The Hipster Effect » apple http://thehipstereffect.com Identity, society and work in the age of perpetual connectivity Tue, 26 Mar 2013 00:35:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 We need a barefoot internet /2011/10/18/we-need-a-barefoot-internet/ /2011/10/18/we-need-a-barefoot-internet/#comments Tue, 18 Oct 2011 01:31:13 +0000 Sophy Bot /?p=350 more]]> Hey, did you guys hear about this apparatus that lets you talk with people across the country? Or the one that lets you light up the darkness? How about the horseless carriage that lets you travel mechanically?

The absurdity of praising the technological prowess of a landline telephone, a light bulb or a car shows just how far these previous wonders of technology have been ingrained into our lives – we don’t even notice them anymore. At the point when a piece of technology reaches 100% familiarity (and nearly 100% adoption), it ceases to be technology; it simply becomes another tool in the arsenal of our everyday existence. Put in another way, technology is “anything that was invented after you were born.”¹ So while many of us still marvel at the wonder that is the internet, to today’s kids it’s just where you go to talk with friends and watch movies. But has it gone so far that the internet and its corresponding devices are no longer considered technology? Well, not quite yet.

Consider this: mobile data traffic more than doubled over the last 12 months. Why? According to a recently released report by Ericsson, it’s largely to do with “factors including screen size, age and price” of smartphones. As mobile technology continues to advance, the devices are getting better, cheaper and easier to use, so much so that our overall rate of usage can still double in just one year’s time. Similarly, tablets are being adopted at a faster rate than any device in history and will continue to do so, especially considering that cheaper devices such as Amazon’s Kindle Fire were only recently released and aggressively priced competitors have yet to hit the market en masse. Until that growth levels off, we’ll still be talking about “technology.”

Or, consider this: Apple’s newly released iPhone 4S unveiled an entirely new way of using our devices through its AI-enabled, voice recognition assistant, Siri. Of course, Siri is not the first app to use voice recognition, but it is the first to combine that recognition with artificial intelligence and to make it a standard application on a mass market device. A recent article in Techland had this to say about it:

“One of the most impressive elements of Siri is not just the ability to do voice-to-text dictation, but its ability to turn natural-language directives into action. What I mean by that is that I can use my voice to say, “Remind me to feed my goats when I get home.” Because Siri is trained to know where my house is and the iPhone 4S has GPS, the second I drive into my driveway, I get a reminder that tells me to feed the goats. I live on a farm and this is quite handy for me.”

If our internet-enabled devices were fully integrated into our lives, this Siri example wouldn’t even be worth mentioning. But although the existence of the internet and ubiquitous computing devices may not be considered “technology” by a generation of kids who have never known their absence, we’ve still got a ways to go before their actual usage becomes so seamless that we don’t even notice it anymore. The first few decades of computer development were centered on performance – faster, better, smaller, cheaper. Now, the next stage in development must turn its focus to the interface. Not until the mouse and the keyboard fully disappear will we stop calling it “technology” and start thinking of it as an integrated part of our day-to-day lives.

There’s an old Taoist saying that “when the shoe fits, the foot is forgotten.” In other words, when something is completely comfortable, we stop noticing that it’s even there. When it comes to the internet, we’re still wearing clogs. It’s only when we learn how to walk barefoot that the technology will cease to exist and we can truly discover its utility. After all, when you pick up the phone to order a pizza, you don’t spend any time thinking about how amazing it is that you can do so – you just do it. Right now we’re still at the point where we’re marveling at Siri’s ability to do the same. Only when we stop noticing it will we unleash the true potential of having the internet fully integrated into our lives. Until then, we’re still upgrading clogs.

 

¹ quote by Alan Kay

Photo credit: chispita_666

 

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Steve Jobs: Here’s to the crazy ones /2011/10/06/steve-jobs-heres-to-the-crazy-ones/ /2011/10/06/steve-jobs-heres-to-the-crazy-ones/#comments Thu, 06 Oct 2011 15:04:03 +0000 Sophy Bot /?p=212 more]]> Yesterday, the world lost one of its great innovators as Steve Jobs succumbed to the cancer he had been battling for six years. The world mourned today and the internet paid tribute, with Apple itself posting a full-page photo and dedication to the man who made the company what it is today. President Obama may have summed it up best:

“Steve was among the greatest of American innovators – brave enough to think differently, bold enough to believe he could change the world, and talented enough to do it. By building one of the planet’s most successful companies from his garage, he exemplified the spirit of American ingenuity. By making computers personal and putting the internet in our pockets, he made the information revolution not only accessible, but intuitive and fun. And by turning his talents to storytelling, he has brought joy to millions of children and grownups alike. Steve was fond of saying that he lived every day like it was his last. Because he did, he transformed our lives, redefined entire industries, and achieved one of the rarest feats in human history: he changed the way each of us sees the world. The world has lost a visionary and there may be no greater tribute to Steve’s success than the fact that much of the world learned about his passing on a device he invented.”

In 1997, Apple released a commercial dedicated to “the crazy ones.” Following is the original unaired version, narrated by Steve Jobs himself.

 

 

So here’s to the crazy ones. And here’s to you, Steve.

 

Video found via BuzzFeed

Photo credit: Lore & Guille

  

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Life-changing (Apple) events /2011/10/05/life-changing-apple-events/ /2011/10/05/life-changing-apple-events/#comments Wed, 05 Oct 2011 18:39:24 +0000 Sophy Bot /?p=203 more]]> The internet went quiet for several hours yesterday as normally prolific bloggers and tweeters hunched over to view an event that’s as anticipated in the tech world as the Super Bowl is in the sports world: an Apple press conference. Dozens of live blogs carried a play-by-play announcement of Apple’s newest technology release as their website went down from high demand and thousands of users around the world eagerly awaited the arrival of the iPhone 5. What they got instead was the iPhone 4s, and waves of disappointment were quick to spread, fueled by users wondering why they hadn’t been given a new and improved life-changing tool.

Apple has always been at the vanguard of technology, giving us the iPod, iPhone and iPad, each of which changed not only the lives of its users, but the expectations and technology of society as a whole. Through including the iLife suite as a standard on all of its computers, Apple gave the average user photo, music and movie tools that allowed an entire generation not just to consume content, but to produce it as well. As Apple continues to pump innovation into the tech industry, other companies are forced to keep up and deliver new tools of their own, providing a consistently fresh and interesting market for the end-user.

When Apple failed to deliver the iPhone 5 during yesterday’s press conference, the disappointment felt by users worldwide had a distinct undertone: where is the next new thing? Where is the next new technology that’s going to drive us forward again and change our lives for the better? Where is the exciting new toy that’s going to change how we interact with the internet and the world around us? What users wanted wasn’t a technical update – they wanted an update to the way they live their lives. In that sense, Apple has practically become a deity within the tech world, and we await its gifts from on high.

Make no mistake about it, the iPhone 4s is still the best piece of mobile technology to hit the market. But what users wanted was something more. When Microsoft has a press conference, we expect technical updates. When Apple has a press conference, we expect our lives to change for the better. Apple disappointed its fans by giving them a newer, better version of a pre-existing tool. What users really wanted, however, was a whole new way to approach to their lives.

 

Photo credit: Glutnix

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