I don’t always remember to visit Forbes’ Business Innovation Insider blog, and that’s too bad because it’s one of my favorite sources of info on… well, innovation. (And since Deepu wants a break from the whole WOM thing, I thought we could talk about something else, for once.)

So here we go. Today’s post was about a very cool contest put together by Apple-Discounts.com, in which regular people could create imaginary Apple products. The results were stellar (as you can see from some of the entries posted on this page).

Put simply, the contest was set up as follows:

The Apple Imagination (with a touch of photoshop)

The Apple rumor mill is abuzz with talk of iPhones, iTablets, wireless iPods, “ultra-portable” computers and more. Given the devout Mac fans that we are, we’re just drooling for the next innovation – the next big thing, that “insanely” great idea.

So what’s it going to be?!? We want YOU to tell us!

That’s all it took. I won’t say anything about how maybe word-of-mouth was instrumental in spreading the word about this contest – in what Evan would probably call Apple-cult circles. I won’t say anything about how evangelism might have had something to do with the time and effort it took for so many users of Apple products to come up with these killer designs. I also won’t say anything about how huge co-creation could be, based on the success of this simple little contest. And , no, I won’t say anything about the need to incentivize customers to enter contests like this one either. (The prizes weren’t a new iMac or iPod. They were very, very, very small amounts of cash – some nowhere near the cost of an iPod.)

So… enjoy these fantastic examples of how brands can inspire their customers to participate not only in the discussion, but in the direction of their product development strategies. These are all solid concepts with solid design elements and impressive curbside appeal.

My favorite: The turntable… but does it also come in white?

Scroll down to see some of my favorite entries, and click here to see them all.

(A men’s version could be pretty hot.)

Mac would have to finally get into the gaming… game for this to work.

A plug-and-play wireless projector for parties and presentations? Yesssss!!!

And this one can even double as a fly swatter! No visible latch though, so I’m not sure it would stay closed.

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