AirPods point to Apple’s domination of ‘ambient paradigm’

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AirPods may miss Christmas while Apple works out audio problems.
Photo: Apple

The Apple Watch and new AirPods may seam like silly side projects to fans, but some analysts on Wall Street believe the company is using the two new products to lay the groundwork for the next era of personal technology.

While Silicon Valley is obssessed with virtual reality headsets, Apple is obsessed with making gadgetry less visible. UBS analysts Steven Milunovich and Benjamin Wilson told clients that while many firms see a lot of downside for Apple, the company’s “ambient paradigm” could be a huge money maker.


“The ambient paradigm consists of many devices providing different input/output methods that can be flexibly utilized depending on the situation (sitting, walking, running, driving).” Milunovich told investors. “Devices become extensions of one another rather than discreet, computing platforms. It is an expression of what Tim Cook has described as ‘iOS everywhere.”

Rather than expecting a big game changing product like the iPhone, UBS thinks a batch of smaller products — like Apple Watch and AirPods — will evolve over the years to connect seamlessly, with Siri acting as the glue.

Apple is rumored to be working on Siri-powered speaker that functions similar to Google Home and Amazon Echo. It also introduced the Home app with iOS 10, putting smart devices all in the same hub.

The iPhone-maker will have some catching up to do in some areas though. Google revealed a new Wi-Fi router and Chromecast to go with its smart speaker. And Amazon keeps rolling out new Alexa-powered devices. Even though Apple won’t be the first to the market with its iOS everywhere devices, the company has shown in the past that first rarely means best.