iPad? Techno Wipeout and how to avoid it

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Tomorrow's release of the iPad in Australia is sure to cause a stir in the media. But claims that this is a world changer will be nothing but noise in the echo-chamber. The changes happening as a result of the information revolution pre-date Apple's mass marketing techniques.

One of the biggest problems for any user of technology is keeping up with the changes. Conservatives typically quote digital cameras and their ever-increasing megapixels as markers of the pace of technological change and why it is pointless to try to keep up. 

But the release of the iPad tomorrow will see many arguing that this is the great marker of the revolution, many others saying that Apple isn't everything, and the rest not really caring.

Part of the problem is what I call "Techno Wipeout". It might be cutting edge to surf the edge of chaos, but it can also be expensive. 

I argue that it is better to wait for the right wave and ride it to where you want to go. Unless you are mega rich, of course, and then do whatever you like!

I have tried a few times to be ahead of the curve, but the only outcome was that I was ahead of the curve. Form over substance.

Increasingly, I am finding that the soft skills needed to work with new social media technologies are more important than the technologies themselves. Sure, if you leave it for too long, it can be a long swim back out to the surf, but it is better than constantly being dumped as a new technology wave hits you.

So while Apple's iPad will no doubt bring about some amazing new applications and ways to access and manipulate information (just as the iPhone did), is it really the marker of a brave new world? I doubt it.

But what the iPad will do is signal to the mob that it is now cool to do what many tech geeks have been doing for a long time - connecting and networking and sharing almost anything through their communications devices. Who knows, my students might even start reading e-books!

Apple's brand power will also make those who have refused to see the benefits of these devices take notice. Not because they now see the benefits and the new ways to collaborate and improve productivity, but because it was in the newspaper and on the telly.

So Apple's marketing machine might be the straw that broke the camel's back and bring social media and other web technologies into the mainstream.

But for me, I'll be sticking to my netbook for another generation or two. Just like I did with my telly - I'll be buying my 3D TV real soon and I will not have to get rid of my rather large plasma. That's how I avoid Techno Wipeout.

Comments

Kerry said…
"Who knows, my students might even start reading e-books!"
. . .and then again, they may not:
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/05/26/kindle_flunks_out_of_college/
Thanks Kerry. Interesting link! I am working on an e-textbook now which will be interactive - for example I will be able to add content, comments, links etc in real-time, so it will be interesting to see if Kindle was just a little too ahead of its time?
Valeri said…
Nothing against apple but I am not wasting my money on a tablet that has so many missing features and that won't let me connect to other devices either than an apple product. I rather wait for the G-Tablet or any of the other tablets coming out in the next year or so.

I had a look at a 3D TV at the shops and it was aweful so I'll wait for the technology to get better as well for that. Having said that I will probably look into Google TV in the near future and probably get one. :-)
Thanks Valeri - I saw the price for a 3D TV was about $2500 for a large screen - much better than the $6K for the first plasmas!
@vanaalst said…
Agree with your sentments Michael. Ipad is only one of many open touch screen devicesthat happens to have a large screen - there are already many smart phones with that capability. To me it is way too inconvenient to carry around - how do you do that? Personally I am looking forward to the new Dell Streak, which is a larger screen smart phone which can do almost the same tasks as the Ipad and keep to my smallish laptop when keyboard work is required.
In relation to 3D TV - my prediction is that it is the next Betamax waiting to happen. The masses are not going to put up with wearing 3D glasses in their homes to watch movies or sporting events. Personally I can't wait for the Google TV devices (and others models similar to it). The future is in interactive entertainment - future generations are not going to ever be content again to sit and have entertainment products delivered to them without having an intense interactive involvement.
Anonymous said…
Ha, pretenders all of you! Smug nonsense some a lot of cheapskates...technology isn't about logic, it's about emotion and the interface - tactile, sensory emotion. Get with the game you old foggies.