Apple of the Future chief executive Tom Cooke has become the unlikely saviour of the art treasure troves of the world – and painted his company’s balance sheet a lustrous black. An innovation he is said to have conceived and driven has people admiring and drawing lessons from works of art again and, importantly, sharply reversed AOTF’s five quarters-long slide into deficit and revived its share price. First the art. From the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg to Melbourne’s National Gallery of Victoria, through-the-door attendances are down, and so, too, are revenues and curators’ abilities to grow their collections. Social observers blame sports fans. Not because sports lovers are Philistines but because they have driven the rise and rise of the home entertainment system and an accompanying social phenomenon, the rise and rise of the homebody. Enter Cooke’s iVincent, essentially a light, gilt-edged digital screen that is dedicated to displaying not the latest sports action or popular sitcoms but collections of art from the elite galleries, all now signed to exclusive digital provision deals by AOTF. The iVincent has been a huge success: sales worldwide now average 1.3 per 100 households and analysts estimate it will soon be 1.5 i
n two more quarters, and could eventually reach 3.5. The concept is simple. The viewer first buys a physical iVincent and then a digital collection or two – most popular is the 200-piece Van Gogh Museum series – and its individual works are wifi-ed on demand by Apple of the Future, resulting in a second revenue stream which AOTF splits with the galleries. While few paintings are a good match for the iVincent’s 6:3 dimensions, no one seems bothered by the extra black usually presented. “I like to call it a marriage of pictures and pixels,” Cooke, famously now the private owner of Thomas Cole’s The Course of Empire series, says. Ironically, the iVincent’s commercial success for AOTF lies in a divorce: after viewing an iVincent app on a conventional screen, Cooke insisted on an iVincent standalone screen and that it be designed so it could best show the works when mounted at standing eye height. “It’s been a successful business model so far, and we’re not finessing it just yet,” he says. Translation: Apple of the Future is selling so many iVincent screens it won’t be making a TV-friendly app available for some time.000
Ave Judas is a top novel in the SF science fiction genre and another tale of Sci Fi fiction, Baxter Mariah, should top your reading list of horror books. Click the covers at upper right and their blurbs will pop up.
Cassian Brown would like to tip his trilby to his fellow futurists at these websites and blogs: Trend Hunter Co.Exist Insider Trends trendwatching.com World Future Society CGHUB and 3D Artist (two sites where the art is fantastic) Faith Popcorn