I’ve written many times before of my -I guess you could call it amusement- over the gnashing of the teeth of business/wall-street types toward the supposed “fall” of technological best sellers.
I recall the many articles released years ago -erroneously, IMHO- talking about how the desktop computer market might be “done”, when in reality what I felt was happening was that people simply weren’t buying new desktop computers at the same pace as before because the technology had plateaued.
In other words, in the past, ever year it seemed a far better desktop computer would be released, so much better than last year’s version that you were effectively encouraged to buy the next generation to “keep up” with the latest programs.
But there came a time, around when desktop computers sported the Pentium chips, that the technology had reached that plateau. Suddenly, instead of needing to buy a new computer every year, you could hang on to you “old” computer for many years before needing or wanting a “new” one.
So the time has come with Apple and their iPhone.
Will Oremus at Slate.com wrote this fascinating article which I encourage you guys to read:
Mr. Oremus notes many of the things I’ve been saying for years now: That there was a time getting a “new” iPhone (in my case, talking about desktop computers) was a thrill. There was something new and magical about jumping from an 8088 processor to a 286, then 386, then 486, and finally Pentium computer.
So too was there magic in going from the early iPhones to the later models. People would stand in ridiculously long lines getting the latest model and reveling in being among the first to have the latest model.
But as with desktop computers, iPhones have plateaued. Perhaps it happened around the time the iPhone 6 was released. Its the model I still have and use. Its camera is pretty weak compared to the more modern iPhones, but otherwise its a perfectly functional cell phone and I suspect I’ll replace it only when it no longer works well with me.
Mr. Oremus goes on to theorize as to what “comes next”. He feels it may be machines like the Amazon Echo, AI machines that you talk to and get what you need from them.
I’m in agreement with him that these machines are certainly intriguing, even if they are also scary regarding privacy.
On the one hand its wonderful to ask the machine what the weather will be tomorrow and get your answer almost right away. Or ask it to play an album or song. Or, if you’re doing some timed task, tell it to set up a timer. If you have the proper devices, you can also have these machines linked to the lights in your home and, instead of stumbling around for a light switch, tell your device to turn on “X” light.
It’s fairly simple stuff -at least what I use it for- but a nice convenience.
But like the desktop computer and the iPhone before it, I suspect these devices will also have their ceiling.
And then we’ll wonder what’s next.