Admittedly this is minor. And I don’t usually blog about consumer electronics. But there’s one thing I haven’t heard much about the new Ikea all-in-one furniture/HDTV piece (Uppleva).
I think Gruber is right at this isn’t necessarily disruptive innovation, but it takes televisions in the right direction in a few key ways.
There are some practical issues that make it impossible for every component to be wireless, yet we are moving rapidly into a wireless age in every way except with all the damn ad hoc pieces that comprise our entertainment systems. Ikea addresses this by using furniture to hide component wires where wires are needed, to store speakers internally, and then allows the subwoofer to be wireless. Great compromise.
Possibly the most significant thing about this to me though is that Ikea is marrying the it’s ethos of expendability in a very natural way. People keep TV’s for a few years, probably less than a decade, and upgrade periodically. One of the defining features of Ikea furniture, besides its Scandinavian minimalism, is it’s short lifespan. Ikea, copied by Target and other flatterers, made furniture for people who move around, not for people who settle down (although it’s great for that too). Furniture used to be endowed with permanence — an heirloom. Who’s gonna pass their Pöang chair down to the grandkid?
So while I think Ikea is being innovative, I think they are also having a #facepalm moment when they realize that their furniture’s lifespan dovetails nicely with the expected lifespan of consumer electronics. It’s the only way you could bundle this without giving people heartache later, when their TV is outdated, speakers are blown, but their furniture is awesome. It will all suck and you can drop another Grand on a new one!