Do you remember where you were when Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the very first iPhone?
OK, for most people, it's not a moment like the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the moon landing or the fall of the Berlin Wall. I remember it because I was doing the same thing I usually am when companies announce interesting things – watching the market. And the market really liked this announcement.
But I remember Apple and its iPhone because I sat back and thought: “Jobs has got something great there.”
This smartphone was going to be everything we needed. It was sleek, powerful and easy to use. It had the “coolness” factor that Apple had established with the iPod years earlier.
We're facing another “Apple moment” with a company that has made some stunning technological innovations while still making them sleek, easy to use and cool.
It Started With a Car
Tesla took the next step in attempting to revolutionize how we think of and use energy for our everyday needs.
The first step was with its Model 3 – the first electric, Internet-connected and self-driving car. The company has taken roughly 400,000 preorders for this car worth upward of $10 billion, and it's not even slated to launch until the end of this year.
This sleek-looking car has an approachable entry price of $35,000, and it appeals to millennials by being environmentally friendly while still giving them access to all the latest technology.
Plus, Tesla comes with an innate “coolness” factor as it sits right there on the cutting edge of the latest innovations.
And now Tesla wants to have a hand in your home… well, your roof to be exact.
Cutting-Edge Tech for Your Roof
Tesla recently announced that it had begun taking orders for its new solar roof system with its so-called “infinity” warranty.
Rather than adding the current enormous solar panels on top of your existing roof to capture the sun's rays, Tesla has created tiles that look just like regular terracotta, slate or asphalt roof tiles, but they're actually a type of glass with the solar cell built inside. And Tesla's warranty claims that the roof will last longer than the life of your home.
So rather than having the unsightly panels, you can get tiles that look just like regular roof tiles. Tesla has made the collection of solar energy aesthetically pleasing… and it's cheaper than many analysts were anticipating. Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced that active tiles would cost $42 per square foot and inert tiles were $11 per square foot.
Bloomberg estimated that renovating a 2,000-square-foot home in New York with 40% coverage of active tiles and a battery to store the energy would cost approximately $50,000 (after federal tax credits), but it would generate $64,000 in energy over a 30-year period. Not a bad deal, particularly if your home has good exposure to the sun.
Musk's vision is that your home will collect solar power through the roof tiles and the energy will be stored in a central battery. From that battery, you will be able to charge your electric car. All your energy needs will be covered in one handy spot – clean, efficient and easy.
Capturing Apple's Moment
We've been here before… in 2001, when Apple released its first iPod, revolutionizing how we carried around and listened to music. Sure, an iPod was a little more expensive than other gadgets at the time, but the technology was cutting-edge, and it offered everything we wanted right at our fingertips.
Apple did it again in 2007 when it released its first iPhone, and people flocked to it, allowing the iPhone to sell more than 6 million units before it moved on to the next generation.
Now, I'm not saying that Tesla is going to get 270,000 preorders for its solar roof the way Apple did for its iPhone during the first 30 hours. The price point is certainly higher, but Tesla is playing the same combination that Apple managed years ago – cutting-edge technology, ease of use, an approachable price point and a certain “coolness” factor that other solar companies just haven't been able to achieve in the past. Plus, 400,000 preorders for the Model 3 mean that the company certainly has the world's attention.
Tesla is an excellent example of the kind of technological innovations and opportunities that are in the market at the moment.
You don't want to miss the next Apple or Tesla moment.