The Big Whoop Era and the Innovation Slump in Tech

Let’s be perfectly honest. The tech industry hasn’t really wowed us in a while. Sure you keep getting marginally improved tech like the iPhone and the Galaxy S series phones each year and Amazon has released some cool AI tech in the past few months and yes the HoloLens is something to look forward to but nothing out of all this really spells the world ‘Innovation’. I no longer get excited while watching reviews for the latest tablet or reading the latest opinion piece on another music streaming service. Everything’s sort of the same. There’s no revolution or innovation in tech that you can really point to and say, that’s the next big thing.

Each year the big boys add a ‘hundred new features’ that are just spec bumps to keep us interested and I won’t deny that, that works. I’ve found myself drooling over the new sixth generation iPod Touch and the S7 Edge and even the LG G5 but nothing really catches my eye like it once did.

I’ll give you an example. When the iPhone 4 came out regardless of the problems it had like Antenna Gate, the iPhone 4 is as important in the mythos of Apple as the original Macintosh or the original iPod. It had a futuristic design, a brand new retina display, a great camera and the A4 chip. Granted that all the other iPhone models that followed basically had all these design basics down as well but the iPhone 4 was the first to do it. It looked and felt like the next generation smartphone. The same can be said about the Samsung Galaxy S3 or the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer. Both gadgets were marketed and felt like they were leaping in to the future.

This sweet spot in the tech timeline that I like to call the ‘Wow’ era came around the turn of the year 2010 and continued into 2011. Then it started to level off. Fast forward to today and the most innovative products that you can think of that have made it to consumers in the last few years have either been half baked failures or unfinished gadgets that you can’t do much with.

Think about it, the Google Glass turned out to be a failure. The Apple Watch and the Galaxy Gear haven’t exactly captured the imagination of the public. Apple has consistently tried to hit gold with great looking knockoffs (Apple Maps, Apple Music) of services that are better (Google Maps, Spotify) and Google’s line of Nexus phones and their experiments with self driving cars haven’t gotten them anywhere yet. Amazon’s Fire product line and their pitch about making ‘premium products’ at non-premium prices hasn’t gotten them anywhere.

Let’s turn to mobile games. For a time there was Angry Birds, Doodle Jump, Candy Crush, Infinity Blade, titles from Gameloft and Glu Inc. and even the incredibly tedious 2048. Where are the mobile game innovations now? The best we’ve gotten is Angry Birds 2 in which you don’t have unlimited lives. That sucks!

Even the social networking in this era has become tedious. Remember the recent debut of the ‘Reactions’? I do, but like millions of people out there, I got bored and stopped ‘reacting’ to things about a week after that option was unveiled. I went back to liking stuff again.

Lastly, even the stuff people were really excited about has lost its flavor because it’s not getting here fast enough. Remember a little ditty called Google Ara? Yeah, modular phones have already started coming out like the LG G5 and the Motorola Moto Z but the initial high of getting a phone fully featured with interchangeable modules is gone because Google advertised too early and then started taking its sweet time developing the phone because surprise, surprise, problems.

Okay, I think I’ve ranted enough. My point basically is this. Nothing has come out in recent years to truly wow the tech industry. Whether it be a tablet or a smartphone or an app. This is what I like to call, the ‘Big Whoop era’ or the ‘Innovation Slump’. The initial high of the iPhone, the Samsung Galaxy S series, the delicious flavours of the Android OS and the onset of mobile gaming, all of that has dissipated. Tech needs something new.