Yes, we can argue that Watch represents a major leap forward among wearable devices, but really, isn’t Watch just an extension of the iPhone and more of an accessory? Even when it becomes a standalone device, it won’t be a major leap forward. That means we have gone beyond revolutionary advances and settled into the comfortable era of incremental improvements.
Mac. Here. Now.
There is little to not like about Apple’s latest MacBook model. Thin, light, fast, beautiful, full-on OS X (I’ll get around to using macOS Sierra when it’s officially here), almost to the point of sexy. But the Mac today doesn’t do much more than a Mac from five years ago. Almost everything new– and there’s less of new now than ever– is incremental improvements.
So it is with iPhone 7. Compare an iPhone 7 to the original iPhone from 2007. Yes, the improvements across the board are dramatic, but there were few leaps forward along the way. CPUs improved each year. iOS improved each year. The only watershed moments– and these are not major– could be considered the Retina display and Apple’s own A-Series CPUs.
Across the board– Mac, iPhone, iPad, Watch– improvements each year are incremental, and nothing truly revolutionary has occurred for many years. Yes, I can argue that the last major technology revolution was what Apple did when it introduced the iPhone.
Other than a sheer lack of revolution, iPhone 7 might be the king of incrementally improved iPhones. Everything has been changed yet it all remains mostly the same iPhone. Yet, there are some incremental differences from years past, and not just the standard annual performance improvements. Dual cameras. More storage. No headphone jack (some think that might be going backwards). Apple moves the bar forward each year, but it’s been years since we had a revolutionary jump forward.
We should have seen this coming.
The Mac has been somewhat moribund for a few years, with seemingly fewer new advancements with each upgrade. Force Touch is nice. Retina displays, too. What else? Faster flash storage? More RAM? Those are hardly revolutionary changes from a company whose history is littered with such jumps forward in the marketplace.
The initial round of iPhone 7 reviews are in and most are positive, save for the missing headphone jack. Everyone loves the dual camera setup in iPhone 7 Plus. Extra battery life is nice. iOS 10 comes with plenty of eye candy (Messages). Jet Black is hardly a revolutionary colors, but almost everyone I know who went for Gold or Rose Gold in the past has ordered Jet Black this year. Style still sells.
What this says is twofold. First, we are definitely in the age of incremental improvements. Second, the industry is ripe for a revolution. But what? 4k displays are not revolutionary. One week battery life might be somewhat, but I’m not holding my breath. What about artificial intelligence. I’m not sure humans are ready to converse much with computing devices, even if they’re a snarky Siri. We don’t do a good job with civil conversations with one another as it is.
What. About. Robots?
This might be exactly the next revolution. Not self driving cars. Robot companions with artificial intelligence. We’ve seen a few here and there, but they’re mostly robotic pets, rather than companions, but it’s easy to see the direction the technology is going, especially as it melds with artificial intelligence.
Once our robots cater to our every whim, the next revolution after that might be when robots themselves rebel against their makers and become our future overlords.