Between Cloud, Mobility and the Enterprise is the API Middle Ground

Scott Morrison

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The iPad Mini is for Cars

Yesterday, Apple launched the iPad mini. Apple events in the fall of 2012 may no longer command the social anticipation of only a few years ago, but they remain flash points for technology reporting. This release brought on more than its share of speculation that the mini is simply an overdue acknowledgement that Amazon got something right with Kindle, and that Apple has quietly slipped into following mode. Some pundits have seized on the angle that Apple’s new tablet appeared to contradict Job’s famous trashing of the 7″ form factor. But in all of the hullabaloo one observation seems to be missing. That is, a tablet of this size is tailor-made for inclusion into the dashboard of your car.

Nothing dates a car like its electronics. And nothing is more tragic that the UX of pretty much every single in-car navigation and music system. The luxury car segment can do Corinthian leather and wood grain appointments like no industry on earth. They can build a magnificent driving machine that powers through rain and snow like it was a sunny day in LA. But ask them to do a screen-based app and you get something that looks like it was designed on a TRS-80.

I didn’t renew the trial SiriusXM in my 4Runner because I couldn’t stand its programming compared with what I could stream from my iPhone using Bluetooth. Every time I rent a car I use my phone-based Navigon app over any provided GPS because my app is just better. I’m hooked on Waze despite how few people use it up here in Vancouver (you should sign up—the more people who use it, the better the traffic data is). The apps on my phone are always up-to-date and I replace the hardware every couple of years for the latest model (which is good enough for me; after all, it’s only a phone).

All cars need is a standard, lockable frame where you can plug in the device of your choice, plus a standardized connector. Then let free market competition and innovation prevail over Apps. Tomorrow’s gear heads aren’t going to be like the hot rodders of my Dad’s generation or the tuner kids of a decade ago. They are going to be geeks with Apps using APIs.

That’s what the iPad mini is for.

(It’s interesting to note that the wifi-only mini has no GPS, but the cellular version does…)


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More Stories By Scott Morrison

K. Scott Morrison is the Chief Technology Officer and Chief Architect at Layer 7 Technologies, where he is leading a team developing the next generation of security infrastructure for cloud computing and SOA. An architect and developer of highly scalable, enterprise systems for over 20 years, Scott has extensive experience across industry sectors as diverse as health, travel and transportation, and financial services. He has been a Director of Architecture and Technology at Infowave Software, a leading maker of wireless security and acceleration software for mobile devices, and was a senior architect at IBM. Before shifting to the private sector, Scott was with the world-renowned medical research program of the University of British Columbia, studying neurodegenerative disorders using medical imaging technology.

Scott is a dynamic, entertaining and highly sought-after speaker. His quotes appear regularly in the media, from the New York Times, to the Huffington Post and the Register. Scott has published over 50 book chapters, magazine articles, and papers in medical, physics, and engineering journals. His work has been acknowledged in the New England Journal of Medicine, and he has published in journals as diverse as the IEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science, the Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow, and Neurology. He is the co-author of the graduate text Cloud Computing, Principles, Systems and Applications published by Springer, and is on the editorial board of Springer’s new Journal of Cloud Computing Advances, Systems and Applications (JoCCASA). He co-authored both Java Web Services Unleashed and Professional JMS. Scott is an editor of the WS-I Basic Security Profile (BSP), and is co-author of the original WS-Federation specification. He is a recent co-author of the Cloud Security Alliance’s Security Guidance for Critical Areas of Focus in Cloud Computing, and an author of that organization’s Top Threats to Cloud Computing research. Scott was recently a featured speaker for the Privacy Commission of Canada’s public consultation into the privacy implications of cloud computing. He has even lent his expertise to the film and television industry, consulting on a number of features including the X-Files. Scott’s current interests are in cloud computing, Web services security, enterprise architecture and secure mobile computing—and of course, his wife and two great kids.

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