I’ve seen a few news items lately about “wireless power” in the form of surface pads (imagine a large mousepad) that use induction to transfer energy to devices placed on their surface. Thus far, I have not seen the point–is a pad really that much more convenient than a dock for an iPod, PDA, camera, or phone?
While getting myself shorn today, though, I recognized a viable application: hairdressers have a variety of gadgets that need charging, and their workflow lends itself more to tossing them on a counter or in a drawer than placing them carefully into a cradle. So, if their station drawers were lined with inductive pads, they’d no longer have to borrow clippers from a neighbor.
Why do we (read: geeks) always assume we’ll be the early adopters of new technology? I suspect this has become a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy. If developers of new products assume the “usual early adopter crowd” will be their first market, they’ll target gadget freaks (e.g. by expanding feature lists, using lots of metal and black surfaces, and advertising in Wired) when perhaps more success could have been had in an unrecognized vertical market.