Technology’s lie

Apple just launched it’s iPhone X. A big bet on the future. At Apple, they are not strangers to big bets. When the first iPhone came out in 2007, Microsoft’s Steve Balmer reported laughed and said it would remain a niche product, because it had was no keyboard. At that time we were all used to the dominance of Blackberry and its small keyboard. And look at where we’re at now.

What struck me was that many commentators stated that this new iPhone X is a flexible platform for the future, where not hardware but software would start to make the real difference. However, it is abundantly clear that this is a platform on which a lot of future development is still to come … and that got me to thinking:

There is a real difference between the maturity people expect technology to have and the actual maturity level most technology is at.

We expect technology to work and to be capable of doing anything. Because it all seems so easy, it must not take that much time and effort to make it happen. But this ignores one of the most basic truths of any development:

It takes a lot of hard work to make something look very simple.

The problem here is that very few people actually care about things that are simple, that fit well in their hand, that do not disturb their workflow. If it works, we don’t care how it works. But if it does not work, we raise a stink to high heavens.

And this, to me, is technology’s big lie: making technology work is not easy, but technology, when it works, seems too easy sometimes.

Case in point: this is why I am convinced there are so few handwriting recognition applications on tablets, and almost none of them are any good.