So, the iPhone is 10 years old. When Jobs described Apple’s new device as revolutionary, not everyone was convinced. I for one completely underestimated its likely impact. I fiated on the telephony aspects, which were not radically different to what other companies were offering, and missed the broader picture – the creation of an app platform and ecosystem that when combined with seamless internet connectivity would be completely transformative. WAP had been a damp squib and I doubted how far you could go with the offer of real-time access to football scores or weather updates. How wrong I was. And how blinkered to ignore the ingenuity and inventiveness of the developer community.
A decade on and I fid myself in a similar position as printer companies like Xerox (see page 12) and Samsung (see page 20) turn their offie MFPs into app platforms. There are already apps that simplify the management and servicing of devices, streamline workflws and integrate MFPs with enterprise software and the cloud. What comes next I have no idea. Is what we have already enough? Or, by opening up their platforms to developers, are MFP vendors laying the foundations for a stepchange in offie productivity? Time will tell, but in the meantime I look forward to seeing what app developers make of this new opportunity. Their contributions are bound to be interesting.
In recent years, there have been innovations in printer hardware too – mainly, it must be said, in inkjet rather than toner technology. One exception is Toshiba’s Eco Copier. This unusual device prints erasable toner onto normal paper, which can then be erased through the application of heat. The same sheet of paper can be re-used up to eight times, signifiantly reducing the carbon impact of offie printing. The original product did have shortcomings, and these were reflcted in poor sales: the MFP could only print erasable toner, so customers would need an additional, conventional MFP for printing permanent documents; and pages had to be erased in a separate unit. Toshiba has addressed both these problems in its new series of Eco Copiers (see page 19). The new models can switch between normal and erasable toner, so customers need just one machine, and the MFP will also erase pages. Now that’s progress.
James Goulding, Editor