From AppleWorld Today: How could/should Apple get involved in the 3D printer boom?
Canalys has predicted that the worldwide market for 3D printers, and associated materials and services will be worth $22.4 billion in 2020, so you have to wonder if Apple has any interest in the technology.
“This is a market with enormous growth potential now that the main barriers to up-take are being addressed,” says Canalys Senior Analyst Tim Shepherd. “Advances in technology are yielding faster print times and enabling objects to be printed in greater combinations of materials, colors and finishes. Crucially, prices are also falling, making the technology an increasingly feasible option for a broad variety of enterprise and consumer uses, restricted only by computer aided design competencies and printer availability – both of which are set to improve significantly.”
Apple was at the forefront of the desktop publishing era; it could be an integral part of the 3D printing. Dell plans to offer MakerBot Replicator 3D printers and scanners “to create an end-to-end 3D design solution for small and medium-sized businesses enabling fast and affordable prototyping…”
Data from Juniper Research in 2017 found that consumers still don’t understand how 3D will benefit them. Apple could help in this area.
My take: That ship may have sailed. Consumers may not understand how 3D printers will benefit them, but parents and teachers get it. School designers tell me that 3D printers are among the hottest new pedagogical tools, and that “maker rooms” equipped with computers, programmable robots and 3D printers are popping up in schools across the country.