bytesized
12.31.2016

In many ways, 2016 has been a year of disappointments for the tech industry. Many of the disruptive technologies that were hyped this year fizzled out after failing to generate significant consumer interest. In retrospect, I think it’s apparent that the industry has become spoiled by the attention garnered by a once-in-a-lifetime product — the smartphone.

As the pace of smartphone improvement has slowed, tech companies eager to capitalize on their newfound position as the center of attention have raced to replicate it’s success and scale, resulting in products that have been both overhyped and unfocused. The Apple keynote address has become a genre unto itself, subject of both imitation and parody. While Silicon Valley in particular has always loved to spout their “change the world” rhetoric about technological disruption, the newest iteration of the Apple TV doesn’t have to come with a grand pronouncement that “the future of TV is apps.” It’s alright for it to just be a better way to watch TV. Not every product will, can, or even should attempt to revolutionize (and democratize) technology to the degree that the pocket supercomputer did.

Steve Jobs crystalized this idea at the end of his 2010 introduction of the original iPad when he positioned Apple as existing at the intersection of technology and liberal arts.

The reason that Apple is able to create products like the iPad is because we’ve always tried to be at the intersection of technology and the liberal arts. To be able to get the best of both. To make extremely advanced products from a technology point of view, but also have them be intuitive easy-to-use, fun-to-use, so that they really fit the users. The users don’t have to come to them, they come to the user. And it’s the combination of these two things that I think has let us make the kind of creative products like the iPad.

There has been too much technology for technology's sake this year. In 2017, I hope that technology companies (including Apple) take Jobs’ advice and focus on building products that improve people’s lives again.


Jobs’ astutely positioned Apple at the intersection of technology and culture. This site exists there as well. In the case of the latter, it’s been a year packed full of highly anticipated releases with plenty of highlights. These are the albums, apps, and games that I enjoyed in 20161.

Music

Apps (iOS)

Apps (Mac)

Games


  1. All lists are ordered alphabetically.↩︎