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Wednesday, October 22, 2014
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Published: Friday, 7/25/2014

CULTURE SHOCK

Coming soon: More to come

BY KIRK BAIRD
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Think about this: In a highly secretive lab or testing facility somewhere in the world, someone is working on the next technological innovation, an instantly popular and revolutionary device that will make us collectively swoon, “How did I ever survive without this?”

Fueled by circumstances and leaked reports, rumors swirl over Apple’s alleged entry into the wearable technologies market with the iWatch.

We won’t know for sure, of course, until the iWatch is announced, possibly as soon as September, along with rumored market introductions of bigger iPhones, updated Macs, and a new iDevice that will cure most cancers. And they called the iPhone “the Jesus phone.”

The fact that for a half-second the latter innovation seemed plausible for some of you is emblematic of the state of wondrous, rapid technological advancement in which we live. Anything’‍‍s possible and who knows what’s ahead?

As Steve Jobs famously said, “People don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”

Certainly, people in the early 20th century didn’t know they were missing radio, television, telephone, personal computers, and the Internet — all once-revolutionary, if not unimaginable, technologies we in the 21st century take for granted.

And in our young century, the proliferation of the digital camera, GPS, iPod/personal music players, smart phones, and tablets have fundamentally changed our lives. Or, at least, made our brief existence on this rock far more tolerable and fun.

So how do we treat our technologies? With reverence and awe? No, we complain that the smart phone is taking too long to send a photo to a friend.

It’s a phenomenon that sent comedian Louis C.K. on a rant years ago on Late Night with Conan O‘‍Brien: “Give it a second! It’s going to space! Can you give it a second to get back from space? Is the speed of light too slow for you?”

Louis C.K. suggests in the bit that we’ve been spoiled by technology.

He’s correct.

Technology is no longer something we simply want; It’s something we’re entitled to have.

Bigger, better phones. More powerful computers. Faster Internet connections.

It never stops. And it never will.

And that’s the allure of technology. It’s the endless movie trailer of “coming soon” that promises something audiences can’t afford to miss, less they miss out.

How many times have we delayed a purchase because we just know that the new-and-improved model will soon be in stores?

I have, perhaps concerned that a friend might see my new device and caustically comment, “That is sooooo spring, 2014.”

Yet, I’m typing this column on the latest iMac. I plan to buy a bigger iPhone. And of course an iWatch will be on my Christmas list, should it be out in time for the holidays.

Meanwhile, I just know that there’‍s a must-have technology in development stage that will change my life.

“Thank God for this! How did I ever survive without it?” I’‍‍ll say days after buying it.

Months later, however, my enthusiasm will wane, as the latest and greatest piece of technology isn’t so shiny and new.

“Why is it taking so long?” to do whatever it does, I’ll wonder. “I bet next year’s model will be a lot faster and better. I should’‍ve waited.”

Contact Kirk Baird at kbaird@theblade.com or 419-724-6734.



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