We’ve heard that Apple has reached Peak iPhone, that perilous state where One More Thing… just isn’t there anymore, a place where The Great Stall is like climate change; obvious if not denied. It’s not just Peak iPhone, either. We’ve entered geographic doldrums; a state of peak smartphone.
Maturity Is Boring
If there is one thing I remember about childhood and adolescence to young adulthood, it’s the hope the future seemed to represent. If there is one thing about adulthood that I dislike, it’s the boring monotony, the daily grind, the way things change yet remain the same.
Apple brought a level of excitement to the masses with the Mac, then iPod and iTunes, the iPhone, and to a lesser extent– perhaps heralding a trend– iPad and Watch. The company’s technology was an affordable luxury for the masses, a feel good way to connect with anyone anywhere, and be capable of doing almost anything.
That was then and this is now and what have you done for me lately?
Those who count such things say the smartphone industry has hit a stall in growth, saturation is the dominant force in mature markets, and there is nothing new under the sun other than incremental improvements here and there, but little to bring back the excitement Apple wrought upon a billion customers in recent years.
It’s not just Peak iPhone. It’s Peak Smartphone. Perhaps even Peak Technology. Whatever it is that resides in a technology product pipeline somewhere out there isn’t here yet and the glimpses we’ve been treated to so far elicit more disdain than fever pitched excitement.
- Google Glass – no one wants a Borg-like friend or foe.
- Virtual Reality – put it on a normal pair of glasses, drop the price, and I’ll pay attention, otherwise I don’t like people paying more attention to the Alien attached to my face.
- Artificial Intelligence – don’t we have enough of that in politics already?
The horizon seems more cluttered with promises than actual technology that improves the human condition; assuming that is even possible. Devices which make dirty water clean to drink and use in undeveloped locations on planet earth excite me more than an iris scanner which excites me less than Samsung’s exploding battery problem. Now I’m worried about that whatever is carried in my butt pocket could make me a reality TV star on Botched.
Coming down the road is the so-called Internet-of-Things which unlike politics is designed to bring every gadget and machine together.
The internet of things is the network of physical devices, vehicles, buildings and other items—embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and network connectivity that enable these objects to collect and exchange data.
Uh oh. That sounds more apocalyptic to me than Peak iPhone.
What we’ve done and where we are is obvious. Peak Smartphone, yes. Peak Technology, perhaps. To paraphrase, isn’t it obvious we’re ‘traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. That’s the signpost up ahead. Your next stop,‘ Peak Technology.
The internet as we know it, and the smartphone as it exists today, have made the world a village where everyone can be connected to anyone, but I fear we’ve grown more apart than together.
I happen to think that the singular evil of our time is prejudice. It is from this evil that all other evils grow and multiply. In almost everything I’ve written there is a thread of this: a man’s seemingly palpable need to dislike someone other than himself.
Apple needs to worry about Peak iPhone, and perhaps about Peak Technology, but all of us should worry about Peak Stall, that place in time and space where nothing gets better.