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Can Technology Keep Up With Us or Are We Just Spoiled?

What makes a new technology all that exciting? Many people say that we can't keep up with the extremely fast pace of newly created technology and improvements. But is that really the case? Maybe technology can't keep up with our nature of having the latest and greatest because it's cool — and then in a few weeks we are just bored with it.

Take a smartphone for example. Do we really need 6 new versions of the same phone? Is version 6 really any different than version 1? Couldn't all the features and software bug fixes have been implemented in the first version? Or do companies intentionally hold back because they know consumers will get bored and want something different in a few weeks or months?

I know the marketing people have their strategies. They learn what customers like and don't like and create newer versions to keep the sales on an upward trend. Things must be kept exciting. Improvements and upgrades must be implemented. On the other hand, is it the technology that is cutting-edge or is it our nature to want more and more? In the short term, we like things that are new and different.

Going back to the phone, remember when the iPhone first hit the market, people went nuts. Now we are quickly approaching the sixth version. There are actually more versions if you count the subsets released for some previous versions. Are the latter versions all that much better or did we get tired and want something new?

To dig into this a bit deeper, if I took the first version of any technology out there today and just repackaged it into the latest version box and maybe changed the color of the device or marketed it a different way, then people would probably stand in line for hours just to buy it even though it is old technology, just presented in a new way. We are a culture that wants more and more and the best of everything. We get bored quickly and we are ready to move on.

Companies release new versions of phones, laptops, cameras, etc., very often — every few months. It seems they do this, not because the technology is growing so fast, but because we get bored quickly. We apparently have a short attention span. Assuming you're still reading, it's worth noting that we get a sense of satisfaction via hunting and gathering the new and better thing. Even though in reality it may not be new and better.

It's like changing the furniture around in your home. When you move things around maybe you feel less stressed, and it feels new and comfortable. You are excited about the new look and can't wait to come home and relax. However, at the end of the day, the home and furniture never really changed. It was just presented differently. Is technology really growing that fast, or are companies just trying to throw whatever they can in the market to relieve our boredom?

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10 comments on “Can Technology Keep Up With Us or Are We Just Spoiled?

  1. vbiancomano
    September 23, 2013

    Perhaps consumers get bored easily, but it would seem more of a business rule that companies steadily bring out new products to maintain visibility and effectively compete. Whether or not the new products actually bring something new. One area I consider a step backward—golf balls. The greatest golf balls that ever were (IMO) are no longer in production, having been replaced by “superior” or “equivalent” versions that are a level or two down from what was. BUT—it keeps designers working. In truth, though, there's absolutely nothing wrong with having a plain peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch every day for the rest of your life.

  2. eafpres
    September 23, 2013

    @Jason–surely a lot of the releases are marketing and market probing as also commented.  But consider that almost no release is trivial for the supply chain and manufacturing.  Lots of overhead, lines set up, BOMs, product validation, manufacturing qualification, etc. etc.  These releases are expensive.

    Then consider the reality of upgrading from the consumer point of view.  Yes, there are those that must have every new latest thing, either from their favorite brand, or the hottest thing on the market.  But in cases like iPhones, there are several generations old phones out there (I have a 4S) and I wonder sometimes if Apple, for instance, creates newer and newer to make those of us who ARE happy enough with what we have, feel like we are falling behind.  At least Microsoft supports their stuff practically forever.  I wonder what will happen if I keep my 4S for another couple of years, and the iOS upgrades keep piling up in my settins icon, pleading for me to udpate the OS (and screw up my contacts, but that is another story).

  3. goafrit2
    September 25, 2013

    I do think technology is keeping up with us. We can be seen as being spoiled but it is simply technology become better. That you can use microwave to make your food preparation shorter does not mean you are being spoiled. It means that tech is advancing. The good thing is that man still controls technology. For all the distractions from phones, you can still turn it OFF and that will do it.

  4. Vishal Prajapati
    September 25, 2013

    @VB, I agree with you that consumers get bored easily. So, new things and versions should always be there which keeps the market alive and probably help companies increase their sales.

     

    By introducing new models with lot of marketing lie about technology it has, consumers feel they are left behind in the technology. Which inspires them to buy or upgrade their existing product or version. Though the new version may cost as much as the older one or sometimes more than that, it mostlly increases the functionlity or features by hardly 10% to 20%. But marketing hype makes it look like 90%.

  5. jkvasan
    September 25, 2013

    Jason,

    Interesting read which makes us think deeper.

    I am looking at Blackberry which has fallen from the pedestal from being the darling of the corporates. They even made a mockery of other players, including Apple and Samsung, so I read somewhere. They could not show any difference in spite of giving seamless connectivity – needless to say great email and messenger connectivity. In spite of all this, we fell for the trap of better hardware and some apps which have nothing to do with a phone. Nobody wants a phone any more;you want a handy computer which does everything thus making you somebody short of stephen hawking (physically, of course), with due respect to the great man.

  6. RedDerek
    September 25, 2013

    @eafpres – Besides the urge of engineering to always look at finding ways to improve a product, I believe you have pointed out that it is the marketing as sales that is needed.

    If I make a product that is solid and works well with a long life, why would someone want to buy another if the current is still working. However, if I can show a “new and improved” product is out there, it would bring new buisness and revenue. Thus, as a company, I can make more money – and so on down the lines of economics.

  7. SunitaT
    September 30, 2013

    The good thing is that man still controls technology. 

    @goafrit2, but the reverse is true as well. We are so much dependant on the technology that sometimes we feel that technology is controlling us. 

  8. SunitaT
    September 30, 2013

    If I make a product that is solid and works well with a long life, why would someone want to buy another if the current is still working. 

    @RedDerek, this may not be the case always. For example people wan't to upgrade their smartphones even though their old smartphone is still in good condition because they want new features and they want to buy gadgets which supports latest technology.

  9. RedDerek
    September 30, 2013

    @SunitaT – Hence the marketing / engineering to add new features.

  10. goafrit2
    October 14, 2013

    >>  but the reverse is true as well. We are so much dependant on the technology that sometimes we feel that technology is controlling us

    That is very true especially with smartphones. But generally, we are the humans and can turn off the noise if we want to. That is a true fact which reverse is not always true.

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