Everything Apple should be building (as well as electric cars)

It's time to splash the cash

Word on the Apple street is that the Cupertino company is building a car - perhaps it's electric, perhaps it's self-driving, perhaps it's both. We don't know, and Apple isn't giving away any hints, but it sounds ready to start pushing its way into some brand new markets.

You can't necessarily rely on selling phones, tablets and laptops forever, and if Apple is now in the mood for diversifying then we've got some suggestions about what it should tackle next - some serious, some not so serious. Tim Cook, we hope you're taking notes.

Virtual reality headsets


A bit of a no-brainer, this one: virtual reality is the hot tech of the year and it seems unlikely we're seeing merely a short-lived fad. Oculus and HTC have already set the bar high, Google is getting more and more involved, and the expertise Apple has at its disposal should be enough to get something off the ground.

If VR doesn't appeal then AR (augmented reality) might. An Apple version of Google Glass would surely be smarter, sexier and more stable than the rather buggy beta product Google put out. Don't forget Microsoft has its impressive HoloLens in development and Pokémon Go has shown there's an AR market out there.

At the very least we'd like to see some more VR functionality built into iOS - right now the Cardboard or YouTube apps (both made by Google) are the best way of getting rudimentary virtual reality features on an iPhone, so Apple needs to make sure it's not getting left behind as the next tech revolution begins.

Personal drones


Speaking of hot tech gadgets of the moment - which we were just above - what about an iDrone? Apple may be far too cool to get involved in the drone scene but again its a technology that people are going crazy for, and it's just becoming mature enough for Apple to come in and take the market by storm.

It would also give Apple the opportunity to get yet another software platform out there - called droneOS, presumably - and of course you would be able to control your flying, automated aircraft from an iPhone or an iPad. Get Sir Jony Ive designing the frame and you have one appealing bit of kit.

Admittedly an Apple drone doesn't fall naturally into the company's existing catalogue of products but 2016 isn't a time to stick to the tried and trusted - we want to see some innovation. And we want to be able to tell Siri to send a drone to go and pick up our groceries from the nearest supermarket.

Space rockets


If the rumours are true and Apple is taking on Elon Musk in the field of electric, self-driving cars then Tim Cook might as well go all in and take on Musk's other great love: space rockets. Amazon's Jeff Bezos is another tech giant running a rocket company on the side so there's plenty of precedence for this.

Okay, so Apple hasn't shown much interest in space so far, but there are only a few billion years of life left in the Sun now, and when we start colonising the rest of space Apple will want to be involved. It could certainly teach NASA a thing or two about creating interfaces that are both user-friendly and functional.

A lot of Apple's hardware already has a certain space-age style to it and that Apple logo would look good on the side of a gigantic rocket. Android users could still be invited along for the ride though of course the take-off experience would be optimised for anyone carrying some of Apple's kit with them.

Robot butlers powered by Siri


Siri has gone from strength to strength since its introduction in 2011, and the next logical step (at least to us) is to give the digital assistant a humanoid form and free reign of your house. Siri can already tell you the day's weather - why not let it make you some tea and fetch the newspaper as well?

Remember Amazon already has the Echo and Google has Google Home so Apple needs to leapfrog both of them with a Siri-powered device that can move around, pick up objects and possibly scare your pets. It won't be easy to pull off but Apple definitely has the research and development funds to do it.

It's not as if Apple would be going out on a limb here - a number of companies have already introduced smart robots to follow our bidding, make video calls, guard against intruders, teach the kids and much more besides. Unfortunately the obvious name, iRobot, has been taken by someone else.

Photocopiers and printers


There's nothing exciting, or indeed futuristic, or indeed very profitable about photocopiers and printers - but if ever there were machines that needed Apple's magic touch then it's these. The world might be going paperless but we're still relying on these creaky devices to a large extent at home and at work.

With any luck Apple will do what it did for the MP3 player and smartphone and introduce a new range of photocopiers and printers so sleek, so feature-packed and so innovative that it makes all previous attempts at the technology look rather dated. As with everything else, Siri would be on board, of course.

We'd also like to see features like cloud connectivity and regular photocopierOS (or printerOS) updates, plus tight integration with Photos and Apple's suite of office programs, and not an error message or indecipherable dialog box in site. It may be quite a hard idea sell to Apple's shareholders, though.