The concept of the API is spreading to hardware.
This Canon combination scanner, photocopier and fax machine includes an adaptive interface. What you’re seeing here is a hardware widget platform by Canon, on their combination copiers. it’s a Java platform called MEAP (information in this interview), and the idea is that you develop simplified, custom interfaces that better map to the activities of the people in your office. The example they give is a notifier: If you’re copying 500 sheets, it should email you at your desk when you’re done. That’s a tiny task, so there’s little chance Canon would bother developing the functionality—and they definitely wouldn’t build it quickly.
But the widget platform allows a fast-moving layer to adapt the copier.