Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

“On a Long Enough Time Scale, Everything Is a Fad”

Daniel Jalkut wrote what is probably the best counterpoint to Christopher Mims’ silly Mac-killing op-ed:

Why have people been so convinced, for years, that mobile is the future, while desktop computers are on the way out? What if mobile devices only fill the variety of temporary needs that arise from how we live today?

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Years from now, I suppose it’s possible desktop computers will become obsolete, supplanted by mobile devices. But given the unpredictability of progress, I suspect we’ll look back at both classes of computing devices and chuckle about how silly it all seemed, before the advent of ______.

Guessing the future of a marketplace is brilliantly paradoxical. The amount of effort required for a company like Apple to bring to market a brand new product is so great that they need to begin planning it well in advance of when the market could be ready for it. But they don’t get to define the future; if everything goes okay, the market decides that. We are, in effect, in control of the future of technology, but only after being shown what it could potentially be. We can’t predict the future because we only have the present as a state of reference, but we do control the future.