The Amazing New Thing

A few months ago I read the worst thing Apple did was releasing the iPad just three years after the iPhone. It set people expectations not just high, but unreachably high. By making two consumer technology megahits one after the other, it led people to believe that Apple not only will be releasing new products at that pace, but that for Apple to survive and to avoid going back to their early 90s status, the company needed to release a whole new category every 12-15 quarters.

I think the past Google IO was a rather common developer conference. You get your developers in one place, and tell them to prepare to make things for your new stuff. The new services look amazing, and the unification of the assistants looks great. But Google was just catching up. And it is true. They teased (nothing more, really) their iMessage, their FaceTime, their Echo, their Oculus player, etc. Google is just wrapping things up. Android N is near completion and the exciting things to add are already baked in.

With N, Android is almost over, and so is iOS 10. Maybe Apple or Google end up bringing the multiple floating window capabilities and desktop support, maybe not. We all have some quirks and features we’d love to see added, and —in iOS specially— chances are that you can’t get a good enough workaround if they don’t want to add it.

And that’s the point. Most of the Amazing New Things have already been implemented. The appstores, the voice assistants, the office suites, multitasking, multiwindow, widgets… Both Android and iOS are just plain great, stable and secure. So stop asking for the Amazing New Thing in smartphones. It just wont happen. Smartphones’ big last trick, as with any magician, is to disappear. To make sure that these devices are helping us so much and so effectively that we don’t need to be in our hands and in front of our eyes.

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