Apple needs to be an integral part of the upcoming 3D printing revolution

It's looking more and more like 3D printing will be the next major disruptive technology. Apple should a direct part of this, not a sideline observer.

The company was at the forefront of the desktop publishing era; it needs to be an integral part of the 3D printing (additive manufacturing) revolution. Dell has announced that it will offer MakerBot Replicator 3D printers (pictured) and scanners "to create an end-to-end 3D design solution for small and medium-sized businesses enabling fast and affordable prototyping." 

I don't want to see the 3D printing market dominated by Windows devices. Apple needs to be more aware of all the places where its devices can and should be used.

I'm not saying that Apple should start manufacturing 3D printers. But how about teaming up with a 3D printer maker on an Apple pro application with complementing hardware-for designing, re-creating and printing using 3-D printers? Or what about offering an iTunes style online store where Apple sells packaged 3D file parts?

Let’s say you want to print out a chess set. You could go on line to the Apple 3D Parts Store and pick the chess set design you like. Download the 3D part file and then print the parts out with the Apple pro app-compatible 3D printer. Cool.

I said that I didn’t expect Apple to enter the 3D printer market. However, in 2015 Apple was granted a patent (number 20150343704)  for a “method and apparatus for three dimensional printing of colored objects,” so who knows. According to the patent, a 3D object may be produced and colored by a 3D printer using the same digital 3D model. The digital model for a desired 3D object may be revised to include a process for coloring the object by the 3D printer. In one embodiment, this may involve coloring to the object after it has been made.