Friday, May 16, 2014

Epiphany #33: App'd Out

All right, very quickly without thinking too long, tell me the last NEW app you downloaded for your phone that you have used the crap out of.

And if one came to mind immediately, then I have a clarifying challenge: you can't choose one that is a different version of an app that already exists.  In other words, if you downloaded a new photo editor, that does not count, because it's not a NEW app; it's just a modification of ideas that already exist.

Why does that matter?  Because I think we may be app'd out, or at least in an app lull. Think in terms of categories:

1. what's the last game you added that is different from the games you've already played?
2. what's the last travel app that added anything new to your ability to work a city?
3. what's the last "productivity" app that you assimilated into your daily habits?

Is it possible that with so many apps out there and even with new ones continuing to appear that we have hit a creative wall?  That there aren't radical new things that our phones and tablets can do?  Instead, we seem to be in a tweak phase, where everybody is either upgrading their own apps or trying to improve on what someone else has done or bringing back nostalgic programs from generations-ago technology.  It kind of reminds me of Hollywood.

If I'm right, I wonder what it means.  Is this the normal pattern of technology?  Is this the cycle of all things that were once new?  Or am I the one in the rut and all of the exciting new apps are happening beyond my cognizance?

It feels like we've hit a holding pattern with our ability to listen to music, map our travel, make rows or columns of three matching objects disappear for points.  Sure, more and more of what we think we need to do can be done on our phones and tablets, and their place is even more cemented in our lives, but that feels like a kind of filling in rather than a pushing forward.

Again, this is all just based on feel, but even the gadgets themselves are variations on a theme we know well by now.  When TV ads show us the nuances of individual machines, I think we all think whatever it can do that the others can't is kind of cool, but we think that at the same time we're yawning.  Me, I don't care much about what yours can do that mine can't, or vice-versa.  I'm interested in the next machine.

Yeah, I guess I've got the technology blues, or maybe malaise is a better word.  Because I'm not wowed by much of anything right now.  And like most humans, I tend to think that if I don't know about it, then it probably unsay happening.

Or maybe I'm wrong and there are new, dynamite apps I don't know about.  If so, please me about them.  Either I'm right or I'm wrong.  Either way, I win.

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