Over the past 10 years or so, we have been subject to an escalating swath of socially suffocating technological wizardry. It seemed as if we had to “adopt” a new piece of hardware or software every day, and it has been boggling our minds on an ever-overwhelming basis. Many have opted to “opt-out”, and are happily ignorant of many or all the fantastic advances available to them: the mobile weather apps, Smartphones, advanced networks, streaming media, 3D TVs, ebooks, tablets, subcutaneous bar codes (ok, I made that last one up…maybe).
The point is, Moore’s law and its associate exponential trend markers are suffocating us with advances, to the point where the next generation is looking at us with bemusement, and wondering why we are swimming so hard upstream. They want the tools, plugins, add-ons, extensions, gadgets, gewgaws, and apps to serve them with utility, and not the other way around.
And I say “Hear! Hear!”
It has been a thrilling, albeit exhausting, ride: keeping up with the cyberjoneses, as I educated myself about all the latest multiplatform, multi-browser apps and extensions and add-ons; as I tested all the diversity of mobile devices, and patiently spent hours per week updating all my software applications. I marveled at my friends and associates who could not exercise any modicum of patience, and spent top dollar to add another hardware device to their growing arsenal, until they had a desktop computer with triple monitors, networked to their HDTV, augmented (but not replaced) by a laptop and Smartphone, and then accompanied by an e-book reader, Internet TV, and – most recently – tablet.
It is this latest device, however, that gives me the greatest cause for rejoicing (perhaps prematurely). I’m not just referring to the iPad, but to the imminent explosion of tablets that the iPad has facilitated, by dint of being the prettiest, although not the first.
I believe that because of the very fact that we are simply overwhelmed by technology, the tablet has presented us with a new challenge: do we add yet another device to our asphyxiating arsenal of gadgets, or do we identify what current tools it effectively replaces, and dispose of a whole hardware subset or two? The decline of the Netbook is testament to the subconscious desire of consumers for a return to efficient and manageable technological lifestyles, and I predict (again) that – with the right marketing and product innovation – tablets will eventually replace laptops as well. This time, I have pretty pictures to back me up: