The iPhone is an incredible platform for innovation. As it becomes more popular, it invites even more innovation. Many of the iPhone’s functions demonstrate the Task Unification template of the corporate innovation method called S.I.T.. Task Unification is a pattern that assigns an additional job to an existing resource or component within a product or service. To use Task Unification in practice, we start by listing the components of the product or service. Then we assign non-intuitive tasks to some of the components randomly. The idea is to create weird, ambiguous “virtual products” that don’t seem to make any sense. Then we work backwards from this hypothetical “solution” to a possible problem that it addresses. Linking the solution to a problem creates an idea.
Here are two recent examples of Task Unification in the iPhone. What is unique is the use of a resource that is often overlooked: the charger receptacle. The device shown at left plugs into the charger receptacle and turns an iPhone or iPod Touch into a universal remote. It’s made by L5 Technology, and was launched at CES 2010. It controls any compatible device within 30 feet using a free app from the App Store.
Another clever example of Task Unification shown at CES was the Mophie credit card reader device. It lets you take payments with your iPhone using a third-party app and a device that attaches directly to your phone. I have seen a similar device used exclusively at Apple stores, but this is the first available for the consumer market.
Check out more iPhone innovations yet-to-be-seen.