, Google) might not want to get into right away. But that is what Apple was known for. This is why acquiring someone like ToysRUs makes a lot of sense as they don't need to build the base business and infrastructure again. ToysRUs has enough brand value and it is the well-known name in the toys market.
I will keep updating the article based on the responses and as I work on the commercial and business aspects, as I do my study. I would love to listen from the readers what do you think about this.
Stories by Aditya M S K