It’s one of the three annual Apple holidays tomorrow. Holidays I used to celebrate.
I used to stand in line each year for the new iPhone, and my career has proven over and over again that my fanaticism was 100% justified. Apple products have paid huge dividends for me.
They are the tools I’ve used to create just about everything I’ve ever traded for money. The improvements year over year were reliably excellent and I credit the amazing ecosystem of software developers on iOS for any design thinking (and most of the skills) I have.
I’ve been fascinated by creative tools of all kinds for my entire life and software is particularly exciting: Someone can make a tool that allows an entirely new means of creation. That tool can then be distributed to anyone else in the world, at scale, and virtually for free.
Software is somewhere in the summer between sixth and seventh grade, with braces and the start of some bad acne… It’s a real mess, but with so much potential.
The current class of hardware, however, is pretty mature. Consider the last time you’ve thought the following?
“Man… This phone is slow.
“I wish my screens had higher resolution or better color fidelity.”
“This camera sucks.”
I bet it’s been a while.
There’s a good reason for this: Microprocessors have reached a totally acceptable speed for our brains and fingers to be able to accomplish most of the tasks we need to do. There hasn’t been a noticeable difference in iPhone performance for 99.9% of people since the iPhone X.
While this portends bad things for Apple’s annual-upgrade business plan of the past 13 years, this is a moment for celebration. In terms of hardware, this is it. We made it. We’re here. Our TVs, screens, camera sensors, and microprocessors are… great.
Digital camera sensors have mostly caught up to film (though film is still better/more fun/cheaper/friendlier for the environment/economy), TVs are high resolution (you’ll never need to throw out another DVD collection), phones are fast… Hell, even the Internet is pretty fast.
What’s NEXT? Augmented reality glasses? Plugging computers right into our brains? Hold up, nerds: We aren’t even using good tools/abilities/ecosystems for the devices we have yet. We have the tools, but the functional equivalent of zero people are using them.
You think we’ll be able to make good and useful things for AR glasses? Things that will make an impact like multitouch screens in 2007 or the mouse in 1984?
People are mostly scrolling Facebook and Instagram right now. We haven’t done _shit_ with what we have yet.
The next wave of Big Software will be tools that actually benefit people’s lives, not “platforms” that exploit their animal weaknesses. The end of the race to the bottom is nigh. There’s nothing holding us back. We have everything we need, and it’s all pretty good.