Looking Towards the Future

Marco Arment in Smart Watches and Computers On Your Face, after explaining technology’s inexorable progression since the 1980s, went on to posit that perhaps our current devices have reached the point of “good enough” with the advent of current-generation smartphones and, in some use cases, tablets; perhaps, at this point, further “innovation” with products such as Google Glass and a smart watch of sorts serves little purpose, because mobile phones have become so good as of late to obviate the need for more devices of arguable value. Although I tend to agree with him, I do so with a tremendous amount of reserve.

Prior to Apple’s iPhone launch you could have asked any intelligent individual whether the mobile handset industry had room for improvement, and no one would have produced a list detailing every aspect the iPhone went on to gain widespread acclaim for. Most agreed this industry needed change, but the perception of technology as “good enough” prevented them from seeing anything but a small portion of the full picture Steve Jobs revealed with the iPhone. Up to that point, no one had a frame of reference that would have revealed an iPhone as the be-all end-all device that would set into motion the events that quickly brought us to the technologically advanced state we find ourselves now.

Today, we have reached a similar point: although no one in the right mind would argue against the need for further improvement, no one has successfully articulated what that necessary change will look like. Some have tried, hence Google Glass and Samsung’s Galaxy Gear, but either no one has stumbled across this grand vision yet or someone already has and we simply have yet to see it. Either way, I hesitate to limit myself as everyone did in the pre-iPhone days. Just as happened back then, I expect the net major revolution in technology will come out of nowhere, from deep in left field. No one will expect it, and once again our lives will be forever changed.