How Crowdsight provides insight into the most important product features

There was a major fuss recently. It was announced that the iPhone 7 would have no traditional 3.5 mm input to connect earphones with a cable! It was called Apple's biggest mistake ever and led to a great deal of publicity.

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Crowdsight | Blauw Research

Even Apple founder Wozniak thought it was an oversight. We are now a few weeks on from its launch and criticism is already beginning to subside. At the launch of the iPhone 7 it was evident that Apple supplied an adaptor so that old-fashioned earphones could be connected. And Apple would not be Apple if it didn't have a solution which could earn it even more profit. They also introduced wireless Airpods costing €179 which connect to your iPhone via Bluetooth.

Smart or not?

But was it smart of Apple to take such a radical step or not? I think so. Brilliant even. For several reasons. Not only because Apple lovers will also want to have those expensive Airpods which are very profitable, but also because it will ensure that iPhone users will have Bluetooth switched on more often. That increases the opportunities for beacons again, which Apple is heavily involved in with its iBeacon protocol. And it makes communication with all sorts of wearables (Apple Watch) easier and it also drives the sales of wireless speakers and other accessories (accessory suppliers also happy).

The Airpods were predictable

Mouse, remote control, charger, keyboard, debit card, speakers, drill, vacuum cleaner, telephone, headphones, car kit, bike lights, internet, microphone,…. Do you see the connection? It wasn't difficult to predict in view of the above. All of these are appliances which in recent years have ditched their cable or other form of permanent connection. So why not earphones?

And Apple’s decision did not come out of the blue. Anyone who follows crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo will have noticed the number of earphones being launched is huge. Should we not use this information to predict what's going to be successful? For example what do the 10 designs of earphones which have earned the most money on Kickstarter have in common? The answer: wireless!

The exact product features of those 10 wireless designs differ only slightly. The following summary shows the USPs of the various designs based on their brief description on Kickstarter:
1. world’s smallest
2. world’s smallest (charged through phone)
3. affordable
4. 3D printed
5. noise-blocking
6. world’s smallest (stereo)
7. perfect fit + endless battery
8. truly wireless
9. wirelessly charged
10. truly wirefree

Total number of backers for these designs; approx 47,000. Capital generated: around $6,300,000.

If you are considering manufacturing earphones, the main thing is to make them wireless and it's probably smart to incorporate benefits like ‘super small’, ‘perfect fit’, ‘easy to charge (via telephone/or wirelessly)’ and with ‘superior sound quality’ in your design.

Crowdsight: predict what consumers will want in two years!

Blauw offers a new concept research method. We make use of 400,000 concepts on crowdfunding sites in categories such as design, technology, food, media and games. What innovators and early adopters appreciate today are usually the features which will be mainstream in two years time. Are you interested in seeing if we can predict what will be happening in your category in two years time? Get in contact!